top of page

Kelly Ablard


Ablard, Kelly Headshot.png

Kelly Ablard, PhD, MIFPA, RA®, EOT® holds a Doctorate in Biology, an MSc in Conservation, a BSc in Biology (cum laude), and is a certified Conservation Aromatherapist™.  As Founder and CEO of the NGO Airmid Institute, she is dedicated to the global education, research, and sustainability of medicinal and aromatic plants, and their traditional uses in Indigenous communities.


Kelly has published evidence-based on situ and ex situ research focused on conservation biology, evolutionary biology, conservation genetics, and behavioral ecology. Her work has taken her all over the world where she has studied the different uses of traditional medicine, worked to help protect threatened species, and discovered firsthand the vital role that chemical communication plays in the natural world. For example, she explored traditional uses of over 60 Peruvian medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), the novel discovery of how small wasps (Ooencyrtus kuvanae) may rely on individual chemical signatures to mediate their mating ritual is featured in Canadian Geographic magazine, and how she identified potential toxins in the Critically Endangered slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus) is highlighted by the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). She has also reported on the ingenuity of tool use by endangered orangutans (Pongo spp.) and has investigated the link between sociality and olfactory communication in mammals.


Kelly has enjoyed her time as a guest presenter and lecturer throughout the United States, Canada, and England, as well as in Scotland, South Korea, Peru and Indonesia; and she is enthusiastic as a Community Scientist for Science World in British Columbia, where she teaches the public about traditional medicine and the deeply rooted relationship between essential oil chemical constituents and the animal kingdom.


As a protector of Nature and connecting people to it, she founded the Vancouver Community College Urban Apothecary Learning Garden and developed the first college program on urban sustainability in Vancouver, British Columbia. Kelly’s expertise in experimental research design and statistical analyses further supported the successful recognition and accreditation of Vancouver Community College’s Nursing Program by the Ministry of Advanced Education. 


Currently she is developing research which will explore aromatics sourced from fragile species and their many uses in evidence-based research, Minthostachys spp. ecology and accurate species identification, and the impacts of climate change on white sage (Salvia apiana) and her species-specific threatened bee pollinators. She continues her work in collaboration with the Peruvian Shipibo on Endangered rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), and with Airmid Global Ambassadors on children’s education of MAPs, and highlighting issues in Taiwan surrounding threatened Chamaecyparis species.

Kelly received the BCAOA Achievement of Excellence Award and was highlighted in 2022 as outstanding alumnus by Simon Fraser University as CEO of Airmid Institute. She is also Co-owner and Co-Principal of Essence of Thyme College of Holistic Studies, LTD, currently recognized at the highest level by five international professional aromatherapy associations.

bottom of page