Manager of Conservation Science and Planning, Alberta Region
Craig Harding started working at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in 2015. His work combines aspects of conservation planning at multiple scales and encouraging collaboration with experts in our planning process and research project engagement. He studied biology and geography at the University of Western Ontario and loved all aspects of research designed to support on-the-ground conservation applications. Craig's first introduction to the ecology of Alberta was working in the rocky mountains supporting a long-term study focusing on the relationship between small rodent populations and their food availability related to forestry practices.
He followed up his degree by managing research projects in a chemical entomology lab, where he studied pheromones and mate attraction in moths and the general biology of cockroaches. He then decided it was time to learn from another part of the world and had an opportunity to work with bats in Belize for a short period of time before heading to South Africa. While there, he was involved in projects related to temperature regulation in passerine birds in the extreme heat of the Kalahari Desert, parasitology of the endangered Cape parrot, temperature regulation of the Egyptian fruit bat and the breeding ecology and survival of the endangered African penguin.
Following this, he started his master's degree at the University of Cape Town’s Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. For this chapter, Craig studied global conservation issues and continued his work with African penguins to look deeper at the relationships between foraging patterns and the pressures of fishing industry. This experience brought to light the broader issues of balancing conservation needs with human interactions with natural systems. It highlighted the importance for large-scale planning and conservation work that crosses borders, promotes collaboration, and supports tangible and sustainable results. Following his time in South Africa, Craig returned to Canada and worked with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute and had the pleasure of working in a variety of landscapes in northeastern Alberta as a member of their field team. He then joined NCC, excited to work on proactive solutions to conservation issues through a Canadian lens.