Planting Foundations
Volume I     15 December 1997     Issue 1



     On January 14, 1998, Roger Smith from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew will speak to the Native Plant Conservation Initiative about the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) during the bimonthly meeting.  Excerpted from a description by Roger Smith, "MSB is a collaborative international effort initiated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  It seeks to collect and conserve seeds of 10% of the world's spermatophyte flora by the year 2010.  The necessary seed research will also be conducted to ensure the overwhelming majority of the banked species will survive for at least 200 years and can be germinated at will. The MSB will also provide training and technology transfer related to the conservation of seeds of wild species.
     "The world's warm drylands have been identified as the primary focus for banking activity.  In these regions, which include many of the world's poorest countries, habitat loss is often initiated by drought and exacerbated by the activities of the 20% of the world's human population who live there. In these circumstances, the political and economic tools available to governments to prevent conversion of natural habitats appear fragile. Seed banking offers some insurance against species loss whilst more sustainable forms of human development are found.
     "Although it is anticipated that the majority of countries participating in the MSB project will be in the developing world, they are also seeking to collaborate with developed countries, including the U.S., to collect and conserve their flora, again focusing on dryland areas.
     "At the species level, two target groups are proposed: endemic species and species of known or potential human value at the local level (i.e. excluding major crops).  However, in the spirit of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), priority setting will be the responsibility of each group of collaborators to ensure national needs are most fully met.  Furthermore, all material will be collected under the terms and conditions of the CBD, ensuring prior informed consent and fair and equitable sharing of benefits.
     "The total project has been costed at c.£80 million, both in cash and in kind.  RBG Kew has already been able to raise c.£55 million."

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     Everyone is welcome to attend the NPCI's bimonthly meeting. Roger Smith of the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew will be presenting on the Millennium Seed Bank. After the meeting, there will be the opportunity to have lunch with Roger for further discussion of topics and to ask questions. Look for more information with the next agenda.

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Looking back at 1997 . . .

     The NPCI has added a new federal member to the committee, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).  The FHWA is interested in conservation and use of native plants in roadside areas.
Crocus     As of mid December the NPCI has 97 official cooperators.  Thirty-nine of these signed up in 1997 alone.  That's a 67% increase in cooperator membership!  Please welcome this year's new members:
     As we approach the coming of a new year, the Initiative looks forward to continuing and improving our relationship with our current members and to the addition of new members.

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Native Plant Conservation Initiative Exhibit

     The Native Plant Conservation Initiative has an attractive, modular, easy to set-up, green backed display about native plant conservation measuring 92" high x 120" wide x 50" deep.  The exhibit is available for use by any of the federal agencies on the Committee or any of the non-federal Cooperators.
Exhibit     The exhibit includes a loop tape that shows the Public Service Announcements and seasonal wildflower videos developed by Dr. Ritchie Bell and Dr. Anne Lindsay of Laurel Hill Press.  Your organization provides the monitor and VCR for displaying the video.  In addition, the exhibit features six pamphlet holders that are attached across the bottom half of the exhibit which hold information about the NPCI and plant conservation in general, including copies of the Wild Wealth brochure (as long as supplies last) and colorful URL bookmarks.
     The exhibit can be shipped to any destination, as it is stored in 3 durable plastic cases for shipping.  The exhibit weighs about 200 lbs and is shipped via Federal Express two day air for approximately $300.00 each way.  This includes approximately $75 for insuring the $15,000 exhibit.  The cost of shipping is the responsibility of the agency or organization using the exhibit.  Contact Olivia Kwong at (202) 912-7232 or to arrange for use of the exhibit or for further information concerning the exhibit.

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NPCI Takes Root on the Internet

     In the ever-growing world of technology, information is easily accessed and spread through the Internet.  Joining this trend, the Native Plant Conservation Initiative now has two major sources of information on the internet, a web site and an automated e-mail list.
     The NPCI web page, located at, is maintained by our wonderfully dedicated volunteer, Arlene Ripley.  If you're looking for up-to-date information, this is the place to Computergo or better yet, to tell others to go.  On the page, you can find the latest information on the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation/NPCI Grant program, Celebrating Wildflowers, upcoming and past NPCI meetings, and announcements for native plant conferences and symposia.  You can browse articles and brochures such as Living Gold Mine and Wild Wealth: The Riches of Native Plants.  If you want to learn about everyone involved in the NPCI, the Member and Cooperator List includes links to the various organizations' web pages.  The Exotic Pest Working Group has its own section with easy to read factsheets on many invasive species.  The page is being constantly updated whenever we have new information, so keep pointing your web browsers to our page for new information!
     The automated e-mail list serves to electronically distribute meeting agendas and various announcements, as well as promote native plant discussion.  Anyone is invited to join, all you need is an e-mail account!  You must be subscribed to the list in order to "post" or send a message out to all the subscribers.  If you know of someone who is interested, feel free to tell them about the list.
     If you want to join the list, simply send an e-mail to with the following information in the body of the message (not the title):

     (replacing Jane Doe with your own name)

     This will automatically add you to the e-mail list and you will receive a confirmation of this as well as instructions on how to use the list, as well as how to unsubscribe.
     If you have any questions regarding these internet resources, send an e-mail to us at with your questions.

