Forces for nature: Celebrating International Women’s Day (part three)

Morgan Higginson at Bohomolec Ranch fence removal event. (Photo by NCC)

Morgan Higginson at Bohomolec Ranch fence removal event. (Photo by NCC)

March 23, 2020 | by Wendy Ho

In celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8), we are profiling a few Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) friendly female faces from across the country. These women contribute to our mission and our work in different ways.

Morgan Higginson is the natural area manager in the northwest Alberta Region. As a new university graduate, she interned for NCC's northeast Alberta natural area manager in 2017. She later transitioned to a development assistant position in Calgary, before finding her way back as the acting natural area manager for northwest Alberta.

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Read my interview with Morgan below:

Wendy Ho (WH): What led you to a career in conservation?

Morgan Higginson (MH): I started my university career thinking I was going to be a pharmacist and then I switched over to business. I remember one day I changed my major three times! I finally clued in that maybe my heart wasn’t in it.

I researched different types of paths I could choose, and when I learned about environmental science, I knew it was the career path for me. Growing up, I was never told about the different options, so I had no idea that environmental science existed. I finished my business degree and jumped right back into school for environmental science. This was the first time I absolutely loved all my classes. I was happy, passionate and excited to continue learning. I even joked that I would get every possible major I could get in environmental science.

WH: Tell us about the natural area that you manage. What is special about it?

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

MH: I manage the Upper North Saskatchewan River Basin in northwest Alberta. This area is quite large and has a mix of grassland, boreal and parkland plants, and a lot of wetland (including bogs and fens – my favourite) and lakes. Quite a few properties in this natural area have pre-existing trails, which people can visit and spend time in nature. A personal favourite of mine is the Bunchberry Meadows property, which has a beautiful birch forest.

WH: What does it take to be a natural area manager? What do you love about your job?

MH: The obvious answer is that you need some sort of environmental or biological sciences background. You also need to be adaptable and hard working. I have been in this position for only about five months, and I have learned so much. I am faced with a new challenge and having to learn something new each day. For example, I’ve been in discussions about securement, managing leases and working with utility companies. These are all things that I didn’t think I would be doing when I was in school.

One aspect of my job that I love is spending time outside; walking through the forests and fields all day, seeing my favourite flowers, hearing the birds and eating berries in berry season. Quite often when I am in the field, I actually pause and think to myself, and sometimes out loud to my field partner, “How awesome is this job?”

WH: What does the future of conservation look like? What’s on the horizon for you?

MH: The younger generation is becoming more aware about environmental issues, and I think as time goes on more people will be involved in creating change. The environmental movement is beginning to gain momentum, and I am excited that more people are realizing how important our environment is. I hope that the future of conservation becomes a collaborative effort from everyone in society. I know that NCC will continue to be a leader in conservation and our support will continue to grow and we can move forward accomplishing bigger goals.

For my personal career goals, I anticipate staying within the realm of conservation because it is what makes me show up to work every day. I am proud that I have a career where I feel like I am making a difference.

Wendy Ho (Photo by NCC)

About the Author

Wendy Ho is Nature Conservancy of Canada's editorial coordinator.

Read more about Wendy Ho.

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