Indigenous Ecology Lab

Indigenous Ecology Lab

Applying an Indigenous worldview to our role in ecosystems management as we face a rapidly changing climate.

Dr. Jennifer Grenz

Principal Investigator

Jennifer has a BSc (Honours) in Agroecology and a PhD in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her scholarly interests revolve around invasive species management, ecological restoration, and science communication. Jennifer has nearly two decades of experience providing consulting services and on-the-ground management of invasive species for all levels of government as well as working with Indigenous communities on creating food security plans and land healing initiatives consistent with community values and needs.

Jennifer is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest Resources Management, jointly appointed between the Faculty of Forestry and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. Jennifer’s current research focuses on applying an Indigenous worldview to invasion biology and ecology, challenging us to think differently about our role in ecosystems management as we face a rapidly changing climate. Her Indigenous Ecology Lab, within the Below Ground Ecosystems Group, is focusing on innovative plant-soil interactions to understand the legacy of invasive plants to inform successful restoration including the revitalization of Indigenous food systems. She is currently a Salish Sea Fellow with the Salish Sea Institute (University of Western Washington) and is working alongside an incredible group of scholars to address transnational challenges faced by the Salish Sea. Jennifer’s project is examining both the decolonization and Indigenization natural resource management policy as a way to harmonize transnational issues. Her project is focusing on the prevention and management of European Green Crab.

Working on St'at'imc-led wildfire recovery project in the McKay Creek Wildfire area during recording of CBC Ideas episode

Jennifer is a proud Nlaka‘pamux woman of mixed ancestry whose family comes from the Lytton and Boneparte First Nations (though she is one of the coastal cousins!). As it is important to know who our Indigenous families are and where they come from, my mother and family members are members of the Lytton First Nation. My status under Canada’s Indian Act is currently pending. My grandmother is Hester Robinson (Sworts), great grandmother is Amy Sworts (Tresierra) (Nlaka’pamux), and great grandfather William Sworts (Secwepemc). My family lived mainly in the Lillooet area (family is still there today) including Pavilion, BC.

When she isn’t chasing weeds, Jennifer continues the traditions of her grandmother as a gifted textile artist and grower of foods and medicines.