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With Canada’s ecosystems approaching crisis state and the number of species at risk growing higher all the time, wildlife conservation is a rapidly-expanding field.  For example, our project workforce at Wildlife Preservation Canada has tripled during the last decade.   However, young Canadians’ interest in wildlife conservation is also increasing rapidly.  As a result, the competition for these jobs is as strong as ever – in one survey, over 90% of conservationists reported that it’s actually become harder to get a job in their field over the past decade.  Landing the first good job can be especially tough for recent graduates.

To address this challenge, LoyaltyOne, through its Youth Empowerment Program, has sponsored three leadership development positions in Wildlife Preservation Canada’s species recovery programs.  In addition to direct interaction with endangered animals and hands-on experience with innovative conservation tools, these positions will also expose our young leaders to responsibilities such as fieldwork planning; training and supervision of volunteers or other employees; conducting scientific research; public presentations; and so on.  These positions are designed to be an invaluable source of experience, and a springboard to a career in wildlife conservation leadership.

Tegan Gallilee-Lang
Tegan is serving as Program Assistant in our Fraser Valley Wetlands Wildlife Project in British Columbia this summer.  Tegan fell in love with whales at 16. Desperate to be at least near aquatic life, she started volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium. She began by answering questions at the info desk and later cared for jellyfish and helped rehabilitate orphaned seal pups. Frequently, she engaged guests in conversation about wildlife and the adverse effects humans can have on them. Her passionate advocacy helped her receive a Leacross Foundation scholarship for the 2013 Students on Ice arctic expedition, during which she witnessed some effects of climate change first-hand, and saw whales EVERY DAY!

Currently, Tegan is working on her BSc in Environmental Science with a concentration in Applied Biology at Simon Fraser University. She has worked at Science World in B.C., caring for chickens as part of the Chicken Coop exhibit and becoming a popular demonstrator in their live science show about fire.  She also volunteers with the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC, learning about the Lower Mainland’s avian community and rehabilitating those of them adversely affected by human activity.

Alisa Samuelson
Alisa joins our Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Program team as the Shrike Biologist for the Carden, Grey-Bruce, and Manitoulin core areas this May.  A native of Calgary, Alisa pursued her studies out-of-province.  She has an Honours Bachelor of Science in Ecology from the University of Guelph, and completed her MSc in Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University.  Her research assessed the impact of invasive vegetation on avian breeding site selection in urban forests.  While a student, she gained experience in vegetation and wildlife monitoring, and recently had the opportunity to work with endangered owls in a conservation breeding facility in B.C.

Alisa will spend her spring and summer surveying for loggerhead shrike at sites throughout Carden, Grey-Bruce and Manitoulin Island.  She will also gain hands-on experience in rearing juvenile shrikes from our conservation breeding program in preparation for their release later this summer, as part of recovery efforts to boost the wild population.

Hayley Tompkins
Hayley is serving as our Field Biologist in Ontario this year with the Native Pollinator Initiative team. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography with a minor in GIS and Environmental Analysis from the University of Guelph. She is also a graduate of Seneca College’s Environmental Technician – Sampling and Monitoring program.

Hayley has previously worked on environmental restoration projects, including pollinator-friendly gardens, for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. She has experience rearing monarch butterflies, and has been certified with the Monarch Teacher Network of Canada. Hayley is a passionate field biologist, and enjoys studying bumble bees and other pollinators. In the off season, Hayley works as a part-time faculty member at Seneca College, and tries to share her passion for pollinators with her students.