Dr. Matt Ritter grew up in rural Mendocino County, California. After earning a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from U.C. Santa Barbara, he attended U.C. San Diego for a Ph.D. in plant biology. He’s a botany professor in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California, where he lives with his wife and two children. He’s the author of several books, including a new guide to California’s flora, California Plants: A guide to our Iconic Flora (www.pacificstreetpublishing.com). He also wrote the funniest and best-selling guide to California’s urban forest, A Californian’s Guide to the Trees among Us (Heyday, 2011). His writing has appeared in several magazines, including a regular column on tree diversity in Pacific Horticulture. He won the Cal Poly’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the International Society of Arboriculture Award for Excellence in Education. He is the California Coordinator of the American Forests Big Tree Registry, studies California’s native plants, and trees that escape cultivation, particularly Eucalyptus. He’s an avid woodworker, mason, and gardener.