Dr. Karen E. Hodges  Professor, Conservation Ecology

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 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, forestry practices, and wildfire management.

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. A few examples of relevant activities are listed below.

Activities outside the university

Expert invited participant (snowshoe hares). 2015. Lynx Species Status Assessment Expert Elicitation Workshop, US Fish and Wildlife Service.  I talked on “snowshoe hare distribution and status in the US”.

Member, Canada lynx habitat and fires working group (Washington), 2017-present.

Invited 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.

FellowAldo 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.  I am still active in this network and have worked on several papers and outreach activities with other ALLP fellows.

Panelist, The Nature of Museums (linked to travelling exhibit on endangered species of BC), Okanagan Heritage Museum, Kelowna, BC, 2015.

Elected 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.

Media coverage

Interviews for which I was consulted as an expert

Readers Digest Canada, interview about wildfire in Canada, 2020

Canadian press, interview about Australian wildfires, 2020.

CBC radio interview about Brazilian wildfires in the Amazon, 2019.

CBC radio interview about Earth Day and species conservation, 2019.

Global BC1 (TV) interview “Prime with Aaron McArthur”  on the impacts of climate change on species in British Columbia, 2015.

Interviews about my lab’s research

CBC interviews about our research on bobcat and lynx identification from images (2 radio interviews, online story, 2019)

CBC radio interview about our research on Species at Risk Act implementation failing to protect critical habitat, 2017.