Maria Dahmus portrait

Maria Dahmus

OSI Assistant Director; SCP Program Director
Degree
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
Environment and Resources
Office
MHC 212K
Phone
(651) 962-6391
Mail
Mail #MHC 5026
2115 Summit Ave.
St. Paul MN 55105

Biography

Dr. Maria Dahmus is the Assistant Director of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives (OSI) at the University of St. Thomas.  Her primary role in OSI is to create and direct the Sustainable Communities Partnership.  Maria is from Texas and ventured to Wisconsin to pursue her Ph.D. at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.  She then moved to Minnesota, where she completed her postdoctoral research on social dimensions of nutrient fluxes in urban ecosystems at the University of Minnesota.  Maria's primary teaching interest is interdisciplinary, experiential environmental education.  Maria worked as an experiential educator in Texas, Colorado, and the British Virgin Islands, and she has taught a variety of courses in Environmental Studies at St. Thomas. Her primary research interests are social dimensions of urban and rural ecosystems, with a particular focus on civic ecology—community-initiated efforts that promote ecosystem quality and quality of life.  Her current research also examines community mobilization to establish dog parks; her dogs, adopted from the humane society, assist her in this research. 


Academic History

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Environment and Resources

B.S., University of Texas, Ecology and Conservation Biology

B.A., University of Texas, Plan II Honors

Biology Teaching Certificate, Grades 6-12, UTEACH, University of Texas

PADI Scuba Instructor


Courses Taught

University of St. Thomas

  • Society and Sustainability (ENVR 212)
    • Spring 2013:  Collaboration with Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Pilobolus Dance Company, Macalester College Dance Team, and University of St. Thomas Environmental Problem Solving  (ESCI 310)
  • Environmental Studies Senior Capstone Field Seminar (ENVR 401)
    • Spring 2013:  CityLabs partnership with the City of St. Paul, “Residential impervious cover policy in St. Paul.”
    • Spring 2014:  CityLabs partnership with the City of St. Paul, “Writing the story of the American elm in St. Paul.”
    • Spring 2015:  Collaboration with University of St. Thomas Environmental Problem Solving (ESCI 310), “Removing excess phosphorus in urban lakes through hydroponics.”
  • Theology and the Environment (THEO 422, co-taught)
  • Aquinas Honors Seminars (IDSC 480)
    • Dogs! Environment, Society, and Representation (co-taught with Paul Lai, Literary Studies)
    • Native American Literature and Sustainability (co-taught with Liz Wilkinson, English)
    • Science, Activism, and Environmental Toxins (co-taught with Dalma Martinovic, Biology)

St. Olaf College

  • Environmental Politics (ESPS 276)

Publications

Dahmus, M. E., & Nelson, K. C. (2014). Yard stories: examining residents’ conceptions of their yards as part of the urban ecosystem in Minnesota. Urban Ecosystems, 17(1), 173-194.

Dahmus, M. E., & Nelson, K. C. (2014). Nature discourses in the residential yard in Minnesota. Landscape and Urban Planning, 125, 183-187.

Martini, N. F., Nelson, K. C., & Dahmus, M. E. (2014). Exploring homeowner diffusion of yard care knowledge as one step toward improving urban ecosystems. Environmental Management,  (Online).


Selected Presentations

“Sustainable Communities Partnership Public Art Initiative” (with Peter Gittins).  Together:  Artists and Scientists Building Community.  Minneapolis, MN, October 20, 2017.

“Connecting Community Partnerships with Curriculum to Strengthen Sustainability Education” (with Susan Clark and Gwyneth Maser, presenters).  The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Annual Conference.  San Antonio, TX, October 17, 2017.

"A Systems Approach to Supporting Curricular Innovations" with co-presenter Debra Petersen.  Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).  Minneapolis, Minnesota.  October 25-28, 2015.

“Structuring an Opposition:  Collaboration and the Development of Alberta’s Tar Sands" (with Steven M. Hoffman).  International Symposium on Society and Resource Management.  Estes Park, Colorado.  June 4–8, 2013.

“Urban Yards:  Exploring Patterns in Homeowners’ Ideas of Nature and Ecological Understanding” (with Kristen C. Nelson).  International Symposium on Society and Resource Management.  Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  June 18–21, 2012.

“Yard Stories: Linking Homeowners’ Yard Care Choices with Soil and Water in Urban Ecosystems” (with Kristen C. Nelson).  Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference.  Des Moines, Iowa.  December 4–7, 2011.

“Constraints and Opportunities for Natural Resource Policy:  A Comparative Analysis of Collective Efforts Among ‘Unlikely’ Partners in Minnesota.” International Symposium on Society and Resource Management.  Madison, Wisconsin.  June 4–8, 2011.

“Finding Common Ground:  A Comparative Analysis of Collective Action Integrating Environmental, Natural Resource, and Rural Economic Issues in Minnesota.”  Rural Sociological Society Annual Meeting.  Atlanta, Georgia.  August 12–15, 2010.

Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
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J-Term 2019 Courses

J-Term 2019 Courses
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Spring 2019 Courses

Spring 2019 Courses
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