Hello! My name is Marissa Berard (she/her), and I am so excited to get started as the new coordinator for the Manitoba Important Bird Area (IBA) Caretaker Program and the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative (MCSI). I absolutely love birds, and feel very lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of organizations that value bird conservation and to work alongside wonderful people who are passionate about the natural world.
While I have been a lover of all things outdoors since childhood, my passion for ornithology really grew while completing my B.Sc. (Hons) degree with a focus in Ecology and Environmental Biology at the University of Manitoba. While working on my honours thesis with Dr. Gail Davoren, I was fortunate to spend two summers in Newfoundland and help out with a variety of seabird research, including with puffins, razorbills and common murres. After graduating, I worked at an environmental consulting company doing a variety of species at risk and avian monitoring. I then moved to Riding Mountain National Park to work with Parks Canada, first as an interpreter and then in the Resource Conservation department where I worked primarily with species at risk including Chimney Swifts, Red-headed Woodpeckers and grassland birds. I will be starting in the coordinator role part-time as I transition from Riding Mountain back to Winnipeg, and am very excited to start full-time in October.
A few other non-bird related things about me… In my spare time I love to cross-country ski, do beadwork, and play instruments. My first language is French, and I am a proud Red River Metis with family ties to Saint-Boniface, Saint-Vital, and several other communities surrounding what is now Winnipeg.
Thank you for reading! I hope to meet many of you in the future, perhaps at future Bioblitz events or Chimney Swift monitoring nights. :)