I am a lover of beings, making meaningful connections, and conversation. For the last two years, through my academic and personal pursuits, I have been fortunate enough to work with the Olkiramatian and Shompole Maasai pastoralist communities in the South Rift of Kenya, asking questions related to biodiversity conservation and exploring more culturally-relevant approaches for social-ecological systems management. I will return to the South Rift to continue collaborating with the South Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO) and the Olkiramatian and Shompole communities as an OceanPath Fellow from September 2018 to May 2019. Three pieces of literature that inspire me and my work are Robin Reid’s (2012) Savannas of Our Birth, Gavin et al.’s (2015) “Defining biocultural approaches to conservation”, and Peterson et al.’s (2010) “Seeing (and Doing) Conservation Through Cultural Lenses”. An important reflection piece for me has been shared recently on The New Ethnographer blog.
I am, as the late Stephen Hawking said, a member of a very average ape species, living on a very average planet, orbiting around a very average star. And yet, what has always fascinated me is that the earth is all but “average” in the eyes of most people. For long I have experienced the very human fascination for the “perfection” of the natural world. This is why I pursued a degree in biology. I later became interested in the nature/culture divide that is customary in the western tradition and sought to understand what are the implications of this divide for the conservation of ecosystems, which sparked the idea of creating this blog. After having studied theoretical models of Caribbean Coral reef ecology for my honours thesis; I am now, for my master’s thesis, continuing an applied research project on the ecological connectivity of forest fragments in the Saint Lawrence lowlands around Montreal.
I am passionate about conserving Canadian wildlife and wilderness. My fieldwork has taken me across the country and has instilled in me a deep and ever-growing awe for this vast and rugged patch of Earth that I am so fortunate to call home. I am curious about how good science can inform effective conservation policy. I am currently completing the first year of my M.Sc. project, focusing on the interactive effects of multiple stressors on an endangered Canadian freshwater fish. I am inspired by “A Sense of Wonder” by Rachel Carson and “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn. I fundamentally believe that human connection with the natural world is vital, not only for the survival of wildlife and wild places but for our own as well.
I’m a lifelong lover of all things outdoors and have spent my time at McGill coming to understand what that means. I’ve had the tremendous good luck to have been able to search for answers to this alongside the Maasai community at Ol’Kiramatian, and am now in the process of reorienting my research back to Canada where I’m from. I’m interested in the ways in which nature and culture interact to shape one another, and how communities can be empowered to practice self-governance over their territories to produce socially and environmentally sustainable outcomes. I’m currently in the process of continuing this research under the Center for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives (CICADA) in partnership with the St’át’imc Nation in what is now called British Columbia.