More about the Native Plant Stewardship Program
The Native Plant Stewardship Program has been a successful and popular educational program of the Washington Native Plant Society with a proven track record for community service since 1996. The program has graduated 512 stewards in the past 15 years. These individuals have reported over 111,000 volunteer hours promoting the awareness, appreciation, education and restoration of native plants in Washington State.
While the program’s core values have remained basically the same during this period, the program’s emphasis has varied in response to the sources of funding and the sponsor objectives. The initial program was established in response to public requests for assistance and information about native plants: what they are, where they are found and how they might be used. The expected volunteer service by the Native Plant Stewards in return for their training was left to the initiative of steward rather than having specific designated projects. In time, as Native Plant Stewards have become more involved in community-based projects, the demand for native plant expertise and skills in restoration ecology has grown. Today trained teams of Native Plant Stewards are sought as volunteer community leaders to plan and oversee public projects in a number of communities in the Central Puget Sound Region.
Topics covered in the ten week training include native plant identification, Puget Sound ecosystems and plant communities, forest ecology, ethnobotany, wetlands, invasive species, native plant landscaping and restoration of native habitats. Expert training is provided through lectures, workshops and field trips.
A wide range of citizens participate in this program each year. This community-based program is designed to provide opportunities for participants to conserve, protect and sustain native plant habitats in their communities.
Become a Native Plant Steward
- Learn to identify local native plants
- Learn about Puget Sound ecology
- Learn current restoration and landscaping skills
- Learn how to control invasive weeds
Commit to Restoring Native Habitat
- Help restore our valuable urban forests, salmon streams and wetlands
- Help create native plant gardens and schoolyard habitat
- Help educate the public about native plants and habitats
Share Your Expertise with Others
- Provide guidance and inspire others
- Work with children and young adults
In Their Own Words
"I've learned so much about plants that I didn't know before. Not only how to identify natives but also how they work together, what environments they grow best in and how they benefit the ecosystem as a whole. It provided a clear "big picture" for me and a deeper understanding of the importance of native plants."
"The program has encouraged me to take on volunteer projects that, frankly, I would never have considered myself capable of prior to training."
"The WNPS Stewardship Program provided the impetus for starting Heron Habitat Helpers."
"Most of all the program has provided me with an outlet for my boundless enthusiasm about the natural world."
The Program's History
The Program was started in 1996 by the Central Puget Sound Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society (WNPS) and Washington State University Cooperative Extension, King County. Since it began, funding has come from many sources, including the Puget Sound Water Quality Action Team, King County Water Quality Block Grant, USDA Forest Service, Starflower Foundation, King County Waterworks, the Puget Sound Urban Resources Partnership, Natural Resource Stewardship Network, the Seattle Foundation, Snohomish County Surface Water Management, the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, the King Conservation District and the cities of Seattle, Issaquah, Kirkland, Sammamish, Bellevue and Redmond. The generous support of WNPS members has sustained it.
Stewards learn how to monitor restoration sites.
Starting in 2000, the Program expanded to include two training classes, one in King County and one in Snohomish County. In 2006 and 2009 we offered the program in Pierce County.
The Program is administered by the Washington Native Plant Society with the assistance and technical support of non-profit organizations, local government agencies, scientists, and previous native plant stewards.
A Stewardship Advisory Committee provides guidance and direction in program goals and policy.
A great opportunity to develop your knowledge and have a positive effect on your community.
Volunteers who want to learn about native plants so they can restore and protect natural habitats in the Puget Sound Region are encouraged to apply. The ten week program is free in exchange for a 100 hour volunteer commitment. For more information call or e-mail:
Washington Native Plant Society
6310 NE 74th Street, Suite 215 E
Seattle, WA 98115
206-527-3210, or 1-888-288-8022
- To train and create a citizenry informed about native plant ecosystems and their critical value to the health of Washington’s natural resources and quality of life.
- To provide the highest quality training utilizing experts and specialists in a variety of disciplines.
- To make the Native Plant Stewardship Program accessible to a wide range of individuals.
- To provide motivation and inspiration for community service and involvement in restoring native plant ecosystems and educating others.
How you can help
- Donate generously to the program.
- Contribute expertise to stewards' training.
- Provide continuing education for stewards.
- Volunteer for Stewardship projects.
The Native Plant Stewardship Program educates community volunteers about our region’s native plants and plant communities, and teaches how to use this knowledge to protect and restore Washington’s natural