The Kentucky Native Plant Society was founded in 1986 for everyone interested in the native plants and wildflowers of Kentucky Plants are essential to both the well-being of our Commonwealth's natural ecosystems and our enjoyment of its unique environment. With members in Kentucky and neighboring states, the Kentucky Native Plant Society is a leader in promoting education about, appreciation for, and conservation of our native flora.

Officers 2018-2020

• President-Tara Littlefield (
• Vice President-Brad Ruhfel (
• Treasurer-Bill Edwards (
• Secretary-Heidi Braunreiter (

Board members

• Jeff nelson (
• Jen Koslow (
• Deb White (
• Emily Ellingson (
• Janet James (Chair) (
• David Taylor(Chair) (
• Jody Thompson(Chair) (

Committee chairs

• Field trips- Janet James
• Workshops- Tara Littlefield
• Wildflower Weekend- Deb White
• Botanical Symposium- Brad Ruhfel
• Grants- David Taylor
• Membership- Jeff Nelson
• KY Plant conservation alliance- Tara
• Webmaster- Dave Luzader
• Botany Hall of Fame- Ron Jones

Tara Littlefield

Tara R. Littlefield grew up on the edge of the cedar creek glade complex in Hardin Co, and has been a natural heritage botanist with Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission since 2006 and the Kentucky Rare Plant Program Manager since 2014.  Recently she also began working for the Heritage Land Conservation Fund.   She has a BS in Biochemistry from University of Louisville and a MS in Forest Ecology from the University of Kentucky.  Her work involves rare species surveys (state and federally listed plants primarily), general floristic inventories, protection of natural areas, GIS analysis, conservation planning and rare plant/community management.  She is also currently the president of the Kentucky Native Plant Society where she focuses on organizing the annual Kentucky Botanical Symposium, teaching native plant stewardship and plant identification workshops, education and outreach, and guided hikes.  She is interested in plant distributions, seed collecting, cartography, learning new flora and fauna, exploring natural areas, paleo botany and the chemistry of plants.  She lives in her family forest in Anderson County with her husband and two children.
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund
Kentucky Native Plant Society


Jeff Nelson

Jeff has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Jeff worked as the IT Director of the Paducah Independent School District for 15 years, retiring in 2008. A native of California, Jeff, his wife Liz, and his son Aaron, moved to McCracken Co., Kentucky, in 1987. After building their house on their 10 acres, the family has spent the last 30 years restoring the property from farmland to a native woodland. As a lifelong amateur naturalist, Jeff loves exploring Kentucky and learning about the rich diversity of the Commonwealth's many ecosystems. He has been a member of the KNPS since the early 1990s and on the Board since 2017.

Emily Ellingson

Emily Ellingson is the Curator and Native Plants Collection Manager at The Arboretum, State Botanical Garden of Kentucky in Lexington. She is originally from Minnesota and has worked across the country with plants and public gardens. She has an MS in Applied Plant Science and Museum Studies from the University of Minnesota, where she researched the genetic diversity and conservation potential of eastern hemlock in Minnesota. She is particularly interested in native plants, plant conservation, and historic preservation.