Zachary Moore (Photo courtesy Zachary Moore)
NCC: What is your position at NCC?
ZM: Natural area ssistant – Waterton. Mostly I work on stewardship for our fee-simple projects, which can include things like access monitoring, mapping, fencing, invasive species management, collecting sensitive species data, running volunteer events and whatever else needs to be done.
NCC: What is your area of work?
ZM: I help to manage NCC projects in the Waterton Park Front, easily the best part of Alberta Region. We have one of the largest concentrations of NCC properties in Canada, in a buffer zone surrounding Waterton Lakes National Park. It is a unique area that includes some montane habitat, but spreads mostly down from into the foothills parkland and fescue grasslands. We have an incredible diversity of landscapes in a relatively small expanse of land. We work with many ranching operations, both through grazing leases and conservation easements, and have some amazing large-ranging mammal species, like grizzlies, elk, cougars and moose. Everyday I’m out, I see something new or exciting.
NCC: Why did you join the NCC team?
ZM: I first heard about NCC when I learned about private land conservation in university. I thought that the idea of protecting private land was an intriguing way to conserve biodiversity outside of the Parks systems, and an amazing way to engage different kinds of stakeholders, including the general public. It promotes people to feel like a part of the natural landscape instead of like a visitor or burden. I wanted to see how the most impactful land trust in the country operates, so I took the first opportunity I could get to join NCC.
NCC: When did you start with NCC?
ZM: I started in May 2019 with a summer internship that has since been extended through temporary contracts.
NCC: What is your educational background?
ZM: I hold a bachelor of science degree from the University of Toronto where I double-majored in ecology and evolutionary biology and biodiversity and conservation biology, as well as a post-graduate certificate in ecosystem restoration from Niagara College Canada. I am currently most interested in expanding my background in scientific research by learning about applied problems on the ground.
NCC: What is your previous experience?
ZM: This is my first full-time position in the conservation field since graduating from college. I have about three years of scientific research experience from projects and positions I worked on during my undergrad, and I have a background in other fields, including tree farming, outdoor education and construction.
NCC: What are your hobbies when you’re not working for NCC?
ZM: Playing music, board games and driving to wherever I can reach in a weekend.
NCC: Do you have a favourite species?
ZM: Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). It’s hardy, huge and spreads like crazy. It has milky stems and breeze-floating seeds in strange pods from weird flowers. It also supports an exceptionally diverse community of specialist arthropods with complex interactions. It’s a shame it’s not in Alberta, but we have enough other plants invading.
NCC: Describe a typical day at work.
ZM: My job is variable depending on the time of year and what needs to be done. In the winter, my day might be spent mostly behind a computer completing reports, planning future tasks, or working with various kinds of data management. Sometimes I will be able to get out into the field to complete some tasks that are accomplishable in the cold. In the summer, my days start early and involve driving out to our properties to complete monitoring tasks for the majority of the daylight available, and then driving back to the office to make sure the data is uploaded for reporting.