Adrian Leslie, Darkwoods project manager (Photo by Adrienne Shaw)
What is your position at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)?
I am the South Selkirks project manager.
Where do you work?
I work from NCC’s Darkwoods Project office in Nelson.
How did you come to join the NCC team?
I spent several years working on a whitebark pine restoration project on the Darkwoods property, and kept coming back until they eventually agreed to hire me.
What is your educational background and previous experience?
I started out as a wildlife and forestry technician working during the summer for Parks Canada as I was going through school: first a forestry diploma, then a natural resource science degree, followed by a master’s degree in environment and management. For the past 15 years, I have been focused on terrestrial ecosystem research and restoration with a focus on forest health issues, fire ecology and climate change adaptation.
What are you hoping to achieve through your work at NCC?
To be manager of the Darkwoods property is a dream come true. To manage multiple watersheds that stretch from the tops of the mountains down to where the water reaches Kootenay Lake is a truly unique opportunity. I hope to maintain the natural beauty of the area and the full complement of species currently on the property by using the best available science to help guide the ecosystem through challenges associated with climate change.
Describe a typical day at work.
On most days during the summer (there is no access from November to June due to very high snowpacks), I am travelling on the Darkwoods property assisting researchers and contractors that are helping with maintenance and restoration projects. If it is a particularly good day I will have time to explore new parts of the property to look for rare or endangered species, identify restoration needs or survey old-growth forests.
What are your hobbies/interests outside work?
Before becoming a dad, I had plenty of time to bike and ski, work in our garden and orchard and hike in the mountains. Now I mostly get to play with blocks, have tea parties with stuffed animals and get out for the occasional bike ride.