Contact the CoNPS Team

Administration (virtual office)
1536 Wynkoop Street, Suite 911
Denver, Co 80202

Programs HQ & Store
704 East Boulder Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Colorado Native Plant Society Early History

The Colorado Native Plant Society Early History

The Colorado Native Plant Society (abbreviated CoNPS) was incorporated on June 10, 1976. The inspiration for the founding of the Society came from a workshop on threatened and endangered plants held by the U.S. Forest Service and the Audubon Society in early 1976. In March, discussions began that led to the formation of CoNPS.

The Colorado Native Plant Society was founded “to encourage the appreciation and conservation of the native plants and ecosystems of Colorado.”

The first Board of Directors of the Colorado Native Plant Society consisted of Steve Bissell, Genevieve Bryant, Chuck Feddema, John Halverson, William Harmon, Karen Hollweg, John Marr, Peter Mogielnicki, J. Scott Peterson, Kim Vories, Jean Widman, and Dieter Wilken. John Marr was the first president of the Board of Directors of CoNPS.

The first annual meeting of the Colorado Native Plant Society was held October 9, 1976 at the Denver Botanic Gardens, with 170 people in attendance. An election was held and the members of the Board of Directors became Steve Bissell, Genevieve Bryant, Chuck Feddema, Hugo Ferchau, William Gambel, John Halverson, William Harmon, John Marr, J. Scott Peterson, Kim Vories, William Weber, and Dieter Wilken. Officers of the Board of Directors were: William Weber, President; Hugh Ferchau, Vice President; Kim Vories, Treasurer; Dieter Wilken, Secretary.

NEW CHAPTER IN FORT COLLINS On November 16, 1976 (From Aquilegia, January-February 1977)

CNPS members in the Fort Collins area met at the city library to initiate the formation of a local chapter. The meeting was organized by Gail Evans and Mary Ann Varanke,both of Fort Collins. Local Members were contacted and the public was notified by fliers around town and on the CSU campus. Mr. Richard Walter gave an excellent, entertaining, and educational talk and slide show on” Native Edible Plants with a Gourmet’s Touch”. Kim Vories addressed the meeting concerning the goals and accomplishments of the Society emphasizing the enthusiasm and dedication of the Society’s founders and their ” can do” approach to addressing these goals. The officers elected were, Gail Evans (President), Ann Morrison (Program Chairwoman) and Mary Ann Varanka (Secretary-Treasurer). A formal petition for recognition as an official chapter will be presented at the December Board Meeting. From all of the Publications Committee “Congratulations and we will be expecting to hear great things from your corner of the state soon and often.”

SECOND CHAPTER FORMED IN BOULDER (From Aquilegia March – April 1977)

The second chapter of the Colorado Native Plant Society has been formed in Boulder. Thirty-one CoNPS members have petitioned the Board for chapter recognition. The acting chairman, David Buckner may be contacted by those interested persons in the Boulder area for information regarding chapter activities.


September 1, 2021: Maggie Gaddis Hired as First CoNPS Executive Director

Dr. Gaddis came from  the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs where she taught biology, resource management, and conservation and sustainability courses at . She was also a member of the Bard College Citizen Science faculty. Dr. Gaddis engaged citizen scientists and students to develop monitoring programs that measure ecological-restoration projects in natural land settings where anthropogenic environmental degradation exists. She is also interested in the relationship between training design and the reliability of data collected by citizen scientists.

The records and publications of the Colorado Native Plant Society are housed in the Archives of Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University, 3333 Regis Blvd., Denver, CO 80221. The Archives have limited hours so phone for an appointment: 303-964-3612 or email at The Reference Desk may be reached at 303-458-4031.

A complete collection of the Colorado Native Plant Society Newsletter (now known as Aquilegia: The Newsletter of the Colorado Native Plant Society) is in the Regis University Archives.