Meet the Team

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Professor Jeffrey Hoelle

UCSB Anthropology Professor

Jeffrey Hoelle is an environmental anthropologist who studies the ways that people think about and use the environment in the Brazilian Amazon and around the UCSB campus and adjacent community of Isla Vista, California.

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: edible insects, environmental anthropology, perceptions of food, nature and the environment

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: wildfire, perceptions of "nature", political ecology, ethnobotany, climate change, ethnoecology

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: environmental anthropology, political ecology, invasive species, food studies, fisheries

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UCSB Graduate Student

Research Interests: agroecology, regenerative agriculture, soil cultures, waste, (social) reproduction, degrowth

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UCSB Graduate '20

IV Ethnobotany and student researcher

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UCSB Graduate '21

IV Ethnobotany and student researcher

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UCSB Graduate '20

IV Ethnobotany and student researcher

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UCSB Undergraduate

IV Ethnobotany and student researcher

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UCSB Graduate '21

Web designer and student researcher

Graduate Students:

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  • Santa Barbara Bugs Instagram
  • MacKenzie Wade LinkedIn
  • That Anthro Podcast

MacKenzie Wade

UCSB Graduate Student

MacKenzie Wade is a PhD student in sociocultural anthropology with an interdepartmental emphasis in Environment and Society. Her research involves changing cultural perceptions of edible insects, and the impact of the food we eat. MacKenzie has published on edible insect industrialization and speaks publicly on the topic in the local area through her platform, Santa Barbara Bugs. She received her BA in Anthropology from Kansas State University, and an MA in International Cultural Heritage Management from Durham University in the UK. 

Santa Barbara Bugs

MacKenzie runs the Santa Barbara Bugs website and Instagram account, which seeks to connect the Santa Barbara community to edible insects.

A Review of Edible Insect Industrialization: Scales of Production and Implications for Sustainability

MacKenzie, collaborating with Professor Jeffrey Hoelle, presents a comprehensive and systematic review of the research on edible insect industrialization, the mass rearing of insects for human consumption, published in the year 2018. Their review of 2018 articles provides an overview of the edible insect industry at a specific moment, as the field becomes more industrialized, and research addresses health, safety, and other concerns of consumers and legislators. 

Central Coast Public Radio Episode

MacKenzie discusses the role of insects in the everyday diets in many parts of the world on this segment of the Central Coast Public Radio. MacKenzie teaches listeners about raising awareness and changing the perceptions of Americans around eating bugs.

Interdisciplinary Humanities Center

Read MacKenzie’s post on the Public Humanities Graduate Fellows Blog, which discusses murder hornets, edible insect, and new perspectives on invasive species management. 

 
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Jordan Thomas

UCSB Graduate Student

Jordan Thomas is a socio-cultural anthropologist researching the intersections of humans, environments, and wildfire in California. He is particularly interested in conceptualizing ideologies as environmental forces to better understand the unprecedented socio-environmental shifts of the “Anthropocene.” His imminent doctoral research will use multi-sited, multi-scalar methods to demonstrate how wildfire knowledge is created, predictions formed, and uncertainties managed in contexts of increasing environmental instability. In the past, he conducted graduate research at the Universities of Cambridge and Durham, where he explored the role of fire in contemporary Maya agroforestry systems. He currently also work as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. 

A Note from the Fireline: Climate Change and the Colonial Legacy of Fire Suppression 

Jordan explores the colonial legacy of fire suppression through his experience in the California redwoods in his article published by The Drift magazine.

Op-ed: The New Line of  Attack on Climate Science in the Age of Megafires

In his opinion piece for the Los Angeles Times, Jordan examines the roles that fire suppression and climate change have played in creating an era of "megafires."

The (Un)natural Disaster of California Fires

Jordan examines the role of the fossil fuel industry and the Trump administration in contributing to climate change, causing increasingly destructive wildfires.  Jordan also points to the indigenous Chumash's practice of controlled burns as a possible solution in his article for the Santa Barbara Independent.

 
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Pablo Sepulveda-Diaz

UCSB Graduate Student

Pablo is a sixth year PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his BA in Communication Studies from ITESO in Guadalajara, Mexico. He received his MA in Sociocultural Anthropology and Ethnohistory from UADY in Yucatán Mexico, and an MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After working as a reporter and correspondent in political, urban and environmental topics in central and Southeast Mexico, he became interested in local communities and their changing relationship with the ecosystems.

Pablo is interested in the cultural changes driven by invasive species. He also studies how, in the context of the Anthropocene and climate change, the movement and relocation of animals and plants, result in shifts of practices such as cooking, fishing and trading. He analyzes how these species as biological inputs drive the development of new technologies and techniques, knowledge production local and scientific, and the general changes in the relationship with the environment.

His favorite species, so far, is the lionfish, an Indo-Pacific fish that is considered a danger to biodiversity, human activities, and economies, local and national, along the Atlantic coast of the Americas, from Massachusetts to Brazil. He currently works in the Mexican Caribbean where the local groups, government and organization have developed, imported and adapted fishing gear, dishes, techniques to construct a new species that acts as invaders, but also as an environmental option for tourism and local consumption.

