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Center for Native Peoples and the Environment
Who We Are

 

CNPE Advisory Board

The Center is guided by an advisory board consisting of ESF environmental scientists, environmental leaders from Haudenosaunee communities and indigenous educators from around the country. Members include:

  • Henry Lickers, Director, Environment Division, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
  • David Arquette, Director, Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force
  • Jeanne Shenandoah, environmental leader, Onondaga Nation
  • Wendy Gonyea, environmental leader, Onondaga Nation
  • Richard Hill, Indigenous Knowledge Center, Six Nations Polytechnic

Faculty and Staff

Robin Kimmerer, Director

Website

Robin Kimmerer siting on a benchDr. Kimmerer is a mother, plant ecologist, writer and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She serves as the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability. Her research interests include the role of traditional ecological knowledge in ecological restoration and the ecology of mosses. In collaboration with tribal partners, she and her students have an active research program in the ecology and restoration of plants of cultural significance to Native people. She is active in efforts to broaden access to environmental science education for Native students, and to create new models for integration of indigenous philosophy and scientific tools on behalf of land and culture. She is engaged in programs which introduce the benefits of traditional ecological knowledge to the scientific community, in a way that respects and protects indigenous knowledge.

Dr. Kimmerer has taught courses in botany, ecology, ethnobotany, indigenous environmental issues as well as a seminar in application of traditional ecological knowledge to conservation. She is the co-founder and past president of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge section of the Ecological Society of America.  Dr. Kimmerer serves as a Senior Fellow for the Center for Nature and Humans. Of European and Anishinaabe ancestry, Robin is an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. Dr. Kimmerer is the author of numerous scientific papers on the ecology of mosses and restoration ecology and on the contributions of traditional ecological knowledge to our understanding of the natural world. She is also active in literary biology. Her essays appear in Whole Terrain, Adirondack Life, Orion and several anthologies. She is the author of “Gathering Moss” which incorporates both traditional indigenous knowledge and scientific perspectives and was awarded the prestigious John Burroughs Medal for Nature Writing in 2005. She has served as writer in residence at the Andrews Experimental Forest, Blue Mountain Center, the Sitka Center and the Mesa Refuge.  Her latest book “Braiding Sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants” was released in 2013.

 

  • Kimmerer, R.W. 2013. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants.” Milkweed Editions.
  • Kimmerer, R.W. 2013. The Fortress, the River and the Garden: a new metaphor for cultivating mutualistic relationship between scientific and traditional ecological knowledge. in, “Contemporary Studies in Environmental and Indigenous Pedagogies” (Sense Publishers) edited by Kelley Young and Dan Longboat.
  •  Kimmerer, R.W. 2012 Searching for Synergy: integrating traditional and scientific ecological knowledge in environmental science education. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 2(4):317-323
  • Kimmerer, R. W. 2011 “Restoration and Reciprocity: The Contributions of    Traditional Ecological Knowledge to the Philosophy and Practice of Ecological Restoration.” in “Human Dimensions of Ecological Restoration” edited by David Egan. Island Press.
  • Kimmerer, RW.  2003 Gathering Moss: a natural and cultural history of mosses. Oregon State University Press.
  • Kimmerer, R.W. 2002. Weaving traditional ecological knowledge into biological education: a call to action. BioScience 52:432-438.
  • Kimmerer, R.W. and F.K. Lake 2001. Maintaining the Mosaic: The role of indigenous burning in land management. Journal of Forestry 99: 36-41.
  • Kimmerer, R. W.  2000.  Native Knowledge for Native Ecosystems. Journal of  Forestry.  98(8):4-9

Neil Patterson Jr., Assistant Director

Email

Headshot of Neil PattersonMy work has been to celebrate, restore, and build relationships between indigenous communities and their aboriginal territory. This space still creates language, tradition, and story of human interaction for several thousand years. The pragmatic way in which indigenous people have co-evolved within their landscapes provides the most sublime template for re-imagining and creating sustainable food, material, and energy systems.

