This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

Today we are paying tribute to an early career scientist, Dr. Adrian Dahood-Frtiz, who passed away tragically in an accident in late 2019.

Dr. Dahood-Fritz was a passionate advocate for science and conservation as well as a high achieving researcher. Her dissertation on marine protected area placement in Antarctica won her department’s Greatest Impact Award and her complex ecological modeling of marine protection areas was published this past summer, which provided new methods to understand MPA effectiveness in the context of climate change. In April of 2019 she had begun work as a Senior Scientist and Policy Advisor for the Ocean Protection Council of California that coordinates agency actions and develops policy for marine resources. Her loss is felt throughout the conservation and marine science communities and we cherish her memory as a colleague and friend. 


See her eulogies from George Mason University and the Ocean Protection Council. This piece was shared by Chelsie Romulo.

Advancing Our Policy Declarations

Looking forward, the Policy Committee is excited to further advance our Policy Declarations, including the 2020 declaration dedicated to Advancing Ecological Connectivity Implementation in the Rocky Mountains and North America and our 2018 declaration to Support Conserving and Recovering the Monarch Butterfly. The lengthy Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad articulates a multi-faceted framework for proactively addressing climate change, including a goal of “conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” For example, connectivity within and across conservation lands is key for protecting biodiversity and ecologically healthy landscapes. The North American SCB Policy Committee will highlight these declarations for key leaders in the new administration and identify additional ways that the North American Section can meaningfully contribute to the exciting new agenda.

Biden/Harris Executive Action Alignment with SCBNA Priorities

Given our mission to build an equitable and diverse community to advance the science and practice of conserving the Earth’s biological diversity and people’s place within it, the North American Section of the Society for Conservation Biology has renewed optimism about the opportunities emerging with the new federal leadership in the United States. As articulated in our vision, “we conceive of SCBNA as a diverse community of conservation professionals, practitioners, and stakeholders, and a leading scientific voice for the study and conservation of Earth’s biological diversity.”

Since January 20th, the Biden-Harris Administration has issued over fifty executive actions directed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic, restoring lost ground since 2016, and addressing equity, immigration and the environment. With the promise of renewed commitment to both stewardship of the environment and to do so equitably and inclusively, our Policy Committee is embarking on a new collaboration with our Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee to inventory the Biden Administration Executive Orders and Memoranda for relevance, alignment and convergence with our mission and vision. For example, the top initiatives of the Policy Committee already include climate change adaptationendangered speciesscientific integrity and environmental justice, all of which are mentioned explicitly in Executive Orders (EO’s) signed to date.

Likewise, SCBNA’s Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee works to advance these tenets in the field of conservation across all levels, including the public, students, professionals, and leaders in the field. The Biden Administration’s emphasis on environmental justicesocial justicedecolonization of conservationdiversity and inclusion, and their integration across all areas of government, has inspired SCBNA and our Committees to seek meaningful ways to work collectively on these important and timely priorities. As a first step, we have completed an initial inventory of the Presidential EO’s against the mission and vision of the North American section of SCB and created a brief checklist highlighting areas of alignment (image in left column). Several of the Executive Actions by the Biden Administration also underscore opportunities for enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the US and Canada to amplify outcomes for conservation, climate change and environmental justice, across our shared North American landscape (right column of image).

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

We asked Dr. Rachel Golden Kroner to share a little bit about her career, her experiences as a woman in conservation, and about women who inspire her.

I am a conservation social scientist, fundamentally motivated by concern for the state of our planet and belief in the moral imperative for action. Research and evidence-based policy are an important part of shaping a more sustainable future. I take an interdisciplinary approach to research, focus on area-based conservation systems like protected areas, and study how they change over time. At Conservation International, I lead the global PADDDtracker initiative, which studies and raises awareness of legal rollbacks to protected areas and applies insights to inform conservation policy and practice. You can learn more about my research here.

As a woman conservation, I recognize the strides we have made, but also see how far we have to go. Across fields, we have not reached parity in terms of women in leadership positions or equitable pay. All of us can and should be part of the solution. Instead of telling women to “lean in” or that they have “imposter syndrome,” everyone – especially those with more power – can work to create more just, diverse, inclusive, and equitable cultures through our personal and professional spheres of influence. Specifically for scientists, this includes: citing and nominating women; collaborating with women in proposals, publications and conference symposia; and hiring, paying equitably, promoting, and listening to women. This requires a daily practice (by men and women!), and involves checking ones biases around each decision and interaction. In the long term, I think we should aim for a world in which we celebrate the achievements of women and men on their merits every day – not just on days like International Women’s Day.

I am inspired by any woman in conservation who has persisted through challenges and holds strong – there are so many! I am especially inspired by the women on the front lines, leading their communities in securing their rights, opposing unwanted development projects, and pushing for systemic change at the grassroots level. These environmental defenders face some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable to protect their communities and environments.


Thank you so much to Dr. Golden Kroner for sharing with us. You can keep up with her work by following her on Twitter at @RachGolden and on LinkedIn.


Check out the previous women in conservation we’ve highlighted this month.

  • Women in Conservation – Dr. Aby Sène-Harper
    This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us. Today we’re speaking with Dr. Aby Sène-Harper. We asked her to share a little about what she does and about her experience as a woman in conservation. I am an assistant professor in […]
  • Women in Conservation – Kelly Zenkewich
    This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us. Kelly Zenkewich is the Communications and Digital Engagement Manager at the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. We asked her to share about her experience as a woman in conservation and who inspires her. Looking […]
  • Women in Conservation – Dr. Alysha Cypher
    This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us. Today we’re talking with Dr. Alysha Cypher. We asked her to share a little about what she does, about her experience as a woman in conservation, and to name a woman who inspires […]
  • Women in Conservation – In memoriam: Dr. Adrian Dahood-Fritz
    This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us. Today we are paying tribute to an early career scientist, Dr. Adrian Dahood-Frtiz, who passed away tragically in an accident in late 2019. Dr. Dahood-Fritz was a passionate advocate for science and conservation as well […]
  • Women in Conservation – Dr. Rachel Golden Kroner
    This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us. We asked Dr. Rachel Golden Kroner to share a little bit about her career, her experiences as a woman in conservation, and about women who inspire her. I am a conservation social scientist, […]