The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2017 Honorable John C. Pritzlaff Conservation Award, Dr. Susan Mazer, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The award will be presented at the Sixth Annual Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Conservation Symposium on Friday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Santa Barbara City College Fé Bland Forum, 721 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93109. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the Symposium, which will focus on understanding and conserving biological diversity. To register, please visit sbbg.org/symposium, or call (805) 682-4726, ext. 102. Students are welcome to register free of charge thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Santa Barbara City College Foundation.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is an active research facility that has been working to understand and protect California’s unique biodiversity for nearly a century, and serves as a resource for scientists all over the world. “As a leader in research and conservation of native plants, the Garden presents the Pritzlaff Conservation Award to recognize global trailblazers in the field,” said Dr. Steve Windhager, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Executive Director. “The Symposium connects the public and on the ground conservationist to leading thinkers who might otherwise only be accessible in an academic or professional setting.”
At this year’s symposium, Dr. Mazer and five additional expert speakers from across the state will provide a well-rounded discussion on the topic: ‘Innovative Ways of Exploring Biodiversity: Embracing Big Data, Technology, and Citizen Science.’ The symposium will particularly highlight ways that the general public can get involved in learning about and protecting the diversity of life. It will end with a panel discussion, addressing what we can all do to understand and protect the earth’s biodiversity.
Pritzlaff Conservation Awardee Dr. Susan Mazer is a champion for plants. Through her research, outreach, and mentorship, she furthers our understanding of plant evolution and adaptation to change, training others in the research skills needed to investigate these fundamental and universal processes, and inspiring the next generation of plant protectors. Dr. Mazer co-founded the California Phenology Project and Project Baseline, large collaborative projects of national significance that will help us understand what climate change has in store for the seasonal cycles of wild plants and for plant diversity. Through these projects and others, she has engaged legions of students and citizen scientists who have contributed observations critical for detecting the effects of climate change on wild plant species.
Dr. Mazer is an energetic speaker and highly dedicated mentor who has inspired many UCSB students to love plants through her classes in Plant Biology and Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution. More than 200 undergraduates have contributed to her field, greenhouse, and lab-based research, and she has taught and trained students in Thailand, Peru, China, and Costa Rica. She has applied her research to further the conservation of some of the rarest plant species in the region and to inform the design of habitat restoration efforts.
The author and co-author of over 117 research articles and book chapters, her work has been cited over 6,000 times. She received the National Science Foundation’s Presidential Young Investigator Award and served as the National Science Foundation’s Program Director for the Ecological Biology Program for two years. Dr. Mazer received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Yale University and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Botany from UC Davis; she is the current President of the California Botanical Society. Her current field research in California is exploring the effects of drought on the evolution of wild populations of Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii) and Farewell-to-Spring (several species of Clarkia).
“The Pritzlaff Conservation Symposium is a wonderful opportunity to bring together people from a wide range of backgrounds who all share an interest in — and concern for — nature,” said Dr. Mazer. “It’s inspiring to be together with like-minded people who feel a sense of responsibility towards conserving plant diversity, and this symposium provides a chance for us to learn from each other, to act collectively, and to ignite change.”
The conservation leaders speaking at the Symposium are:
• Pritzlaff Awardee and Keynote Dr. Susan Mazer, University of California, Santa Barbara: S.O.S. – the Power of Seeds, Observations, and Specimens to Predict Ecological and Evolutionary Responses of Plants to Climatic Variation.
• Ken-Ichi Ueda, Co-founder and director of iNaturalist, where the public can record and learn about what they see in nature: Is iNaturalist Citizen Science?
• Mary Ellen Hannibal, award-winning author: The Big, Little World of Citizen Science: Bridging Scales Across Time, Space, People and Ecosystems.
• Dr. Matt Guilliams, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden: Harnessing the Power of Natural History Collections and Evolutionary Data to Inform Biodiversity Conservation: An Introduction to the Channel Islands Phylodiversity Project.
• Dr. Jon Rebman, San Diego Natural History Museum: The San Diego Plant Atlas Project.
• Dr. Katja Seltmann, Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration: Engaging Scientists and the Public in Natural History Collections through Symbiota, an Interactive Online Data Portal.
The Honorable John C. Pritzlaff Conservation Award, established in 2007, honors this former Garden Trustee’s lifelong commitment to conservation. The award serves to inspire others to understand the importance of conservation, take action, and help the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden reach its plant conservation leadership goals. A list of past award recipients can be found here.
About the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden conserves and promotes California native plants through our gardens, research, and education, and serves as a model for sustainability. Founded in 1926, the Garden is the first botanic garden focused exclusively on California native plants and currently spans 78 acres with five miles of walking trails, an herbarium, seed bank, research labs, library, nursery, and gift shop. For more information about the Garden, please visit sbbg.org.