Affiliated Scholars


Steven Alexander

PhD, University of Waterloo

As an applied human ecologist and environmental social scientist my research broadly explores the interplay between conservation, environmental change, and natural resource use. My doctoral research more specifically examined the respective governance arrangements associated with an emerging network of fish sanctuaries in Jamaica and questions of fit. An undergraduate degree in geology from St. Lawrence University, a small liberal arts university in northern New York, and a semester abroad in East Africa studying conservation and development provided the foundation for considering the complexities of human-environment interactions and bridging the natural and social sciences. I then went on to spend ten years as an interdisciplinary educator and administrator working with a number of non-profit organizations and universities across North America. Through this work I facilitated professional development workshops for science teachers, led natural history programs for Elderhostel groups, engaged K-12 students in field ecology, developed innovate undergraduate courses incorporating community-based learning and contributed to several field-based university semester programs.
Email: s22alexa(at)
Twitter: @salexander_11


Mark Andrachuk

Mark Andrachuk

PhD, University of Waterloo

I work with communities on issues related to human dimensions of environmental change and natural resource conservation. My background and expertise are in social-ecological resilience and transformations, governance networks, knowledge systems, and climate adaptation. As of fall 2017, I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Guelph where I am contributing to development of a community-based system for tracking environmental change in order to support wildlife stewardship and conservation. This monitoring system is centered on app-based data collection (e.g. using smart phones and tablets) in order to engage and empower Inuit sovereignty over adaptive responses to environmental change. For my doctoral studies with the ECGG, I investigated how fishing communities can create or become more engaged in programs to improve livelihoods and ecological sustainability. This work, based in Vietnam, explored questions about fishers’ perceptions of environmental change, how to further engage fishers in co-management networks, and how successes with small-scale fisheries management can be replicated across communities. During my studies I also become interested in, and began to engage in, knowledge mobilization as a means to bridge scientific knowledge for application in policy and practice.
Email: mandrach(at)
Twitter: @markandrachuk



Cheryl Chan

MES, University of Waterloo

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, I studied biology and education concurrently at Queen’s University; completing a B.Sc.H. in 2009, and a B.Ed. in 2010. After graduating, I pursued an interest in international education by moving to Nanjing, China, where I taught at a Canadian international school. Since returning to Canada, I have gained experience in restoration ecology by engaging in field work, and collaborating with stakeholders on a variety of restoration projects through Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration program. These opportunities have allowed me to better understand how communities interact with ecosystems, and how these types of relationships might be articulated or represented. My MES research explored some of the connections between ecosystem services and social well-being in coastal communities.


Epstein 2

Graham Epstein

PhD, Indiana University

As an environmental social scientist my research explores a wide range of questions at the intersection of people, the environment and policy. Specifically my research investigates how environmental policies influence behavior and sustainability outcomes in different contexts using both qualitative and quantitative method and seeks to uncover the contexts in which particular policies are likely to increase prospects for sustainability. I completed an undergraduate degree in Ecology at the University of Waterloo, a Master’s in International Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph and a PhD at Indiana University. My research has been published in a number of different venues including the International Journal of the Commons, Ecology and Society and Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.
Email: Graham.Epstein(at)



Heidi Karst

PhD, University of Waterloo

I am an environmental social scientist and consultant in the field of sustainability, with an interest in adopting interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and improving conservation, wellbeing and governance of natural resources. My doctoral research examined how development projects (e.g., ecotourism) enhanced and constrained social-ecological sustainability and wellbeing in local and indigenous communities and forests in protected areas of Bhutan. This work drew upon multiple perspectives, including biodiversity conservation, development studies (buen vivir, social wellbeing), and social-ecological systems. Prior to my doctoral studies, I collaborated with communities and institutions locally and internationally on projects and programs in environmental conservation, human rights education and development. I currently conduct research as a Divisional Program Specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. Through my experiences in academia, civil society, private and public sectors, I have become particularly interested in integrating scientific knowledge, policy development and practice to promote evidence-based problem solving and decision making.
Email: hkarst(at) 



Ahmed Khan

PhD, Memorial University

I am an interdisciplinary scholar interested in the complex and myriad inter-linkages between the environment, the economy and society. I employ both conceptual and analytical tools in understanding best management practices in sustaining natural resources and human well-being from local, regional and global scales. I am currently working on adaptation governance portfolios in Atlantic Canada and the Caribbean region under the ParCA Project. Prior to this, I was a research fellow with UNEP- IEMP in Beijing. My main contribution was the design and implementation of UNEP’s ecosystem-based adaptation flagship program in Seychelles and to the governance of ecosystem services in the upper Nile in East Africa. I have also worked on fisheries management issues in Canada (BC, NL & NS) as well as in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. My research has been published as book chapters, policy briefs and articles in journals such as Ambio, Bioeconomics, Fisheries Research, Marine Policy and Science.
Email: Ahmed.Khan(at)