PhD Applied Conservation Ecology
MSc Applied Conservation Ecology
BSc Biological Sciences
Tanya is an ecological and cultural resource management specialist interested in the environmental-human health intersect, Indigenous community health, and landscape connectivity initiatives that promote ecosystem resilience and food security. For 25+ years she has worked as an applied conservation ecologist and has contributed to the conservation of species- and ecosystems-at-risk, Indigenous community-based initiatives, and strategic conservation partnership building.
Tanya earned her MSc and PhD in wildlife ecology and population genetics from the Centre for Applied Conservation Research in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. She has enjoyed working for Canadian and U.S. universities, provincial and national non-profit organizations, Canadian and U.S. government organizations, and the private sector. Her international engagement projects have taken her to Peru, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Lebanon, and Ecuador.
Throughout Tanya’s career, Indigenous scholars and elders have provided her with cultural competency training including: ethical protocols for engagement; community-based participatory action research; cultural heritage and values; and respectful, reciprocal, relevant and responsible relationship building. During postdoctoral training at the UBC Institute for Aboriginal Health in the College of Health Disciplines, Tanya evaluated impacts of environmental contaminants, specifically heavy metals, on the traditional foods and medicines of Indigenous communities along the coast of British Columbia.
Tanya’s experience in co-governance and collaborative management framework development, and effective community engagement following culturally-appropriate protocols have contributed to successful conservation projects in Canada and internationally. She has successfully negotiated and fundraised $1.2+ Million. Tanya has led and managed 80+ habitat conservation projects, implemented 50+ conservation area management plans, and improved management outcomes for landscape-scale conservation plans. While she was the Director of the West Coast Program for the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Tanya collaboratively managed ecologically and culturally significant lands, implemented land securement strategies, and successfully facilitated the creation of the first protected area co-owned by a private land trust and an Indigenous government. To promote knowledge transfer, she delivered 40+ cross-cultural and cross-sectoral presentations, including community engagement and outreach. Tanya is a highly proficient writer with 10+ peer-reviewed scientific publications, 20+ public reports, 15+ briefing notes and internal reports. She has delivered 10+ live, web and print media interviews.
In Haida Gwaii, Tanya served on the Integrated Advisory Committee for the Marine Planning Partnership providing guidance on the marine protected area design framework and draft engagement and monitoring protocols for two years. In partnership with Indigenous people in Ecuador and Canada, and funded by the Indigenous Peoples Partnership Programme of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Tanya co-led a cross-cultural and cross-generational exchange project focussed on food security and environmental conservation that promoted youth leadership and gender equality.
With solid technical roots in scientific research development and implementation, Tanya has strategically built interdisciplinary partnerships and respectfully collaborated within multi-sectoral teams. As program and research manager at the Grizzly Bear Foundation, she contributed to the successful engagement of 25 First Nation representatives from across B.C. and Yukon to create the first Indigenous roundtable for grizzly bear conservation. Tanya has a strong desire to support the process for successfully integrating different ways of knowing, particularly western scientific and traditional knowledge, to achieve biodiversity conservation and Indigenous community health outcomes.
Tanya is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems collaborating on urban Indigenous food security research and range-wide population genetics of species-at-risk with U.S. colleagues. She is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
When not exploring the wilderness with her family, Tanya enjoys playing musical instruments (especially accordion and guitar), dancing (Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African styles), improving her mother tongue (Arabic) and expanding her fluency in Spanish.
One of her most vivid memories while working internationally is having to respectfully consume the traditional meal of a whole roasted cuy (guinea pig) offered by an Indigenous project partner in the Ecuadorian Andes. Teeth exposed in its gaping mouth, the sharp nails on its outstretched claws, and having been a vegetarian for 20 years made this especially challenging, though Tanya learned to enjoy this high-quality protein on her return trips.