Fiona Hamersley Chambers is an ethnobotanist whose research focuses on how northwest coast First Peoples managed and co-evolved with their plant resources. Her PhD work on B.C.’s Central Coast investigates how key berry plants were cultivated and owned in ‘gardens’. The importance of these species, which were historically significant in terms of food, culture, trade and landscape management, today has not been fully acknowledged or studied. Her goal is to define the features of a traditional berry garden, understand how these were created and managed, then scientifically test the efficacy of traditional management methods in controlled experiments. Ultimately, the hope is for this applied research to act as a link between traditional knowledge and practice and the needs of First Nations communities today. Fiona is a long-time organic farmer and commercial seed grower specializing in food plants and soft fruit production and has lectured at UVic since 1999. She grew up in the First Nations communities of Nitnaht Lake (Clo-oose) and Penelakut Island, where she maintains close ties.
Supervisor: Dr. Nancy Turner.
Contact e-mail: fionac[at]uvic.ca