Collaborating for Effective Conservation
Professional and community scientists work from a common action plan.
Native Plant Trust's Conservation department led the development of two innovative networks—the New England Plant Conservation Program and Plant Conservation Volunteers—that create efficient ways for scientists to monitor rare plant populations, collect seed, manage habitat, and share crucial data across state lines and agency jurisdictions.
New England Plant Conservation Program
Our innovative New England Plant Conservation Program (NEPCoP) connects professional plant scientists in public agencies and private nonprofits to collect and share information about rare species.
Many of New England's rare and endangered plants grow on private land, which comprises most of our region. And, unlike animals, plants on private land lack legal protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. (That's right—endangered plants on private land receive no federal protection.)
To locate and protect these plants, we founded NEPCoP, the first regional conservation network, nearly thirty years ago. Today partners in state agencies and private organizations in six states work together to build landowner relationships, share information, and develop conservation strategies.
How NEPCoP Works
We provide funding and staff, and we administer the program with guidance from a regional advisory council and an expert task force in each New England state. Advisory council members comment on regional policy and analyze data to update the list of regionally endangered plants, Flora Conservanda, which records the priority species for conservation. Together we also write policies on:
- rare plant taxonomy (classification)
- habitat management and restoration
- species reintroduction
- collection of plants
- seed banking
The state task forces select priority species for survey and seed collection, and evaluate results yearly. Members do field research—conducting surveys, managing habitat, and reintroducing rare plants—as well as off-site research, seed banking, and propagation. Plant Conservation Volunteers, trained by our staff scientists, help NEPCOP professionals in the field.
Want to help? Shrinking public funds and accelerating climate change are pressing NEPCoP's member organizations to work with greater urgency and fewer resources than ever before. Please give now to help us save rare native plants.
Plant Conservation Volunteers
Established in 1993 as part of our New England Plant Conservation Program, the Plant Conservation Volunteer (PCV) program is the oldest one in the country to conduct rare plant-monitoring.
PCVs support professional botanists and State Heritage Programs by gathering vital data in the field. Across the six states of New England, PCVs conduct field monitoring, seed collection, and habitat management. PCVs now number in the hundreds, but as native plant habitats face mounting stresses, we need even more passionate volunteers to help save New England's native plants. Here are some of the crucial activities PCVs perform:
- Rare Plant Monitoring—Survey populations of endangered plant species to help provide critical information used by local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and state and federal land managers to make important conservation and habitat management decisions.
- Seed Collection—Learn how to collect seeds from New England’s imperiled species for storage in Native Plant Trust’s seed bank to preserve the genetic diversity of New England’s flora into the future.
- Habitat Management—Help fight the loss of natural communities lost or damaged by development, invasive species, and succession by identifying new threats and participating in organized management projects.
- Participants visit some of the most diverse and unique natural communities in New England; many of which are not open to the general public.
- We offer a variety of field trips led by professional botanists throughout New England every year, providing the opportunity to learn more about identification, ecology, and conservation in the field.
- Experienced PCVs say that they find deep satisfaction in helping to prevent the extinction or extirpation of hundreds of New England’s rarest species.
New applicants should have some botanical knowledge, a commitment to native plant conservation, good observation skills, a sense of adventure, and their own transportation.
How to Apply
Use this form to apply.