Alexa Class Freeman (Photo courtesy A. Class Freeman)
Alexa Class Freeman
Development Officer, Major Gifts
How did you come to join the NCC team?
I was excited to start with NCC in 2020 as this work supports my core values of conserving natural ecosystems and resources, and also allows me to give back for the global good and connect with people who share my values. I first joined the lands team as director of the West Coast Program, and have since shifted onto the fundraising team as a development officer, major gifts.
What is your educational background and previous experience?
I hold a BSc in wildlife and conservation biology from UC Davis, California, as well as a BA in fine arts, double major. I went on to earn a PhD in biological science, with a focus on avian ecology from Virginia Tech, Virginia, with field work in Ecuador. I have worked on dozens of international field research projects on biodiversity assessment, monitoring and conservation.
Many years of my life have been spent conducting research and working as a biologist in remote wilderness conditions. My field expeditions and experiences include working on Indigenous lands, navigating diverse perspectives of the natural world while collecting field biology data. I have managed academic and field research projects, presented dozens of educational science workshops and taught field research courses with diverse working teams. My professional career experience includes several positions in academic science education and positions working with non-profit education/conservation programs. I have published peer-reviewed science articles and spoken to international audiences about wide ranging topics such as tropical biodiversity, seasonal backyard birds, the impact of house cats on bird populations and conservation ethics.
Throughout my experiences, I gravitated toward connecting with people about shared passions and to protecting biodiversity for the global good. Recently, I gained experience as a professional fundraiser for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC in Vancouver. I enjoyed this work as it taught me that I can help donors to enact their values in a meaningful way. I also resolved to apply my skills to supporting a global gratitude for nature and for conservation of our shared resources by working to fundraise for conservation and land stewardship.
What are you hoping to achieve through your work at the Nature Conservancy of Canada?
My goal is to apply my skills to fundraising that will significantly contribute to protecting the most valuable lands and resources for all living beings and future generations. I wish to communicate and connect with donors about our conservation work and its importance to both humans and biodiversity. I wish to be part of a productive team that is motivated by the work of conservation while working with NCC.
What is your favourite place in nature?
Diverse, water dependent ecosystems and especially cloud covered rain forests sparked my lifelong obsession with biodiversity conservation, though I can’t say I have a favourite place. I am drawn to the natural flux in ecosystems — events like naturally caused fire, floods or treefalls that lead to regeneration and diversity in a system. My fascination with birds stemmed from seasonal transitions and the lack of strong seasonality in equatorial systems. I believe my favorite way of living is being open to observe what is out in nature in any moment as a witness to change.
What are your hobbies/interests outside work?
I am drawn to exploration in all forms. I enjoy diversity. Experiences including new foods, people, and environments are inspiring to me. Swimming, surfing, caving, night scuba diving, hiking, running, yoga, gardening, birding and immersing myself in nature to feel its full sensory impacts are some of the activities I crave. Creating and experiencing art, music, food and dance also provide me great joy. Travel speaks to this in all ways, so it's certainly something I seek out whenever possible. I love spending time with my family, particularly out in the natural world.
I also am an artist. I create art centred around our emotional experience of life, including nature. Many of my works pull from the idea of seasonal transition and regeneration. I look to cellular and biological forms for my abstract and multi-media work. I look to nature for lessons on growth and reinvention, particularly in moving through challenging life experiences.