Annelise Geisterfer Spotlight: A Passion for Protecting the Environment

Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2024

What motivated you to pursue the Master of Conservation Leadership program, and what specific areas of conservation are you focusing on? How does your current work/career fit into this?  

I was encouraged to pursue a Master's degree by some of my superiors at work, as a way of advancing my career in conservation. Although many of my peers pursued a classical thesis-based Masters degree, I desired a less traditional route, one that would expand my knowledge of the conservation field outside the borders of the National Parks where I worked. The leadership aspect of the program also piqued my interest, as it was something I wanted to improve upon personally and professionally. 

Throughout your time in the program, have you encountered any insights or revelations about conservation practices or challenges that have influenced your perspective?   

Definitely. The program really expanded my knowledge on how conservation is operated throughout the country and the pros and cons to each method. It also developed my understanding of how conservation has progressed throughout time as well, and showed a path forward. One huge takeaway was the importance and role of Indigenous peoples in conservation throughout Canada.  

Reflecting on your journey so far, what accomplishment within your studies and career are you most proud of, and why?  

I am very proud of the final project that I did in coordination with my employer, Parks Canada. I believe I was able to start some meaningful conversations, and I hope these will continue and hopefully make changes in my park or beyond. I am also very proud of the confidence and leadership skills that I gained throughout the program. I feel better prepared to take on more of a prominent role in my job.  

What personally motivated you to pursue a career in conservation leadership, and how do you envision yourself making a difference in this field in the future?  

From a young age I had a love of the outdoors and a passion for protecting the environment, fostered through years of canoe camping with my family in Quebec and Ontario. I believe every little bit counts to help get towards a more sustainable future. I hope that my continued work with Parks Canada protecting natural ecosystems and the species that inhabit them, will contribute in some way to conservation in Canada.   

Is there a hobby, interest, or unique aspect of your personality that you find brings balance to your academic pursuits in conservation leadership? If so, could you share a bit about it?   

I believe my passion for outdoor activities and my creative hobbies lend themselves in different ways to my professional life. Additionally, I believe my empathetic leadership style, in contrast to the more charismatic leader that I have often encountered in my workplace, has also provided some balance in my career and academic pursuits.  

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