As a Partner Biologist in the Rangeland Watershed Initiative, I work in a collaborative position with Point Blue and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Based out of the Vacaville, CA NRCS office, I work with private landowners in Solano County to develop and implement climate smart conservation strategies that promote ranch and farm livelihood, wildlife habitat, soil health and other ecosystem services. In addition, I monitor indicators of ecosystem function over time on rangelands in order to inform management decisions now and in the future.
I grew up on my family’s pasture pork farm in Michigan, where I was instilled with a lasting sense of stewardship for the land on which we depend for so much. I graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2012 with a biology major concentrating in environmental studies and conservation. After college I was a technician for Michigan State conducting various agroecology and plant diversity experiments. Heading west, I pursued a M.S. in Ecology at University of California Davis. My research there focused on applied rangeland ecology and restoration, specifically the effects of spatial planting techniques to optimize ecosystem services from these working lands. I also worked part time for a local Resource Conservation District, providing support to restoration project managers in a variety of central valley ecosystems. I am broadly interested in habitat restoration and conservation across managed and natural systems, and in communicating important research to those who can apply it: landowners, stewards, and the public.
In my free time I’m hiking, climbing and exploring our beautiful state, or playing Ultimate Frisbee and music with friends.
Email: Luke Petersen