SF Biodiversity Vision 2020

Thanks to all who joined us for this event!

The Yerba Buena Chapter of CNPS is honored to have hosted "SF Biodiversity Vision 2020" and we are grateful for the enthusiastic collaboration by all of you who made it so interesting and fun for us.

"SF Biodiversity Vision 2020" Brainstorm session results here

Ready to dig a little deeper?

Please check out our chapter's SF Biodiversity Resource Page


Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society presents:

SF Biodiversity Vision: 2020

A celebration of the unique biodiversity in San Francisco with scientists and naturalists advocating for an increasingly biodiverse future

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019, 5 - 8:00 PM
at the historic Slovenian Hall
2101 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, CA 94107


Please join us as we celebrate the unique ecologies of the San Francisco area with people involved in sustaining and improving them through education, advocacy and restoration.

Your friends at Yerba Buena chapter of CNPS will provide scrumptious vegetarian fare, libations and delicious imagery of our indigenous flora and fauna.

We ask you to bring your informed imagination for a no holds barred, fast and fun brainstorming session where we conjure ideas and concepts for an increasingly biodiverse future for the San Francisco area. Naturally, we have a limited number of spaces so please respond soon to your invitation so we can maximize the fun for the whole group.


Some recent history:

In September 2018, an aspirational event: a coalition of San Francisco nature science organizations, naturalist educators and advocates joined the global environmental community in sharing urban nature conservation best practices and the latest thinking from San Francisco and other pioneering cities in the effort to achieve sustainable urban biodiversity and climate resilience.

The theme for the day: that local biodiversity and ecological system resilience are critical components of calming the dramatic climate changes that humans are causing. With SF Department of Environment as the convener (Thank you Peter Brastow and the Exploratorium!) this "sold out" event was a resounding success. Throughout the day expert panels and speakers entertained and educated us with program descriptions and inspired us to imagine a better, more natural future in light of the tough environmental news that had been much on thinking people's minds.

So, at the 2018 event we collectively worked on discovering ideas from near and far for combating biodiversity loss. Subsequently many of us have been working on assessing our local biodiversity issues and the processes and policies that affect our local ecologies moving forward. The Yerba Buenos in particular have been attending dozens and dozens of community and agency meetings, listening, learning and advocating for the adoption of more biodiverse friendly policies. Currently, along with other community activist we are in the process of creating policy suggestions and action plans to take to local area decision makers for their consideration.

City planners today have an opportunity to resurrect our beleaguered ecologies but they need to become better informed and persuaded to action. Naturally, most of these community service oriented decision makers are not focused on biological systems and functions. And as far as environmental concerns, as our oceans rise and warm, they have bigger fish to fry so to speak. Our mayor and city supervisors deal daily with an amazingly complex set of human related issues especially in light of recent political developments and a surging population. Unless we speak up on their behalf, the problems of butterflies, bees, birds and other wildlife being pushed out by development or starved out due to continuing poor planting choices are small blips on their radar. They do hear about climate change concerns but tying those concerns to local biological systems resilience is not automatic. There are many louder, better financed voices than those in the conservation community (some of those socially justifiably so) lobbying them everyday. People who care about ecological functions, flora and fauna are most often nice, introspective and often studious. We've lost a lot already. We can't wait until even more species are winking out in our area. Let's get loud for Biodiversity! Nothing like a celebration of biodiversity to get us going - party like it's 2020!

Open up the hatches and prepare for the brainstorm!

Friends have suggested that the Yerba Buenos share some Biodiverse forward ideas that have bubbled during our assessment period. Here' s a few of our ideas:

  • Biodiversity Resource tools:
    • Searchable (by zip code) SF Native Plant database: for backyard gardeners, landscape designers and architects and city planners. Know what natives to plant, where and why
  • City of SF, Board of Supervisors: resurrecting the city's historical natural heritage
    • create a "Urban Ecology Council" to advise on best practices moving towards a more biodiverse city
      • a "biodiversity ranking" for everything the city plants, including/start with: street trees
    • support the creation of a Biodiversity Strategy document by an independent science-based organization as a road map for an increasingly indigenous biodiverse SF
    • Supply Side:
      • incentivize the city owned nurseries to grow mostly local natives
      • help local native nurseries grow specialty natives using local genetic stock from their area (can we bring back Dolores campion?)
        • create a nursery and landscape training program for teens and underemployed community members
      • contract commercial nurseries to grow out low cost common native plants using locally genetic stock
  • Ethnobotany: encourage the city to promote growing and using the native plants that have been used in the SF area for thousands of years by people for food and medicine
    • create "Ohlone Gardens" in City of SF Park(s)
  • Science and Conservation advocacy community:
    • Create a community based Biodiversity Coalition to analyze and recommend best practices, advocate, etc. to city staffers
      • letter writing campaigns - show we care
    • Public meeting notification system (in person testimony is the most effective form of advocacy)
    • Create biodiversity hotspots map and encourage neighborhoods to embrace
    • Create priority species campaign, city wide and neighborhood focus - what can be un-extirpate?
      • City native plant? Coast Live Oak? Franciscan Manzanita? Yerba Buena mint in every back yard?
      • Create conditions for bringing back the "City Bird": California Quail


Continue the Conversation:
Join the BiodiversitySF

One of the ideas presented at the event was the creation of a Biodiversity forum for our community to share future ideas, agency and community meeting details, information related to biodiversity, best practices, educational opportunities, and restoration and habitat change events or happenings.

In that spirit, we have created the BiodiversitySF forum.

Join in the conversation by submitting your email address below. If you know of others who were not at the event but have interest in topics related to the biodiversity of the San Francisco Bay Area, please share this link: