My jaw dropped when I saw that Spokane, Wa....the city I live in.....made that list!! Hmmmmm, never would have guessed.
If you are a biologist though, we are surrounded by wheat fields, mountains, lakes, rivers and have Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge right in our back door. A two hour drive will put you in the center of the state which is orchard country. Washington apples are the best!!!!! Plus we have wineries, peach orchards, cherry orchards, potato fields, onions, hops and the like. Washington is an agricultural powerhouse.
The best I can describe Spokane is.....it's the biggest little city you'll ever live in. While we're the 2nd largest city in the state next to Seattle, it really doesn't feel that big at all. It's very easy to find a place to live on the outskirts and you can get anywhere in the city quickly. Even in rush hour. And after you've lived here long enough, you'll easily run into people you know when you're out and about.
We host the world's largest 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament, one of the world's largest road races (if not the largest) Bloomsday, and held the World's Fair in 1974.
As far as weather here, we get all four seasons. Fall is beautiful with all its colors, we get cold winters with snow and usually a week where it's below 0 temps, an wet and mild spring, and nice sunny and warm (sometimes hot) summers. But it is a DRY heat here!! Sometimes you beg for some moisture, lol.
My other suggestions are Portland and Seattle if you're looking for plant biology. They are much more mild in temps and are also surrounded by great plant life.