Cows on the Waldron Ranch (Photo by NCC)

Cows on the Waldron Ranch (Photo by NCC)

Lee Moltzahn turns his passion into a career

Lee Moltzahn (Photo courtesy Lee Moltzahn/NCC staff)

Lee Moltzahn (Photo courtesy Lee Moltzahn/NCC staff)

Lee Moltzahn has made a career out of caring for rangelands, lands that are used to graze livestock and managed as a natural ecosystem. As a natural area manager at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), caring for native habitat is his job. But it is also his passion, which is what led Lee to receive the Alberta Institute of Agrologists’s (AIA) 2020 Outstanding Young Registered Technologist in Agrology award.

Applying science to agriculture is called agrology. Stewarding our rangelands is a science. It’s a careful balancing act that involves many parts, including livestock production, enhancing habitat for wild plants and animals, and even managing watershed health.

From a young age, Lee learned to respect the land. Raised in the small community of Nobleford, both sets of his grandparents were farmers and they taught him the importance of caring for plants and wildlife. With interests in both livestock and the environment, Lee pursued an education that allowed him to merge those interests before deciding to focus less on the fauna and more on the flora that make up Canada’s rangelands.

“When I’m out on the range, the world under my feet feels so interconnected,” he explains. “This passion transcends all parts of my life, from my career to my extracurricular groups, to my own home, which is a small farm on a patch of native prairie.”

In 2007, Lee began working at NCC as a conservation technician intern. Over the years, his work experience has included being a rangeland algologist with Alberta Conservation Association where he worked primarily on the MULTISAR program, a habitat stewardship program focused on grassland species at risk.

Lee also participated the Southern Alberta Range Days youth program and is a member of the Grassland Restoration Forum Technical Advisory Committee and the Society for Range Management.

Lee returned to NCC as a full-time staff member in 2020 and now manages conservation sites in NCC’s Southern Foothills natural area.

Receiving the Outstanding Young Registered Technologist in Agrology award is exciting to Lee as it’s the first award he’s received through AIA. “It’s humbling to be recognized by my colleagues, that I’ve made an impact in my occupational field and that I’m doing what I love,” he said.

“I took a job with NCC because this organization puts a big emphasis on stewardship and because range management is an important part of stewardship. NCC will really allow my passion to flourish.”

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