Karen E. Hodges

The University of British Columbia
Okanagan Campus


Ecology in society: policy and outreach activities

As an educator, I am committed to teaching students sound scientific approaches to ecological problems. Because many of the ecological and conservation problems facing society today require complex solutions that involve people from many different communities, I am also committed to working with local communities, managers, and policy-makers on projects where scientific knowledge is applied to real-world problems. Strong science is useful in setting policies such as land use zoning, management of at-risk species, and forestry practices.

I therefore engage in a variety of science-related activities beyond teaching and publishing research in scientific journals. I also encourage my students to become active participants as science contributes to policy and management decisions. Some examples of relevant activities are listed below.

Activities outside the university

Member, NSERC adjudication committee for CREATE grants, 2014-2016.  CREATE grants fund 6 year training programs for graduate students across the scientific disciplines, with an emphasis on value-added training for students such as leadership, communication with non-scientific audiences, interdisciplinarity, and application of results in real world contexts.  

Fellow, Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, 2006. This program provides academic scientists with tools for more effective communication with the public, media, businesses, environmental non-governmental organizations, management agencies, and policy-makers.

Member, Terrestrial Mammals Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), 2005-2012. COSEWIC is responsible for requesting and reviewing biological information to determine whether to recommend that species be listed as at-risk under the Species at Risk Act. The subcommittees are composed of people with relevant taxonomic and scientific expertise.


Outreach to non-scientific audiences

I have also enjoyed several opportunities to provide scientific information to the public or to journalists. Examples of these activities include:

Panelist: The Nature of Museums (linked to travelling exhibit on endangered species of BC), Okanagan Heritage Museum, Kelowna, BC.

Instructor, Yellowstone Institute Course on lynx and snowshoe hare ecology, Yellowstone National Park.

Contributor: Snowshoe hare, Hinterland Who’s Who, Canadian Wildlife Service.


Last reviewed shim1/26/2018 9:53:41 AM