Equity Diversity & Inclusion Podcast

Tuning into the Forest

By UBC Forestry JEDI (Justice + EDI) Team

What steps do we need to take to make forestry and natural resource conservation more equitable?

Join Estefanía Milla-Moreno, PhD candidate in the Faculty of Forestry (UBC), as we learn from stories of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in nature.

This podcast is an initiative led by the UBC Faculty of Forestry’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) group to share new voices and promote the profiles of diverse scholars within the Faculty.

Background music by Guillermo Milla Figueroa (1st season) and Israel Toto Berriel (2nd season).

Season 2

Episode 4: Representation of girls and women in STEM careers with Dr. Paloma Corvalan

Dr. Paloma Corvalan graduated from UBC with BSc (Hons) in Ecology and Environmental Science and has a PhD in Animal Behaviour from the University of Queensland. She is the Programs Manager at Sea Smart, teaching STEM educational programs that connect children and youth to nature, inspire them to pursue their love for STEM, and empower them to protect our environment. As the current President of the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology, Paloma supports SCWIST’s vision to create an environment where women and girls in Canada can pursue their interests, education, and careers in STEM without barriers. Paloma strives to lead a sustainable lifestyle and, in her spare time, loves camping, mountain biking, and snowboarding.

Background Music by Israel Toto Berriel.

You can connect with Paloma on Twitter

Episode 3: Conservation research on the Western Toad – the only indigenous amphibian on Haida Gwaii with PhD candidate Roseanna Gamlen-Greene

Roseanna Gamlen-Greene, originally from New Zealand, is a PhD Candidate at UBC, National Geographic Explorer, UBC Public Scholar, and Vanier Canada Scholar. She is currently researching the conservation biology of amphibians on Haida Gwaii, BC, Canada. Her work involves tromping through beautiful bogs, sea kayaking, canoeing and boating to remote locations, experiments and working with the local community to conserve the Western Toad (the only indigenous amphibian on Haida Gwaii). She is researching whether introduced frogs are outcompeting toads, how genetically distinct Haida Gwaii toad populations are compared to mainland toads and why introduced frogs are spreading.

Download ‘Birds’ song for free here

Background Music by Israel Toto Berriel.

Episode 2: Kenyan Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Forest/Land governance’ with Dr. Kendi Borona

Dr. Kendi Borona was born and brought up near a forest in the Kenyan highlands. It was because of the waters flowing from this forest that she did not have to walk for long distances to fetch water – a task expected of girls in her community. This forest and its critical watersheds were and is protected by elders through the application of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, providing water for community needs downstream. She obtained her PhD from the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry. She is a firm believer in the application of Indigenous Knowledge in the furtherance of just conservation regimes and sustainable community livelihoods. Over the course of her career, she has worked towards the integration of natural and cultural heritage into a concrete whole, and to locate communities firmly in their landscapes. Her teaching philosophy is anchored on the belief that education should be transformational, and that it should help us create a just society for all beings.

Dr. Kendi has kindly shared with all her film: A Canopy of Hope: The legacy of Wangari Maathai. Don’t miss it!

Background Music by Israel Toto Berriel.

Episode 1: ‘Diverse Representation matters’ with Dr Devyani Singh

Dr. Devyani Singh is a Post-Doctoral Fellow working on international Energy and Climate policy. Her inter-disciplinary research includes energy access & transitions in the Global South, air quality (GHG emissions accounting), evaluating climate impacts of national policies, natural resource economics, environmental finance, and oil and gas transitions. As a result, she has worked extensively across sectors (industry, academia, government, Indigenous communities, and non-profits) and countries (India, Canada, US). Outside of academia, Devyani has consulted on carbon markets and policy and worked with the First Nations on sustainable forestry.

Inspired by the magnitude and importance of global climate change, and frustrated with political inaction, Devyani ran as a political candidate in the 2020 BC elections. She actively promotes engagement with policy makers and the public for evidence-based decision-making.

Dr. Devyani can be found on Twitter by @Kumari_Devyani

Background Music by Israel Toto Berriel.

Episode 4: Andrea Vásquez-Fernández and Vanessa Silva Mascorro, PhDc and MSc alumni from the UBC Faculty of Forestry

In this fourth episode, I talked to Andrea Vásquez-Fernández, a Quechua Peruvian PhD candidate, and Vanessa Silva Mascorro, a Mexican MSc alumni, both from the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, about their pathways as Latin female scholars in the north.

