Professor Small is an artist, writer, and photographer, devoted to California native plants, gardening, compost, hummingbirds, matilija poppies, evening primroses, ceanothus, and coast live oaks.
She is also a dog lover, walker, and Mexico aficionado, and collaborates with several Luiseño, Acjachemen, Kumeyaay, and Chumash basketweavers who love the southern California back country.
Together, they walk down steep poison oak-covered streambanks and slog up streambeds to gather Juncus textilis, hike through Rancho Cuyamaca State Park in search of deergrass, wallow in muck to photograph willow, climb precipitous hillsides to harvest chia seeds, secure clearances to visit Camp Pendleton to document ancient rock art and village sites, prostrate ourselves before the wild peonies, drink tuna/prickly pear margaritas, travel to poppy heaven in Lake Elsinore, redbud heaven on Laguna Mountain,
and matilija poppy heaven in my own front yard.
Professor Small works collaboratively with her art students at California State University San Marcos to help protect native lands, document cultural practices, and learn the native plants so essential to indigenous cultures as well as to the many species who share this particular part of the planet.