The Metro-Denver Chapter welcomes everyone, members and non-members, to attend its free programs and field trips.
Diversity Statement: The Metro-Denver Colorado Native Plant Society (CoNPS) Chapter is dedicated to furthering the knowledge, appreciation and conservation of native plants and habitats of Colorado through education, stewardship and advocacy. Our Chapter is committed to adhere to our mission through the connection between people and plants.
Positioned in one of the most diverse geographic regions of the state, our Chapter believes our native plants are as diverse as our community. We recognize that conservation of plant diversity is best advanced by contributions of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and cultures. We value the excitement, knowledge, and expertise of all our members. It is our goal to expand the diversity of our membership, our leadership team, and our choice of other organizations and coalitions as partners.
Our intention is to welcome members into our Chapter without limitation on age, color, disability, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation and other characteristics protected by law. Increasing access to the diversity of human experience through inclusion and outreach will help us celebrate our native plant heritage and preserve that heritage for future generations. Our Chapter aims to better serve our community and attract dedicated supporters of conservation and education as members and leaders. A wide ranging collection of perspectives and approaches is necessary to fully enjoy the natural world and to meet current and emerging challenges impacting native plants and their habitats, and impacting our society.
Signed, The Metro-Denver Chapter Leadership Team (2021).
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS:
We welcome everyone, from professional botanists and horticulturists to amateurs. If you're new to Colorado or just learning about our wonderful flora, don't be intimidated by sometimes complex terminology. CoNPS offers opportunities to learn about botany and plant identification. Our goal is to appeal to everyone through various learning opportunities at meetings as well as through classroom workshops and seasonal field trips geared to various levels of expertise.
Although Colorado has approximately 3000 different species of native and alien plants belonging to over 150 families - before you start feeling overwhelmed, concentrate on learning the major families since 75% of taxa (plant species) fall into major families. Everyone knows the sunflower family (Asteraceae) for instance, so build on what you know and HAVE FUN!
CoNPS a site for info on native plants, including native gardens as well as CoNPS activities
USDA Plants Database (you can enter a plant name, either Scientific or Common Name into Google search and this generally takes you to USDA Database and shows plant photo and distribution info)
SEINet - Regional Networks of North American Herbaria Symbiota (symbiota.org/docs/seinet/)
The SEINet North American plant network was the first Symbiota-based project to be configured as a fully integrated portal network. SEINet currently features 10 regional North American portals, each represents a unique perspective of research community.
Eastern Colorado Wildflowers (Earnie Marx wonderful site)
Southwest Colorado Wildflowers (Southwest Flora/excellent & searchable)
Denver Botanic Gardens for both main Denver location and Chatfield Farm
Colorado Weed Management Assoc (ID weeds & invasives)
Bringing Nature Home is about biodiversity (also a book - Douglas Tallamy )
Butterflies and Moths: an enormous ID site
Xerces is about insect conservation; from bees to beetles
Conservation Webinars: another webinar library with several conservation topics
The Arapahoe county extension of CSU has a citizen science program aimed at collecting data on Colorado native bees. This data will be used to make informed conservation decisions, and suggestions on ways to improve pollinator habitat in the region.
The National Integrated Drought Information System gives Up to date information on the current drought conditions across the country. Drought statuses can be looked up by region state county etc.
The Southern Rockies Fire Science Network- is a support system and catalyst for managers, scientists, policy makers, and citizens to interact and share credible fire science for sound decisions in land management and planning. We share science-based knowledge that helps provide solutions to fire management challenges from South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado to central Utah.
The Prairie Ecologist- This is a blog by Chris Helzer, the Nature Conservancy's Director of Science in Nebraska and author of "The Ecology and Management of prairies in the Central United States" and "Hidden Prairie Photographing Life in One Square Meter", both published by the University of Iowa press. He has a vast knowledge of praire ecosystems, and also does wonderful nature photography.
Native Plants for Native Birds - This article by Denver Audubon and CoNPS discusses how you can help native birds by planting native plants. It gives you tips on gardening, lists specific native plants that will attract and support particular bird species.
PLANT ID APP FOR SMART PHONE, TABLET & COMPUTER: High Country Apps (Colorado Wildflowers) searchable and free updates includes 600 species, no grasses approx $10.
BOOKS (these and many more available through CoNPS website bookstore)
Rocky Mtn Flower Finder & Alpine Flower Finder by J Wingate & L Yeatts (pocket size; illustrated)
Flora of Colorado by Jennifer Ackerfield complete keys for advanced amateurs & pros
Botany in a Day by Thomas Elpel (patterns of plant families - illustrated - excellent introduction
The High Line Canal is an important natural area the runs right through the center of Denver, with a trail that is 73 miles long, running from Chatfield Reservoir to Aurora. Recently, the Denver Botanical Gardens did an inventory of the native and exotic plants along the canal and identified 452 species. They have created this wonderful report called "Common Plants of the High Line Canal near Eisenhowr Park, Some Ecology and Ethnobotany" which is a fun read.
SEINET is a terrific website which documents all of the species collected by herbaria in the western states. There are lots of interesting things that you can do on Seinet, but two of the most useful are the ability to create species lists of plants in any location of your choice, and also to create a dynamic key (sometimes called an interactive key) of the plants in a specific location. We have created a 7 minute video tutorial, How To Create Species Lists and Dynamic Keys on SEINET to teach you how to use this useful tool.
The Southern Rocky Mountain Seed Network is a developing collaborative between multiple agencies and stakeholders to help collect, produce, distribute and utilize locally appropriate native seed for disaster, rehabilitation and restoration sites across the front range. This is a very important project that is still in its early stages and is looking for professionals, partners and funders to help achieve these goals.
The Forest and Rangeland Stewardship department of Warner CNR at CSU is offering a spring webinar series for 2021. To attend, sign up for the webinar email list and press submit. It will take you to a “page not found” error, but it will be submitted!
From the website: “ this series focuses on historically underrepresented communities who have always protected, defended and cared for our lands. A variety of scholars, professionals and leaders will share long-held generational knowledge and harmony with land stewardship. These webinars intend to sell new seeds of thought and understanding into our collective consciousness. Embracing all natural resource perspectives and practices will lead our disciplines forward into a more just, equitable and inclusive present and future.“
Biological soil crusts are mixtures of lichen, fungi, mosses, cyanobacteria and other microbial life that form crusts in many arid regions, and in Colorado. These "crusts" help with water absorption, wind and water erosion, and greatly affect the plant communities they are found in. They are an essential part of the ecosystem, and very interesting: Read More Here
In case you haven't heard of the Western Aspen Alliance, this is a great organization that does research on Aspen ecology. Aspens are a foundation species and harbor some of the greatest biodiversity of western forested ecosystems. The "Pando" super-organism in Utah is considered to be the largest living organism on earth currently, it is essentially one gigantic clone, same plant and same exact genetics. Although many aspen are suffering from Sudden Aspen Decline (SAD) and it is suspected to be a combination of biotic and abiotic stressors, including warming climate conditions. Check it out!
And here are some plant species lists from some of our latest field trips:
Clear Creek Canyon to Welch's Ditch with Tom Schweich
Castlewood Canyon State Park with Audrey Spencer and Suzanne Dingwell
Green Mountain with Tom Zeiner
Matthews-Winter Park with Tom Zeiner