Our History

Interest in starting an Arizona Native Plant Society spawned an organizing meeting in Fall 1976. The dozen people who met to create our state group were all professionals in plant-related fields or worked for a related governmental agency.  Because of the diversity of interest in arid landscaping, the founders agreed that the new society would focus not only on Arizona’s native plants, but also on xeric-adapted plants from other areas and their growth in our landscapes.

The second meeting established goals for the new society. These included a society publication, a speakers bureau, school programs, the promotion of Arizona rare plant studies and a journal for publishing such studies, and involvement with public policy decision-making regarding Arizona’s native plants, including salvage and programs encouraging use of xeric-adapted plants in landscaping.

To promote the society’s educational and outreach goals, an Urban Landscape Committee was tasked with developing materials about the use of native and other arid-adapted plants in local landscaping. A series of pocket guides aimed at homeowners was developed at a price low enough to promote wide usage.

A 1998 membership survey on the direction of the Society and program emphasis indicated that most members wanted more focus on Arizona native plants, leaving the promotion of non-native arid-adapted plants to nurseries. The mission statement was subsequently altered to reflect the Society’s change in goals.

Currently, AZNPS has six chapters, based in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Prescott, Tucson, Sierra Vista and Yuma. Happenings, a newsletter about chapter activities, comes out quarterly. Our state journal, The Plant Press, is published twice a year and contains articles about native plant research, publications and other related articles. The latest editions of both can be found on our website.

Through the years, the dedicated members of the society have worked to strengthen native plant protection laws, enriched the knowledge of Arizona’s native plants, and contributed countless volunteer hours to public education about the value of using native plants in the landscape, water conservation, and habitat protection. Valuable research has also been contributed on non- native invasive species and habitat restoration. The conservation efforts of the Arizona Native Plant Society over the past 15 years has been considerable. We have made significant progress in restoring native habitats through invasive weed control and water harvesting on desert and riparian canyon landscapes. Learn more in the Conservation section of this website.

Our programs are open to the public and are generally free.  If you are interested in becoming an AZNPS member, click here for a membership brochure. You can also become a member online. Please join us in working to preserve Arizona’s native plants and to increase knowledge and appreciation of them. Much of our flora is quite unique and we are working to ensure the native diversity is around for future generations.


Title Contact Infomation
Cochise Chapter President
Co-Editor:  The Plant Press
Doug Ripley
State Vice-President Open Position
Recording Secretary Ries Lindley
State Treasurer Diane Kelly
Commitee Chair:  Education and Outreach
Wendy Hodgson
Commitee Chair:  Conservation
John Scheuring
Kirstin Phillips
Yuma Chapter President
Valerie Morrill
Phoenix Chapter President
Lisa Rivera
Phoenix Chapter Treasurer
Steve Blackwell
Tucson Chapter President
Jessie Byrd
Director-at-Large Andrew Salywon
Director-at-Large Cass Blodgett
Prescott Chapter President
Sue Smith
Layout Editor:  The Plant Press Julie St. John
Editor:  Happenings Shelley Silva
Administrative Assistant Patricia Sanchez