SCIENCE ADVISOR, SULA VANDERPLANK
Sula earned a Bachelor’s degree in Botany from the University of Reading (UK) and a Master of Science degree in Botany from Claremont Graduate University at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG), in California, United States.
She joins Terra to study the unique plants that grow on shell middens left behind by indigenous people of the region. Her current research is focused around the phytogeography of Baja California, with an emphasis on plant distributions along the Pacific coast of the state of Baja California and the adjacent islands, where the California Floristic Province meets the Vizcaino desert to the south.
Sula feels fortunate of being part of a project that intends to assemble an inventory of all the rare and endemic plants of the California Floristic Province portion of Baja California in collaboration with Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC, for its acronym in Spanish), Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, San Diego County Planning, San Diego Natural History Museum, and Colegio de la Frontera Norte.
ASSOCIATED RESEARCHER, KEITH LOMBARDO
Keith studied in the University of Connecticut and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Renewable Natural Resources, later he obtained a Master’s Degree in Geography in the University of Arizona and a PhD in Geography at the same university.
During his professional career, Keith has worked as Chief of Resource Management and Science at the Cabrillo National Monument from the National Park Service; additionally, he worked as Research Assistant, first at the School of Natural Resources and Department of Geography from the University of Arizona, and later at the Tree-Ring Research Laboratory from the same university.
He also worked as a biologist at The Nature Conservancy in Tucson, Arizona. Lombardo has received different awards and honors during his professional career; he also has selected publications in different areas like Biology and Environmental Conservation. Since 2014, Keith works as Chief of Resource Management and Science in the Cabrillo National Monument, in San Diego, California, USA.
ASSOCIATED RESERACHER, ABBY HIRD
Abby Hird is the Program Director for Botanic Gardens Conservation International, U.S. (BGCI US), based at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. Abby works with botanic gardens and partners throughout North America to advance plant conservation and connect with BGCI’s global conservation network and resources. She conducts ex situ collections assessments and facilitates the strategic building of ex situ collections of threatened native plants.
Abby’s interests include ex situ collections development, database management and prioritization of threatened species for conservation. Originally from Nebraska, United States, Abby earned a Master’s of Science from the Longwood Graduate Program in Public Horticulture at the University of Delaware, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Horticulture at the University of Nebraska.
She is currently the Chair of the Magnolia Society International Board’s Conservation Committee, and serves on the IUCN SSC Global Tree Specialist Group, the Association of Zoological Horticulture Conservation Committee, the American Public Gardens Association Plant Conservation Professional Section, and the North American Plant Collections Consortium regional recruitment team.
ASSOCIATED RESEARCHER, EVAN MEYER
Evan Meyer is the Seed Conservation Program Manager at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG). In this role, Evan manages the Garden’s extensive collection of living seeds, many of which are rare and endangered species. He works closely with government agencies, plant conservation and other environmental organizations to secure high quality ex-situ seed collections of the rare flora of the California Floristic Province (CFP).
Evan has a keen interest in the plants of CFP Baja California and spoke on the topic of seed bank management at the inaugural State Forum of Use, Conservation and Management of Genetic Resources in Ensenada in 2013. His research interests include seed storage behavior, propagation protocol development and other best practices for germplasm management. Originally from New England, United States, Evan has previously held positions at the Harvard University Herbaria, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the New England Wildflower Society.
ASSOCIATED RESEARCHER, JIM RILEY
Jim founded San Mateo Creek Conservancy in 2008 dedicated to the protection and restoration of the watershed that exits at the world-famous Trestles surfbreak at the San Diego/Orange County boundary. As an environmental advocate, he soon learned that it is difficult to reach the “uninitiated”, and began making advocacy videos. He was invited by César García (now of Terra) to share the CSS video at Expo Ambiente in Tijuana, and his enthusiasm for the natural resources of Baja lead him to Terra.
He has learned that it is much more effective to protect and preserve natural habitat than restore disturbed land, and quickly realized that Terra has the unique opportunity to protect land before it is destroyed. From the marine terraces, arroyos, and Matorral Rosetófilo Costero in their Nature Reserve at Valle Tranquilo, to the magnificent Punta Mazo in San Quintín Bay, Terra is walking the walk. Jim graduated from Humboldt State University with a BS in Physics.