About Samantha Elie

Samantha in the sunny mountains

Who is Samantha Elie?

Samantha Elie is a plant ecologist and independent researcher -- doing botany research that matters.

They have worked throughout the Pacific Northwest United States and studied plant resilience in the Peruvian Andes, Nepali Himalayas, and Antarctic Peninsula.

Samantha studies the ecosystem services of native plants and how they can be strategically implemented as nature-based solutions to agents of climate change in humanscapes. 

Follow the links below to jump to sections.

Plants Can Change The World  ·  Spark  ·  Education  ·  Impact ·  Research  ·  Independent Research Goal

Plants Can Change The World

Samantha believes that plants, with humans as their stewards, can change the world. The ecosystem services provided by plants can be strategically implemented to alleviate the effects of climate change. Samantha researches applications of these services and grows plants to perform them. 

After a large disturbance, ecological succession heals not into what was, but into a new or third state of being. As the human population attempts to recover from centuries of resource abuse and struggle against the changing climate, Samantha’s goal is to plant our third state with an adaptive and dynamic community — not with a monoculture. 

When working with plant-hands, we can filter air and water, stabilize coastlines, regrow with resilience on burned landscapes, nourish people’s bellies and respect of place. This array of positive outcomes are only achievable when a biodiverse array of plants and ways of knowing are put into practice. Learn about more ways plants are changing the world here! www.samanthaelie.com/plants-can-change-the-world/


Samantha believes that key environmental health solutions are community initiated and empowered by science. Samantha credits community knowledge for guiding much of her research and is committed to its leading light.

Samantha’s spark was ignited at a youth-led sustainable farm in Rwanda, when they traveled there as a student in 2011. That spark gained oxygen the following year, as they wrote sustainable development policy recommendations with the Working Group on Girls at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Both of these influential experiences showcased the overwhelming power of people, of intra-ecosystem collaboration, how we are stronger together. They also lead to a life committed to community, asking questions, listening, and observing, then action with impact.


Samantha was a Washington State Running Start student; then rounded out their undergraduate studies in the Peruvian Andes, the Nepali Himalayas, and the Olympics of Washington State, earning dual degrees in economic botany (BA) and montane ecology (BS) from The Evergreen State College. They are a first-generation college student with ambitious goals for MSc and PhD programs.


Many community initiatives — including centuries of indigenous land stewardship — around the globe are successfully caring for the land in adaptive and legacy-minded ways. As a pair of boots on the ground, Samantha sees the disconnect between successful stewardship and directives from the powers at be.

Samantha is working towards a future that integrates grassroots activities and bigger climate change solution initiatives.

Samantha weaves community and science. They mentor students, consult to renew healthy ecosystems, manage a native plant nursery, and volunteer avidly in the Pacific Northwest, United States. Learn about current and past projects here www.samanthaelie.com/projects/

Samantha aims to inspire legacy-minded, community stewardship through accessible plant-based science. Samantha promotes plants changing the world under the handle @SamanthaElieBotanist on Instagram and Facebook and publishes articles on this website. Why is accessible plant-based science important?  www.samanthaelie.com/plantscanchangetheworld/


Samantha is dedicated to plant-powered research that matters: the type that empowers and heals communities. Read about current research goals here! www.samanthaelie.com/research-goals/

Independent Research Goal

Samantha’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to be an independent researcher. This will open gates for the research that matters, not being restricted to the red tape of government or academic institutions, or starving the small budgets of grassroots initiatives. As an independent researcher Samantha will be free to initiate projects and collaborate with the best agencies to achieve project goals and tangible plant-powered positive impact.

Samantha’s first goal is to have 500 people donating $10 a month. This will allow full-time independent research to begin. When you support Samantha you are supporting botany research that matters. www.patreon.com/SamanthaElieBotanist

Samantha Elie Botanist