  • Printup, Bryan and Patterson, Neil V. Jr. Tuscarora Nation. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2007
  • Ransom, James, et al. Words That Come Before All Else: Environmental Philosophies of the Haudenosaunee. Akwesasne Mohawk Territory: Native North American College, 2002
  • Patterson, Neil V, Jr. "Native Water Enforcement From the Grassroots Up." Universities Council on Water Resources Spring 1997: 47+
  • Annunziatta, Janice W, et al. Haudenosaunee Environmental Restoration: An Indigenous Strategy for Human Sustainability. Cambridge, England: Indigenous Development International, 1992.

Colin Beier, Associated Faculty

Website

headshot of Colin Beier

Research Interests:

I study the structure, function, resilience and adaptive management of forest landscapes during periods of rapid social and environmental change.  I am actively seeking opportunities to engage with indigenous groups and holders of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) for a variety of topics, including understanding climate change impacts, developing climate adaptation strategies, measuring forest ecosystem services and integrating TEK into adaptive resource management (particularly forests).  Current research focuses on the Adirondacks of northern New York and the broader Northern Forest region.  I am a co-investigator on the Learning from the Land Project with the College of Menominee Nation, funded by USDA NIFA.  My background includes extensive work in Alaska and in addition to ESF's CNPE, I recently joined the Hakai Network for Coastal Peoples, Ecosystems and Management.

  • Beier CM. Cultural landscapes and scientific narratives. In press. Ecology
  • Beier CM, Signell SA, Luttman A, DeGaetano AT. 2011. High resolution climate change mapping with gridded historical climate products. Landscape Ecology DOI: 10.1007/s10980-011-9698-8. 
  • Beier CM. 2011. Factors influencing adaptive capacity in the reorganization of forest management in Alaska. Ecology and Society 16 (1): 40. 
  • Resilience Alliance. 2010. Assessing Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems: Workbook for Practitioners. Version 2.0.
  • Beier CM, Lovecraft AL, Chapin FS. 2009. Growth and collapse of a resource system: an adaptive cycle of change in public lands governance and forest management in Alaska. Ecology & Society 14(2): 5. 
  • Beier CM, Patterson TM, Chapin FS. 2008. Ecosystem services and emergent vulnerability in managed ecosystems: a geospatial decision-support tool.  Ecosystems 11(6): 923-938
  • Chapin FS, Peterson G, Berkes F, Callaghan TV, Anglestam P, Apps M, Beier CM, Bergeron Y, Crepin AS, Danell K, Elmqvist T, Folke C, Forbes B, Fresco N, Juday G,
  • Niemela J, Shvidenko A, Whiteman G. 2004. Resilience and vulnerability of northern regions to social and environmental change. Ambio 33: 344-349.

Stewart Diemont, Associated Faculty

Website

Headshot of Stewart DiemontResearch Interests:

Much of my work is with Mayan farmers and foresters in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. In Lacandon, Tsotsil, Itza, Yucatec, and Mopan Maya communities we look at how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) contributes to ecosystem services. I am also studying how production of food and raw materials can be coupled with ecological restoration through TEK. Because the oral tradition that conserves Mayan ecosystem management is currently in decline, we seek through our research and service projects to conserve Mayan ecological knowledge for future generations.

