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Summer 2012

Newsletter Archive


Staff Profile - Greg Chernoff

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I once read that what we become as "grown-ups" is a product of the things our parents teach us when they're not really trying to teach us anything.

I spent most of my childhood traipsing around the woods of New Brunswick. My folks would turn my siblings and I loose, and off we'd go into the wilderness to trace little creeks to their source, paddle and fish those tannin-tinted rivers, howl with the coyotes, or follow animal tracks in the snow. These experiences instilled in me a profound sense of wonder at and respect for nature.

Both of my parents are educators, and until I was five we lived on a university campus. I was surrounded by a huge "extended family" from cultures and countries of the world, all gathered in one place to teach, learn and share ideas. I feel really comfortable in this environment - the university campus is my natural habitat.

We spent summers at the Chernoff Farm in eastern Saskatchewan. On the drive out I would rarely sleep, playing "co-pilot" and navigating our trans-continental adventures. We grew up loving the expansive views and vast starry skies, the sweet dusty smell of ripening grain, and the lonesome/beckoning sound of a far-off train whistle. My prairie summers allowed me to appreciate different landscapes, and exposed me to a boundless source of knowledge and wisdom that has nothing to do with formal education.

Small wonder that my love of landscapes and the people that inhabit them - and a little bit of good guidance - inspired me to become a geographer.

I've been working at Miistakis since 2004 - nine years this January! When I interviewed I told them "If I were to close my eyes and imagine the perfect job for myself, this would be it." I was being sincere, and I still feel every bit as blessed to be here as I did when they offered me the position. My job is fascinating, challenging, and fun. I have the privilege to work with some of the most talented and brilliant people I've ever met. I get opportunities to learn, teach, and apply academic ideas to the solution of real-world conservation and land use issues.

Mostly, I make maps. Lately I've been ruminating on the challenge of taking local conservation priorities and community values, and finding a meaningful way to map these on a landscape. If you'd like to know more about my work, please feel free to stop by or get in touch. You can contact me at greg@rockies.ca.