Elspeth Mathau

Elspeth is an environmental biologist, PhD student, and social justice activist who grew up in the coastal redwood forest of northern California. She is currently working on her doctorate at the University of Cambridge in the UK, studying the impacts of climate change on agricultural development and biodiversity conservation in the Canadian boreal forest. Her experience growing up around biodiverse forest and coastal environments fostered her passion for learning about and practicing environmental stewardship and environmental justice. Elspeth started working in environmental science education as a teenager in 2009 in a local local national park. Most recently she has worked as a biologist conducting ecological assessments, conservation planning, and environmental restoration projects in California. Her academic and work experience in have taken her to Canada, Morocco, the UK, and US, examining environmental science, equity, and food sovereignty issues. She was able to work with the Global Diversity Foundation for her Ethnobotany Master of Science at the University of Kent, and her research examined on ecological change, development, and climate adaptation through fodder plants in the Moroccan High Atlas Mountains with indigenous Amazigh communities. Elspeth is passionate about sustainable and alternative forms of agriculture and food workers’ rights and lead the campus agriculture network and started a food policy council while doing her Bachelor of Science at the University of Toronto. Motivated by her lived experience as a person of colour and daughter of immigrants in the most racially disparate and least diverse county in California, she acted as co-chair of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force for her city government, and co-founded MVFREE (Mill Valley Force for Racial Equity and Empowerment). Through this social activist group she has headed affordable housing advocacy, anti-racism and social justice work in her city and county to shape more equitable local policies and initiatives. She also has experience doing fundraising, communications, graphic design, and teaching, with STEM education and environmental non-profits focused on equity and inclusion programming.
As a former competitive figure skater, Elspeth also coaches skating, drawing her background in freeskate, ice dance, and synchronized skating. In her free time she still skates and enjoys hiking, creating visual art, chorus, gardening, foraging and cooking with her family and friends.