California Native Plant Society

CNPS Staff

Daniel GluesenkampDaniel Gluesenkamp, Executive Director, works with staff and chapters to protect, understand, and celebrate California’s native flora. Dan first fell in love with California plants (and CNPS) as a student at UC Santa Cruz, and he earned his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley studying the ecology of native and invasive thistles. He previously worked as Executive Director of The Calflora Database, where he led development of exciting new tools for conservation and research, and as Director of Habitat Protection and Restoration for Audubon Canyon Ranch’s 30 preserves. His history with California plant conservation and research includes on-the-ground experience restoring native habitat, and experimental research on invasive turkey impacts, nitrogen deposition, and sierra meadows. Dan is a founder and past president of the California Invasive Plant Council, co-founder of the Bay Area Early Detection Network (BAEDN), and in 2009 discovered a presumed-extinct Franciscan manzanita plant growing on a traffic island at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Christopher BrownChristopher Brown, Membership & Sales Coordinator, joined CNPS in April, 2016. He graduated from UC Davis in 2012 with a degree in Political Science and Music. After graduating, he lived in Davis with graduate students studying Ecology, Soil Science, and Renewable Energy. He has worked in many aspects of the small business world from slow food, to a legal nonprofit in San Francisco helping people with HIV stay in their homes and in care in a rapidly gentrifying city, to a new landscaping company in Sacramento creating habitat for native pollinators using plants native to California. When not entering data, you can find him baking naturally leavened sourdough breads, brioche pecan sticky buns, or brewing some ginger carrot chai beer. He is delighted to join the team at CNPS.
Jennifer Buck, Vegetation EcologistJennifer Buck-Diaz, Vegetation Ecologist, works in the Vegetation Program to survey, classify, and map vegetation in California. She co-teaches a vernal pool taxonomy workshop and is currently focused on the classification of grassland vegetation types. She earned both a B.S. and an M.S. degree from the University of California, Davis in Plant Biology. Her thesis focused on temporal dynamics of vernal pool grassland vegetation and she recently participated in a state-wide classification project looking at fine-scale vegetation in vernal pools. Prior to joining CNPS, Jennifer worked as an ecologist with The Nature Conservancy at the Cosumnes River Preserve. Botany is her first love, and she has extensive experience working in different plant communities across the western United States, ranging from grasslands to forests, alpine peaks to saline marshes. Her favorite plant is one formerly known as Centunculus minimus.
Alison ColwellAlison Colwell, Assistant Rare Plant Botanist, writes rare species profiles for the Rare Plant Program. Before joining CNPS in November 2017, she spent thirteen years working as a botanist in Yosemite, for U.S. Geological Survey, then National Park Service, first collecting and organizing data on the park's rare plants, then as botany program manager. Alison has a B.A. in Botany from Cornell University and a PhD in Population Biology and Evolution from Washington University in Saint Louis, for research on gene evolution in the parasitic plant family Orobanchaceae. Her career evolved from laboratory to field botany, and her varied experiences include a postdoc developing genetic markers for studying plant relationships, teaching botany at the University of Washington, developing genetic markers for fish parasites with the USGS, maintaining a native plant nursery for the Washington Native Plant Society, and volunteering in the herbarium and living collections at the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh. On her own time, Alison enjoys working on her off-grid homestead in the Central Sierra Lower Montane Forest (5h) and on taxonomic problems in the parasitic plant genus Aphyllon (formerly Orobanche), which are especially knotty in California, of course.
/ (916) 447-2677 ext 209
Kate CooperKate Cooper, Administrative Assistant, supports the Central Office Administrative Team, and she's proud to contribute to CNPS! A Schwab-Rosenhouse Scholar, Kate is a graduate of the Integral Program at Saint Mary's College, where she studied the great works of the western canon, developed an independent Performing Arts curriculum, and published her thesis: On the Unity of Multitude. Since earning her BA, Kate has advocated for public broadcasting and the arts, as one of the Voices of CapRadio, a member of the CapRadio development team, a volunteer for Ben Vereen's Wellness Through the Arts, and a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.
