The Center for Plant Conservation (CPC) is a one-of-a-kind network, uniting plant conservationists from botanical gardens, arboretums, and other plant-focused organizations that collaboratively work to save the imperiled plants of the United States, its territories, and Canada, throughout their native range. CPC Participating Institutions maintain the CPC National Collection of Endangered Plants, a living conservation collection of imperiled plants, by working to collect and manage living seeds and plants, advancing our understanding of threats as well as means to save these species, and by communicating with partners within the CPC network to ensure that all are using the best and most up-to-date means possible to Save Plants.

Greater than the sum of its parts, the CPC network of Conservation Partners saves more plant species together than would ever be possible alone. This is done through the timely sharing of information, data, and expertise, and facilitated by the community of practice that is CPC where the world’s experts regularly convene to discuss and apply methods that result in far greater numbers of plants saved from extinction.


The CPC National Office has been  headquartered at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California since 2016, in partnership with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, a CPC Participating Institution. CPC is grateful for the support of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, and is proud to partner with their plant conservation team on various initiatives, including the Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana ssp. torreyana) restoration project at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.


How we Save Plants

We work hard to continually advance the science of saving rare plant species.

We apply this science to save imperiled plant species.

We advocate on behalf of our collective efforts to Save Plants and promote the value of plants to humankind.

Why We Save Plants

Without plants there would be no us. Plants are integral to our quality of life and essential to our very survival. Plants clean the air, water and soil and provide food, clothing, medicine and shelter for the Earth’s 7 billion human inhabitants. Plants also hold an immeasurable intrinsic value, providing beauty, tranquility and escape from an ever increasingly chaotic world. Integral to the world’s ecosystem, plants and their incredible diversity make life as we know it possible.

The Results

To date, we now have over 40% of North American imperiled plants (2,000 of 4,400 kinds) secured in the CPC National Collection. We have active research programs going on in dozens of organizations in the U.S., all working to overcome conservation challenges for the remaining two thirds of imperiled North American plants. Challenges such as seed storage, plant propagation and preservation/recovery of species in the wild, are all being addressed by CPC partners.

CPC’s model of collaborative work and a shared responsibility to Save Plants, a world first, has been used as the basis for other national and global efforts. Our guidelines, developed over decades of intensive collaborative work, are used by many organizations and plant conservationists around the world to Save Plants.

Annual Report

We invite you to review our 2021 Annual Report to learn about recent initiatives and conservation milestones achieved in our mission to Save Plants from extinction.

View our 2021 Annual Report

Meet the Team

Damon Waitt

Interim President & CEO

Damon is the Interim President & CEO of the Center for Plant Conservation providing support and oversight for National Office operations and staff to further our mission to prevent the extinction of rare plant species. Damon is Director of the North Carolina Botanical Garden (NCBG), in addition to Professor of the Practice in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he has served on the CPC Board of Trustees since 2021. As a long-standing collaborator with the CPC network and a CPC Trustee, Damon brings a commitment to plant conservation and CPC’s mission—as well as a welcome sense of continuity—as a search is launched to fill the permanent role of CPC President & CEO.


Katie Heineman, Ph.D.

Vice President, Science & Conservation

Dr. Heineman is dedicated to improving access to biological data for conservation research and promoting synthetic research among botanical institutions. Her research applies of data science to plant collections records to develop smarter strategies for collections prioritization and to uncover patterns in rare plant storage behavior in seed banks. She is the project manager of CPC Rare Plant Academy, an online platform that integrates CPC’s Best Practice guidelines with videos and online discourse. She also develops and maintains the web databases for the CPC National Collection and California Plant Rescue seed collections initiative.


Shannon Fowler

Director of Communications & Public Programs

Shannon Fowler serves as project manager for the Applied Plant Conservation online course, in addition to supporting web-based educational communications on the Rare Plant Academy. Shannon also oversees all marketing and communications initiatives and serves as the managing editor of CPC’s monthly newsletter. Shannon brings to the team over ten years of experience in the museum industry, and a passion for blending mission-driven content with storytelling to engage, promote, and garner support.


Tina Stanley

Conservation Program Associate

Tina Stanley is a recent graduate from Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As Conservation Program Associate, she assists with database management for the CPC National Collection and California Plant Rescue seed collection initiative, in addition to aiding research projects and data analysis. Tina also assists in the development of the online Applied Plant Conservation course and supports CPC’s marketing and communication efforts by developing content for monthly newsletters and social media platforms. She is passionate about accessible scientific resources, outreach, and education, and hopes to expand her knowledge in plant conservation and research.


Krysta Nunn

Office Manager

Krysta Nunn serves as the Office Manager for Center for Plant Conservation. Krysta brings seven years of experience with Non-Profits, including over five years with the CPC host location, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. She has a passion for Conservation, having fundraised for animal and plant conservation for five years for two different organizations, in addition to her administrative roles.


Joe Davitt

Visual Media Liaison

Joe Davitt has five years of conservation botany expertise as research associate in the San Diego Zoo Native Plant Seed Bank. For CPC, Joe draws upon the conservation experience of his “day job” to create storyboards & edit content for the instructional videos that populate CPC’s IMLS funded learning platform CPC Rare Plant Academy



With your help we can safeguard more of the unique plants in peril and in need of protection by adding them to the National Collection and conserving them in the wild.

Donate Today