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Nina Fontana

Nina Fontana is a member of the inaugural 2021-2022 “Future of Fire” cohort in the CASC Network Climate Adaptation Postdoctoral Fellows Program. She is working with the Southwest CASC at the University of California Davis. Using mixed methodologies, Nina’s Ph.D. research centered on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) in forest-dependent communities in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine, specifically how TEK nurtures cultural ties to landscape, maintains health of communities, and informs adaptive capacity in supporting regional food sovereignty. Her broader research interests include socio-ecological resilience, translational ecology, Indigenous analysis of climate change, and environmental justice.

Nina received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis. Her current research explores: 1) strategies to address multi-scalar policy barriers and opportunities to implement Indigenous-led traditional burning across land jurisdictions and ecosystems, and 2) the various scales in which Indigenous cultural burning may be applied to address climate change in Southwest ecosystems. With 15 years of teaching in both secondary and postsecondary settings, international and nationally, Nina is also committed to fostering creativity, inquiry, and critical thinking, both in and out of the classroom.