Julie Evens, Senior Vegetation EcologistJulie Evens, Vegetation Program Director, manages the Vegetation Program and maintains standard methods for surveying, classifying, and mapping vegetation in California. She provides public workshops on vegetation surveying and mapping methods, archives and analyzes vegetation data from across the state. She works collaboratively with agencies and CNPS chapters on vegetation projects, including projects in Marin, Riverside, San Diego, San Benito, Santa Clara, Tuolumne, and Ventura counties. Julie also is working with John Sawyer and Todd Keeler-Wolf as a co-author of the second edition of A Manual of California Vegetation. Julie has a M.A. degree from Humboldt State University with a thesis on watercourse vegetation of the eastern Mojave Desert, and she holds two B.A. degrees from the University of California-Santa Cruz in Biology/Botany and Environmental Studies. She has worked as a vegetation ecologist and botanist for over 10 years with federal and state agencies including the National Park Service, US Geological Survey, University of California, and Department of Fish & Game. Her past work has included vegetation sampling and mapping projects in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks and the central Mojave Desert. She has worked for CNPS since April 2001.
Stacey Flowerdew, Membership and Deevlopment CoordinatorStacey Flowerdew, Senior Development Coordinator, coordinates membership and development activities and provides general administrative support. Stacey has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Davis. Prior to joining CNPS she worked as an IT Data Analyst in the healthcare industry. Stacey is a California native plant enthusiast as well as an amateur wildflower photographer, genealogist. She also enjoys history and middle Eastern style dancing. She is equally comfortable in the mountains (preferably above 6000 feet) or at home in Sacramento, in air conditioning, reading a book.
Kaitlyn GreenKaitlyn Green, Assistant Rare Plant Botanist, develops status reviews for the Rare Plant Review Process and performs regular updates and maintenance for the CNPS Inventory. She also works part-time as the primary data sourcer for the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) botany program. Kaitlyn has a background in Biology and Geographic Information Systems from California State University, Sacramento and American River College. Her interests are gardening, wildlife watching, gaming (both tabletop and video), and origami. / 916-322-1869
Nick JensenNick Jensen, Southern California Conservation Analyst, coordinates the activities of the Conservation Program in Southern California. Nick earned his BS degree in Environmental Horticulture at UC Davis, and recently completed his PhD in botany at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG)/Claremont Graduate University. As a graduate student Nick produced the first Flora of Tejon Ranch and studied evolutionary patterns in perennial Streptanthus (jewelflowers). From 2006-2010, he was employed by CNPS, first as a Vegetation Program Assistant, and later as the Rare Plant Program Director. Nick has also worked as a botanist for the U.S. Forest Service, Chicago Botanic Garden, and the private consulting industry. He has taught botany classes to professionals and interested members of the public for CNPS, RSABG, the Jepson Herbarium, and Theodore Payne Foundation. As a volunteer he has served on the Rare Plant Program Committee and the board of Southern California Botanists, serving as president in 2015-16. Nick is a fellow of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, rock climbing, and photographing wildflowers, activities that are often not mutually exclusive.
Laureen JensonLaureen Jenson, Accounting and HR Coordinator, grew up on the Southern California coast, exploring tide pools and hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains. She attended UC Davis, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Science and Engineering, and has since enjoyed a varied career bringing her into the world of accounting. She has long been involved with Sacramento area non-profit organizations, working with Sierra Service Project and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento, and volunteering with the Sacramento SPCA, Project Linus, and a local breakfast for the homeless. She is very excited to be contributing to the community in a new way with CNPS! In her spare time, Laureen enjoys cycling, quilting, singing with the UC Davis Alumni Chorus, and water sports of all kinds.
