Jensen Awarded 2016 Switzer Fellowship

Nicholas Jensen

Nick Jensen


Nick Jensen is a PhD student in the botany program at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden/Claremont Graduate University. Nick’s research centers on understanding biogeographic and evolutionary patterns in the Flora of California. One of Nick’s projects documents the plant diversity on California’s largest contiguous piece of private land, Tejon Ranch. Nick’s findings on Tejon Ranch inform land management activities with a primary focus on rare species conservation. In addition, he is studying evolutionary and biogeographic trends, and patterns of rarity in Streptanthus (jewelflowers). Nick is also using his skills in geospatial analysis to identify threat patterns in more than 1200 globally-rare plant species in California.

Prior to attending graduate school Nick worked as the Rare Plant Program Director for the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), a statewide non-profit devoted to the study, conservation, and appreciation of the state’s flora. He also recently worked on a project with the Chicago Botanic Garden with the goal of understanding how rare plant species will respond to projected climate change. Nick continues to be active in conservation advocacy and science as a member of the CNPS Rare Plant Program Committee and as the president of the Southern California Botanists. As a next step in his career Nick intends to focus on landscape scale conservation and land management. He feels strongly that, in a rapidly changing world, scientists will play an important role in designing networks of conserved land. These conserved lands will provide plants and animals habitat necessary for survival, while also providing humanity with the ecosystem services necessary for a high quality of life.


About the Switzer Foundation

The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation is a results-driven family foundation that invests in individuals and organizations that drive positive environmental change. Founded in 1986 by Robert and Patricia Switzer, and guided by Robert’s years as a businessman and innovator, support of emerging leaders committed to solving real world environmental problems is the cornerstone of all Switzer Foundation programs.

The Foundation is a grantmaking organization that mobilizes leaders from diverse disciplines who focus on integrated solutions to environmental issues. Through our core program, the Switzer Environmental Fellowship Program, and related grants, the Foundation supports a Network of almost 600 Switzer Fellows who are leaders in the nonprofit, public policy, business, academic and government sectors working to solve today’s environmental challenges.

Over $14 million in Fellowships and grants have been awarded since 1986. The Foundation is governed by a seven-member board comprised of family members and environmental professionals from non-profit, government, academic and private sectors, reflecting the diversity of the Fellowship itself and the cross-sector approaches needed to effect positive change. Fellows also serve as Trustees and on the Fellows’ Advisory Committee to guide Foundation programs and new approaches.