Hello, I'm Alena! (she/her)
I'm a conservation geographer, photographer, illustrator, and science communicator currently living and learning in beautiful coastal British Columbia, within the unceded territories of the Lkwungen-speaking peoples and the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ Nations.
I'm passionate about the complex interconnectivity that exists within all aspects of our shared world. I'm driven through my art and research to find things that connect us all, and use them to inspire action, bring optimism, and find sustainable solutions that benefit nature AND empower communities.
My passion for nature and wildlife is a dominant theme in my everyday life, and I strive to find unique perspectives and solutions to current conservation issues. Creativity is a large part of my life, and I am constantly trying to combine my loves for photography, art, science, equality, and conservation.
I'm incredibly fond of bears, and my favourite ecosystems are the Bear-Salmon-Human Forests of coastal British Columbia!
I love to use photography and illustration as media to engage, educate, and inspire the public about conservation stories, struggles, and successes. These activities also help me maintain a level of creativity in my work and stay optimistic in my field!
I have several years of experience working in the field of science communication, particularly in the realm of visual storytelling. I have worked on science communication projects for several organizations since 2014, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, WWF Nepal, Habitat Acquisition Trust, the Marmot Recovery Foundation, Rocky Point Bird Observatory, Surfrider Foundation, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, and others.
Over the past few years, I have photographed wildlife and nature around the world in countries including Canada, the USA, Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Ecuador, Colombia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nepal, India, Indonesia, Ecuador, Morocco, Jamaica and more. However, my favourite place to photograph always remains coastal British Columbia, especially the Great Bear Rainforest!
SCIENCE & RESEARCH
I have a BSc in wildlife conservation and ecosystem interactions through the Geography and Biology departments at the University of Victoria.
For the past several years, I have been working in the field of bear protection and stewardship in the Great Bear Rainforest, alongside several incredible organizations and Coastal First Nations.
I currently work with the Central Coast Bear Working Group (Bears Forever), to safeguard black bears, grizzly bears, and spirit bears in the territories of the Kitasoo/Xai'Xais, Heiltsuk, Wuikinuxv, and Nuxalk Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest, and as the Media Coordinator for Spirit Bear Research Foundation.
I wrote my Honours thesis for this degree in UVic's Applied Conservation Sciences Lab. My research there, supported by Raincoast Conservation Foundation, involved assessing the satisfactions of human hunters using social media, and relating these satisfactions to wildlife management paradigms and policy. You can read more about this work, and gain access to my published research, on the Research page.
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award - 2015
NANPA College Scholarship Recipient - 2015
NANPA College Scholarship Program, Mentor - 2017 & 2019
NANPA High School Scholarship Program, Instructor - 2019