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Melanie Kirby

Melanie Kirby has been keeping bees professionally for 28 years. The bees have guided her around the globe exposing her to the broader concepts and implications of land stewardship, agroecology, food systems, and diverse world views on conservation and outreach.  She co-founded Zia Queenbees Farm & Field Institute in 2005, located on The High Road to Taos in the southern Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico. There she specializes in breeding regionally adaptive bees.  

Melanie serves on several boards and participates in various organizations promoting healthy habitat research and policy efforts. She was a 2023 NM Coalition to Enhance Working Lands Community Collaborations Fellow, a 2019-2020 Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow, and a 2023 Grist 50 Climate Fixer. She has recently been appointed by the US Secretary of Agriculture to the inaugural Pollinator Subcommittee of the National Ag Research, Ext Education, and Economics Advisory Board. 

 She is a tribal member of Tortugas Pueblo- a non-federally recognized Indigenous community located in southern New Mexico. As a mestiza of mixed Indo-Hispano and Caribbean descent- her multicultural perspectives inspire her to collaborate across cultures and landscapes promoting healthy pollinator conservation efforts. She works as the Extension Educator for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, pairing Traditional Ecological Knowledge with western sustainable agriculture science. Melanie is also a writer, consilience researcher, artist, mother, and advocate for regenerative land stewardship and healthy food systems.