Rachel was born and raised in Whitehorse, and has spent much of her life here. She holds a BSc in Environmental Sciences from UNBC (2001) and an MSc in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies also from UNBC (2016). Her undergraduate thesis investigated metal levels in plants around the former lead/zinc mine at Faro. It was published and has a baffling number of citations. Her Masters thesis was titled “Accelerated Aggregation in Mine Waste Deposits by Co-pyrolysis of Tailings and Organic Feedstocks”. It involved spending a lot of time in a lab running the same process over and over and over in a desktop reactor, creating a bio-char/tailings mixture with varying content ratios, temperatures, and organic sources, and then running lab analyses for soil properties on the resulting materials. The lab analyses allowed her to use some really cool machines including an electron microscope, and the Canadian Light Source facility at the University of Saskatchewan. If life ever presents you with an electron microscope at your disposal, take the opportunity and bring some dead bugs. The results of her Masters project were moderately interesting, but although she lied to herself for a year that she was going to write it up for publication, staring at a computer for work all day is not conducive to actually doing so in one’s spare time and she has since given up the intention. If you are deeply interested by that tantalizing title, get in touch.
Most of Rachel’s career has been loosely based around environmental assessment, environmental regulation, environmental effects of development (specifically transportation infrastructure and mining), and management and remediation of mine sites. Currently, she applies her project management skills as a project coordinator with the permafrost research group at the Northern Climate ExChange. A bit of a thematic departure, but her blunt style seems to blend fairly well with cantankerous permafrost researchers, and the YRC staff are all really quite enjoyable. She has also been working on a project laying some groundwork for seed banking in the Yukon, which melds interests in both climate change adaptation and site reclamation.
Rachel is food-motivated and likes to travel. Unlike most personal bios at Yukon College, Rachel does not really enjoy outdoor winter sports. Consequently, she spends much of February wondering why she lives here, but is rather attached to the place while grumbling about real estate prices. In summer, there is nowhere she would rather be, and she persists in attempting to grow tomatoes without a greenhouse. Rachel is suspicious of social media and having an internet presence, and thus is not intending to invest too heavily in her open scholar page. She can be found with like-minded people, admiring each other’s tinfoil hat designs and whispering so their cell phones can’t spy on them.