Elizabeth Olson

President (May 2021–May 2023)  Dr. Liz Olson is an anthropologist by training and practice, and has spent more than two decades working with people and communities from many cultures to gain a genuine and deep understanding of what it means to be human. She earned her PhD from Case Western Reserve University with a focus on Medical Anthropology & Global Health. As a retired professor of anthropology (SUU, 2022) she is currently working as a consultant and researcher in user experience and human-centered design to help clients improve the ways that people use their products. Liz has been part of the Society for a decade, and during that time has served in various roles on the Board of Directors. During her tenure as President, she is committed to building inclusivity for the Society and ethnobiology, at large. Contact: president@ethnobiology.org

Daniela Shebitz

Vice President/President Elect (May 2021–May 2023) 

I am an ethnobotanist who is inspired by integrating traditional ecological knowledge into conservation of forests and the restoration of culturally-significant basketry and medicinal plants. My work has focused on reintroducing anthropogenic burning and incorporating cultural knowledge into secondary forest management in New York, New Jersey, Washington State and Costa Rica. I fell in love with ethnobotany when I was an undergraduate at SUNY ESF and went to my first Society of Ethnobiology Conference. I then pursued my MS at SUNY ESF, working to understand the population status, ecology and restoration potential of sweetgrass with the Haudenosaunee and then my Ph.D. at the University of Washington working to restore beargrass savannas with the Quinault and Skokomish Indian Nations. Throughout those years, the SoE has played a pivotal role in helping to define my profession and knowledge. I am now the Executive Director of the School of Environmental and Sustainability Sciences at Kean University in Union, NJ where I also teach courses in Medicinal Botany, Conservation Biology, Sustainability Capstone, and oversee many student research projects. I am truly honored to be serving as the Vice President/President-Elect of the SoE. In addition, I am on the boards of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability and the Hanson Park Conservancy. Outside of work, I try to balance my love of ice cream and lots of other yummy food with my passion for cycling and hiking. Contact: vice-president@ethnobiology.org

John M. Marston

Treasurer (May 2020–May 2023) 

John M. Marston is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Archaeology Program at Boston University, where he heads the Environmental Archaeology Laboratory. A paleoethnobotanist, he studies the long-term sustainability of agriculture and land use with a focus on ancient societies of the Mediterranean and western and central Asia, including recent fieldwork in Turkey, Israel, and Uzbekistan, and pending fieldwork in Greece. His research has been recently supported by the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, and Australian-American Fulbright Commission, leading to numerous publications including the award-winning monograph Agricultural Sustainability and Environmental Change at Ancient Gordion and the article “Modeling Resilience and Sustainability in Ancient Agricultural Systems" in the Journal of Ethnobiology. A former co-editor of Ethnobiology Letters (2015–2020), he has been a member of the Society since 2007. His favorite grass is Stipa holosericea. Contact: treasurer@ethnobiology.org

 

Alex McAlvaySecretary (May 2021–May 2024) 

Alex McAlvay is an Assistant Curator in the Institute of Economic Botany at the New York Botanical Garden and affiliate at Columbia University and City University of New York. He currently serves as Secretary for the Society of Ethnobiology. His research is focused on understanding the relationships between humans and their environments, the evolutionary and ecological impacts of humans on plants, and the traditional stewardship of plants by cultures and communities. His work ranges from genomic research to understand how humans have shaped plants through domestication to ethnobotanical projects to support the continuity and revitalization of cultural traditions related to plants. His current projects are focused on reviving resilient traditional cropping systems in Ethiopia and Republic of Georgia, studying the ecology of forest gardens in the Pacific Northwest of North America, documenting the flora and uses of plants of the Shinnecock Nation on Long Island, investigating the intersection of language and plants in Western Mexico, and reconstructing the evolutionary history of Brassica and wheat. Crops. Contact: secretary@ethnobiology.org

Board Members at Large

Chelsey Geralda ArmstrongPublications Liaison (May 2020–May 2023)  Chelsey Geralda Armstrong is Assitant Professor in Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University. She works and lives on the Northwest Coast of North America where she applies ethnobiological theory and method to archaeological practice. Along with her Tsimshian and Gitxsan collaborators, Chelsey studies the cultural landscapes of the Skeena watershed. In particular, she explores the timing and extent of ancient forest management practices that resulted in remnant forest gardens found at archaeological sites today. Chelsey has been a member of the Society for 12 years, previously served as the website and social media coordinator, she is a Barbara Lawrence award recipient, and considers the Society to be her intellectual home. In her 2nd term as publications liaison, she works with JOE and EBL editors to broadcast our great publications to the world. Contact: publications-liaison@ethnobiology.org

Kali WadePromotion and Outreach Coordinator: Publicity and Community Engagement (May 2022–May 2025)  Kali is an archaebotanist whose focus is microbotanical (phytolith) remains and their potential to reconstruct ancient diet, technology, and palaeoenvironments. Her research is currently focused on phytolith methodologies and she's loving her recent assemblages which showcase ecosystem management in ancient North America. Previously serving as a co-editor of the Forage! Blog and social media coordinator, Kali is now serving her second term as Publicity and Community Engagement Coordinator. She hopes that through accessible science education and transparent communication, we can continue sharing scientific literature, activist events, and the happenings of the Society in a light-hearted, enjoyable way. Feel free to email Kali with requests or ideas for Community Engagement at publicity@ethnobiology.org

