A Clear Vision
Created to increase the supply of California Native Asclepias (Milkweed) varieties and other California native nectar plants for large-scale Monarch conservation programs and restoration projects, Native Monarchs was established by Chris Amendt, a licensed medical laboratory professional based in Ventura County, California.
Board-certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) and trained as a Specialist in Cytotechnology (SCT), Chris has also spent 20-plus years diagnosing cancer cells in a medical testing laboratory setting.
Awarded a U.S. utility patent for a cell-collecting medical device, Chris transitioned into a role as a Medical Laboratory Project Manager, receiving a Platinum Project Management Certification from a medical lab testing company in 2017. She currently holds several approved patents, with additional patents-pending. In 2018, Chris created Efficient Lab Innovations to provide laboratories with advanced tools that help front-line employees increase efficiency and capacity — while maintaining or even improving quality.
A lifelong lover of nature and ecology, Chris also developed a deep interest in Monarch Butterfly conservation nearly 20 years ago, when she began growing Milkweed plants in her backyard. She has spent the past several years installing butterfly gardens in landscaping jobs via her role as Project Manager for her husband’s company, Amendt Construction. In 2019, she also oversaw development of a Monarch Conservation Habitat at Sterling Hills Golf Course in Camarillo. With assistance from Audubon International and the Environmental Defense Fund, Monarchs in the Rough partners with golf courses to restore pollinator habitat in out-of-play areas.
Services and Mission
Native Monarchs’ services and goals include, but are not limited to:
- Contract growing and increased access of native Monarch-friendly Milkweed and nectar plants for environmental restoration and mitigation projects
- New habitat developments with participating golf courses, corporations and privately-owned land parcels
- Transplant production and stand establishment
- Local seed collection subcontractors
- Research and development in native wildflower plugs and flats for mass plantings
- Educational opportunities to involve local communities, schools and businesses
- Participation in Monarch conservation, maintenance and enhancement
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its profound effect on local growers around the world, some growers have increased their efforts to locate alternative products to plant and harvest. The addition of native Milkweed and nectar plants to their production efforts may offer a lifeline to struggling growers — and offer an enhanced supply of hard-to-find host plants for the struggling Monarchs.
Native Monarchs Members/Partners
Native Monarchs members include Ventura County-based growers and subject matter experts, each of whom offers an impressive background featuring decades of expertise in growing Milkweed and nectar plants.
As owner and contract grower of Matilija Nursery in Moorpark, Bob Sussman has more than 25 years of experience in retail and wholesale California native plants — along with expertise in native habitat restoration projects and environmental mitigation. Sussman has also worked with state parks and conservancies as an environmental consultant.
The President and Grower of Fujii Growers (Dba FMK Products) in Camarillo, Dwight Fujii is also the proud holder of a PhD in plant physiology. Fujii founded his company in 1982 with the goal of growing exotic herbs, vegetables and micro-greens for U.S.-based restaurants and markets. Fujii Growers/FMK Products’ year-round products can be found throughout California and the United States, with occasional global distribution. The company also researches and grows plants that are not readily available locally.