Kelley Langhans is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biology, based in the Center for Conservation Biology and Natural Capital Project at Stanford. Her research draws upon landscape ecology, ecosystem services science, social science and environmental justice to find conservation solutions that benefit both people and nature. Her dissertation focuses on human-dominated landscapes in Costa Rica and California. In Costa Rica, Kelley studies the ecosystem benefits of riparian reforestation, exploring how implementing an extant forest protection law could sequester carbon and increase water quality for vulnerable populations. She has partnered with the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment and Energy and other government stakeholders to co-develop this work and translate the results into policy. In the urban San Francisco Bay Area, Kelley explores questions about access to nature and how to reconnect people to nature in a way that centers justice. She co-develops practical frameworks for designing interventions to restore access, working directly with communities at urban farms and gardens to understand the relationships they have with nature and avian biodiversity in the city, and whether positive nature experiences are equitably distributed between rich and poor neighborhoods.
Kelley graduated with a B.A. in biology from Swarthmore College, focusing on animal behavior and communication. She then worked at Swarthmore studying the effects of deforestation and fragmentation on dung beetle diversity in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Following that, she studied the landscape genetics of invasive lizard species and the effects of urbanization on bird diversity in the Caribbean. Kelley is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion in science, and is involved in efforts to increase DEI in her lab, department and partner organizations. She works to increase access to culturally-relevant STEAM education for youth in marginalized communities in the Bay Area as the community engagement team lead for BioJam, a co-learning program rooted in community. A former Haas Center Graduate Public Service Fellow, she deeply values community-based research and performing science in service of community change.