Zoë EddyPromotion and Outreach Coordinator: Membership and Development (May 2021–2024)  Zoë Eddy. Bio coming soon. Contact: membership@ethnobiology.org

Florencia Pech-CárdenasPromotion and Outreach Coordinator: Student Engagement (May 2019–May 2022) Florencia Pech-Cárdenas is an Maya woman from the Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. She is a PhD Candidate at the University of Minnesota in the Forest Resources Department. Her research focuses on understanding Maya farmers' and artisans' management of the dry tropical forest in order to fulfill their livelihoods while engaging in the tourism industry. She is interested in bringing, highlighting and centering Indigenous perspectives and voices into the forest management field and practice. Growing up Indigenous, poor and a woman, she strongly believes in using an intersectional lens to uncover several ways Indigenous peoples, and particularly Indigenous women, experience oppression in everyday life. Her doctoral dissertation uses the humanities, ecological and social methodologies to understand how Maya farmers-artisans manage their forest and natural resources while engaging in the tourism market via handicraft production. She has been involved in the Society of Ethnobiology since 2017 where she has felt very welcome and believes the strong commitment of the SoE towards Indigenous and diverse communities. She is also engaged in initiatives to bring women into STEAM fields, and to open spaces for women mothers in academic and University settings. She loves cooking Yucatecan food, and enjoys her free time outdoor hiking, traveling and being in close contact with plants and family. Florencia is also a mother, daughter, sister, wife, matriarch, botanist, and a Fulbright scholar. Contact: students@ethnobiology.org

Annalee SekulićWeb and Social Media Liaison (May 2020–May 2023)  Annalee Sekulić is a research assistant in Dr. Joy McCorriston’s Near Eastern Archaeology and Archaeobotany Laboratory (NEAAL) Laboratory at Ohio State University. Annalee’s current research is focused on analyzing packrat and hyrax middens to understand as proxies for ancient vegetation. She uses her data to reconstruct the flora in archeological contexts within southern Oman. She currently is a Senior Research Associate with Hanover Research, a market research firm. Since 2019, Annalee enjoys working with the Society of Ethnobiology to bridge the divide between academic and general audiences through social media. Feel free to email Annalee with requests or ideas for social media at socialmedia@ethnobiology.org.

Ricky RietjensUndergraduate Ethnobiologist Award Winner (May 2022–May 2023)  Ricky Rietjens is a senior at Northern Michigan University studying medicinal plant chemistry and indoor agriculture. His capstone research examines terpene synthesis of Cannabis sativa L. inflorescence in response to UVB addition and attenuation. Ricky’s love for plants, people, and culture can be seen through his interests outside of phytochemistry, which include ethnobotany, mycology, medical anthropology, pharmacognosy, phytoremediation, agricultural sciences, and sustainability. Ricky enjoys foraging for edible and medicinal plants and fungi native to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Along with foraging for meals and herbal medicines, he spent his summer donating time at a local farm (Partridge Creek Farms) that provides free education and affordable produce to the Marquette County community in order to help combat food insecurity. Ricky plans to attend graduate school next year, and hopes to one day travel the world discovering and categorizing natural plant medicines, in addition to understanding their cultural use and medicinal efficacy.

Appointed Board Positions

Ashley BlazinaConference Coordinator  Ashley Blazina is an ecologist who examines how different cultures interact with and manage the ecosystems they live in. She is particularly interested in how these differences affect restoration and land management decisions, both on a regional and global scale. Ashley received her M.Sc. in Environmental and Forest Sciences with a concentration in ethnoecology at the University of Washington. Ashley previously taught in the University of Washington's Environmental Studies department, but currently works in the public sector, examining human behavior and community fire adaptation, specifically through a lens of forest health. Contact: conference@ethnobiology.org

Jade d'Alpoim GuedesAwards Coordinator  Jade d’Alpoim Guedes is an environmental archaeologist and ethnobiologist who employs an interdisciplinary research program to understand how humans adapted their foraging practices and agricultural strategies to new environments and have developed resilience in the face of climatic and social change. She employs a variety of different methodologies in her research including archaeobotany, paleoclimate reconstruction and computational modeling. Dr. d’Alpoim Guedes’ primary region of focus is the Tibetan Plateau, where she directs an interdisciplinary fieldwork project in the Jiuzhaigou National Park in Western Sichuan. She has worked extensively in China, but also has interests in Nepal, Thailand and Pakistan. Dr. d’Alpoim Guedes also works closely with crop scientists to preserve and promote the use of landrace crops. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego where she mentors undergraduate and graduate students in her laboratory. Contact: awards@ethnobiology.org

James R. WelchGraduate Ethnobiology Research Fellowships Coordinator  James R. Welch is Associate Researcher of human ecology and public health at the National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Research Fellow at the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq). From 2011 to 2018 he served as co-editor of Ethnobiology Letters, a journal of the Society of Ethnobiology. His primary research focuses on Indigenous A’uwẽ (Xavante) communities in Central Brazil, addressing such topics as health and wellbeing, fire ecology, social organization, environmental knowledge, territorial rights, and digital sovereignty. He authored and organized four books and has another currently under consideration that addresses A’uwẽ social organization, ecology, and well-being. Contact: fellowships@ethnobiology.org