Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.


Contact: Emily Roberson, Native Plant Conservation Campaign: 415 970 0394
Ileene Anderson, California Native Plant Society: 323 654 5943


WASHINGTON, DC (July 20, 2005). The Aveda corporation today presented Congress and President Bush with a petition in support of the federal Endangered Species Act –specifically urging improved protection for endangered plants. The petition garnered more than 160,000 signatures. The petition was circulated by Aveda, in partnership with native plant science and conservation groups, during Aveda’s annual “Earth Month”. In Earth Month, the spa and salon network works to raise funds and build public awareness of key environmental issues. The 2005 Earth Month focused on threats to endangered plants and to the Endangered Species Act itself. Aveda also raised more than $1 million to assist conservation and scientific organizations working to save imperiled plants.

“The Aveda Campaign has been enormously successful in raising awareness among the public and decisionmakers about the plight of endangered plants and efforts to undermine the laws that protect them.” said Dr. Emily Roberson, Director of the Native Plant Conservation Campaign, a national network of botanic gardens, native plant societies and other plant science and conservation organizations.

“Plants are the foundations of ecosystems and of life itself.” Roberson continued. “They produce the oxygen we breathe, clean the water we drink, and supply us with life saving medicines and other invaluable commodities. Still, few people think of plants when they consider threats to endangered species and the web of life on which we all depend.”

As a result, plants are at a disadvantage in conservation budgets and policies. Although scientists estimate that nearly 30% of U.S. plant species are at risk of extinction, and plants make up 61% of federally listed species, less than 5% of federal species conservation funds go to plants. This must change if plants, and the ecosystems they support, are to survive. Scientists and conservationists have long asked Congress for full funding for the Act.

Meanwhile native plant societies, botanic gardens, arboreta scientific institutions, and volunteers work to fill the gaps in federal plant conservation programs.

“Botanists and plant conservationists work tirelessly to restore habitat, study and propagate rare plants, and educate students and the public about plants’ beauty and value”, said Ileene Anderson, Senior Conservation Botanist for the California Native Plant Society. “We also promote native plant gardening, which reduces water and chemical use, and creates habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Aveda’s choice of endangered plants as this year’s Earth Month focus has generated tremendous new energy and support for plant science and conservation, as well as unprecedented public exposure for the importance of and threats to native plants.”

Aveda promotes sustainable production of the many plants used in its popular line of health and beauty products. “Aveda understands the tremendous value of plants,” said Kieran Suckling, Policy Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, a founder of the Native Plant Conservation Campaign. “Nearly 25% of the prescription drugs used in the U.S. are derived from wild species - chiefly from plants such as Pacific Yew (cancer drug taxol), and foxglove (heart drug digitalis). Every species allowed to go extinct represents a loss of a potential life saving drug or other invaluable product.”

The Aveda endangered plants campaign comes at a crucial time for all imperiled species and the laws that protect them. Congress is currently debating Endangered Species Act reauthorization, and some congressional leaders favor substantially weakening the law – or even eliminating it altogether. Scientists and conservationists nationwide are mobilizing to defend the law.

“Scientists estimate that there are over 18,000 native plants in the U.S.” said Roberson. “Many have not yet been studied. When President Nixon and Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act, they recognized that species conservation and human survival go hand-in-hand. Congress’ 1973 report on passage of the law emphasized this point,

‘Who knows, or can say, what potential cures for cancer or other scourges, present or future, may lie locked up in the structure of plants which may yet be undiscovered, much less analyzed? [ ] Sheer self-interest impels us to be cautious.’

Plant scientists and conservationists throughout the U.S. are grateful to Aveda for their insight and leadership in reminding us of this truth. We hope that Congress and the President will follow Aveda’s lead and work to protect imperiled plants, and maintain and fund a strong Endangered Species Act”.

The Native Plant Conservation Campaign is a project of the Center for Biological Diversity and the California Native Plant Society. It is coalition of native plant societies and other native plant science conservation organizations, representing nearly 60,000 laypersons and professional botanists in all 50 states. The NPCC promotes appreciation and conservation of native plant species and communities through collaboration, education, law, policy, land use and management.

Native Plant Conservation Campaign Affiliate Organizations, July 2005

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Arizona Native Plant Society
Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)
California Native Plant Society
California Oak Foundation
Center for Biological Diversity
Colorado Native Plant Society
Florida Native Plant Society
Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois
Herb Society of America
Idaho Native Plant Society
Iowa Native Plant Society
Kauai Native Plant Society
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Maryland Native Plant Society
Minnesota Native Plant Society
Missouri Native Plant Society
Montana Native Plant Society
Native Plant Society of New Mexico
Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio
Native Plant Society of Oregon
New England Wild Flower Society (NH, CT, RI, MA, ME, VT)
New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council
North Carolina Botanical Garden
North Carolina Wild Flower Preservation Society
Oklahoma Native Plant Society
South Carolina Native Plant Society
Ticonderoga Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, VA
Utah Native Plant Society
Virginia Native Plant Society
Washington Native Plant Society
West Virginia Native Plant Society
Wyoming Native Plant Society


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