My background is nothing if not eclectic. At various times in my life, I have been an apprentice horse trainer, a factory worker, medical artist, wildlife photographer (part-time), international development volunteer, consultant and, of course, a student – of Fine Arts, Biology, and Ecology. I’ve worked in the UK, Canada, Mexico, Malawi, Panama, and of all places, Saudi Arabia.
I’d like to believe that these diverse experiences are carried over into my work as a teacher and academic, making me more well-rounded and creative. At the very least, it has opened me to the insights of other disciplines. As an ecologist with a strong interest in sustainable resource management, I consider it my job to be interested in all ecosystems and all sciences, including social sciences, economics, and history. Lately, I have been getting more and more interested in the factors that motivate or demotivate people to care about environmental issues.
Since becoming a researcher, I have pursued a portfolio of projects that have run the gamut from investigating fire dynamics and natural regeneration in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico to pursuing social forestry in Malawi. Along the way, I have acquired research experience in warm temperate, Neo-Tropical, and boreal forest biomes. In this case, my wide experience of different biomes has definitely fed into my teaching practice. And, as the photo shows, I’ve been lucky enough to have the humbling experience of standing beneath some pretty impressive trees.
My work and views on forest management are also informed by the years that I spent working for a forest management consultancy in northern British Columbia. During that time, I tramped across thousands of hectares of cut, regenerating, and soon-to-be-cut forest, learning much about the good, the bad, and the ugly of Canadian Forest Management in the process.