Newsletter Issue 2017-01
This newsletter also marks our official announcement of the first Okanagan Environmental Leadership Camp in June, co-organised by Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) and IndigenEYEZ. Finally, this April will see another GEN reunion at the Conservation Optimism Summit in Oxford (see Updates below for more information on both events).
We also offer a warm welcome to Christina Ashford, who joins our team as GDF UK Programme Manager (see Careers section of Updates). 
Warm wishes from the whole GEN team, and we look forward to learning more about your current work and projects on the InterNetWork! If you have any important updates to share, please continue to send them to

GEN stories
A selection of posts from the GEN community. Would you also like to write a blog for us? 

North American Community Environmental Leadership Exchange 2017: Experiences and reflections from Sonora, Mexico
This February, 60 participants and facilitators gathered for Collaborating in the Face of Change: Strategies for Biocultural Protection and Defense, the 3rd NACELE gathering organised by GDF North America. Our GEN Story includes participant reflections, photos, and key learning moments, and shares network members’ plans for future collaborations in the northwestern Mexico region. 

Updates from the Network
Share with the GEN community your recent career steps, articles you wrote, documentaries you created, awards you received and much more! Don't miss the opportunity to let the world know what you're up to: we will share selected stories on the GEN Facebook page and website as well.
Announcements | Ruth is looking for African volunteers in Europe for a TV magazine
Ruth Krause, GEN resource person, is working on a portrait series of environmental volunteers for DW's environmental TV magazine called Eco@Africa.
She's looking for African volunteers who help in environmental projects across Europe. If you have any tips or know someone, please let her know! 
CareersKarlis receives his PhD in Ethnoecology
In January, Karlis Rokpelnis (GESA 2015, Latvia) received a PhD in Ethnoecology from Minzu University of China. His bilingual Chinese/English dissertation analyses perceptions of dryland degradation and recovery in Hui Muslim and Han communities in Ningxia. Besides publishing peer-reviewed articles, he shared his results with the host communities via an account on the widely popular WeChat application and through in-community conversations with key informants. Karlis brought along his father, who is a farmer, as an additional guest to drum up interest. Congratulations, Karlis! 
Careers | Rishi is awarded his PhD
GESA alumni and Vanier Scholar Rishi Bastakoti (GESA 2012, Nepal) defended his PhD on 16 January, 2017 at the Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Canada. The title of his dissertation is “Global Neoliberal Agendas and Local Livelihood Realities of Carbon Trade: Whose Interests, Whose Benefits in Nepal’s Community Forest Governance”.
Using a political ecology approach on multi-scale forest governance from local forest communities  to national policy actors, Bastakoti identifies critical concerns for forest tenure security, state-community power relationships, forest governance of local commons, and local rights. Rishi co-authored an article on Framing REDD+ at National Level: Actors and Discourse around Nepal's Policy Debate, recently published. 
Careers | Congratulations to Edgar on position at Banksia Gardens
Edgar Caballero-Aspe (GESA 2014, Mexico) recently finished his PhD in Environmental Education and in January as a birthday present got his new job as an Education and Youth coordinator at Banksia Gardens Community Services. This non-for-profit has supported people with migrant and refugee stories, and diverse cultural background in a region of poverty, unemployment, illness and poor educational outcomes in Melbourne Australia. For Edgar, this is the next step in his professional journey in environmental education, as the environmental part of it hardly gets attention when trauma and challenging behaviours are dominant in young people. But also fascinating as few demonstrations of emotional understanding, support with boundaries and love can create a huge difference. 
Careers | Christina begins as GDF UK Programme Manager
On April 1, Christina Ashford assumes the role of GDF UK Programme Manager, where she will be working closely with the Regional Programmes Director to ensure the success of GDF’s Mediterranean Programme. Christina will also work on GEN event organisation and network management. Christina joins GDF from the Mines Advisory Group, a humanitarian organisation working to remove landmines and other remnants of war to provide conflict affected communities with safe access to land and infrastructure. As Middle East Programme Coordinator, Christina supported the delivery of country programme strategies in Iraq, Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria. Welcome, Christina!
Careers | Constanza attends BCFN conference in Milan
Congratulations to Constanza Monterrubio Solís (GESA 2015, Mexico) who was one of the finalists of the BCFN YES 2016 research grant competition! The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation endeavours to promote research projects with the goal of helping to create a world where food is produced and consumed in a sustainable way.
The BCFN YES research grant competition is open to PhD and postdoc researcher from any background and nationality. Constanza contribued with her research on “Bio-cultural diversity bringing joy back to the table: Recovery of food traditions in Los Altos de Chiapas, Mexico and Shillong, Meghalaya, North East India”. Watch a short video here! More details about Constanza’s research can be found here and in our next newsletter!
Careers | Peter named co-chair of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report
GESA resource person Peter Messerli was recently appointed co-chair for the UN Global Sustainable Development Report, with the first report slated for release in 2019. Published every four years, the report is intended as a tool for policymakers for furthering sustainable development, and to promote the use of science in policy creation.
Peter is director for the Centre for Development and Environment at the University of Bern. We wish Peter the best of luck in this important role.
Careers | Ashley begins work as climate analyst
Ashley Bach (NACELE 2015), from the Mishkeegogamang First Nation, recently began a position as a Climate Change Policy Analyst with the Chiefs of Ontario in Toronto. She has also been accepted to an online Master of Science in Environmental Planning and Management through Johns Hopkins University, and will begin her studies in the summer 2017 semester. Congratulations Ashley!

