Dr. Anne Naeth

Expecting to be treated as an equal sets a good bar for all of us.

Professor, Land Reclamation and Restoration Ecology
University of Alberta

Dr. M Anne Naeth is a Professor in the Department of Renewable Resources at the University of Alberta. She is Associate Dean, Graduate Studies and Research in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, and Director of the Land Reclamation International Graduate School. She has a PhD in plant science, a double MSc in soil and plant sciences (land reclamation), and a BSc in biology with a minor in psychology. Her expertise is in land reclamation and restoration ecology. Her research is both applied and theoretical and focuses on plant-soil-water relationships, understanding and defining processes inherent in these relationships, their effects on ecosystem structure and function, their response to disturbance, and their role in reclamation after disturbance. She studies accelerating soil-plant community development; plant species selection and establishment; impacts of non native species; bioengineering; native plants, their mycorrhizae and microbial communities; soil remediation, bioremediation and phytoremediation; use of soil amendments, particularly waste products such as compost, manure, sewage sludge and biosolids; and development of anthroposols.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

The variety. I love teaching and field and laboratory research. I enjoy administration and program development. As a Professor I can do all of these.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

My research is mainly in the dynamic and broad field of land reclamation. Land reclamation lets me focus on both soil and plant science in meaningful ways to ameliorate human impacts on the environment and guide more environmentally appropriate ways of natural resource utilization. It is very exciting to take a totally disturbed site, remove contaminants, rebuild soils and revegetate them to assist in recovering a functioning ecosystem.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

Students graduating in the field of land reclamation can work in a huge variety of professions such as environmental consulting, environmental regulatory and policy development and as research scientists in a variety of career paths such as academia, government, industry and non-profit organizations

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

My workplace used to be male dominated but not anymore. When I first started my career in land reclamation I was one of a few women in the field. It was important for me to feel and show confidence in my abilities, and not to anticipate prejudice from male colleagues. Expecting to be treated as an equal sets a good bar for all of us.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

I encourage diversity on all of my work teams and in the professional organizations I belong to. My graduate student team is a good example, with females and males, from many different countries, cultures and beliefs.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

I encourage diversity on all of my work teams and in the professional organizations I belong to. My graduate student team is a good example, with females and males, from many different countries, cultures and beliefs

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

have never had strong female role models in my career; which is likely one of the reasons I work hard to be one. I have been fortunate to have excellent male role models who helped me to realize that whether we are male or female should have no restrictions on what we can accomplish and what we can dream.