Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Vanessa Levesque Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Vanessa Lavesque

Office Location

105C Bailey Hall

Faculty Office Hours Fall 2020

by appointment



Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Ecology & Environmental Sciences, University of Maine
  • M.S., Natural Resources Planning, University of Vermont
  • B.A., Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, Dartmouth College


I am an interdisciplinary scientist, with a foundational basis in and love of the natural world, and a passion for understanding how people make decisions that intersect with the natural, economic and social worlds in which they live. I bring to this position over 10 years of experience working on conservation and development projects in Uganda and Papua New Guinea, and on natural resource planning efforts at local and state governments in Maine. My on-the-ground work experiences inform my research and teaching; my research aims to contribute to active community resilience efforts and my teaching is geared to preparing students for environmental and sustainability policy and planning positions in the region.

Research Interests

My research applies a sustainability science perspective to current environmental planning and policy challenges. I explore collaborative efforts to address these challenges, with a focus on understanding how co-produced knowledge can spur action, especially at the municipal level. I have explored these topics through mixed methods approaches, from quantitative, statistical analysis of municipal policy adoption drivers, to social network analysis of a long-term collaborative process regarding vernal pool conservation, to in-depth qualitative interviews and document review related to climate adaptation action by New Hampshire municipalities. My research is predicated on partnerships with non-academic entities such that results not only advance academic understanding of environmental policy, but also provide needed information about content or process to further efforts on-the-ground. My research is also based on interdisciplinary academic collaboration, with my coauthors coming from disciplines as diverse as wildlife ecology, economics, earth sciences, education, and marine policy.

Recent Publications

Levesque, V.R., Bell, K.P., Calhoun, A.J.K. 2019. Actions speak louder than words: Designing transdisciplinary approaches to enact solutions. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 9(2):159-169.

Levesque, V.R., Calhoun, A.J.K., Hertz, E. 2019. Vernal pool conservation: Innovative approaches to using and enhancing existing policy tools. Case Studies in the Environment.

Levesque, V.R., Calhoun, A.J.K., Bell, K.P., Johnson, T. 2017. Turning contention into collaboration: Engaging power, trust and learning in collaborative networks. Society and Natural Resources 30(2):245-260.

Levesque, V.R., Bell, K.P., Calhoun, A.J.K. 2017. Planning for sustainability in small municipalities: The influence of interest groups, growth patterns, and institutional characteristics. Journal of Planning Education and Research 37(3): 322-333.

Meyer, S.R., Levesque, V.R., Bieluch, K.H., Johnson, M.L., McGreavy, B., Dreyer, S., Smith, H. 2016. Sustainability science graduate students as boundary spanners. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences: 6(2): 344-353.

McGreavy, B., Calhoun, A.J.K., Jansujwicz, J., Levesque, V.R. 2016. Citizen Science and natural resource governance: Program design for vernal pool policy innovation. Ecology and Society. 21(2):48.