I was born on the edge of Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. At the time, my parents lived a few miles down the highway from my mother’s parents. Grandpa and his dad had built a simple two-story home in the mid-1920s at the top of the hill that dropped down to the south gate of the park. The house was built to fulfill a promise he had given my grandmother on their wedding, that he would build her a proper home with the birth of their first child. At the time, Grandpa and Grandma were living in a isolated logging camp deep in the forest reserve that would eventually become the national park. Grandpa’s job was to keep maintain the huge steam engine that turned the belts that ran the saw.
The birth of my mother in 1926 in the logging camp not only prompted the building of a new home, it also marked a significant career change for Grandpa. To be closer to his family, he applied for a job working with a crew hired to clear the forest at the east end of the lake and construct a world-class golf-course in preparation for the opening of the new national park in 1933. After its completion, he became the foreman of the maintenance crew, a post he held until retired 35 years later.
I’m extremely grateful to have had Grandpa in my life, especially during my childhood. He took me on long walks through the woods in every season and it was he who introduced me to the call of the wild.
My first professional job was as a park naturalist at Riding Mountain National Park and at Kootenay National Park. In this role, I was encouraged to learn as much as possible about the parks’ natural and cultural history. I was also given training and the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for the natural world with park visitors. The instant I started this work, I knew I had found my professional calling.
Ever since, my professional career has been dedicated to doing all that I can to assist with the protection and restoration of natural ecosystem through communication and education. The forms in which this mission have manifested are many and diverse. At various points in my career, I’ve been a visitor services specialist, consultant, radio talk show host and producer, television news reporter and personality, independent video producer and director, university instructor and associate faculty, freelance journalist, and best-selling author.
For more details on the specifics of these roles and associated projects, please refer to my LinkedIn profile.
At present, much of my time and energy goes to providing services as a expedition leader, tour director, interpretive guide and naturalist to educational travel companies and ecotourism operators. I’ve also been contracted to assist a local not-for-profit with some public engagement activities. Learn more…