My research explores the intricacies of conflict and collaboration in managing multiple-use landscapes. Collaboration is essential for effective, equitable, and flexible management, yet it can be challenging as people navigate layers of politics, history, uncertainty of ecological systems, and diverse ways of using, valuing, and thinking about landscapes. I investigate the complex roots of contention and the creative work of developing new connections across divides. In this work, I draw on ideas of integrated social-ecological systems, networks, and narratives.
My current work is based around the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in the southern Appalachians. The Nantahala-Pisgah is fragmented across eighteen counties in western North Carolina that are home to diverse communities, such as Cherokee, generational residents, and relative new comers seeking mountain views and recreation. The forest is valued as a biodiversity hotspot, a recreation mecca, a cultural touchstone, and a source of timber, game, and clean water. I am studying contention and collaboration among communities with different worldviews and values as they work through the forest plan revision and seek to influence the trajectory of the physical and social landscape. In this work, I am assisting multiple collaborative efforts, aiding in such activities as collaborative mapping and note-taking.
2017 - Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference: “Discursive Policy Analysis and Political Ecology in the Southern Appalachians.”
2016 - ANTH 4075, Economic Anthropology: “American Ginseng and Markets in the Southern Appalachians.”
2016 - Symposium on Integrative Conservation: “Contentious Collaboration: The Interplay of Narratives and Networks in Environmental Governance.”
2015 - Symposium on Integrative Conservation: “Tracking fit and feedback of environmental governance and social-ecological systems in western North Carolina.”
2015 - Co-organizer and moderator of “Qrowd and Qloud,” a counter mapping workshop at the Interdisciplinary Research Conference.
Valparaiso University – Valparaiso, IN – Philosophy and Greek Majors, Minors in Math and Humanities – Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude – 2007
University of Georgia – Athens, GA – Integrative Conservation and Anthropology PhD Program