Asha DiMatteo-LePape: Seeking collaborative solutions for community-based climate planning

Asha DiMatteo-LePapeUMaine master’s student Asha DiMatteo-LePape is collaboratively leading a new project to help tourism-dependent communities in Maine plan for climate change.

Master’s degree program: Forest Resources
Research program: NRT: Enhancing Conservation Science and Practice
Advisor(s): Sandra de Urioste-Stone, Sabrina Morano
Mitchell Center project: We’re All in This Together: Participatory Planning for Community-Based Climate Change Adaptation
Feature story on Asha’s work: ‘We’re all in this together’: Students lead climate-planning project (Dec. 2020)


What problem(s) are you working to solve?

I am working to solve the disconnect between science, management and community development within conservation and natural resource management.

What progress are you making toward solutions?

I am working toward solutions by exploring perceptions of risk, and management to aid in the development of successful strategies and effective communication with stakeholders and communities.

How could your findings contribute to a sustainable future in Maine and beyond?

My findings could help establish more effective science communication between communities and management agencies. This could contribute to effective climate change planning and adaptation.

Why did you get involved with this Mitchell Center project?

I got involved with the Mitchell Center through a desire to help communities find solutions to climate change problems through science. My team and I hope to work alongside the Mitchell Center to better understand how communities are thinking about and adapting to climate change in Maine, and the science resources they need to be resilient.

What do you like best about working on an interdisciplinary team? What is most challenging?

While it can be challenging to communicate across different scientific disciplines, working on an interdisciplinary team allows for many different points of view and ways of thinking to contribute to well-rounded solutions to complex problems.

What do you find rewarding about collaborating with stakeholders? Most challenging?

Working with stakeholders is rewarding because it allows us to integrate science with on-the-ground problem-solving to develop effective ideas and solutions that can positively impact communities. While it can be hard to maintain relationships and collaborate on long-term solutions, working with stakeholders is a direct way to help communities and give them the resources they need to be resilient in the face of change and uncertainty.

What sustains you?

I am sustained by my love for this planet and its people, my desire to be part of the solution, and copious amounts of coffee.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

In five years I hope to be working in collaboration with organizations and institutions to develop and sustain resilient landscape and community conservation initiatives that connect people and nature.