Head of Lab: Dr. Melanie Zurba
Professor Zurba’s work focuses on projects that are developed and implemented in collaboration with communities. Professor Zurba has worked collaboratively with Indigenous communities in Canada and abroad on projects focusing on co-management of species and protected areas, shared forest tenure agreements, Clean Environment Commission hearings for water regulation, land use and occupancy mapping studies, food sovereignty, health promotion and wellbeing, and land-based learning and curriculum development. Her work has also contributed to public discussion on what “reconciliation” means in Canada through her work on learning and relationship building through the shared-governance of land. Professor Zurba is also interested in how global policy frameworks affect community participation in the day-to-day management of the environment.
Mike is an interdisciplinary conservation social scientist and aspiring ‘boundary spanner’. His broad research interests center on understanding the roles of unseen, misrepresented, and marginalized cultures in conservation across diverse ecosystems and regions. ”. He received his PhD from the Applied Biodiversity Science Program and the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University. Although he attended university in Texas, he is originally from the east coast of the United States. He also lived in 7 states so far, including over a decade in the desert southwest. For his dissertation work, he focused on campesino hunting culture and local and traditional ecological knowledge in Nicaragua. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Zurba lab working on knowledge co-production processes and frameworks for the Sustainable Nunatsiavut Futures Project. On his off time, Mike regularly explores state and national parks, spends time with his family, and romps around with his dog.
Michael is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. David Busolo and Dr. Melanie Zurba. He holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public health and Nursing from Catholic University College in Ghana. Michael worked in his home country- Ghana, as a registered nurse and clinical research associate in South Africa, where he was involved in clinical research on cancer prevention and control. Michael has a particular interest in the potential for interdisciplinary approaches to reducing health disparities among immigrants and refugees. His doctoral research focuses on using community-based participatory research approaches to understand the nature-based program’s role in improving Syrian youth’s health and well-being.
Reddi Sekhara Yalamala
Reddi is a social anthropologist with research interests in Indigenous knowledge, community forestry, the climate change and energy transition. He is a Mitacs Post-Doctoral Researcher and his Mitacs project explores on the growth of renewable energy partnerships and co-management among indigenous communities in Canada. He likes to travel new places, swimming, trekking and growing community gardens in the Atlantic bubble.
In the past, he was a Mitacs Global Intern and completed an internship on Global Governance in public health in India. He holds a PhD in Medical Anthropology and published on caste, social inequality, and Global Public Health while completing his doctoral programme. He has also worked on a range of international research projects which intersect with focus on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, the Science, Technology Studies (STS) and subaltern studies. Under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba, Reddi’s work focuses on the role of ESG (Economic, Social and Governance) factors in energy transition and the development of renewable energy partnerships with Indigenous communities.
Abena is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies with the Community Engaged Co-Lab. She has a Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Management from York University, Toronto. Abena is interested in the role of gender in environmental and natural resource management in rural communities in developing countries. Under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba, Abena’s research focuses on the localization of international gender policy to assist women farmers to achieve food security in West and East Africa. While pursuing her Masters, Abena interned at the Climate Change Directorate at Forestry Commission, Ghana. She participated and prepared a report on a REDD+ Safeguard Training Workshop at Juabeso-Bia, in Ghana.
Anastasia is pursuing a Master of Environmental Studies through the Community-Engaged Co-Lab. Her project is being conducted in partnership with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq and the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources and is centered around efforts to advance Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) in Nova Scotia. Anastasia completed a Bachelor’s of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo where she specialized in environmental assessment, restoration/conservation ecology, and environmental governance. Anastasia also works as a Research Assistant under Dr. Melanie Zurba working on projects focused on environmental governance in different contexts. Anastasia is particularly interested in ways that conservation practice and approaches can contribute to addressing environmental and social justice issues. Anastasia is a first-generation Canadian with Greek heritage and was born and raised in Treaty 3 territory in a city called Waterloo. Whenever she can, Anastasia seeks out opportunities to explore new (and old) hiking spot, to cook, eat and share foods from different places, and listen to podcasts.
