Senior Program Officer
Mary Adelzadeh is a member of the Navajo Nation and a Senior Program Officer at First Nations Development Institute. Mary joined First Nations in February 2019 after serving as a consultant for almost a year. She is responsible for stewardship initiatives by providing technical assistance and supporting the development of conservation strategies to protect traditional values and recover control of and access to ancestral land and natural resources.
Mary has extensive conservation experience working with tribal, federal and state governments, as well as non-governmental organizations. Previously she worked as the program director for the Blue Ridge-Berryessa Partnership in Northern California where she focused on fostering collaborative strategies that impact conservation at a landscape scale. In addition, Mary served as a project advisor to the Maidu Summit Consortium and Conservancy where she supported their efforts to restore Maidu Traditional Ecological Knowledge and establish a Maidu Cultural Park in California. Also, she previously worked to protect tribal natural and cultural resources as the Environmental Director of the North Fork Mono Rancheria, a tribe located in the Southern Sierra Nevada and, prior to that, served as a liaison between the Bureau of Land Management Lake Havasu Field Office and nine tribes in western Arizona.
Mary earned a Master of Science degree in Resource Policy and Behavior with a concentration in Conservation Biology from the University of Michigan. For her commitment to promoting conservation in the nonprofit and government sectors, Mary was selected as a Doris Duke Conservation Program Fellow. In addition she was awarded a fellowship from Community Forestry and Environmental Research Partnerships for her participatory research work with the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada. Her thesis research examined the implementation of a historic agreement between the tribe and the U.S. Forest Service to support co-management of lands at Lake Tahoe, which was part of the aboriginal territory of the tribe. Mary also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Biology and Management from the University of California, Davis.
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