National Geographic Expert

Lauren Eckert

Lauren Eckert is a conservation scientist, adventure enthusiast and PhD candidate at the University of Victoria. Her early research experiences around the globe exposed her to the complexities of interrelated social and ecological systems. This motivated her to delve into conservation science—which recognizes humans’ important role in global ecosystems, engages communities directly in conservation and supports Indigenous Nations and individuals reasserting their knowledge and rights. Her MSc work at the University of Victoria bridged Indigenous knowledge and ecological science through a community-engaged, Indigenous-led approach to conservation in partnership with Central Coast First Nations, in their territories.

Lauren's current PhD research interests include: the intersections of Indigenous and Western sciences, Canadian environmental policy and the role human values play in our relationships with wildlife and, ultimately, conservation conflicts and collaborative ways to transform them. She is currently studying conflict and opportunities for coexistence between humans and black bears on the modern-day Sunshine Coast in British Columbia (Tla'amin territory). Also an avid communicator of science, Lauren shares her research results, conservation science stories and experiences as a scientist widely through public speaking and online platforms. She is a Canada Vanier Scholar, Raincoast Conservation Fellow, National Geographic Explorer, dog mom, devoted hiker and peanut butter aficionada.