Carissa Wasyliw, AB (Photo courtesy Carissa Wasyliw/NCC staff)
NCC: What is your position at NCC?
CW: Natural area manager for northeast Alberta.
NCC: What is your area of work?
CW: Primarily in the Cooking Lake Moraine priority area, which is east of Edmonton, from Elk Island down to Miquelon Lake. But I work throughout northeastern Alberta, with some rogue properties scattered throughout.
NCC: Why did you join the NCC team?
CW: NCC is doing valuable work to help conserve land throughout my province and across my country. An exciting opportunity came along that enabled me to be a part of this work and I couldn’t resist! It’s work that aligns with my values and ethics, and it is happening right outside my back door, near Edmonton.
NCC: When did you start with NCC?
CW: My first term of employment with NCC was as an intern in the summer of 2015.
NCC: What is your educational background?
CW: I have a bilingual degree in environmental sciences with a major in conservation biology from the University of Alberta (U of A).
NCC: What is your previous experience?
CW: I worked as a research assistant for a year and a half with a lab at the U of A, working mainly on the Research on Avian Protection Project (RAPP). I was also a field technician for Alberta Innovates and ABMI, collecting data for a pilot project that looked at the success of revegetation and soil health on reclaimed well sites throughout the boreal forest.
I interned with NCC for two summers, and have held various other support roles through the off-season. Finally, I’ve held a variety of other volunteer positions related to conservation, ranging from a shorebird internship in South Africa with Nature’s Valley Trust, to working with Andean condors in Ecuador.
NCC: What are your hobbies, when you’re not working for NCC?
CW: I enjoy most everything outdoors. I like to hike, and have recently gotten into backcountry endeavours. I often camp throughout the summer (and occasionally in the winter), snowshoe, snowboard, canoe or kayak when I can, or just enjoy the scenery wherever I may be. I also enjoy reading, largely fantasy or whatever might strike my fancy.
NCC:Do you have a favourite species?
CW: That’s a hard one to narrow down, as it changes regularly. At the moment, though, I am partial to winter birds, particularly chickadees (boreal, mountain and black-capped). It amazes me how they are able to adapt to survive through our harshest conditions instead of heading south like many of their peers!
NCC: Describe a typical day at work.
CW: I’m still working through this one, as I am in the process of transitioning into a new role, but it would be filled with many things…checking emails, completing reports, staying up-to-date with landowners, monitoring properties and maintaining partnerships are just some of the various tasks need to be done!