by submitted 2018
Tamara Zembal’s time spent at work is split between dealing with documents at a desk that determine how the land in Alberta Parks will be used and experiencing some of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in those parks. As a land use officer for the south region of Alberta, her job is to ensure that you can enjoy the environment in these wild and wonderful places, while also allowing wildlife to live and thrive on the landscape. The flexibility is what Tamara loves most.
“I really enjoy the variety of work that I get to do, which is something I enjoyed about my time at Augustana as well,” Tamara reflects of her environmental science degree. “Augustana and my current role both fit me really well because of that variety and diversity, and in how they allow me to take on new challenges.”
Tamara has always been the kind of person to invite challenge and opportunity. While at Augustana, Tamara participated in everything from travel opportunities in Costa Rica and the Arctic to playing indoor soccer and participating in Earthwise, all while earning an Onesimus award, a Roger Epp award, a Community Service-Learning certificate and spearheading the campus garden, alongside keeping up with her studies. Tamara thrived under a busy schedule, and continues to do so today, in both her work and personal life.
“I deal with a diverse number of activities on one landscape,” Tamara explained, “ranging from industrial to recreational, from oil and gas to trappers, rock art at Writing on Stone Provincial Park, woolly mammoth tracks, abundances of rare plant communities and natural and man-made water bodies.” She has also had the opportunity to be involved in the creation of new parks, like the Castle Provincial Park established in 2017 north of Waterton Lakes National Park.
Tamara’s interests were cemented at Augustana, and from there, evolved into the next role or opportunity she could get her hands on. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she went on to work with mesocarnivores as part of a research project through a connection of Augustana professor Glynnis Hood’s. After that, she worked seasonally as a park ranger—where she not-so-fondly remembers having to get pepper sprayed as part of her training—to moving into a more permanent role in government. “I didn’t know my job existed when I graduated from University,” Tamara laughs, “I now realize that the environmental science program at Augustana set me up very well for this job.”
Augustana also afforded Tamara a sense of community—something still important to her. She has spent time coaching girl’s youth soccer, and now participates in quilting, textile surface design, and knitting with who she describes as “a bunch of wonderful women who are about my grandma’s age.”
“The sense of community that you get from Augustana is large and influential. I still pursue community today.”