Speaker: Nick Jensen, PhD, CNPS Southern California Conservation Analyst
At 270,000 acres, Tejon Ranch is California's largest contiguous piece of private land. It is located at a “biogeographical crossroads,”where five ecoregions: the San Joaquin Valley, Tehachapi Mountains, Mojave Desert, Western Transverse Ranges, and Transverse Ranges converge. Despite its size and ecological setting, until recent years, biologists knew little about the biodiversity on Tejon. In 2008, a controversial conservation deal set aside 88% of the Tejon’s acreage in conservation agreements and enabled the first comprehensive investigation of its botanical resources.
My graduate research included the first comprehensive study of the flora of Tejon Ranch and resulted in the documentation of 1,073 vascular plant taxa, including more than 14% of the state’s native plants. Discoveries made by myself and others since 2008 include dozens of rare plants on the ranch, more than 30 new additions to the flora of Kern County, and dozens of range extensions and ecoregional records.
After completing my PhD, I began work as the CNPS Southern California Conservation Analyst. In this position, a central focus of my work has been advocating against proposed development projects on Tejon that would place more than 30,000 homes and 100,000 future residents far from existing cities. Please join me on a tour of Tejon's botanical riches, a synopsis of the 2008 conservation deal, and an overview of the perils of three proposed development projects. Coming full circle, I will discuss why CNPS and many other individuals and organizations oppose development on Tejon. I will focus on what we are doing to ensure that this special place remains intact for future generations to study and appreciate.
Nick Jensen, CNPS 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 (https://www.switzernetwork.org/). In his free time, he enjoys cooking, hiking, rock climbing, and photographing wildflowers, activities that are often not mutually exclusive.
6:30-7:00pm: First Presentation: TBD
7:00pm-7:30pm: A time for discussion, camaraderie, visiting, and enjoying the sales table.
7:30pm: FEATURED PRESENTATION
There is no fee to attend these presentations.