graduate students

Kimberly Schaefer

Master's Student


I grew up in western Washington state, close to the Olympic rainforest and Cascade Mountains. That is where I first became infatuated with nature and plants (but also very sick and tired of rainy weather). Seeking sunshine and adventure, I came down to Cal Poly Pomona for my undergraduate degree in Biology (Botany emphasis). By assisting with various research projects there, I fell in love with the rugged landscapes and resilient plants that are native here in Southern California.

After graduating in 2018, I began working here at CalBG as a Field Botany Technician on the Invasive Plant Crew, eradicating noxious weeds in the Angeles National Forest. Next, I sought out the Seed Conservation Internship and worked as a technician in the seed bank, collecting and processing native seeds. I had such an amazing experience as a CalBG employee for three years; I knew I wanted to keep working with the staff here as I pursue my master’s degree in Botany.

My botanical interests include biogeography, plant community ecology, rare plant conservation, and understanding how climate change and other human impacts affect plant distribution.


For my thesis, I will be conducting a floristic study of the Sacatar Trail Wilderness area in the Southeast Sierra Nevada Mountains. This wilderness area has an elevational range of 3,500 to 8,851 feet and includes a diverse array of vegetation types, from Mojave Desert creosote bush scrub at low elevations to Joshua tree woodland, pinyon-juniper woodlands at mid-range, and Sierra Nevada pine forests and montane meadows at the top. It’s a bit of a “botany blackhole,” where no extensive floristic work has been done before, and most collections that do exist were from the 1960’s. I’m excited to see what I can find starting in Spring 2022!

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