Members’ meetings

East Bay CNPS Members’ Meetings are great for:

  •  Learning about native plants (and wildlife) and their habitat
  •  Virtually visiting beautiful and interesting places
  •  Being inspired by conservation challenges and success stories
  •  Meeting nice people who share your interests

Our meetings are always free and open to everyone, members and  non-members alike. We meet at 7:30 pm on the fourth Wednesday evening of the month in January-May and September-November, with a slight adjustment in the schedule to avoid Thanksgiving week. Most of our meetings take place at the Orinda Library, which is centrally located in our big, two-county chapter area.

We welcome your ideas for topics or speakers (some of our best programs have come from members’ suggestions), so please feel free to contact Programs chair Sue Rosenthal with your ideas ( or 510-496-6016).

At the edge of California and the edge of existence: How siemprevive de Isla de Cedros (Dudleya pachyphytum) was poached ever closer to extinction
Speaker: Michael Uhler
Wednesday, March 28, 7:30 pm
Location: Garden Room, Orinda Public Library (directions below)

Siemprevive de Isla de Cedros (Dudleya pachyphytum) is the most intriguing and charismatic Dudleya I have ever met. It is also one of the rarest. It occupies a small, very specialized portion of only one island in the Pacific off the coast of Baja California: Isla de Cedros. And it is now ever closer to being extirpated after a group of poachers removed a huge portion of our entire global population.

Dudleya pachyphytum on Isla de Cedros.  Photo by MIchael Uhler.

In the final days of May 2017, Mexican authorities performing a routine search of a 55-foot-long freightliner tractor-trailer rig in Baja California discovered a profoundly illegal shipment. In the enclosed trailer they counted 64 cardboard boxes loaded with a total of 4,756 rosettes of the extremely rare, single-island endemic siemprevive de Isla de Cedros. Four perpetrators were subsequently arrested in connection with this large-scale smuggling act, and the rosettes are now, thankfully, in safe hands. 

What percentage of the entire Dudleya pachyphytum population does this represent? And can the planned repatriation ever return this population to its former health? Join me as I travel to Isla de Cedros in an attempt to evaluate the extent of the damage at the scene of the crime and hopefully get some answers to these questions as well as insight into the perpetrators’ motivation.

Michael Uhler is a gardener at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, where he maintains the Sierra Nevada and Sea Bluff sections. He is an avid and adventurous explorer and mountaineer as well as a passionate advocate for conservation of rare plants and their habitats. On his days off he likes to explore both Alta and Baja California.

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 26 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. The Garden Room opens at 7 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Email or call 510-496-6016 if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Public Library at 26 Orinda Way

 DRIVING: From the west, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.

From the east, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda exit. Follow the ramp to Orinda Village. Turn right on Santa Maria way (the first signal) and left on Orinda Way.

Once on Orinda Way, go 1 short block to the parking lot on the southeast side of the two-story building on your right. There is additional free parking beneath the building as well as on the street.

VIA BART (4 blocks): Exit the Orinda station, turn right and cross a pedestrian bridge, then cross a second pedestrian bridge on the left. Go 1 short block on the sidewalk to the third pedestrian bridge. Go 2 blocks on Orinda Way to the Orinda Library.

Next Month’s Program

April 25, 7:30 pm, Orinda Library Garden Room Michele Hammond: The East Bay’s Endangered Pallid Manzanita