Anne Macleod (B.Sc.’05)
Written by Josh Noble
Connection Magazine - Summer 2014
For alumna Anne Macleod(B.Sc., ’05) a typical work day could take her anywhere from her home base of Whitehorse, Yukon, to southern B.C., to Baffin Island, Nunavut. MacLeod, a wildlife biologist for Environmental Dynamic Incorporated (EDI), is making a career of her passion—understanding the interactions between the environment and industry, particularly as they relate to birds and mammals.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see some amazing things. At one point I worked close to the calving grounds of the Bathurst caribou herd [a barren-ground caribou herd in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories]. I’ll always remember looking out and seeing thousands upon thousands of caribou. It was just breathtaking,” says MacLeod.
MacLeod, originally from Houston, B.C., started her post-secondary journey at King’s in 2001. An ambitious bachelor of science student, she took on a job with a local forest biologist in Houston during the summers. This job, together with her degree from King’s, led her to her first permanent job in environmental consulting in Smithers, B.C. Working close to home, she was able to see the tension between environmental protection and economic growth in her community. After a number of years working in Smithers, MacLeod was offered a job with EDI in Whitehorse, Yukon.
In her current role as a wildlife biologist, MacLeod works on a variety of projects relating to wildlife research and wildlife management; however, the majority of her work is in environmental effects assessments. In this role, she assesses prospective developments and works with developers to minimize environmental impacts related to development. This process involves running various field studies to document the wildlife and wildlife habitat present in an area prior to development, analyzing the potential effects of the proposed development on those species, and making recommendations to limit any impacts to those species. If a site is approved, MacLeod and her colleagues create mitigation and monitoring strategies to be sure that environmental threats are diminished and all effects are chronicled. In this way she and her colleagues play an important role in weighing the environmental, social and economic benefits and drawbacks of development in Canada’s north.
In one interesting case, MacLeod worked with the Arctic Raptors Project , through EDI, to monitor populations of cliff-nesting raptors in Nunavut—a project supported in part by King’s Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Kerri McFarlane. The nest sites that EDI monitors are located near a mining development on Baffin Island and provide valuable insight into the interactions between northern mining and these sensitive bird populations.
Of her work MacLeod says, “There’s always impact when it comes to development, so we need to do our best to ensure that any effects are as small as possible, and to make intelligent choices about what impacts we can and cannot accept. It’s by no means straightforward or easy but it is important work and I hope that I help to do it well and wisely.”