Liz was born in rural South Africa, and was an amateur naturalist from the age of three, keeping bugs and chameleons as ‘pets’. Summers were spent at Bonza Bay in a caravan by the sea – getting stung by blue bottles and Portuguese men-of-war. She crossed the ocean in Union Castle mail ships several times, aged 2, 3, 9, 10 and 17, and developed a healthy respect for the awesome power of the ocean, swearing never to venture out in anything less than 700 feet long! But the allure of the ocean was strong, even with the African dust in her veins, which kept calling her back to gaze again with wonder at the Southern Cross long after she emigrated, first to the UK and then to Canada. She wanted to study Marine Zoology, but fell in love with ‘old Durham town’ and decided on a plain Zoology degree at Durham University. However she was able to spend several months at the Archipelago Research Institute on Seili island in Finland, doing her third year project on the effects of pollution on bethnic organisms of the Baltic.
Her Masters degree was spent chasing wild bees up the Miramachi River in northern New Brunswick, Canada, before “settling down” to married life with Steve in Northern Alberta. Her varied adventures in paid work include the science and agriculture ‘beat’ for a small newspaper in Alberta, crime prevention for the John Howard Society, child care consultant, disability advocate, human resource manager for a multinational bank in the Middle East, M&A integration for a tech company, and managing global projects for a US-headquartered mutual fund company. But her most valued career has been as nurse, driver, disciplinarian, advocate, educator, cook, cleaner, swim instructor, doctor, therapist, counsellor, activist, and well, yes…. mother, to her three sons, Nick, Matt and Tim. Pulled kicking and screaming into her husband’s ‘hobby’ of sailing, which she considered a costly disease, she woke up one day to find herself living on a sailboat, and dreaming of travel to exotic locations.