Angel Hjarding, PhD

Principal Researcher, Coach

Dr. Angel Hjarding started her career in science at the University of South Carolina Upstate studying loggerhead sea turtles on the South Carolina barrier islands. Since then, she has worked in biodiversity conservation across the globe, from studying clouded leopards in the forests of Laos to connecting communities with nature through pollinator conservation. As a graduate student at Copenhagen University, she trained to become a conservation planner and spent time developing plans for Important Bird Areas, creating maps for African chameleons, and learning how to assess species using the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. She spent several years working for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility Secretariat, developing a database of scientific literature that highlighted GBIF mediated data and also conducted a large scale gap analysis of their data. 


This work led her to University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she completed her PhD in Geography where her research focused on engaging communities in the research process through Community Based Natural Resource Management and Participatory Action Research. As part of this work, Dr. Hjarding and local community members co-created a community-based project called the Butterfly Highway that was the basis for her dissertation work. While this project is no longer operating in the community focused way it was designed, it has now become a statewide program in North Carolina used to engage the public in pollinator conservation.


Dr. Hjarding is currently working with Bahamas based organizations, Young Marine Explorers & the Cat Island Conservation institute, to develop a community marine science program that will train local community members with the skills to become scuba divers and marine scientists. She is also working with them on the preliminary plans to establish the first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve on Cat Island that will be community led and managed. 

Angel Hjarding CV (updated 2021-11-04)