Andrea Vásquez-Fernández is a Quechua Peruvian PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. Besides holding a B.Sc. in forest engineering and a specialization on environmental management, quality, and auditing from the National Agrarian University of La Molina (UNALM), she has a M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia. Andrea is a public scholar and part of a pluri-cultural Indigenous research team that conducts collaborative projects. She was invited by Asheninka and Yine community members to form an alliance to address their concerns and desired futures. Currently they are working in a project called ‘RESPECT-AMAZONIA.’

Vanessa Silva Mascorro was born in the beautiful country of Mexico. Here she got her bachelor degree in Information Systems. In 2006, she joined the Mexican Ministry of Forests where she led the National Forests Inventory Database for six years. In 2012, she came to Canada to pursue an MSc in Forestry degree at the UBC Faculty of Forestry, and graduated with honours in 2014. Her research focused on the integration of remote sensing data, forest inventories and ancillary datasets for multi-scale assessment of forest disturbances for carbon accounting modeling. After graduating, she entered into the parenting world while continued working in environmental consulting.

Background music by Guillermo Milla Figueroa.

Episode 3: Elliot Bellis, recent graduate from the Urban Forestry Program at the UBC Faculty of Forestry

In this third episode, I talked with Elliot Bellis about studying abroad, forestry stereotypes, and #GenderDiversity

Elliot Bellis is a recent graduate of Urban Forestry at the UBC Faculty of Forestry. During his five years in the Faculty, he participated in the co-op program, volunteered as an orientation day leader, and played saxophone for the #ThunderbirdMarchingBand. Currently, he works as an Arborist and Junior Urban Forester for a local Environmental Consulting Company and in his free time, he loves to go foraging and botanizing. His current obsessions include block printing, mushroom hunting, and adventuring with his cat.

You can find Elliot on Instagram by @urban.ecologist

Background music by Guillermo Milla Figueroa.

Copyright of Bird Whistling, Robin, Single, 13.wav by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk) of Freesound.org

Episode 2: Dr Tahia Devisscher, Banting Research and Teaching Fellow at the UBC Faculty of Forestry

In this second episode, I talked with Dr. Tahia Devisscher about Mental Health and #GreenSpaces.

Dr. Tahia Devisscher is a Banting Research and Teaching Fellow at the UBC Faculty of Forestry. She is currently studying the extent to which forests and other green spaces in and around cities increase social-ecological resilience, and improve the way in which urbanites benefit from and engage with nature. In past work with the Stockholm Environment Institute, Tahia supported and led applied research to improve human wellbeing and address climate change adaptation through nature-based solutions in more than 20 countries. She has an interdisciplinary background and a PhD in ecosystems science from the University of Oxford.

Regarding the Mindfulness trail in the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest: it will be launched on Earth Day 2021. The Mindfulness trail offers an experience in nature-inspired by mindfulness, forest bathing, and yoga. Nature plays an important role in human health and well-being. Spending time in nature reduces stress, encourages physical activity, accelerates restoration, and enhances creativity. Tahia coordinated the design of the self-guided trail since 2019 working with a team of collaborators from the UBC Faculty of Forestry, the Loon Lake Lodge & Retreat Centre, and the Malcolm Knapp Research Forest.

Check out Tahia’s #DanceYourPhD video!

Background music by Guillermo Milla Figueroa.

Sarah Gergel
Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Dr. Sarah Gergel
Hisham Zerriffi
Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Dr. Hisham Zerriffi

Episode 1: Deans of Diversity and Inclusion, Dr Sarah Gergel and Dr Hisham Zerriffi

In this first episode, I talked with two professors of the Faculty of Forestry (FoF) that are leading the way in terms of challenging conversations, training, and ultimately, policies.

Dr. Sarah Gergel is a Full Professor and the first Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at the Faculty of Forestry.

Her lab studies the impact of human activities on landscape dynamics.

Dr. Hisham Zerriffi is an Associate Professor and was recently appointed as the incoming Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion of the Faculty.

His lab studies the intersection of technology, energy, and the environment.

They both are very active on Twitter, here their Twitter handles:

In this episode, we also talked about some events and JEDI driven teams at FoF, click on their names to find out more: Diversity Crew website, Diversity Council, and the Virtual Lunch in the Forest Series!

Background music by Guillermo Milla Figueroa.

Trailer of First Series of Tuning into the Forest

The invited musician for this podcast series is Guillermo Milla Figueroa, Master in Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon (USA), and oboe soloist of the Chilean Symphonic Orchestra since 1985. Guillermo is originally from Chile and has traveled the world with the Chilean Symphonic Orquestra and Ensamble Serenata. 

Thank you for joining this community!