Born in Toronto, Canada, of Armenian descent, Dr. Adrina C. Bardekjian is an urban forestry researcher, writer and educator with a background in English literature, anthropology and urban forestry. A strategist and creative thinker, Adrina has a passion for representations of cultural and ecological narratives, creative writing and landscape photography. Her passion for writing began at age 12 when she won her first poetry contest from the Royal Canadian Legion. She has since won numerous contests and written for various publications.
Over the past several years, Adrina’s passion for urban forestry and keen ability to share knowledge by bridging networks of people and disciplines, has given her the opportunity to work as a professional consultant and researcher with a number of organizations on a diversity of projects and initiatives. Adrina completed her Postdoctoral Research with the Faculty of Forestry, Department of Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia; her academic research focusses on women’s roles in arboriculture and urban forestry in Canada and the US. Adrina currently works with Tree Canada, a national NGO, as Director of Research and Engagement.
As an educator, Adrina’s experiences involve developing curriculum, designing and delivering lectures, creating teaching modules and alternative evaluation models, facilitating workshops and evaluating student work. Her roles have included working for private institutions and universities. Her proven ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and students has led to enhanced opportunities for research, strategic planning, collaborative learning and student and peer mentoring.
In addition to her work experiences, Adrina has been an active member of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition Shade Policy Steering Committee, the Curriculum Review Committee for the Urban Forestry Technician Program at Fleming College and the Board of Directors of International Society of Arboriculture Ontario Chapter. Adrina is also a Totten Fellow of the USDA Forest Service New York City Urban Field Station and the past President of the Faculty of Forestry Alumni Association at the University of Toronto. In 2012, Adrina was awarded York University’s Graduate in Environmental Studies Student Association Community Excellence Prize. Most recently, Adrina was awarded the 2016 International Society of Arboriculture Honourary Membership Award in recognition for personal efforts to promote and advance the ideas of arboriculture and urban forestry. During National Tree Day (2014) in Montreal, Quebec, in collaboration with Tree Canada, Adrina attempted to set the Guinness World Record for the Longest Tree Hug.
For her doctoral research at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Adrina focused on communicating under-represented narratives in urban forestry. Using a political ecology lens, her research interrogates the political, social and ecological polarizations in urban forest culture. Adrina’s work suggests new ways to re-imagine the future of urban forestry praxis related to individual and collective identity in higher education and the implications for strategic urban forest management planning. She was also involved in the Alternative Campus Tour Initiative at York University, a project to engage the York and surrounding community to critically interrogate campus spaces.
In addition, Adrina’s work includes creative representations and outputs in contemporary photography, film and literature. Projects include Women Branching Out a short film celebrating women working in the diverse urban tree industry; Limbwalkers, a short film about arborists, and Partners in Action: A Shade Policy for the City of Toronto, a film about the development of Toronto’s Shade Policy – and winner of the 2014 Canadian Dermatology Association Public Education Award. Adrina was also selected as one of the finalists of the 2014 Commonwealth Woods Photographic Competition.
Adrina initiated and co-chaired the conference Urban Forests & Political Ecologies: Celebrating Transdisciplinarity (2013), a joint endeavor between the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, the Faculty of Forestry at the University of Toronto, and Humber Arboretum & Centre for Urban Ecology. This conference led to the culmination of the text: Urban Forests, Trees and Greenspace: A Political Ecology Perspective (2014).
Adrina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Anthropology from Concordia University in Montréal and a Masters of Forest Conservation from the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, for which she was awarded the Fred G. Jackson Award for Best Research Paper in Forest Conservation based on her work for the Toronto District School Board in developing a Tree Inventory and Assessment Management Plan.
- Society of Municipal Arborists Award of Achievement (2018)
- International Society of Arboriculture Honourary Membership Award of Distinction in recognition for demonstrated continued interest and outstanding service in the promotion of arboriculture (2016)
- Canadian Dermatology Association Public Education Award for “Partners In Action: A Shade Policy for the City of Toronto” documentary film (2014)
- International Society of Arboriculture Ontario Chapter Honourary Membership for outstanding service in the promotion of arboriculture (2014)
- Public Health Champions Award, Group Award to the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition for implementing a Shade Policy in the City of Toronto (2013)
- TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, secured grant to deliver the Urban Forests & Political Ecologies: Celebrating Transdisciplinarity Conference (2013)
- Graduate in Environmental Studies Student Association, awarded the Community Excellence Prize for bridging academic interests with practical applications (2012)
- Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), awarded grant to develop an international education program with Armenia: Building International Bridges for Forest Futures with Tree Canada (2008)
- Fred G. Jackson Award, awarded Best Research Paper in Forest Conservation (2005)