Approximately 125 rare plant taxa occur in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, per the CNPS Rare Plant Inventory (that is in addition to the 524 taxa of Unusual Plants tracked by the chapter’s Unusual Plants Committee). Astounding!
CNPS members who treasure these rare plants can help collect high-quality data for scientific and conservation advocacy purposes by participating in CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunts. And researching 125 taxa is a task so large that only a crew of skilled volunteers can take it on. Please note that the sensitive plant data that you collect for CNPS are always protected; they are available only to those with demonstrated legitimate need and interest in the data.
For 2022 we have a range of options so there will be a place for your skill set and interests.
- Participate in a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt! CNPS launched its Rare Plant Treasure Hunts (RPTH), partnering CNPS staff scientists with volunteers to obtain up-to-date information on California’s rare plants. Sign up to receive notifications of state activities here. You can also notify Amy Patten, the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Manager, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Help organize East Bay Chapter Rare Plant Treasure Hunts! Become a CNPS-EB Rare Plant Treasure Hunt coordinator and schedule hunts in your chosen areas, for your targeted rare plants! CNPS RPTH staff will be available to help you plan and promote your effort. Contact Amy Patten, the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Manager, directly at email@example.com.
- Adopt-a-Rare-Plant: Some plants really need a caretaker. “Adopt” a rare plant and monitor its status. You’ll gather valuable data about changes in the plant’s population size (especially valuable for annual species and short-lived perennials), pollinators, seed production, and seed dispersal. Please be aware that a) adopting a rare plant is a fairly high level of commitment and can be time-consuming and b) there may not be a plant available for adoption in our area. Contact Amy Patten, the CNPS Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Manager, directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers conducting field work will need either a smartphone or GPS device plus camera for mapping and photographing populations in the field and you will need to arrange transportation to field sites.
In general for field work you should be able to
- Be ready to use dichotomous keys for some species (not always necessary).
- Record qualitative and quantitative data on paper or electronic field forms.
- Hike, often on rugged terrain.
- Navigate to rare plant populations using latitude/longitude coordinates and aerial photography or topographic maps.
- Record latitude/longitude coordinates; most smart phones are adequate for this task.
— February 2022