Even though a grand adventure was on the horizon, I dreaded leaving Ontario Nature last month. On my last day, I was sappy one moment, numb the next.
Let me explain…
Ontario Nature provided me with countless opportunities to learn about myself, nature and conservation. It challenged me in many ways, and helped me build my confidence. During my time at here, I evolved from an office-based perfectionist to a “bring-it-on” wannabe biologist.
I have so many fond memories, some of which I would like to share with you.
This past summer, I attended the third annual reptile and amphibian field training course at Georgian Bay Islands National Park. My fellow participants and I discovered a large number of massasauga and eastern hog-nosed snakes. It was my first time seeing the later in the wild. I love watching hog-nosed snakes flare out their necks like cobras or play dead as defense mechanisms.
In 2012, I participated in queensnake surveys along Lake Huron. This experience was memorable because it was my first camping trip, the area was breathtakingly beautiful, and we were looking for an endangered snake that eats molten crayfish.
Lost Bay Nature Reserve is a dream. It is beautiful, lush and home to large populations of eastern musk, northern map and snapping turtles. I went canoeing for the first time in my life here, caught turtles and was frequently entertained by my coworkers’ antics.
I enjoyed many experiences at the Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve, but the most memorable one was entering the pond in stealth mode to catch a Midland painted turtle.
I loved attending the Nature Guardians’ Youth Summit in September 2013! It was inspiring to be around conservation-minded young people working together for positive change in their communities.
The Youth Council Retreat in February 2014 was another inspiration, and it made me realize that I was a pretty lazy teenager back in the day. In addition to brainstorming ideas and organizing campaigns, we spent time outdoors in a winter wonderland. I cross-country skied and went snowshoeing – two more firsts!
Near the end of my stint at Ontario Nature, I spent a morning modelling new Ontario Nature gear with some coworkers. We had a blast! (See photo at top of this blog.)
The final memory I will share with you is that of the staff retreats. These events offered staff members the opportunity to interact in an informal setting and bond with one another. They felt like a big family gathering to me.
Thank you Ontario Nature. It’s been a blast!
Catherine worked as the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas assistant at Ontario Nature from spring 2012 to summer 2014. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Toronto. Her dedication and positive attitude are sorely missed.