Staff Report

The public is invited to a lecture titled “Rare Plants of Santa Barbara County: Why uncommon plants matter and what we’re doing to save them,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Los Olivos Community Hall (formerly the Santa Ynez Valley Grange Hall) at 2374 Alamo Pintado Avenue in Los Olivos.

This free program, led by featured speaker Dr. Heather Schneider, is co-hosted by the Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society, Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden, and the Los Olivos Library.

With more than 6,500 kinds of native plants, California is the most botanically diverse state in the nation. However, more than one-third of those plants are considered rare. The Santa Barbara area is home to more than 150 kinds of rare plants.

Schneider will discuss why we should care about rare plants while highlighting some of the unique and beautiful rare plants found in Santa Barbara County. She’ll also describe what to look for while hiking this spring and share some of the work that the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is doing to advance rare plant conservation. 

Schneider is the rare plant biologist at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, where she is involved in research, conservation and outreach while managing the garden’s conservation seed bank. She earned a Ph.D. in botany from UC Riverside and has worked across California and the American West on topics such as ecology, evolutionary biology, conservation, invasive plants, and desert tortoise biology.

The Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society’s lectures are free and open to all. A list of upcoming lectures and field trips sponsored by the society can be found at For more information, write to or call the Society at or (805) 693-5683.