Tanya Wahbe

Scientific Director & Indigenous & Conservation Programs Specialist

PhD Applied Conservation Ecology
MSc Applied Conservation Ecology
BSc Biological Sciences

Tanya is an ecological and cultural resource management specialist who has contributed to the conservation of species- and ecosystems-at-risk and Indigenous community-based health initiatives for 25+ years. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia where she collaborates on Indigenous food security initiatives and serves on graduate student research committees. She earned an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and population genetics from the Centre for Applied Conservation Research in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Her post-doctoral research addressed environmental health with Indigenous peoples in the Salish Sea and BC's Central Coast. She received and continues to upgrade her cultural competency training from Indigenous mentors and knowledge holders.

 

Tanya has worked for Canadian and US universities, provincial and national non-profit organizations, Canadian and US government organizations, Indigenous Peoples, and the private sector. Her conservation research, education and engagement projects have taken her to Peru, the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Lebanon and Ecuador. She has collaboratively managed ecologically and culturally significant landscapes, developed co-governance frameworks, navigated land securement and implemented culturally-appropriate community engagement.

 

Tanya deeply enjoys working together with Indigenous peoples in advancing conservation initiatives and developing sustainable and conservation-based economies. As the BC Region Director for the largest land trust in Canada, she negotiated, secured and managed conservation areas and projects in Haida Gwaii, the West Chilcotin, Clayoquot Sound, the Central Coast and the Salish Sea. She was selected to serve a two-year term on the Integrated Advisory Committee for the Marine Planning Partnership, advising and informing marine conservation planning on Haida Gwaii.

 

Tanya is currently the Scientific Director and Indigenous & Conservation Programs Specialist at Impact Resolutions. In this role, she is responsible for developing strategic relationships, collaborations and partnerships with Canadian and Indigenous governments, universities, scientific institutes, organizations and societies to advance mutually beneficial goals. She ensures projects are grounded in peer-reviewed scientific research and Indigenous and local knowledge. Tanya also identifies opportunities for capacity building and advancing knowledge dissemination by collaboratively publishing project results.

Fun fact

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.

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