  • Nigh, R., S.A.W. Diemont, 2013. The Mayan milpa: Fire and the legacy of living soil. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11: e45–e54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/120344.
  • Endreny, T. A., and S.A.W. Diemont, 2012. Methods for assessing stormwater management at archaeological sites: Copan Ruins case study. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(8): 2637-2642.
  • Ferguson, B.G., S.A.W. Diemont, R. Alfaro, J.F. Martin, J.N. Toral, J.D. Álvarez Solís, 2013. Sustainability of holistic and conventional cattle ranching in the seasonally dry tropics of Chiapas, Mexico. Agricultural Systems 120: 38-48.
  • Diemont, S.A.W. and J.F. Martin. 2009. Lacandon Maya ecological management: A sustainable design for environmental restoration and human subsistence. Ecological Applications 19: 254-266.
  • Martin, J.F., E. Roy, S.A.W. Diemont, and B.G. Ferguson, 2010. Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK): Ideas, inspiration, and designs for ecological engineering. Ecological Engineering 36: 839-849.
  • Diemont, S.A.W., J. Bohn, D. Rayome, S. Kelsen, K. Cheng. 2011 Comparisons of Mayan forest management, restoration, and conservation. Forest Ecology and Management 261 (10): 1696-1705.
  • Diemont, S.A.W., J.F. Martin, S.I. Levy-Tacher, R.B. Nigh, P. Ramirez-Lopez, and J. D. Golicher. 2006. Lacandon Maya forest management: restoration of soil fertility using native tree species. Ecological Engineering 28: 205-212.
  • Diemont, S.A.W. and J. F. Martin. 2005. Management impacts on the trophic diversity of nematode communities in an indigenous agroforestry system of Chiapas, Mexico. Pedobiologia 49: 325-334.
  • Cheng, K, S.A.W. Diemont, A.P. Drew. 2011. Role of tao (Belotia mexicana) in the traditional Lacandon Maya shifting cultivation ecosystem. Agroforestry Systems 82 (3): 331-336.
  • Diemont, S.A.W., J.F. Martin, and S.I. Levy-Tacher. 2006. Emergy evaluation of Lacandon Maya indigenous swidden agroforestry in Chiapas, Mexico. Agroforestry Systems 66: 23-42.
  • Martin, J.F., S.A.W. Diemont, E. Powell, M. Stanton, and S.I. Levy-Tacher. 2006. Evaluating and comparing the sustainability of three agricultural methods with Emergy analysis. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 115: 128-140.
  • Alfaro, R., S.A.W. Diemont, B. Ferguson, J.F. Martin, J. Nahed, D. Álvarez, R, Pinto Ruíz, 2010. Steps toward sustainable ranching. Agricultural Systems 103(9): 639-646.
  • Diemont, S.A.W., T.J. Lawrence, and T.A. Endreny, 2010. Envisioning ecological engineering education: An international survey of the educational and professional community. Ecological Engineering 36: 570-578.

James Gibbs, Associated Faculty

Website

James Gibbs in a field with antlersProfessor of Vertebrate Conservation Biology, Associate Chair, Director of Roosevelt Wild Life Station, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology.

Gibbs’ relevant research activities have most recently focused on use of wildlife by indigenous people in Guyana (an NSF-funded “biocomplexity” grant) and assessing the impacts of grazing on biodiversity in western Mongolia (funded by USAID) by leveraging indigenous knowledge relevant to management to develop policy for the sustainable use of pasturelands in the context of climate change.

  • Hunter, Elizabeth A.; Raney, Patrick A.; Gibbs, James P.; Leopold, Donald J. 2012.  Improving Wetland Mitigation Site Identification through Community Distribution Modeling and a Patch-Based Ranking Scheme. WETLANDS 32: 841-850
  • Gibbs, James P.; Smart, Lawrence B.; Newhouse, Andrew E.; Leopold, Donald J. 2012. A Molecular and Fitness Evaluation of Commercially Available versus Locally Collected Blue Lupine Lupinus perennis L. Seeds for Use in Ecosystem Restoration Effort RESTORATION ECOLOGY 20: 456-461
  • Steen, D. A.; Gibbs, J. P.; Buhlmann, K. A.; Carr, J. L.; Compton, B. W.; Congdon, J. D.; Doody, J. S.; Godwin, J. C.; Holcomb, K. L.; Jackson, D. R.; Janzen, F. J.; Johnson, G.; Jones, M. T.; Lamer, J. T.; Langen, T. A.; Plummer, M. V.; Rowe, J. W.; Saumure, R. A.; Tucker, J. K.; Wilson, D. S. 2012. Terrestrial habitat requirements of nesting freshwater turtles. BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION 150:121-128.

     

    Some recent books:

     Fundamentals of conservation biology (with Hunter)

     Problem-solving in conservation biology (with Hunter and Sterling) 

Catherine Landis, Postdoctoral Associate

Website

Catherine Landis leaning against a treeCatherine recently finished her doctorate at SUNY ESF. Her dissertation focused on the historical ecology of the Onondaga Lake watershed, including a broad look at Indigenous subsistence patterns. A major Superfund site, Onondaga Lake is also sacred to the Haudenosaunee as the place where the Peacemaker came to unite the warring nations and facilitate enduring peace through the Great Law. Dr. Landis earned a Master's Degree also at ESF, where she studied riparian plant establishment along an urban stream. She currently assists with the Center's efforts to enhance NYS DEC's capacity to engage Indigenous communities and incorporate biocultural resources and restoration into land planning.