On the web | Braiding the Sacred, new Cultural Conservancy documentary
Congratulations to GEN members Melissa Nelson (NACELE 2015), Kaylena Bray (GESA 2013, U.S.A.) and Mateo Hinojosa (NACELE 2013, Bolivia), who produced Cultural Conservancy’s new documentary Braiding the Sacred. Braiding the Sacred is a network of traditional indigenous corn producers from cultures of maize, sharing resources, information, experiences and seeds. This video emerged from the network throughout 2016 and highlights producers from the following communities: Onondaga, Mohawk, Seneca, Kawaik (Laguna Pueblo), Tesuque Pueblo, Quechua, Diné (Navajo). Watch the 11-minute video herePueblo, Quechua, Diné (Navajo).
On the web | Sarah-Lan brings her research on agroforestry, climate change and Indigenous knowledge on TV!
Sarah-Lan Mathez-Stiefel, GEN core faculty and researcher at ICRAF, was invited by the Peruvian radio and TV programme RPP to discuss about her work in the Andes. She highlighted the potential of agroforestry to reconcile human development needs with environmental sustainability. She also stressed the importance of Indigenous environmental knowledge for climate change adaptation, and the social justice dimension of climate change policies. "I was astonished by the impact of TV as a media as compared to other way of communicating our work: I posted on Facebook a photo of this interview and got over 250 likes in a few days, compared to 30 likes I usually get when I post a scientific article...." she told us. Read more about Sarah-Lan's research in this blog.
On the web | Leonardo’s research group in Manaus finds evidence of domestication in the Amazon
The New York Times article “How the Amazon’s Cashews and Cacao Point to Cultivation by the Ancients” explores the work of Leonardo Kumagai’s (GESA 2014, Brazil) research group in Manaus, Brazil, and their recent research published in Science on the persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on the Amazonian forest. 
On the web | Sanju’s recent paper on impact of delay in construction of a large scale hydropower project
Sanju Koirala’s (GESA 2013, Nepal) paper “Impacts of the delay in construction of a large scale hydropower project on potential displacees” was published recently in Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal

