As I sit in my new office on my first day of work at Theodore Payne Foundation, catching an occasional glimpse out the window of white sage and Santa Cruz Island buckwheat swaying in a mild winter breeze, I feel deeply honored to be here. It’s not just that Theodore Payne’s original desk (with built-in, flip-up typewriter) is in the room with me, or that our amazing, dedicated staff is bustling with energy preparing for our winter plant sale. It’s just humbling to have arrived at an organization that is undeniably making Southern California a better place.

I have long admired Theodore Payne Foundation (TPF) and its mission to educate Southern Californians about the beauty and ecological benefits of native plant landscapes. The diversity and scope of the Foundation, from nursery and educational programs to urban outreach initiatives and community building projects, is truly remarkable. Collectively, these efforts move our entire region closer to a future where beauty and biodiversity are synonymous with urban Southern California. I am so thrilled to dig in and work with our wonderful community to advance this vision.

As we enter a new decade, TPF celebrates its 60th anniversary. This offers us an opportunity to look back at all of the wonderful accomplishments and milestones we have achieved, as well as look forward to the next 60 years of improving the quality of life of both human and non-human residents of this region. We will soon announce a schedule of special events to celebrate our anniversary. We also hope to hear from you and will be announcing ways that you can share on social media your experiences with native plants and TPF through the years.

I couldn’t be more excited on my first day on the new job and want to extend my thanks to the amazing staff and board who are working very hard to get me up to speed. I would also like to thank Kitty Connolly, our previous Executive Director, for her service and for leaving the organization in such good shape. Most of all I would like to thank you, the reader, for your patronage of TPF, in whatever form that may take. I’ll see you at our headquarters and around the city and look forward to sharing our passion for the native plants of California.