Habitat Stewardship Program Coordinator, Canadian Wildlife Service
I was born/grew up in: Aylmer, Quebec
I now live in: Moncton, New Brunswick
I completed my training/education at: McGill University and Dalhousie University
Describe what you do at work.
I coordinate a funding program that helps wildlife. Local organizations apply to the program with their project ideas. These ideas go through a review phase to see if they fit the goals of the program. After the review process, decisions are made as to whether the project receives funding. I'm a wildlife biologist with a Master's degree in Resource and Environmental Management.
My knowledge fits very well with my job, as I am able to comfortably review proposals that affect our wildlife. I am also able to speak with other trained biologists at my work to discuss proposals if necessary. Sometimes I give feedback to groups who are proposing project ideas. Sometimes I will work with a group to help them brainstorm some ideas. The most important tool at my office is the Recovery Strategies. These are highly technical and scientific documents that were put together by some of the best scientists in Canada. These documents help guide recovery of wildlife species that are at risk of extinction.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
While I may not directly contribute to recovery of wildlife, I feel I play an important and rewarding role in helping wildlife. I help by ensuring that projects are being reviewed and funded which in turn help the recovery and survival of our wildlife.
What motivates you in your career?
Many biologists would say they love to work in the field, collect data and analyze results. I love working a step above and putting those results into actions. By coordinating this funding program, I get to see how all that hard work and analysis is put forward into positive conservation action. I love the Canadian wilderness and all the awesome wildlife that inhabits it. It's very rewarding to be working in a field that helps make sure we can continue to maintain and help our wildlife. This will help make sure that all future generations can also enjoy the beauty and rawness that Canada has to offer.
Describe your career path to this career.
My career path is a strange one. I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do in high school, but I knew I loved animals. I decided to try my hand at various career options. Eventually, I had to go back to school and see if being a wildlife biologist was right for me. I'm glad I went back to school in my mid-twenties. Many people go from high school to university without knowing what they want to do. I'm really happy that no one forced this path on me. I was able to discover the things I enjoyed or didn't, before deciding to go back.
I did my Bachelor's degree with a major in Environmental Biology and specializing in Wildlife Biology at McGill University. I then went on to do a professional Master's degree in Environmental and Resource Management at Dalhousie University. During my time at McGill, I got to narrow down on some career paths by working in different settings (e.g., working in a vet clinic, volunteering at the local zoo, and working as a research assistant). This really helped me figure out some of the things I didn't want out of a career. But more importantly it helped me see the elements I would enjoy. I did a professional Master's degree, as I knew I didn't want to become an academic scholar. I found myself more interested in management. My current position is far from anything I ever thought I would like or want to do, but I really do enjoy my job.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I love reading comic books. I'm quite the sci-fi geek, and like to attend comic conventions. I like going for hikes in the local nature reserves around Moncton. I volunteer at the zoo and am also into photography.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
The best thing anyone can do in a STEM world in be open minded and explore all possible options given to you. It's amazing how many options will open up. Know your strengths and limits and use them to help carve your career path.