PHYTOPAGAN Exploring California
Plants and Ecology

About Me

As an immigrant to California in the 1970’s (from eastern North America), I was immediately enthralled with the astounding geographic diversity of the state.  Soon, I became even more awe-struck with its biological diversity, and as circumstances provided, my attention became focused on plant life in the American west.  Following several years in various agriculturally related government jobs, as well as several years’ work in landscape design and maintenance, I re-directed my happenstance employment opportunism into completing formal education in biology, starting with participation in a multitude of field biology courses offered at Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) during the 1980’s.

Approaching middle age, I enrolled as a full-time student, first at SRJC, and subsequently Sonoma State University (SSU).  I achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (Ecology) from SSU in 1995, and went on to fulfill a Master of Arts degree from SSU in 2000.  During this time, I remained actively engaged in residential landscaping, as well as taking advantage of marvelous opportunities to participate in ecological research and education in natural history.  For the rewards provided through pursuit of learning and teaching, I remain inspired, and deeply grateful to my long-time friend and mentor, retired SRJC Professor Emeritus Stephen Barnhart.

From 1996 through 2001, I worked for the National Park Service and then the Golden Gates Parks Conservancy, the latter position as a restoration ecologist within a community-based ecological stewardship program.  In 2001, I took a position with California State Parks, working as an ecologist/environmental scientist in Sacramento and then in Mendocino County until 2008.  At that time, unhappy (to say the least) with the paramilitaristic management and institutional authoritarianism of that agency, and frustrated in my lack of work as a practicing biologist (as opposed to the reality as a computer-bound bureaucrat) I resigned to pursue self-employment as a botanical consultant.  I continued to work in this capacity through 2018, and perhaps, beyond.

My current intentions, as conveyed through this website, are to continue work, on a more limited basis, as a botanical and ecological consultant.  As well, as reflected elsewhere on this site, I will be investing further in the creation of educational opportunities for those interested in botany, plant ecology, and related topics.  Offerings will include more formal outings to various locations in California and beyond (classes), as well as local and regional plant- and ecology-relating events.

I am available to lead walks and field courses delving into plants and California ecology.   As well, I invite landowners and land managers to contact me about my botanical and ecological consulting services.  For further information, please refer to the “Consultation Services” menu tab, and contact me for details about the services I might provide in order to benefit your property’s ecology and to assist you in formulating management options and priorities.