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The NPCI Joins the Species Survival Commission

The Species Survival Commission
     The IUCN volunteer expert network consists of six global commissions:  Species Survival Commission (SSC), World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), Commission on Education and Communication (CEC), Commission on Environmental Law (CEL), Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM), and Commission on Environmental Strategy and Planning (CESP).
SSCThe mission of the Species Survival Commission is to conserve biological diversity by developing and executing programs to study, save, restore and manage wisely species and their habitats.  In order to achieve this mission, the SSC seeks to contribute to understanding, appreciation, and commitment.  Their goals are to:
     As the largest of the six commissions, the SSC is comprised of more than 7,000 individual members from nearly every country in the world.  These members are deployed in 110 Specialist Groups which are categorized in four main taxonomic groups, plants, reptiles and amphibians, birds, and mammals.  Each Specialist Group is led by a volunteer Chair.  The SSC also has five disciplinary groups which focus on conservation issues and provide tools and advice to the taxon based groups.

NPCI’s role with the SSC
     Currently there are 25 Plant Specialist Groups.  One of those is the North American Plant Specialist Group (NAPSG).  Peggy Olwell, the chair of the Native Plant Conservation Initiative, was recently appointed Chair of the NAPSG by the SSC Chair, David Brackett, with recommendations from the Steering Committee.  The NPCI will serve as the NAPSG.  Each cooperating organization (and the federal agencies’ main contact) within the Native Plant Conservation Initiative will receive an invitation from Peggy Olwell to join the SSC in January.  According to Peggy, “To be a truly inclusive North American Plant Specialist Group we will be working over the next several months to call on our counterparts in Canada and Mexico to join us in this effort.  I think that the goals of the Initiative and the Plant Specialist Groups are one and the same.  If we can successfully implement the NPCI strategy, then we will be fulfilling the objectives of the SSC.”

Benefits and Duties
     As a member of the SSC, cooperators will receive the journal Species twice a year, as well as listings of upcoming publications such as the Red List of Threatened Plants which is due for publication in February 1998.  Members will have opportunities to provide input on a global basis through IUCN policy documents such as the new Categories of Threat published in 1996.  By joining the SSC, cooperators will be part of an international conservation network.

For more information about the Species Survival Commission, take a look at their website at

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About the World Conservation Union

     The World Conservation Union (IUCN) is a global network of 8,000 technical, scientific and policy volunteer experts, 820 staff members, and 895 members, including 74 governments, 105 governmental agencies, and over 700 non-governmental organizations.  Started in 1948 as the IUCNInternational Union for the Protection of Nature, the IUCN is one of the world's oldest international conservation organizations.  Their mission is to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature, and ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.  Promotion of people-oriented conservation and sustainable use of resources play key roles in the implementation of the mission.
     The IUCN is organized into three different sections, membership, Secretariat staff in IUCN offices, and volunteer experts in IUCN commissions.  The three kinds of participation are interconnected in various ways, allowing the IUCN to achieve their mission on all levels, from the local and community, to the national and the global.  This is done through advising and assisting governments, organizations and local communities in devising conservation strategies and in their implementation.  The IUCN also provides information and expertise through readily available publications and databases.
     For more information about the IUCN, contact the world headquarters:
     Additional information and addresses for the regional offices and commissions can be found at

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XVI International Botanical Congress

IBC99 The International Botanical Congress (IBC) is a convention of scientists from around the world which meet once every six years to discuss new research in the all the plant sciences, including botany, mycology, plant ecology, horticulture, and agriculture.  Held under the auspices of the International Union of Biological Sciences, the XVI IBC will be meeting August 1-7, 1999 at America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri with a nomenclature meeting being held the week before, July 26-30, 1999.  The early registration fee, not including hotel, costs $300 ($200 for registrants from developing countries) and students pay a reduced fee of $100.  There are some fellowships for travel to IBC available, with applications particularly encouraged from registrants from developing countries and from graduate students and recent graduates.  Processing of fellowship applications will begin February 1, 1998, so apply early!  The conference will also have space for commercial and scientific exhibits.  For more information or a registration form, contact:
     Receptions, field trips, excursions, and other social events are also planned prior to, during and after IBC.

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Volunteers Needed

The NPCI is looking for volunteers to set-up and staff the NPCI exhibit at the 23rd Annual Wildlife Art and Photography Show.  The Show will be weekend of March 7-8, 1998 and the theme is "Our Natural Heritage -- Resources to Protect."  Special attention is being given to protection of native species and the dangers of exotic, invasive species on local ecosystems.  The exhibit would be located in the Wildlife Awareness Hall at the Robert E. Lee RECenter in Alexandria, Virginia.  Set-up would be done at 9am on March 7, staffing to answer questions about the NPCI would take place from 10:00am to 5:00 pm on March 7 & 8, and packing of the exhibit back into the cases would be done after the end of the Show on March 8.  Easy to read instructions are provided with the exhibit to show the volunteers how to set-up and dismantle the exhibit.  This is an excellent opportunity for the NPCI to reach out and spread information and enthusiasm about native plants to the thousands attending nature lovers of all ages.  If you are interested in volunteering for the entire event or just a portion of it, please contact Olivia Kwong by phone at (202) 452-0392 or via e-mail to

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Planting Foundations is a monthly publication of the Native Plant Conservation Initiative and is edited by Olivia Kwong.   The goal of this newsletter is to help promote the information sharing and national communication which is  needed to create the basis, or foundation for further effective native plant conservation.  Reproduction of the information contained in this newsletter is authorized without prior written permission for educational and other non-commercial purposes.  Electronic copies of Planting Foundations may be requested by e-mail or postal mail or may be found on the NPCI website at both in PDF and HTML format.
Planting Foundations is looking for news items, announcements, articles, short editorials, letters, and black & white art.  Contributions, comments, and suggestions may be sent via postal mail, fax or electronic mail to:
NPCI - Planting Foundations
Bureau of Land Management
1849 C St. NW, LSB-204
Washington, DC  20240
Fax: (202) 912-7187

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