Seth KauppinenSeth Kauppinen, Assistant Rare Plant Botanist, is working with the Rare Plant Program to generate species profiles for use in the management of public lands. He's also in the final throes of a Ph.D. dissertation at UC Berkeley, studying the ecology of plant-microbe symbiosis in Amazonian trees. Seth's first exposure to the charms of botany came as an undergraduate in Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis - and he remains smitten by anything with a chloroplast. But he lacks taxonomic commitment, and has worked on research projects addressing all kinds of stuff: the impact of game fish on salamander populations in the Sierra Nevada; the evolution of sex ratio-distorting Wolbachia bacteria in Argentine ants; mushroom phylogenetics in California; the chemical control of invasive ants on Maui; tropical seedling recruitment in Ecuador; rainforest gap dynamics in the Venezuelan Guayana; and fisheries monitoring in the Atlantic. Before heading to Berkeley, he spent three years at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, researching the evolution of obligate bacterial endosymbionts in carpenter ants (Camponotus spp.). Seth is interested teaching, writing, and staring at bizarre critters in exotic locations. But he's also in a state of perpetual panic over the hemorrhaging of the living world, and thinks about politics more than is healthy. Ultimately, he'd like to make a career uniting themes of biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic equity, with a focus on the Neotropics. But if that's too hard, he might opt for a life of itinerant misanthropy, sailing around the South Pacific till he's a leather-skinned dotard who lectures coconuts on the merits of democratic socialism. In the meantime, he's thrilled to be doing meaningful work here at CNPS!
Elizabeth KubeyElizabeth Kubey, Conference Assistant, provides support for the February 2018 CNPS Conference. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. Society and Environment and a minor in Art Practice. Before CNPS, Elizabeth worked as an Outdoor Science Instructor in the Sierra Nevada, where she led interactive science lessons and environmental art exercises amongst native plants. A lifelong environmentalist from Davis, California, Elizabeth is passionate about the CNPS's mission to protect California's native plant heritage and preserve it for future generations. She is excited for the opportunity to work with CNPS and partners to help create an amazing conference. With experience in environmental education, customer service, community outreach, sustainability, and volunteer management, Elizabeth is honored to be part of the CNPS team.
Sydney MagnerSydney Magner, Assistant Vegetation Ecologist, conducts fieldwork and other duties for the Vegetation Program. He has a B.A. in Natural Resource and Environmental Geography from San Diego State University and has worked for various agencies such as the City of San Diego, CDFW, and the Great Basin Institute. In 2017, Sydney conducted post-hurricane tree measurements in Puerto Rico's El Yunque National Forest. A native of San Diego, his interest in plants was nurtured by the beautiful landscapes of Southern California. Apart from botany he enjoys reading, playing music, and spending time with his friends and family.
/ (916) 322-2410

David MagneyDavid Magney, Rare Plant Program Manager, has been an active member of the CNPS since he first joined CNPS back in the late 1970s. Since 1986, he has served in a variety of statewide and local leadership and conservation roles, including serving on the CNPS Board of Directors (1986-1994, 2002-2007), President of the Board of Directors (1991-1994), Chairperson of the CNPS Chapter Council (2011-2014); President of Channel Islands Chapter (2004-2014), Conservation Committee Chairperson (1986-2016); and Conservation Committee Chairperson for the Redbud Chapter (2007-2016), among others. He was nominated as a CNPS Fellow in 2014.

David has acquired a thorough knowledge of California's native flora and a substantial repertoire of knowledge and skills with over 30 years of field experience in biological studies as a biologist/botanist and a physical geographer. He has worked on, or managed, environmental issues surrounding a variety of development projects throughout the Pacific Southwest; has consulted on, or performed, biological resource inventories, vegetation mapping and classification projects; wetland delineations and restoration projects, and rare plant surveys; and has performed biological impact analysis and mitigation assessments and construction and mitigation monitoring.

