How is your research tackling some of the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century?
My research looks to address major inequities in the ways wildlife and natural resources are planned, managed, and conserved in Canada. My current research project is looking to characterize human-wolf interactions and to build greater coexistence between people and wolves in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve region of Vancouver Island. This is a collaborative project, working to establish long-term collaborative relationships and processes between Parks, First Nations, Local Communities, NGO’s, and more to proactively work toward reducing human-wolf conflict and building coexistence.
How does your work align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals?
I think the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals are good benchmarks to understand global goals, trends, and action on sustainability. My research contributes primary to the following three goals: Reduced Inequality, Life on Land, and Partnerships to Achieve the Goal. Through my doctoral research, I look forward to further exploring the linkages between my research and the variety of specific targets within each of these goals in order to better articulate how my work is fitting into a larger global movement.
What motivated you to do what you now do and/or pursue your field of study?
I’ve always been passionate about the environment and wildlife conservation. Although when I started university as a biology major, I felt disconnected and disengaged. When I switched to geography, it was the first time I truly recognized the role that social scientists play in conservation research. Engaging with the various conservation social sciences really motivated me and drove my passion to work with people towards building more socio-culturally robust processes for conservation and management of wildlife and natural resources.
What course have you taken recently in SENS that you’ve loved and why?
ENVS 809, "PhD Seminar in Sustainability", is a mandatory course for all incoming PhD students. This specific course really piqued my interest and effectively facilitated my transition back into academic life. My biggest concern after being away from academic for over 2 years, was getting back into the reading and writing – and doing so at a higher level. This course is focused on sustainability science and determining how our own research fits within sustainability research. The whole field of sustainability science was new to me and definitely took me out of my comfort zone, but reflecting back, it was one of the more influential courses I’ve taken in my graduate student career.
What do you prefer to read when you are not reading work-related material and why?
I oddly read two very specific, very different, types of literature. I am big fan of classic literature and I also read a lot of environmental non-fiction. I fell in love with classic literature in high school after reading books like East of Eden and A Tale of Two Cities. I’ve also just always loved using my reading time to advance my learning about more popular non-fiction related to national parks, environmental history, fish, wildlife, and hunting stories, etc. This is obviously tied to my personal passions and research, but lets me read and learn well beyond my specific research area.