Speaker Series

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we've taking the Speaker Program Virtual

Please note the unique webinar link contained within for each program description which will take you to the Zoom invitation or registration page.

Video of past "virtual" speaker programs can be found on our Yerba Buena Youtube Channel



October 14, 2021, THURSDAY 7:30 pm - Late CHANGE UP of Speaker program. Still on!

Shade Gardening with California Native Plants

Speaker: Susan Karasoff

Zoom Reservation Required: Link Here

Garden successfully in San Francisco using our local California native plants to benefit yourself and our local ecosystems. Local San Francisco native plants evolved to adapt to our local soils and climate, including many plants that thrive in shade because they evolved as understory plants beneath taller plants and trees. We’ll discuss colorful and edible plants that thrive in shade in San Francisco, including shallow rooted plants that thrive in pots.

Susan Karasoff gardens in San Francisco’s clay soil. Susan is a board member and Outreach Chair of the California Native Plant Society - Yerba Buena (San Francisco) chapter. She brings an an “only the easiest plants survive” approach to gardening. Susan grows a buffet of colorful native edible and pollinator plants, specifically gardening to feed caterpillars, bees, hummingbirds and people.


November 11, 2021, THURSDAY 7:30 pm

Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of San Francisco

Speaker: Mike Wood

Zoom Reservation Required: Link Here

Long before the digital age of geo-located photos, iNaturalist, Calflora, the Jepson eFlora, and The Jepson Online Interchange, the founders of the Yerba Buena Chapter of CNPS were busy documenting the native flora of San Francisco. Their observations were recorded on hand-written lists on college-ruled note paper, the backs of envelopes, and in the margins of dog-eared copies of the 1958 publication A Flora of San Francisco. When I joined the chapter’s board in 1994, I was in awe of the first-hand knowledge of which my colleagues were guardians. I set out to compile this information into a searchable data set that could be regularly updated as new discoveries were made. It was my wish that this annotated checklist could assist amateur and trained botanists in documenting the remnants of natural plant communities in the city, guide restoration and weed eradication efforts, and motivate citizens and decision makers to take an active role in preserving, protecting and enhancing our natural history. The first edition of the checklist was released in 2010. Having my wings clipped due to the pandemic, this past year was the perfect opportunity to work on a major revision to the checklist. The third edition is now available online for free.

Mike Wood grew up working in the nursery trade in Southern California. He shifted gears to ecology, completing his Master’s Degree at San Francisco State University where he focused on fire ecology, edaphic endemism, and the ecology of the rare Ione manzanita. Recently retired from his 30-year career as a biological consultant, he and his wife have been traveling, exploring the botanical wonders of the world. Taking a short break from their travels, they found themselves “stuck” in Hawaii when the world shut down. It was there that he dedicated his time to revising the checklist.


December 9, 2021, THURSDAY 7:30 pm

Protecting San Francisco Bay from invasive Spartina

Speakers: Toby Rohmer and Lindsay Faye Domecus

Zoom Reservation Required: Link Here

San Francisco Bay is more than a defining geographic feature: it is home to hundreds of types of fish, birds, and other wildlife, and provides food and shelter to abundant resident and visiting wildlife. Many are unaware that the Bay, the largest estuary on the west coast of North America, is in a league with Chesapeake Bay on the east coast and the Mississippi Delta on the gulf coast. While humans appreciate its beauty and presence, millions of birds use the Bay as a critical stopover point on their migration along the Pacific Flyway each year, finding  food and shelter in the saltmarshes and tidal mudflats. But these places are under threat, not just from sea level rise but also from invasive plants. In the 1970s, well-meaning engineers planted Atlantic cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) for erosion control. Unfortunately, it began to spread, displacing the native vegetation, and altering vegetation communities. Since 2005, the Coastal Conservancy’s Invasive Spartina Project has used airboats, genetic testing, sophisticated GIS, and a lot of hard work to push back the invasive cordgrass. Learn about how hometown heroes are doing their part to address the global biodiversity crisis.

Toby Rohmer is the Monitoring Program Manager for the San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project and works for Olofson Environmental, Inc. Toby studied at UC Davis, where he did his master thesis on California Ridgway’s Rails, which included substantial field work and monitoring in SF Bay marshes with USGS and other partners.

Lindsay Faye Domecus is an Environmental Biologist at Olofson Environmental Inc. She started at OEI as a seasonal employee in 2017 after finishing her graduate degree in Environmental Science at San Francisco State University, where she studied environmental physiology. At OEI, Lindsay works on a variety of projects, including the Invasive Spartina Project, and spends most of her time working in the marshes of the San Francisco Bay Area.


We're pleased to share video links of  Susan Karasoff's (CNPS-YB Outreach chair) popular gardening series with the San Francisco Public Library

Colorful Year Around Gardening with San Francisco Native Plants

Shrubberies, Wind Screens and Ground Covers

Succulent Gardening with Kipp McMichael

Children’s Gardens with San Francisco Native Plants

Gardening for Biodiversity in San Francisco, October, 24, 2020

Shade Gardening with California Native Plants, September 26, 2020

Gardening for San Francisco’s Butterflies and Pollinators, August 22, 2020

Edible Native Fruits & Vegetables of San Francisco, July 25, 2020