 

Sharon Moran, Associated Faculty

Website

Headshot of Sharon MoranEnvironmental degradation has shown that it is essential to reconsider almost every aspect of post-industrial life, in New York and beyond.  In order to achieve something closer to ‘sustainability’ (however defined), it is essential to attend to equity and justice. While the mainstream approaches of environmental management have relied on formal governmental institutions, based in a system of laws and regulations operating at the state and national level, other approaches to environmental management are also being explored and tested. In particular, there are many Indigenous Nations and environmental organizations who are fully sovereign and therefore beyond the familiar jurisdictions. They have been establishing their own environmental management plans that use different strategies including community control, co-management, traditional knowledge, and local stewardship, among others. My students and I are interested in exploring viable organizational alternatives for environmental responsibility.

  • Political ecology; environment-society relations
  • Human dimensions of water/ wastewater issues
  • Environmental issues in post-communist countries
  • Qualitative research methods; gender and nature
  • Sustainability indicators

  • Moran, Sharon, Brenda Nordenstam, and Timothy Stenson. 2012. Sustainable Water Technologies: the Built Environment and Architect Awareness (under review).
  • Moran, Sharon. 2010. "Cities, Creeks, and Erasure: Stream Restoration and Environmental Justice," Environmental Justice, June 2010, 3(2): 61-69.
  • Baruah, Mitul, and Sharon Moran. 2010. "Ecological Economics". In Green Politics, ed. Paul Robbins. Sage Reference Series on Green Society, vol. 2. [online]. Sage.
  • Magnuszewski, Artur, Sharon Moran, and Guoliang Yu. 2010. "Modeling Lowland Reservoir Sedimentation Conditions and Potential Environmental Consequences of Dam Removal: Wloclawek Reservoir, Vistula River, Poland." Pp. 8-16 in Sediment Dynamics for a Changing Future, ed.
  • Kazimierez Banasik. Proceedings of the Symposium of International Commission on Continental Erosion. Publication 337. Wallingford, UK: IAHS Press. Available here.
  • Moran, Sharon. 2009. "Bytes of Note - The State of the Toilet," Environment 51(11 November): 7-8. Available here.
  • Moran, Sharon. 2008. "Under the Lawn: Engaging the Water Cycle," Ethics, Place, and Environment 11(2): 129-145.
  • Moran, Sharon. 2007. "Stream Restoration Projects: A Critical Analysis of Urban Greening," Local Environment 12(2): 111-128.

Josh Drew, Associated Faculty

Website

headshot of joshua drewMy work looks at community based approaches to conservation in aquatic areas ranging from Syracuse to Fiji. By looking at ways to approach conservation in a just, and equitable manner. My goal is to develop programs that lead to the protection of biodiversity while simultaneously reflecting the desires of the traditional land and sea owners, and honoring the relationships among the people, the land and the sea.

 

 

Kyle Artelle, Associated Faculty

Faculty Profile

kyle artelle smilingMy group contributes to conservation, management, restoration, and stewardship approaches that support people, other species, and places. Much of this is in collaboration with First Nations communities and governments in an area now commonly referred to as the Great Bear Rainforest of Coastal British Columbia, Canada.

kaartell@esf.edu 

 

 

 

Research areas include:

  • Ecology and stewardship of culturally important species, including wolves, black bears, and grizzly (brown) bears
  • Place-based stewardship in support of people and biodiversity including the Haíɫzaqv (Heiltsuk) First Nation-led Xvíɫm̓ístaƛ h̓ákq̓áṃ qṇtxv bákvḷásu (“Our food will return”) program restoring multiple linked marine and intertidal species and ecosystems throughout their territory
  • Inquiry into conservation and management approaches at scales from regional to continental 

Current or upcoming opportunities include:

  • Coastal wolf and biodiversity monitoring project that combines camera trapping, autonomous recording units (audio recordings), and non-invasive genetic materials (hairs and scats) 
  • Stellar sea lion integrated management, involving both sea lion demographics and population monitoring as well as potential human health dimensions of restoring sea lion food harvest
  • Herring transplant restoration project

  • Restoration clam beds of economic, ecological, and cultural importance impacted by a recent oil spill and an invasive European Green Crab invasion 
  • Broader-scale wildlife ‘management’ and conservation-focused questions 

Maddy Nyblade, Associated Faculty

Faculty Profile

Madeline Nyblade in a row boat surrounded by tall grass Maddy is an Environmental Studies professor in the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY ESF. She is a settler originally from central Pennsylvania, but has since lived in Minneapolis, MN and now Syracuse, NY. In 2023, she completed her PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences, with a graduate minor in American Indian and Indigenous Studies, at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  She is passionate about studying the hydrologic impacts of climate and land cover change on culturally important plants, especially Manoomin/Psiη (wild rice), in partnership with Indigenous Nations. 

Jean Kayira, Associated Faculty

Faculty Profile

Smiling Jean Kayira

Research Interests

Indigenous knowledge systems, food sovereignty, decolonizing and Indigenous research methodologies, community-based research, youth participatory action research, climate change education, and culturally responsive & equitable evaluation.

Tusha Yakovleva, Community Outreach Coordinator

Website

Tusha My work revolves around growing strong, reciprocal relationships between land and people and has included teaching, research, and writing in ethnobotany; working with food sovereignty and land justice organizations; directing a wild foods share program; keeping seeds; growing perennials. My botanical knowledge is rooted in rural and urban soils within northern temperate forests across two continents. The foundation of my life-long plant tending practice comes from my family and first home - the Volga River watershed in Russia - where learning from uncultivated plants is common practice. Following many years in the Muheconneok watershed, I moved to Onondaga Nation homelands to attend ESF, where I’ve had the honor and joy to be guided by the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. At the Center, I coordinate community and youth outreach programs, public communications, and Justice for the Land initiatives.

Sarah Howard, Student Support and Capacity-Building Coordinator

Sarah Howard with a flowerSarah recently graduated from SUNY ESF with an MS in Environmental Science. Their current work with the Center focuses on coordinating the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership and supporting the Center’s capacity-building efforts through the development of organizational systems and processes. Sarah’s involvement with the Center throughout graduate school deeply informed and guided their Masters thesis, which examines cross-cultural partnerships for the biocultural restoration of Indigenous foods and foodways and draws on their ongoing collaborative research with co-worker Tusha Yakovleva.  Prior to arriving at SUNY ESF, Sarah spent ten years working as a farmer, educator, and environmental justice organizer in southeast Louisiana. Sarah holds a BA in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality / African-American Studies from Harvard University and is happiest in the forest.

CNPE Students

Graduate Student and Alumni

For  current Sloan Indigenous Graduate Fellows, visit the Sloan Indigenous Graduate Fellow page.

Annie Sorrell, Sowing Synergy Graduate Program

annie sorrellMy name is Annie Sorrell I am a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. I received my Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science at Haskell Indian Nations University. I am currently pursuing my Master's degree in Conservation Biology at SUNY ESF. Growing up on the Flathead Nation where my family resides, I have an interest in understanding how reconnection to land and place can help heal intergenerational traumas that are on reservations. My current research is designed to better understand the traditional knowledge of Bitterroot Salish aromatic plants within the community living on the Flathead Nation in Montana. Living in a world today where aromatic scents can be purchased anywhere; I want to see if the traditional knowledge is being handed down through the generations or with the modern world is the knowledge being lost. I want to use the knowledge that I learn at SUNY ESF and bring it back to my communities.