Carly Madge is pursing a Masters of Environmental Studies with the Community-Engaged Co-Lab. She completely her undergraduate degree in environmental science at Lakehead University, focusing on hydrogeology. Carly is completing a thesis under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba and Dr. Ryan Bullock, working with Sakaw Askiy Management in northern Saskatchewan and the stakeholders of the Prince Albert Forest Management Area as they begin to incorporate community-informed and supported wildfire risk reduction strategies into their forest harvesting plans. Carly is researching the social learning aspects that are involved in the development of these strategies. Carly has a background in forestry and wildfire and hopes to pursue a career in this area when she graduates.
Ashley is pursing a Masters of Environmental Studies with the Community Engaged Co-Lab. She has completed a B.A at the University of Guelph in International Development, with an independent project partnered with a land based agrarian movement in Brazil. She is interested in questions around sovereignty and equity through a land-based lens. As a member of the “First Nation-University Partnership for Capacity Enhancement in Forest Land Governance” project team, Ashley is working under supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba and Dr. Ryan Bullock in partnership with Eagle Lake First Nation to explore how the community can increase their capacity for forest governance rooted in their own capacities and definition of sovereignty.
Lily is a Master of Environmental Studies student with the Community Engaged Co-Lab. She is a graduate of a B.Sc in Environmental Science with a minor in History of Science and Technology from the University of King’s College, as well as a graduate of a certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from Dalhousie University. In her undergraduate, she worked with public health officials, and GIS professionals in Nova Scotia to create a web application that maps a score out of 100 of access to physical activity infrastructure by address across Nova Scotia called the ActivScore. Lily has numerous research interests but is most enthusiastic about creating tools to help communities take action for a better future. Lily is a member of the team working on the question of “Can art and science work together to build rituals and vocabularies for dealing with climate grief?” under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba, and she is exploring how youth representation in politics and decision making around climate change influences levels of climate grief in young people.
Bryanne is a Masters of Environmental Studies student with the Community Engaged Co-Lab. Originally from Manitoba, she completed her B.A. Hon in Environmental Studies and B.A in Sociology at the University of Winnipeg, where she worked with a local community organization to assist in developing an urban greenhouse for their community. Her research interests revolve around localized forms of sustainable food production and distribution, food security, and food sovereignty. She is currently working on her Masters Thesis under the supervision of Dr. Melanie Zurba.Photo Credits: Naniece Ibrahim
Sara is a member of the Community Engaged Co-Lab and is pursuing a Masters of Resource and Environmental Management. She has a B.Sc. in Zoology with a minor in Studio Art and a minor in Hispanic Studies from the University of Guelph. Her master’s project, supervised by Dr. Melanie Zurba, is focused on developing a multi-disciplinary typology of rituals and vocabularies for expressing and processing grief associated with climate change in Canada. She has worked in student community engagement and aspires to work alongside Indigenous and local communities to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Claire (she/her) brings her background in international relations, conservation, and environmental justice to Dalhousie’s master’s program in Resource and Environmental Management (MREM). While having grown up in France, Mali, and Switzerland, Claire is now based in the United States, and has had the privilege of working on issues of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Ohio Environmental Council. She holds a B.A in International Relations and Modern Languages from the University of Essex in the UK and is a member of the Community Engaged Co-Lab, led by Dr. Melanie Zurba. Claire is interested in applying conservation and environmental management through a good governance and environmental justice lens; and in her personal time is an avid hiker and amateur birder.
Emily (she/her) is a biologist-turned-social scientist who is pursuing her Master of Environmental Studies under the supervision of Dr. Kate Sherren with Dr. Melanie Zurba as a committee member. She is largely interested in the cultural, political, and social nuances of environmental management as well as community-based and participatory methods. Her thesis work seeks to assess relational values and trade-offs in Dykeland management along Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy coast. Emily’s research background spans 10 years and multiple fields: beginning in genetics, she later worked in behavioral ecology and biogeography laboratories before settling into interdisciplinary marine studies. She has multiple peer-reviewed publications on the topics of plastic pollution, equity in science, and more. Parallel to research, Emily is passionate about participatory learning: she has worked in education for seven years, engaging youth in environmental stewardship and leading English-as-Second Language (ESL) workshops. Emily is a settler from the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk (Conception Bay, Newfoundland) and is currently a grateful visitor in Mi’kma’ki.