Our Volunteers

Sara Richard

Meet Sara Richard, a member of our New Brunswick Advisory Committee

Richard was born in Lahr, Germany, where her father was stationed with the military at the time. In the coming years, she spent time in Ontario and Manitoba before her family settled more permanently near Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

“I consider myself a Maritimer,” said Richard. “I come from Maritime stock, actually – I’m 13th generation on my Acadian side. But I did have a young childhood growing up everywhere, which I think helps you gain perspective by seeing different things and being interested in the wider world.”

After graduating from high school, she attended Acadia University and earned a double major in chemistry and biology and followed that up with an engineering degree specializing in water resources from the University of Guelph. Her interest in water resources reflects a long-standing passion for conservation and habitat issues. There wasn’t any one pivotal moment that inspired her, she just always saw the importance of protecting habitats.

“I started working on fish habitat when I was a summer student at Fundy National Park in Alma, New Brunswick,” said Richard. “I was working mostly on brook trout, but also with some salmon – looking at fish habitat and how the rivers had changed in the park because of logging in the past. So, I’ve always been interested more on the habitat side, rather than the species side. It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in and I’m still very much an outdoors enthusiast.”
After graduation, Richard returned to Parks Canada for another year before taking on a position with the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources in the Fish and Wildlife Branch. There she worked on the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, focusing largely on wetlands. She followed that up with five years working with the Department of Environment and Local Government on drinking water protection and surface water issues. She moved to the federal government and spent several years in Alberta as the environmental officer at CFB Cold Lake, Canada’s largest fighter jet base. After that a position with Transport Canada took her to Moncton. Transport Canada assigned her to work briefly with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and in 2016 she joined DFO full time and today serves as Senior Biologist with the Fish and Fish Habitat Protection Program.

“I kind of see myself as doing a whole 360, towards the end of my career now from the beginning of my career,” said Richard. “Coming back and working with people that I hadn’t seen for 20 years or more, and then working with them through DFO. It’s been this circular approach.”

Because of her background working with contaminated sites, she works with the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan program, through which DFO provides expert advice to other departments. That led to her working with fisheries and habitat restoration programs. In 2017, a colleague of hers who had been working with the Foundation for Conservation of Atlantic Salmon was moving on and suggested Richard as a suitable replacement. It was a perfect fit.

“I like the FCAS because you are working with different groups and you want to see them succeed at their goals and not necessarily dictate what needs to be done for their watershed,” said Richard. “They’re the ones that know what’s going on in their watershed and what the issues are, but we help to support them to accomplish their goals. So I really enjoy that aspect – working with like-minded individuals and helping them accomplish their goals within the area.”

Richard lives in Riverview with her husband.