Fellow Story

Jensen featured in New York Times, NPR and more on California superblooms

Wildflowers are blooming across California, thanks to record precipitation and a rich seed bank thanks to past ‘superblooms’. Switzer Fellow Nick Jensen, Conservation Program Director for the California Native Plant Society, has been sharing the joy and raising awareness of the conservation needs of these bloomers in several high profile media stories in recent weeks. 

Nick answers the question of what exactly defines a superbloom in NPR’s Morning Edition: “It's a phenomenon in which there are large numbers of wildflowers - typically annuals - that grace large swaths of the state in selected areas where those conditions are favorable in years with good rainfall.” 

In that story, he also encourages visitors to educate themselves about plants and watch their step: “So they don't pop their picnic blanket out on a population of rare plants or beautiful wildflowers. You know, is this just a bunch of poppies or is this a diversity of plants?”  

Speaking with LA Times Plants, Nick reflected on the capacity of seemingly lifeless landscapes to erupt into bloom. “You can go for a walk and under your feet are millions of seeds just sitting there in the seed bank. That potential for beauty in a landscape that is otherwise essentially barren in a non-good year is so freaking cool.” 

In the New York Times California Today, he cautioned that “we need to be very concerned about what we’ve lost, and what we’re going to continue to lose to, basically, the classic threat of development, combined with how our nonnative plant species are responding to climate change and displacing our native wildflowers.” 

California Public Radio’s Insight interviewed Nick to “learn more about what makes these extraordinary blooms possible, where the best hotspots in California currently are, and the efforts to preserve these flowers for future generations.” 

He was also featured in the San Francisco Chronicle story mapping places to spot rare wildflowers.