Natural Habitat Adventures

Leah Pengelly

Growing up in the Canadian Rockies, Leah found her passion for exploring the outdoors early on, spending much of her childhood backpacking, skiing, horseback riding and canoeing. In 2008, she fell in love with the Canadian Arctic during a expedition along the east coast of Baffin Island with polar experts and students from around the world. That experience set her on a course to pursue polar oceanography and promote climate action to protect this at-risk ecoregion. In 2012, Leah attended the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development where she presented research on polar sustainability and the unique challenges facing these ecosystems. She received her bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Dalhousie University. After university, Leah returned to the Rockies to work for Parks Canada in several positions ranging from vegetation and fire technician to human-wildlife conflict specialist. In these roles, Leah developed a deep passion for working with species at risk and promoting species recovery using ecological processes.

In 2016, Leah returned to the Canadian Arctic as a resource conservation officer for Quittinirpaaq National Park on Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. After completing a field season at the top of the world, Leah moved to Iqaluit, Nunavut where she became the park's lead resource conservation officer. Her work has taken her all over the eastern High Arctic, pursuing habitat restoration for Peary caribou on Bathurst Island, monitoring glaciers in Sirmilik National Park and tagging narwhals near Pond Inlet. Leah been fortunate to work with both Inuit elders and youth. The knowledge she has gained through her relationships with indigenous people and her experiences while living in the North has deepened her understanding and appreciation of the High Arctic landscape and Inuit culture. Leah is excited to share her enthusiasm for the polar ecosystem, including the animals and people that call it home, with Nat Hab guests.

When she isn't working in the field, Leah spends as much time in the outdoors as she can: hiking, running, skiing and feasting on mountain sorrel and arctic blueberries. As a resident of the Arctic, she has taken up skijoring and working with a sled dog team to occupy the long, dark winters. She is also an avid scuba diver and loves traveling to experience new cultures and landscapes.

Upcoming Adventures with Leah:
Polar Bears of Churchill

Praise from Nat Hab travelers:

D. Fedor
“She was wonderful in every way. I can’t say enough about how excellent Leah was on our trip. She was always positive, and we considered her an awesome guide. She is a great ambassador of Nat Hab, and you are lucky to have her.”

M. Toth
“Leah was a fantastic Expedition Leader. She really is a wealth of information, great with the guests and fun to be around. She really made the trip well-rounded. Leah also has an eagle eye for finding bears and is an asset to your company!”

M. Card
“Leah has an exceptional knowledge base and did a great job sharing that information with the group. I felt like I learned something new each day of the trip about Arctic wildlife and culture. Guiding can be a very difficult job when organizing a group of people, but Leah did it effortlessly.”

S. Evans
“Leah was impressively knowledgeable and shared her information and stories throughout our time together. She did a great job pacing her information throughout the day, so we were never overwhelmed or bored. She was patient with everyone and made sure that important scheduling details were understood for the benefit of the whole group. We would love having Leah as a guide again.”

C. Kimberly
“Leah was exceptionally kind on the trip, making all guests feel comfortable. I enjoyed learning so much about the polar bears from her. She ensured the trip ran smoothly with her organization and great communication to the group. She was also an excellent spotter. Anyone would be lucky to have her as an Expedition Leader.”
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