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Ingrid Feeney

UCSB Graduate Student

Ingrid Feeney is a PhD Candidate in Sociocultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She holds a BA in Linguistics from CUNY Brooklyn College and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation work looks at how collective memory of violence is shaping the agroecological transition in the Argentine Pampas.

Reflections on the First Ecosocialist International

Read Ingrid's article for Resilience.org.

Feeny, Ingrid Elísabet.  (2019) "Latin American Ciencia Digna Movement Asks: 'Science for What and for Whom?'"  Science for the People.  Vol 22, Issue 1.

Feeny, Ingrid Elísabet.  (2017) "Por una Vida Digna: Science as Technique of Power and Mode of Resistance in Argentina."  Alternautus - (Re) Searching Development: The Abya Yala Chapter.  Vol. 4, Issue 1.

Feeny, Ingrid Elísabet.  (2015) "Reimagining the New Industrial City: Articulating an Alternative Ethos of Waste and Production Through 'Closing the Loop.'"  Society & Space Open Forum.  August, 2015.

 

IV Ethnobotany Team:

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  • Just a Girl and a Backpack Blog
  • Kirsten's Photography Instagram
  • YouTube

Kirsten Cook

UCSB Graduate/ IV Ethnobotany 

Kirsten is a recent BA Environmental Studies and Spanish graduate from UCSB.  She has spent four years working on and leading the Isla Vista Ethnobotany Project, and considers herself a plant nerd thanks to all the things she's learned over the years while making content for the website.   Along with writing articles and creating video content for IV Ethnobotany, she is also a backpacking and travel blogger, teaches a weekly nature awareness zoom workshop with UCSB Adventure Programs, and much more!  She is an avid reader, photographer, light-weight thru-hiker and downhill skier.  Her current adventure has brought her to Colorado, where she is working as a marketing assistant for a real estate broker, and as a ski tech at a rental shop.

IV Ethnobotany Project

Kirsten has worked on the IV Ethnobotany Project with Professor Jeffrey Hoelle for over four years, acting as student project leader.  After graduation, Kirsten continues to contribute valuable content to the project through articles encouraging site visitors creatively interact with the plants featured on the IV Ethnobotany site.

Just a Girl and a Backpack Blog

Kirsten created her blog a few years ago to share her experiences with like-minded people who have are interested in world travel, backpacking, and outdoor education.  Whether she is exploring the backcountry, traveling to Chile,  or enjoying the plants in her backyard, Kirsten's love for nature and the outdoors shines through.

 
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  • LinkedIn
  • UCSB Environmental Studies

Briana Pham

UCSB Graduate/ IV Ethnobotany & Cultivating Communities

Briana is a recent graduate from UCSB with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Spatial studies.  She loves everything that is related to the environment, and is especially passionate about sustainability within food systems.  During her fourth year, Briana was also a member in Professor Hoelle's ANTH 197JH course, creating "Mushroom for Fun" as part of the Cultivating Communities project.  She continues to contribute to the IV Ethnobotany Project with articles and plant research entries.

Cultivating Communities: Mushroom for Fun

Briana's project explores the mysterious world of mushrooms.  Mushrooms are mysterious organisms known for their occasional psychedelic qualities and their tendency to kill, but there is more to these fanciful fungi than shown. Briana's project seeks to teach visitors about the history and uses of mushrooms, as well as how to grow them at home.  She seeks to foster a deeper connection with the environment through her love of mushrooms. 

 
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Cyrus Kayhan

UCSB Graduate/ IV Ethnobotany

Cyrus is a recent UCSB graduate with a degree in Environmental Science.  He was a member of the Hoelle Lab throughout his undergraduate career as a contributor to the IV Ethnobotany Project.

 
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Bailey McKernan

UCSB Undergraduate/ IV Ethnobotany/ Student Researcher 

Bailey is a third year undergrad at UCSB majoring in Environmental Studies. She is interested in plant ecology, traditional ecological knowledge, and human relationships with “nature.” In 2021, she created “Eat Your Weeds,” a zine focused on challenging our notions of weeds and fostering a deeper connection with the natural world around us. 

 
 

Website Development Team:

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  • Natalie Plumb Portfolio
  • LinkedIn

Natalie Plumb

UCSB Graduate/ Web Designer

Natalie is a graduate of UCSB, where she studied Cultural Anthropology and minored in Multimedia Professional Writing.  She is also an avid surfer and ocean lifeguard for the City of San Diego.  As an independent web designer, Natalie worked closely with Professor Jeffrey Hoelle to create the Cultivating Communities website, as well as the Hoelle Lab website.  She completed a professional certificate in User Experience/User Interface through UC Berkeley, and is pursuing a career in UX/UI after graduation.

Cultivating Communities: Beachcombing DIY Art

Natalie became part of the Hoelle Lab team during her third year at UCSB as a student in Professor Hoelle's ANTH JH special course that resulted in the creation of the Cultivating Communities website.  Natalie's student project, "Beachcombing DIY Art" encourages UCSB students and Isla Vista residents to interact with their local coastline through sustainable beachcombing for materials that can be used in a range of art projects.  She hopes that by teaching Isla Vista residents about the creative uses of elements of the Santa Barbara coastline, they can begin to cultivate a deeper connection with their local environment.