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



August 11, 2022, Thursday 7:30 PM


Speaker: Dr. Justin Luong

Restoration will be needed to halt biodiversity and habitat loss and to ensure our state and global governments can meet ambitious targets for ecosystem protection. Although restoration has occurred for over 40 years there has been few concerted efforts to assess and compare the outcomes of multiple projects completed across a large spatial and temporal scale. This talk will detail the recovery of 37 restored coastal grasslands from along a 1000-km span (Santa Barbara to Humboldt) of projects up to 32 years post-implementation. Join us for a presentation about the unique restoration across our state and suggestions for future practice.

Justin C. Luong PhD is USDA Agricultural Food Research Initiative postdoctoral scholar working at UC Davis. Previously, he worked as a restoration practitioner for grassland and vernal pool ecosystems at the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) and completed his PhD in Environmental Studies at UC Santa Cruz. He is currently appointed as a research affiliate at CCBER, a board member of the California Native Grassland Association and a USFWS recovery team member for the endangered Nipomo Lupine. He has also provided ecological and botanical consultation for many agencies, including for an animated Netflix project.

Zoom Reservation Required: Link Here


September 8, 2022, Thursday 7:30 PM

"Saging The World" a film by Rose Ramirez, Deborah Small and CNPS

With documentarians: Rose Ramirez and Deborah Small

This film is the focal point of a campaign to deter the global rush on white sage (Salvia apiana), driven by widespread cultural appropriation of smudging. The documentary runs 20 minutes. Immediately following the screening, advocates from the film will be available to answer questions.

“For decades California’s first people have been fighting the pseudo-Native use of white sage,” said one of the film’s producers, Rose Ramirez (Chumash and Yaqui descent). “With the explosion of articles and how-to videos by non-Native people, on social media and the Internet, the demand has increased to an alarming degree.” Sage bundles can be found everywhere–at grocery stores, online retailers, specialty shops, and outdoor markets. The practice of saging–burning dried sage leaves to “purify” or “cleanse” the air has gone mainstream and become a common sight in movies, reality shows, and yoga classes. Yet, the appropriated use of saging in popular culture is having the opposite effect, harming both Indigenous communities and the sacred plant.

The white sage commonly used in commercially sold smudge sticks is a California native plant, and often contains sage poached from the wild. Today, white sage is vanishing from its only home in Southern California and northern Baja California to fuel international demand for this viral trend. The California Native Plant Society is working with a community of Indigenous advocates and allies to stop the rampant poaching, foster understanding, and inspire action for white sage.
“White sage has already lost habitat to development in Baja and Southern California,” says CNPS Director of Conservation Nick Jensen. “In addition, we’re seeing a key species getting decimated by poaching in many areas where it is still abundant. As a result, all the creatures that depend on white sage are going to suffer as well.”

Saging the World was created by Rose Ramirez (artist, photographer, filmmaker, writer, and California Indian Basket weaver of Chumash and Yaqui descent) and Deborah Small (artist, photographer, writer, and professor emerita in the School of Arts at CSUSM) in partnership with the California Native Plant Society. “We hope the film and the campaign will inspire people to boycott wildcrafted sage products, grow their own native plants, and rethink their relationship with white sage and plants more broadly,” said CNPS Director of Education & Engagement David Bryant.

Regional Native communities have tended relationships with the plant for thousands of generations and have long fought for the protection and recognition of white sage. “We all recognize it when we see it–cultural appropriation” said Gerald Clarke (Cahuilla). “I think various cultural traditions are taken–and I think that’s the key word taken. Taken, but there’s nothing given back.”

Craig Torres (Tongva) says, “Plants are not just ‘cultural resources.’ Plants are our relatives. They’re to be treated with reciprocal respect.”

To learn more about Saging the World, please visit www.cnps.org/sagingtheworld

Zoom Reservation Required: Link Here


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