Kaya DeerInWater, Sowing Synergy Graduate Program

Kaya DeerInWater looking at a plant

Kaya DeerInWater is from the Citizen Band of Potawatomi and lives in Wasétenak (Grand Rapids, Michigan) with his wife and three children. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Biocultural Restoration at SUNY ESF in Syracuse, New York. His research focuses on the plant knowledge within the Citizen Potawatomi communities in Central Oklahoma. He received his undergraduate degree from University of California Davis in Ecological Restoration and Management. He previously worked as the Community Garden Manager for his band where he focused on growing both traditional and non-traditional crops and led workshops around building relationships with plants and the land through Indigenous foods and crafts. His vision is rebuilding robust Native food systems by building capacity through increased production, distribution, and consumption of nutritious, culturally significant, and sustainably harvested foods within Great Lakes Native communities.

Loga Fixico, Sowing Synergy Graduate Program

Loga fixico in a forestMy name is Loga Fixico and I'm an Amskapi Pikunni (Blackfeet) man from the High Plains of Montana. The Blackfeet Nation is a nation of warriors. And this is important to understand because it's fundamental to our social values and the way we think. But this warrior ethos has very little to do with fighting or killing, and everything to do with maintaining our responsibilities. Growing up on an Indian reservation brought challenges that I didn't expect when I was a boy. But they're challenges that I'm grateful to have been given. I'm only the second person in my family to successfully navigate college. Some of this success includes a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Terrestrial Resources), an Associate of Forestry, a Master Level Tutor Certification, and a Geospatial Science Certification. Although I now know it's far more important to learn how to learn as opposed to learning what to learn, I'm extending my passions into a Master's degree in biocultural restoration at SUNY ESF. I find it absolutely fascinating how societies interface cultural values and ecological values, and how these connections synthesize to create functional systems of management and restoration. This is how I plan to contribute to the body of scientific knowledge and to my community's long-term wellbeing.

Raymond John Gutteriez, M.S., Ecology

black and white image of raymond gutteriez standing on a rock

Hele nuum (Hello People), my name is Raymond John Gutteriez. I started my journey in graduate school in late August 2013. I have the good fortune to be a part of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, where I am pursuing a Master’s degree in Ecology. I remember when I was a little guy, following my grandmother and great-aunt around and learning about the different plants and animals of the Sierra Nevada. I watched and listened as names were spoken, uses explained and how we—human-animals—are to care for the plants, animals, air, water, land and one another. It was these early teachings which greatly influenced the way I see the world and directed my choice of college majors. I graduated from California State University at Fresno in 2010 with a degree in Ecology. I remember being frustrated in classes, where I attempted to share a different way of knowing the land, taught to me by my grandma and auntie, and having my ideas brushed aside for not being “scientific.”

In the short history of our species we have created, and continue to create, many wounds on our Mother Earth and on our own human-spirit. We oppress and exploit the land in the same way we oppress and exploit one another. We over look that the wounds we make on the land are the wounds we make on our spirits and the wounds we make on our spirits are the wounds we make on the land. We are intrinsically interconnected. But, far too often we attempt to separate the two. There is human civilization and there is the ‘nature’, the ‘wilderness’.

I work to encourage different ways of knowing the world. I want to be a part of the movement dismantling the wall dividing traditional ecological knowledge and scientific ecological knowledge. I want to empower communities to be stewards of their local environments, to rebuild the connection between people and the land. I know what it is like being the lone voice in a room talking about TEK, for that reason I work with indigenous youth to help them develop the vocabulary explain their world views and ways of knowing in a way western minds can understand.

I guess a little more of my history might be useful. I am a person of many cultures. I am Wuksachi-Mono, indigenous from the Sierra Nevada Range in California; I am black, African American, the descendent of escaped and freed slaves; I grew up in a Mexican community, East Salinas; I have watched my family navigate the economic spectrum and move from working-class to kind of middle class. I am constantly learning about history, my history, the history of struggle of poor people and people of color. I know the struggles those who have come before me have faced so that I can be where I am today. I see the legacy they have right our species, and thought we are far from being at a place respect and mutual appreciation for one another and all things I, and many like me are working to continue that legacy, to empower communities to shed the chains of imperialism and continue the transition to a more sustainable world ecologically and socially.

Sara Amanda Smith, M.S., Ecology

headshot of sara smith

Sara Smith is a citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and is the Midwest Tribal Resilience Liaison with the College of Menominee Nation - Sustainable Development Institute (CMN-SDI), in association with the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (MW CASC).

