When I was young, growing up in suburban New Brunswick, my best friend lived on a riverside farm with a woodlot. We spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring the forests and riverbanks, and as I grew older and began thinking of career choices, the one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to work outside. After high school I was accepted into the Katimavik youth leadership program where I harnessed communication and problem solving abilities and learned how to be adaptable. I then pursued a forest technician diploma at the Maritime College of Forest Technology, through which I obtained a suite of technical field skills, observation and analytical skills, as well as a strong work ethic. In college I found myself drawn towards forest ecology and wildlife management, and after graduating I knew I wanted to continue my education in these areas. I then went on to obtain both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Forest Science from the University of New Brunswick, and also received the Associate Wildlife Biologist (AWB) accreditation from The Wildlife Society during this time.

My background in forest ecology and management has allowed me to gain a diverse array of wildlife and conservation experience. Summer work experiences include teaching botany and wildlife identification at a summer camp in Pennsylvania, habitat surveys in northern California, and various conservation technician duties throughout the Maritimes with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. During university I was fortunate enough to take part in exotic species management and native species reintroduction programs in Hawaii, complete wildlife surveys for the government of Antigua & Barbuda, and work as a private consultant developing a forest restoration and wildlife management plan for a local First Nations community.

Throughout my time in school I came to understand the complexities of managing our natural resources for multiple objectives, and in light of the current environmental issues plaguing the globe, I realized that conservation as a management tool was largely being underutilized. The need to protect the planet’s biodiversity is not only essential for future human benefit, but as a subscriber to deep ecology theory, I believe that all species have the innate right to existence. Unfortunately, as I’m sure the reader is aware, we are losing species at an alarming rate, and the pressures on our natural systems are only increasing. The need for conservation practitioners is great, and that is why I am very happy to be working with an organization such as Wildlife Preservation Canada, where science-based tools and strategies are being developed to protect those species most in need.

I am very grateful and excited to be selected as the 2012 Canada’s New Noah, and look forward to getting my hands dirty in Mauritius! The unique opportunity to take part in a species-based conservation strategy I know will be both personally enriching and foundational to my career. Ultimately, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in order to further the science of conservation, as well as to train young natural resource professionals in the art and science of sustainable management. The Canada’s New Noah internship is truly an opportunity of a lifetime, which will both contribute to my professional development, and most importantly, provide me the opportunity to help make a tangible difference.