David was born in British Columbia, Canada, and grew up in Ventura County, settling in Ojai, CA in the 1970's. He earned a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies (emphasis in botany) from the University of California, Santa Barbara, holds an A.S. degree in Landscape Horticulture and a Certificate of Completion in Natural Resources from Ventura College, and is a Certified Arborist by the International Society for Arboriculture. He formed his own consulting firm, David Magney Environmental Consulting (DMEC) in 1997 after working at other consulting firms since 1986. He has taught classes and workshops on a variety of subjects including CEQA, Plant Families, Riparian and Wetland Plant Identification, Clean Water Act permitting, and wetlands delineation and monitoring. David has authored two floras in California and is currently working on the manuscript for the Flora of Ventura County, a project he has been researching since the late 1970's.

Mark Naftzger, WebmasterMark Naftzger, Webmaster, is a website design professional. He creates and maintains websites for clients in a wide range of industries and professions.
Liv O'KeeffeLiv O'Keeffe, Marketing and Communications Director, oversees engagement and outreach for CNPS, where she and her team are working to inspire, grow, and activate our incredible base of supporters. Prior to joining CNPS, she served as the Director of Digital Marketing for Sutter Health, a large California healthcare network, where her work dramatically increased website engagement and new members via human-centered digital strategies. Liv has built her career around digital platforms, great content, and focused business strategy, the combination of which she uses to better align organizational goals with the needs and desires of real people. She holds two Bachelor's degrees from the University of Oregon, one in Journalism, another in Political Science. Outside of work, she's passionate about family, making the world more beautiful, slow living, and great storytelling of all forms.
/ (916) 447-2677 ext 202
Becky ReillyBecky Reilly, Engagement Strategist, helps organize and support CNPS conferences, workshops, meetings, and other events. She earned her Bachelor's in Psychology from Eckerd College, and has since gained experience in both marketing and event planning. Becky moved to the West Coast in 2013, and though not a California native herself, she is very excited to learn more about the plants (and other things) that are, through both CNPS and her own adventures around the state. She loves camping in the mountains, going to the beach, and exploring new places every chance she gets.
Steven Serkanic, Assistant Rare Plant Botanist, works with CNPS to generate rare plant profiles for species in California National Forests. His work is part of a greater initiative to bolster the conservation effort of rare lichens, cryptogams, and seed plants that are distributed throughout USDA managed land in California. Steven's early years were spent exploring the Coast Ranges of San Mateo County. These days, he resides in the Sierra Nevada Foothills among the blue oaks and redbud where he spends time on trails and exploring the backwoods. Steven exercises a passion for taxonomy, floristics, and woody plant evolution in Mediterranean climates. He is particularly fond of manzanitas and is bewildered by numerous tribes of the Compositae, both of which drive his sense of wonder and amazement about plants that are native to California. Steven could not be more enthused to be part of CNPS given its meaningful history and effective contributions to the conservation of the California flora.
Kendra Sikes, Vegetation EcologistKendra Sikes, Vegetation Ecologist, is coordinating field work for the Vegetation Program. She earned an M.S. in Botany (Ecology emphasis) from Oregon State University, where her research compared the community composition effects of two fuel treatments on chaparral in southwestern Oregon. She also has a B.A. in Biology from Brown University. Before joining CNPS, she worked for the National Park Service in the Santa Monica Mountains, for the Missouri Botanical Garden coordinating their Madagascar specimens and data, and in horticulture for Yerba Buena Nursery, one of the first nurseries to specialize in California natives.

