B.Sc. in Environmental and Conservation Sciences
University of Alberta (Canada)
Nicole set out for Peru on her first solo trip at the age of 18. The 6 weeks spent travelling around would prove to be the beginning of a decade full of trips to Latin America. In 2003, a College based Habitat for Humanity trip would take her to Nicaragua for 3 weeks where she would subsequently change her airline ticket and spend 2 more months travelling around on her own. It was during this trip that she began to form a better idea of how she might put her degree to work, becoming more interested in the idea of community based conservation and the important link that social development has to the success of conservation programs.
Following her graduation from the University of Alberta in 2006, armed with a degree in Environmental and Conservation Sciences, she jumped on a bus headed for Mexico. 56 hours later, she sat at the border where she would begin a two year journey volunteering and working her way through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Community conservation projects in Oaxaca, Mexico and in San Jose, Guatemala demonstrated the benefits to a community when they take a leadership role in the management and conservation of their resources. Mexico would also serve as her first introduction to scuba diving where she would spend 3 months performing coral reef surveys and then continue with underwater research for another 5 months on the island of Utila, Honduras. In 2008, that same bus brought her back home to Edmonton, Alberta.
After a year and a half at home in Canada working as an arborist, she returned to Honduras for her Divemaster certification where she would spend 18 months guiding divers through the island’s coral reefs. In 2011, she moved to Peru where she began working with the Amazon Conservation Association as the Volunteer and then Research Coordinator at the Villa Carmen Biological Station, the same site in which this program will be situated.
Nicole is very excited that SFS has decided to build a partnership with ACA and develop a long anticipated field school in the Amazon. Villa Carmen and the surrounding environments will provide a never ending learning classroom for students and staff alike. She looks forward to being a part of the first steps of what she is sure will prove to be an amazing program!