Dr. Elise Gornish
Ecological restoration efforts are likely to be more successful when project components are informed by relevant stakeholders. However, key stakeholders are often not included in restoration design and deployment. This is largely driven by a lack of practitioner knowledge of and experience with stakeholder relations. In fact, inclusion of stakeholders across the entire restoration process can be accomplished by practitioners with no formal social science training. I will describe several easy (and usually inexpensive) ways to formally cultivate relationships among restoration practitioners, researchers, and stakeholders to improve restoration outcomes. These include: how to identify and work with stakeholders; how to recognize the unique needs and contributions of stakeholder groups, and how to provide information back to stakeholders through outreach. Although how this practice occurs is dependent on restoration context, integrating these approaches more regularly into ecological restoration projects will likely result in more successful, relevant, and community-supported management outcomes. Dr. Elise Gornish is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological Restoration at the University of Arizona. Her work largely focuses on identifying strategies for successful restoration in arid land systems and integration of restoration approaches into weed management. Originally from New York, Dr. Gornish received her MS and PhD from Florida State University in 2013. She then completed two years of a post doc at the University of California, Davis before becoming a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Ecological restoration at UC Davis. In addition to vegetation management, Dr. Gornish is passionate about STEM inclusion and has recently become the Director of UA GALS (Girls on outdoor Adventure for Leadership and Science). This new program focuses on providing science learning and leadership opportunities to traditionally underserved female high school students through backcountry programming.
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program