Aaron Sims, Rare Plant  BotanistAaron Sims, Rare Plant Botanist, implements the CNPS Rare Plant Review Process in addition to maintaining and updating the CNPS Inventory. He also assists with rare plant conservation work and various other tasks pertaining to rare plant science as time allows. Prior to joining CNPS in June of 2010, Aaron worked in environmental consulting and as a biologist for California State Parks on the Central Coast, where he performed rare plant and vegetation surveys, aided in prescribed fire management, and produced a multitude of maps pertaining to sensitive resources, in addition to various other tasks. Aaron also monitored nesting seabirds for USFWS on a remote island off the coast of Alaska during the summer of 2008. Recent publications for California State Parks include the San Luis Obispo Coast District North Coast Acquisitions Natural Resource Inventory, 2008, and the Atlas of Sensitive Species of the Morro Bay Area, 2010, in collaboration with the Morro Bay National Estuary Program. Aaron holds a B.S. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in Ecology and Systematic Biology with an emphasis in Botany. In addition to his enthusiasm for field botany, Aaron enjoys hiking, backpacking, snowboarding, photography, travel, and ceramics in his free time.
/ 916-324-3816.

Greg Suba, Conservation Program DirectorGreg Suba, Conservation Program Director, coordinates the development of native plant conservation policies and initiatives for CNPS. Prior to joining CNPS, Greg worked to protect sensitive habitats at the urban / open space interface as watershed coordinator for the Laguna Creek Watershed Council in Sacramento County. His past work includes investigating reproductive strategies of seagrass populations along the west coast of North America, surveying forest inventory plots in California's National Forests, assessing riparian ecosystem health throughout Sacramento, El Dorado, and Placer Counties, and developing outdoor education and stewardship programs throughout northern California. Greg received his B.S. in Biology from Duke University, his M.S. in Marine Science from UNC-Chapel Hill, and continues to learn from those with whom he works, lives, and plays.
/ 916-447-2677 Ext. 206
Kristen WernickKristen Wernick, Outreach Coordinator, is a California native plant and horticulture enthusiast with a passion for teaching and engaging others in native plant gardening. She is a graduate of UCSB in Environmental Studies, has an A.S. in Landscape Design from Saddleback College, and most recently has been working with the Santa Margarita Water District as a Water Use Efficiency Specialist. In that role, Kristen worked with homeowners, homeowner associations, city governments, and more to increase adoption of native plants as a means to greater water efficiency. Kristen is excited to share her passion for CA native plant horticulture with others, and ultimately restore nature one garden at a time. When she isn't chatting up others about plants or perusing nurseries and plant books, Kristen enjoys catching up with friends and family, practicing Ashtanga yoga, and being active outdoors.
Karen Whitestone, Conservation AnalystKaren Whitestone, Conservation Analyst, advocates for irreplaceably rich flora in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. She grew up between the Sierra Nevada Foothills and the San Francisco Bay Area, and earned her undergraduate degree in biology from UC Davis. Hobby gardening has progressed into a passion for field botanizing. Her most rich floristic experiences have come from documenting distribution of Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp elegans at Clear Lake State Park during construction of the park's first comprehensive flora; and, surveying as a botany technician with the US Forest Service on the Rim Fire (2013) burn area to document rare and invasive populations and generally investigate fire-follower plant action. Growing up on a ranch also helped with a healthy love of the outdoors, and perspective on responsible land management. She also has experience with database organization, herbarium specimen management, and teaching. Karen loves getting people excited about the science and beauty of gardening, and is drawn to the California Native Plant Society because of its science- based approach to plant conservation.
Brock WimberleyBrock Wimberley, Finance and Operations Director, is responsible for overseeing and monitoring financial practices, supporting budget processes, managing human resources, and providing oversight of facilities and IT infrastructure. He brings over 25 years of finance, accounting and administration leadership competence to CNPS. Brock has worked for the State of California in a variety of roles (cost accounting, budgeting, finance, auditing, and grant administration). Most recently, he served 5 years as the chief internal auditor for the California State Board of Equalization and 6 years as the CEO/CFO of the Placer County Fair Association (non-profit). Brock earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration (Finance emphasis) from San Diego State University. Brock is comfortable in the California back country, but equally enjoys finance and operational process improvement. He possesses a passion for nature, travel, adventure, perpetual learning, and leaving the world better than he found it.
/ (916) 447-2677 ext 203
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