Meet the ACEER >> Elizabeth Swanson Andi
Elizabeth’s Social Links:
Iyarina AAFS (research and education center dedicated to bio-cultural conservation) Inti Anka Taripay (association of Amazonian kichwa academics dedicated to promoting our language in science and encouraging kichwa people to pursue a career/positions in STEM)
Elizabeth Swanson Andi
Conservation Fellow - supported by Amazon Aid
ACEER Member since: 2021
Professional Affiliation: Iyarina AAFS (research and education center dedicated to bio-cultural conservation) Inti Anka Taripay (association of Amazonian kichwa academics dedicated to promoting our language in science and encouraging kichwa people to pursue a career/positions in STEM)
"As an Amazonian indigenous woman conservation not only means survival of our forests but it also means survival of our people, our culture, our identity. Conservation is taking care of what I love and giving back to the land and the people who shaped me."
Hi I’m Eli, a Napu Kichwa woman from the Santu Urku community on the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. I grew up in a world where humans, plants, and animals are relatives, interwoven through creation stories. Where the otter and the kingfisher are lovers. Where the nocturnal, vocal potoo bird and moon cry for each other. Where the swallows call for rain. During my childhood I began to experience a type of change my community had never seen before. Candles turned into lightbulbs, our path became a paved road, earthworms turned into pipelines, and the forest around us silenced through noise pollution. At a young age I dedicated myself to protecting my home and uplifting the voices of the Amazon Rainforest as I realized the threats that we faced. Along with my family I have spent my life running Iyarina AAFS, our research and education center where we have brought indigenous leaders, knowledge carriers, scientists, academic experts, and students for over the past twenty years with the goal of protecting our home, preserving Amazonian language and culture, and providing opportunities for indigenous people. Today we actively protect 600 ha of forest, serve as bridges between two worlds, keep a traditional medical garden, and continue to preserve the social-emotional relationship between humans and the land through film. While being a part of Iyarina AAFS and continuing to work in bio-cultural conservation, I also pursued opportunities outside of my home. Soon after graduating with a BS in Geography (GIS) from Arizona State University, I worked for the NASA Develop National Program where I used GIS techniques to tackle environmental problems. After, I pursued my passion for education and became an Environmental Science Outdoor Educator throughout the Western United States, working for the Desert Botanical Garden, NatureBridge, and WAYA! Currently I am designing a book in kichwa, planning a film project with two Waorani communities, and leading zoom kichwa language/science groups through Inti Anka Taripay. In the future I hope to create a bio monitoring project and forest management plan between Kichwa and Waorani territories rooted in indigenous values and thinking.