Julie Schneider Ljubenkov is a native southern Californian. She credits her childhood experiences, playing in the vast open spaces of a once wild, beautiful, and rural Los Angeles County, plus family camping trips every year in the California Redwoods, as what influenced her to become a naturalist, scientific illustrator, and painter of the landscapes and native flora of California.
Julie received her Bachelor's degree in art and a Master's of fine art in drawing and painting from California State University Long Beach. She then taught botanical watercolor, drawing, landscape painting, and mosaic art since 1985 at several colleges and universities, most recently UCSD. Julie taught native plant use in the garden and conducted nature walks for groups and students. She also did research on plants living in the hills above her home town and published "An Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of the Whittier Hills, Los Angeles County, California" in the scientific journal "Crossosoma", in 2001.
Julie now manages a small patch of oak woodland and chaparral and an acre of her own native plant landscaping at Dancing Coyote Ranch, her home, studio, lab, and nature preserve in the beautiful San Diego backcountry. Her interests remain concentrated on unique disappearing flora, fauna, and significant cultural places in California.