Strolling on, it seems to me that the strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert, by the comparative sparsity of the flora and fauna: life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each herb and bush and tree, each stem of grass, so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand and barren rock. The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life-forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom. – Edward Abbey (from Desert Solitaire)
Matt Wang works as a rare plant technician for Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. His work includes overseeing the Seeds of Success Program as well as other projects working with rare and endangered species. Wang earned a bachelor’s degree in botany from Utah Valley University and studied disturbance ecology of endangered Astragalus species in southwest Utah. While finishing his undergraduate work, Wang worked seasonally with the National Park Service studying rare endemic plants at Capitol Reef National Park. Wang graduated from Northwestern University (in conjunction with Chicago Botanic Garden) with a master’s in plant biology and conservation. His master’s research examined genetic and environmental predictors affecting susceptibility to herbivory in endangered cactus species. Over the years he has worked on various research projects from systematics to soil science to ecology. His current interests include rare plant demography and how it relates to other biotic and abiotic factors in the environment.