Lac du Bois Conservation Area, BC (Photo by NCC)

Lac du Bois Conservation Area, BC (Photo by NCC)

Michael Curnes (Photo courtesy Michael Curnes)

Michael Curnes (Photo courtesy Michael Curnes)

Michael Curnes

What is your position at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)?

Director of development, BC Region

Where do you work?

Victoria, BC

How did you come to join the NCC team?  

I'm a second-generation land conservationist. My father worked for the federal government buying conservation lands and placing conservation easements on private lands to protect viewscapes and riparian zones along wild and scenic rivers. The need to protect wild places for habitat and the species that rely on them is a value that was instilled in me 40 years ago. I've been with NCC since 2012.

What is your educational background and previous experience?

I was a mass communications major, languages minor, at the University of New Mexico. I have worked for River Network, the Friends of Clayoquot Sound, the City of Prince Rupert, North Coast Community Assets and Westin Hotels. I am also a two-time published and award-winning fiction novelist.

What are you hoping to achieve through your work at NCC?

As a human being on this planet, the most important work I can get my head and skills around is the protection of species and the natural habitats they need to survive. Every acre we can protect through conservation means thousands of individual creatures have a chance. This gets me up in the mornings and brings me to this work each day. 

Describe a typical day at work.

A typical day for me is working closely with our partners who share the same goals that I have and that NCC has — and that is the conservation of British Columbia's natural spaces. This has me on the phone, sending emails and submitting grant proposals, but it can also have me in a classroom presenting to 8th graders, in a boardroom presenting to the employees of a small company, standing in a salmon spawning stream with students from an inner-city school or attaching a memorial plaque to the rock face of a cliff overlooking a spectacular landscape that one man's estate gift helped NCC to protect. In a nutshell, a typical day at NCC for me is atypical.

What are your hobbies/interests outside work?

Writing, travel, DIY-ing, gardening/landscaping, hiking, exploring British Columbia by car, foot and motorcycle.

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