The full article is available here.
Events | Conservation Optimism Summit- a GEN reunion!
How do we change the discourse on conservation? How might we approach conservation with optimism? GEN members will reflect on their work to address these questions at the Conservation Optimism Summit, organised by the University of Oxford and ZSL (Zoological Society of London) from April 20-22. Aili Pyhälä (GESA 2015, Finland), Vanessa Reid (GESA 2013, U.K.), Ugo D'Ambrosio (GESA 2015, Spain), Anna Varga (GESA 2011, Hungary), Kerstin Forsberg (GESA 2012, Peru), Inanc Tekguc (GESA 2011, Cyprus), Ruth Little (GESA 2015, U.K.), and resource persons Ruth Krause, Gary Martin and Emily Caruso will be in attendance, with Constanza Monterrubio Solis (GESA 2015, Mexico), Angela Easby and KuoRay Mao (GESA 2011, Taiwan) connecting via Skype.
Events | Okanagan Environmental Leadership Camp in June
We are excited to announce the first Okanagan Environmental Leadership Camp in June 2017, organised in collaboration between GDF North America and IndigenEYEZ, a youth empowerment organization in the Okanagan region of Canada. This camp will use a land- and arts-based methodology to explore environmental leadership with Indigenous participants from 18-30. See our event page for more details! 
Events | Xepe-Comcaac Cultural Festival in May
From May 5-7, the NACELE 2017 host community of Socaaix (Punta Chueca) will host the annual Comcaac cultural festival “Xepe y las músicas del mundo” (Ocean and World Music). This is the 4th year of the festival and will include workshops, traditional dance, Indigenous music, photo expositions, art, documentaries, food, and traditional games.
This year’s festival is being organised by GEN member Zara Monrroy (who will also sing), Socrates (a Comcaac dancer), and Hamac Caziim (Sacred Fire, a Comcaac rock band). 
Events | Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights and the Roles of Ethnoecology and Ethnobotany Symposium
Nancy Turner, GDF-US Board President and NACELE 2015 resource person, is the project lead for a symposium exploring the roles of ethnoecology and ethnobotany in Indigenous peoples’ land rights, that will be held May 2-5 on unceded Lkwungen and WSANEC territory at the University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada. GEN members who will be in attendance include Janelle Baker (GESA 2015, Canada), Eli Enns (NACELE 2015), Leigh Joseph, and Angela Easby (GESA 2015, Canada). See the symposium website for more information on the agenda and presenters.
Events | Will you be at NAISA 2017 in Vancouver?
The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) annual conference will be held this year on unceded Musqueam territory at the University of British Columbia from June 22-24. Will you be there? Are you presenting? Please let us know: send Angela a message at
We would love to share information on your session, and Angela will be organising a meet-up for GEN members attending the conference or in town. See here for the conference trailer. 
Events | Society of Ethnobiology conference
Jessica Dolan is a co-organiser for this year’s Society of Ethnobiology conference on Mohawk territory in Montreal, Canada from May 10-13, 2017. Jessica was asked to take on this role based on her impressive work as a NACELE 2015 co-organiser.
Will you be at the conference? Are you presenting? Let us know, so we can share information on your session! Constanza Monterrubio Solis has confirmed she will be there, while Susannah McCandless sends a message that anyone attending is welcome to visit their farm before or after the conference!

Resources and opportunities
Courses, online resources, fellowships, events and other opportunities. Share them with us, and let us know what events you are attending: other GEN alumni may be around. For more regular and recent updates, please check our GEN Facebook page.
New report on Biodiversity and Human Rights
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment released a new report on biodiversity and human rights. It explains that the full enjoyment of human rights depends on biodiversity, and the degradation and loss of biodiversity undermine the ability of human beings to enjoy their human rights. The report outlines the obligations of States to protect biodiversity in order to protect human rights, including the heightened obligations States owe to Indigenous peoples and local communities that closely depend on biodiversity for their cultural and material needs.
North Face Explore Fund Grant
Applications are open for projects focusing on outdoor experiences or environmental stewardship in the US. Grants are up to $25,000. Deadline is April 5. Learn more here

Inspiration Corner
Things that inspire us, from around the web.
Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
Susannah McCandless recommends the new memoir by Dr. Lauret Savoy, a friend and mentor. Savoy retraces her own history as a geologist turned humanist with African American, Indigenous and European ancestry. In the uncertainties and erasures she uncovers, Savoy exposes the strata of counter-histories of family, identity, and landscape in the U.S. and its borderlands in this tautly written book.
Please share opportunities that you come across and updates from your exciting lives by contributing to the GEN alumni Facebook group and emailing us at
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