As the liaison for the Midwest, she works on facilitating stronger relationships between Tribes, climate researchers, State and Federal organizations, academic institutions, and the MW CASC. In addition, she works with Tribes to build capacity and provides support by helping identify gaps and assisting with climate resilience efforts.

Sara holds a Master of Science in Ecology from the State University of New York – College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an undergraduate degree in Biology and First Nation Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Undergraduate Students and Alumni

Cassandra Beaulieu, Indigenous Environmental Leaders for the Future Fellowship Recipient

Cassandra BeaulieuShé:kon, my name is Cassandra Beaulieu (Mohawk Nation) and I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Environmental Chemistry here at SUNY ESF with a focus on aquatic chemistry. I earned an A.S in Mathematics & Science with a concentration in chemistry at Cayuga Community College. This past summer I participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Oceanography (SURFO) at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island. During this time I developed a method for accurately measuring the nitrogen isotopic composition of ammonium in water samples provided by wastewater treatment facilities that discharge into the Narragansett Bay watershed. Making these particular nutrient measurements can give insight to what sources of nitrogen are controlling the watershed nutrient loads and can help in mediating eutrophication and hypoxia in the bay. I am also working on a senior project in the chemistry department at ESF dealing with the effects of CDOM (colored dissolved organic matter) on carbon dioxide gas transfer in freshwater systems. Due, in part, to these experiences, I am interested in nutrient cycling in aquatic systems and plan on pursuing a PhD in Chemical Oceanography in the near future. In regard to my involvement as an indigenous environmental leader for the future, I am enjoying connecting TEK to my interests in aquatic chemistry and learning how an indigenous cultural background can be at the forefront of my education in a STEM field.

Kathryn Goodwin, Indigenous Environmental Leaders for the Future Fellowship Recipient

Kathryn GoodwinOki, my name is Kathryn Goodwin. I will be a junior in Environmental Studies with a focus in policy, planning, and law. I am from Los Angeles, where I went to community college before transferring here this past fall. I am of Blackfeet heritage and being a part of the Indigenous Environmental Leaders of the Future has allowed me to gain a closer connection to my ancestry and to others' heritages. I am interested in food security and the ways in which climate change is affecting agriculture across the world. More recently, I have become interested in learning all I can about the drought in California. As a life long resident of the state, it's water crisis is very personal to me. Seeing the news media cover it, makes me realize that what happens in California will undoubtedly affect the whole state, no matter what coast you live on. In the future, I would like to go into water policy/security and look at the ways in which water wars will be the wars of the future.

Kimberly Hill, Indigenous Environmental Leaders for the Future Fellowship Recipient

Kimberly HillČwe'n, kyà:0e Yehehnakwáhstha?. Hi, my name is Kim Hill and I'm from the Tuscarora Nation (near Niagara Falls, NY). I graduated from Bard College at Simon's Rock with an Associate's degree in liberal studies. I transferred to SUNY ESF in 2013 to focus more on environmental studies and was accepted as a fellow for Indigenous Environmental Leaders for the Future. I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Natural Resources Management with minors in Water Resources and Recreation Resource & Protected Area Management. Last year, I was accepted as part of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at Northern Arizona University. I've spent the past summer working with conservation issues on the Colorado Plateau and the Grand Canyon region where we did service-learning projects and various field trips. I also worked with USGS on Sagebrush Habitat Assessment in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. This summer I will be working with USGS again as part of the DDCSP. The internship is studying the impact of nonnative predators on native Hawaiian pollinators and plants while also looking at (eradication) management techniques for pollinator restoration.

Meleimoana Ta’alolo Su’esu’e, Indigenous Environmental Leaders for the Future Fellowship Recipient

MeleTalofa, my name is Mele, I'm a sophomore majoring in Environmental Resources Engineering. I am of Samoan heritage and I was born and raised in Hawai'i. I have always been interested in environmental science, which is why I first applied to ESF. Being a part of the Indigenous Environmental Leaders of the Future allows me to learn about the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge. I am interested in ecological restoration and sustainable development. In the future, I hope to use TEK combined with western science to promote cultural and ecological sustainability in island communities.