Melanie Zurba

Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator

Phone: 902-494-2966
Fax: 902-494-3728
Mailing Address: 
Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building
Dalhousie University
6100 University Ave, Room 5026
PO Box 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Environmental governance
  • Collaboration
  • Indigenous Perspectives and leadership in environmental management and governance
  • Learning
  • Qualitative methodologies
  • Social justice


  • BSc (Hon.), University of Winnipeg
  • MNRM, University of Manitoba
  • PhD, University of Manitoba

Research interests

Professor Zurba’s (she/her) work focuses on projects that are developed and implemented in collaboration with communities. Professor Zurba has worked collaboratively with Indigenous communities in Canada and abroad on projects focusing on co-management of species and protected areas, shared forest tenure agreements, Clean Environment Commission hearings for water regulation, land use and occupancy mapping studies, food sovereignty, health promotion and wellbeing, and land-based learning and curriculum development. Her work has also contributed to public discussion on what “reconciliation” means in Canada through her work on learning and relationship building through the shared-governance of land. Professor Zurba is also interested in how global policy frameworks affect community participation in the day-to-day management of the environment.

Selected publications

  • Zurba, M., Maclean, K., Woodward, E. and Islam, D. (In Press). Amplifying Indigenous community participation in place-based research through boundary work. Progress in Human Geography.
  • Zurba, M. and Bullock, R. (In Press). Framing Indigenous bioenergy partnerships. International Indigenous Policy Journal.
  • Zurba, M. (2017). Long-term and meaningful community leadership and engagement in natural resources and environmental governance through university access programs. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 23(1), 5-14. 
  • Islam, D., Zurba, M., Rogalski, A. and Berkes, F. (2017). Engaging Indigenous youth to revitalize Cree culture through participatory education. Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education, 11(3), 124-138. 
  • Woodgate, R. L., Zurba, M. and Tennent, P. (2017). Worth a thousand words? Advantages, challenges and opportunities in working with photovoice as a qualitative method with youth and their families. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung/Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(1), Art. 2. 
  • Zurba, M., Diduck, A. P. and Sinclair, A. J. (2016). First Nations and industry collaboration for forest governance in northwestern Ontario, Canada. Forest Policy & Economics, 69, 1-10.
  • Zurba, M. and Trimble, M. (2014). Youth as the Inheritors of Collaboration: crisis and the factors that influence participation of the next generation in natural resource management. Environmental Science & Policy, 42, 78-87. 
  • Zurba, M. and Friesen, H. A. (2014). Finding Common Ground through Creativity: exploring Anishinaabe, settler and Métis connections, values and aspirations for the land. International Journal of Conflict & Reconciliation, 2(1), 1-34. 
  • Zurba, M. (2014). Leveling the playing field: Fostering collaborative governance towards on-going reconciliation. Environmental Policy & Governance, 24(2), 134-146. 
  • Zurba, M. and Berkes, F. (2014). Caring for country through participatory art: Creating a boundary object for communicating Indigenous knowledge and values. Local Environment, 19(8), 821-836.

Selected awards and honours

  • Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Insight Grant: Climate Learning and Adaptation for Northern Development (C-LAND), 5-year project beginning in 2018

Service & Activity

  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) and World Commission for Protected Areas (WCPA)
  • IUCN Intergenerational Partnership for Sustainability (IPS) Task Force Co-convener
  • Board member for GAEA Conservation Network Inc.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • ENV5039: Indigenous Perspectives on Resources and the Environment
  • SUST3000: Environmental Decision-Making
  • Directed Reading Course: Paradigms and Policy Frameworks for Indigenous-led Conservation