Maria Dahmus portrait

Maria Dahmus

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


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 develop 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.  In addition to working as an experiential educator at a variety of outdoor education centers, Maria has taught Society and Sustainability, the Environmental Studies Field Capstone, Environmental Policy, Theology and the Environment (co-taught), and Dogs:  Environment, Society, and Representation (co-taught) 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

Selected 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

"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.

“Bedfellows and Other Strangers:  Tar Sands, Coalitions and Oppositional Rhetoric” (with Steven M. Hoffman, presenter).  Interdisciplinary Society for Literature and the Environment. Lawrence, Kansas.  May 28–June 1, 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.

Summer 2018 Courses

Summer 2018 Courses
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Fall 2018 Courses

Fall 2018 Courses
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J-Term 2019 Courses

J-Term 2019 Courses
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