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Serguei Ponomarenko

Russian-Canadian naturalist Serguei was born into a family of marine biologists on the coast of the Barents Sea, located off the northern coasts of Norway and Russia. He spent his childhood playing in fjords, collecting marine creatures at low tide and learning their strange names and habits. Ever since he was a preschooler, Serguei has known he’d become a biologist and he counts himself lucky that he’s been able to follow his dreams and embrace the many facets of nature.

After receiving his PhD in biology and ecology from Moscow University, he worked across various landscapes and geographies, from Arctic tundra and boreal and temperate forests to Central Asian grasslands, mountains, and deserts. His main areas of interest are in conservation ecology and ecosystem restoration, and he initiated the creation of two national parks in Russia. In 1996, Serguei moved to Canada with his wife and son and for the last 14 years, he has led a vegetation mapping project in national parks across the Canadian Arctic, undertaking field surveys and creating vegetation maps for Parks Canada and other agencies.

Serguei has organized many expeditions to remote areas of the circumpolar Arctic and has lived for weeks in field camps, where polar bears, grizzlies and wolves were his closest neighbors. He has fallen in love with the vast land of formidable and delicate nature, where the sun doesn’t go below the horizon in summer and where the last frontier is still as it was thousands of years ago.

Serguei was also awarded the Certificate of Valour from the Ottawa Police for saving a possible drowning victim.