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 joined CNPS in April, 2016 as their Administrative Assistant. 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.
Joslyn CurtisJoslyn Curtis, Assistant Vegetation Ecologist, has been surveying and mapping vegetation for almost 5 yrs, including Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve, Lake Mead, Carrizo Plain/Chimineas, Ciervo-Panoche Natural Area, Sonoma County, southern Sierra Nevada foothills and the Tehachapi Mountains. Coming to ecology & conservation after a brief stint in molecular and plant pathology labs, she is driven by her passion for science, nature and creating a better world for the future.
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, Membership and 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.
Caroline Garland Caroline Garland, Horticulture Coordinator, joined CNPS as a volunteer in Sept. 2010, where she soon worked her way into a staff position in Jan. 2011. She has held various positions at CNPS from sales coordinator to administration and development, learning her way first hand through the organizational operations. In 2015 she transitioned her position and now devotes her time as the Horticulture Coordinator and looks forward to bringing her passion and enthusiasm to the program. Caroline grew up in the Landscape industry developing a love for the outdoors through her father who has owns a Landscape Construction company for over 35 years. From learning how to tend the garden as a little girl, to working with her dad on design/install projects in her spare time, she has always enjoyed seeing the beauty that can be created through landscape design and natural environments. Caroline graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in Environmental Horticultural Science and a concentration in Landscape Design.
Shanna GoebelShanna Goebel, Membership Outreach, attended San Joaquin Delta College where she studied psychology and english and was accepted as one of the school's elite Delta Singers, with whom she performed with for several years. Shanna comes to CNPS after six years as a Senior Advisor with Apple, and five years with AT&T as a Billing and Support Expert. As an avid hockey fan, Shanna enjoys contributing her time to the charity events held by the San Jose Sharks Foundation and is excited to work for another great cause - CNPS.
Vern Goehring, Legislative AdvisorVern Goehring, Legislative Advisor, has many years of experience in government management, legislative and regulatory advocacy, and policy making. Vern is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, in Economics and has completed graduate studies in Government at California State University, Sacramento. He worked for the State of California for 26 years in various administrative and management positions, including legislative advocate for the Departments of Transportation and Fish & Game. He started a private consulting practice in 1997 and assists clients on legislative and administrative advocacy, policy and strategy development, and organizational management. He is a registered lobbyist in California.
Melissa GuajardoMelissa Guajardo, Associate Director, has over 15 years experience in non-profit management. She received her Masters in Public Health from Boston University and has spent the years since learning about non-profit administration and leadership while working on issues ranging from HIV prevention, nutrition, social justice and food access. She's been a fan of native plants for many years and is excited to support CNPS and the people that make the organization great.
Daniel HastingsDaniel Hastings, Assistant Vegetation Ecologist, contributes to vegetation projects in many regions of California including the Central Coast Range, Sonoma County, Orange County, southern Sierra Nevada foothills and Sierra Nevada. He completed a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Prescott College, where he fell in love with botany. Daniel is experienced as a field botanist throughout the western United States, where he has been conducting field surveys with a variety of governmental and non-profit organizations. He is particularly interested in hyper-accumulating plants. His favorite is Streptanthus polygaloides.
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.
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.
Cari Porter, Finance and Administration ManagerCari Porter, Finance and Administration Manager, is an economist with experience in all areas of non-profit management, including accounting, budget development, personnel management, fundraising, public relations, and marketing. Prior to working for CNPS, Cari served as Vice President for San Mateo County Economic Development Association (Samceda), San Mateo, CA. She also worked as a Financial Analyst at Blackburne & Brown Mortgage Company, Sacramento, CA, and as Assistant Production Manager at Jo-Lynns, Elk Grove, CA. Cari has a degree in Economics from Golden Gate University.
/ (916) 447-2677 ext 203
Jaime RatchfordJaime Ratchford, Associate Vegetation Ecologist, works in the Vegetation Program to survey, classify, and map vegetation. Initially in 2005, Jaime conducted field surveys for a vegetation mapping project in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills. Returning to CNPS in 2013, she participates in vegetation assessment projects throughout California such as in Sonoma and Orange Counties, the Mojave Desert, and the southern Sierra Nevada foothills. She also supports volunteer activities including sampling and mapping of rare plant communities. She earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Humboldt State University in Biology. Her thesis examined ant diversity, abundance and composition in Darlingtonia fens and adjacent forests in the Siskiyou Mountains. Jaime previously was a research assistant at Oregon State University for the SageSTEP project, examining sagebrush steppe restoration methods including prescribed burning and clear-cutting of western juniper in eastern Oregon and northeastern California. In her free time, Jaime enjoys being outdoors with her son hiking, kayaking, riding bikes, and exploring the beauty of California.
Becky ReillyBecky Reilly, Events Coordinator, 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.
Daniel GluesenkampSteve Schoenig, Rare Plant Treasure Hunt Assistant Botanist, is assisting with the Rare Plant Treasure Hunt program. He has a 30 year long interest in native California plants with a special focus on the monkeyflower genus Mimulus and endemic plants of the three California deserts. He recently retired as Branch Chief for California's natural heritage program (CNDDB & VegCAMP) with a goal to spend more time outdoors and away from a desk. Before that he headed up the weed eradication program at CA Dept. of Food and Agriculture. During that time he served on the board of the CA Invasive Plant Council including two years as president. He obtained an undergraduate degree in entomology from UC Berkeley and two masters from UC Davis in entomology and biostatistics.
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  Botanist

Aaron 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.

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
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.
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