Heidi grew up in a rural area of Northern Ontario, Canada, where she enjoyed the outdoors and small adventures with her family. She fell in love with the sea on the west coast as a sea cadet in her teenage years and started working onboard the Maple Leaf. While at the University of Victoria studying Marine Biology she continued to work with Maple Leaf as deckhand and then First Mate.
While completing a bachelor's degree Heidi spent time studying and working at Bamfield Marine Station on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Field work has taken Heidi to shorebird nesting sites on the east coast of the US, salmon habitat surveys and marine mammal surveys on the BC coast and onboard research vessels undergoing benthic invertebrate sampling for environmental monitoring programs.
Heidi and her husband Stephen also co-run a 66-foot sailboat/research vessel for Raincoast Conservation Society in the Great Bear Rainforest, and work as expedition leaders in the Antarctic and the Arctic. They live aboard their own 33-foot sailboat in British Columbia, which they sailed across the Pacific from Sydney, Australia.