We are working to conserve California flora through inventory, monitoring, research, horticulture, restoration and seed bank programs.

Plant Conservation at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) is central to our mission and is a natural extension of our rich history in research and horticulture. Conserving biodiversity is challenging as we face catastrophic drought, wildfires, invasion of exotic species, and expanding urbanization and development. RSABG has been a cornerstone in the world of California native plant conservation and, as our challenges grow, RSABG will continue to work at the front lines. RSABG has active programs in floristic research, rare plant research and monitoring, population genetics, seed collection and preservation, plant propagation, restoration, and invasive species management to advance conservation of California’s native plants and habitats.


Field Studies: Naomi Fraga Ph.D.; Director of Conservation Programs (nfraga@rsabg.org): Naomi joined the RSABG staff in 2001 and is responsible for programmatic leadership and management of the Conservation Program.  Naomi earned her Ph.D. and M.S. in Botany from Claremont Graduate University and her B.S. in Botany from Cal Poly Pomona.  Naomi is broadly interested in plant conservation and her research focus includes floristics, rare plant biology, reproductive biology, and systematics of monkeyflowers.  You can learn more about Naomi's research on her website.

Lab Studies: Loraine Washburn Ph.D.; Lab Manager & Conservation Botanist (lwashburn@rsabg.org): has been the Laboratory Manager and Conservation Botanist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden since 2013.  Her research focuses on population genetics of rare plant species of California, and population genomics. Loraine got her Ph.D. in Biology at UCLA, with a focus on reproductive ecology and physiological ecology in jojoba.  She has since worked in plant conservation in a variety of capacities, from conservation planning at both the local and international level, to teaching of undergraduates and graduate students at Duke University, Bates College, and RSABG.

Restoration Nursery: Billy Sale; Restoration Project Manager (bsale@rsabg.org) Billy joined the Conservation Department at RSABG in 2013 after completing her Masters Degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Terrestrial Ecology. She currently manages the restoration staff and works in collaboration with the Seed Program and the Production Nursery. Her interests include restoration ecology, horticulture, and conservation.

Seed Conservation: Cheryl Birker; Seed Conservation Program Manager (csevilla@rsabg.org) Cheryl has a degree in Biology with a concentration in Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation Biology from California State University Fullerton. She started at RSABG in May of 2014 as a seed collector for the BLM Seeds of Success Program, then worked in the Restoration Nursery growing native plants for restoration and mitigation projects. Cheryl has been managing the Seed Conservation Program since August 2016.