Evelyn Roe

Evelyn Roe is an ethnobiologist, botanist and published author who has conducted much of her research in Africa and the area of Southern Zambia.

Early life

Evelyn grew up in the Highlands of Scotland where she roamed freely and developed a love of plants and her natural surroundings. She pursued a BSc in Botany at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1982, as well as a PGCE in Biology and Science Teaching at the, then independent, Moray House College of Education, where she graduated in 1987.

Evelyn Roe
Evelyn Roe

The call of Africa

After her time at Edinburgh Evelyn made her way out to Africa, teaching Biology in Botswana and exploring the Kalahari. She grew to love the African landscape and, after ten years, left her job to move to an island in Zambezi where she spent time learning about the local plants and their uses. This set her on course to become an ethnobotanist. After a few years she began to be invited to take part in research projects in Southern Zambia. During this time she conducted many surveys on indigenous plants and recorded local plant knowledge and traditional harvesting practices. Although much of her funding came from international organisations and Zambian NGOs, Evelyn also supplemented this through work as a supply teacher in the UK.

Over this period she published a number of survey reports and articles as well as her first book, Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area, co-authored with Helen Pickering in 2009. This was the first illustrated field guide to the flora of the Victoria Falls region in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Back to school

Finally, in 2012 Evelyn decided to return to academic study, applying for a Masters in the UK. Before the beginning of her course however, Evelyn gained a new sense of identity and purpose when she was invited to attend the 13th Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology held in Montpelier in 2012. She revelled in the exchange of knowledge and the number of interesting projects being conducted by her peers.

Evelyn graduated from Schumacher College in 2013 with an MSc in Holistic Science. Here she continued on with the college as a Learning Facilitator and was invited back to the ISE Congress, this time to present her findings on human-plant relations in ethnobotanical studies.

For the moment

Evelyn’s second book, With Earth in Mind, co-authored with Jane Burt, concerns the development of a Buddhist eco-community in South Africa and was published in 2015. Currently Evelyn continues to be involved as a teacher and facilitator at Schumacher College. Here she is also coordinating the launch of the International Gaia Symposium and Festival, to be held in 2018.

Find Evelyn's book, With Earth in Mind, at the Book Depository