Indigenous Ecology Lab

Indigenous Ecology Lab

Nava Sachs

Nava Sachs

MSc Forestry Student
Started January 2024

I was drawn to graduate school through my lifelong interest in forest and aquatic ecology, but was mostly inspired through my budding relationship with Dr. Grenz.

It is deeply important to me that the work I contribute to is in service of healthy ecosystems and their Indigenous stewards. Meeting Dr. Grenz and observing her unique and powerful approach in the academic world continues to inspire my own path in science. I chose to study in the Indigenous Ecology lab because of the opportunity to learn from her as a supervisor, fellow grad students, and the Quw’utsun community I have the privilege of working alongside.

Undergraduate Degree:

University of British Columbia (Vancouver), BSc in Forest Sciences with Honours

Research Interests:

Indigenous food systems, estuary restoration, seed ecophysiology, ecology, ethnobotany

General Interests:

learning from and about plants, hiking, backpacking, art


Informing revitalization of the Cowichan Bay Estuary as an Indigenous food system

Alongside Cowichan Tribes and Nature Trust, my project will help inform ongoing efforts to revitalize the Cowichan Bay Estuary (CBE) to a Quw’utsun food system. Co-researching with Quw’utsun knowledge keepers and Elders to apply an Indigenous food systems lens, this project will assess the current estuarine vegetation as a legacy food system with spatial drone data, ground surveys, and interviews. These findings, along with studying the place-based seed ecophysiology of traditional foods like camas and Pacific silverweed, will contribute to a collaborative planting plan for CBE food system revitalization.


To submit for publishing (working paper):

Martin, T. G.; Sachs, N. S.; McComb, S. (2023). Observing relationships between Indigenous led deer stewardship and cedar forest health in the Salish Sea.

Simard, S. W., Roach, W. J., Beauregard, J., Burkart, J., Cook, D., Law, D., Murphy-Steed, A., Schacter, T., Zickmantel, A., Armstrong, G., Fraser, K. M., Hart, L., Heath, O. R. J., Jones, L., Sachs, N. S., Sachs, H. R., Snyder, E. N., Tien, M., & Timmermans, J. (2021). Partial Retention of Legacy Trees Protect Mycorrhizal Inoculum Potential, Biodiversity, and Soil Resources While Promoting Natural Regeneration of Interior Douglas-Fir. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change3, 620436.