Social Justice Program

The goal of the Sacramento Valley Chapter’s Social Justice Program is to cultivate equity and inclusion in our chapter and the communities we serve so that we may all enjoy a just and safe chapter that is as diverse as our region.

The summer of 2020 was a time of action for many. As individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations began to reckon with their role in structural inequality and institutionalized racism, the California Native Plant Society clearly stated its commitment to building a more equitable and inclusive organization. In light of this commitment, the SacValley Chapter formed a Social Justice Committee in July 2020.

Our focus as a committee is to find ways for our chapter to actively implement meaningful change in our region that is in line with the following statement made by CNPS.

We believe California’s incredible human diversity is key to our shared efforts to celebrate, protect, and restore this state’s unparalleled natural diversity. Together, we restate our ongoing commitment to fighting against racial inequality and working for environmental justice, that we may all enjoy a just and safe society that is as inclusive and diverse as our state.

– California Native Plant Society, 2020

Our Projects

To that end, we are implementing a variety of initiatives that range from immediate action to long-term projects. These initiatives fall under the umbrellas of community outreach and partnerships, membership projects, environmental justice advocacy, and intersectional environmentalism.

There is so much more we can do, and we are excited to continue the work. If you would like to join us, please contact the committee chair, Ellen Pimentel.

Get Involved

Environmental Justice Advocacy

We invite our members to comment on local public planning documents to ensure equity and inclusion in the planning process. Such documents may include climate change action plans, public access plans, recreation plans, transportation plans, development plans, and others. In each of these plans, there is an opportunity to ensure that underrepresented groups have their voices heard and their needs met. You can participate by alerting us to new documents that provide opportunities for comment or by signing up to be alerted to chapter-wide comment campaigns. Please contact Ellen Pimentel or Janet Koster for more information.

Sponsored Student Memberships

The chapter is sponsoring CNPS memberships for students who are Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC). Each new membership will include mentorship by a board member who shares similar interests with the student. We hope to expand this program to other chapters and eventually create a statewide BIPOC student member networking program. To learn more or apply for a sponsorship, contact Nellie Zapien.

Home Growers for Social Justice

The Home Growers program provides plant starts to volunteers, who propagate and grow the plants in their backyards. The mature plants are brought directly into under-resourced communities at neighborhood pop-up events, ready for planting. To learn how you can get involved, please contact Chris Lewis or Julie Clements.

Equitable Education Materials

The committee is creating more accessible learning materials, such as videos, zines, lesson plans, and social media materials, that can be used by schools, community groups, and individuals. Some of these materials are being produced now and will be available soon, while some are in need of a champion to implement them. If you are interested in learning more about creating and distributing these materials, please contact Nellie Zapien or Chris Lewis.

Special Panels and Speakers

We invite individuals from underrepresented backgrounds (e.g., BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities) to speak with our chapter members about their lived experience at the intersection of these identities and native plants. These talks may be individual, in panels, or offered as a training and could occur during regular chapter meetings (every second Wednesday at 7 p.m.) or as special events. A speaker stipend is available. If you are interested, please contact Ellen Pimentel or Julie Clements.