So you want to be an Ontario Parks ecologist

Exploring remote forests, searching for rare species. Trekking through fields in hot, heavy gear to eradicate invasive ones. Using technology to monitor the ecosystems in parks and conservation reserves, and communicating conservation science to Ontario’s decision-makers.

Working as a biologist for Ontario Parks is sometimes action-packed and always rewarding.

Are you dreaming of spending your days working to protect and enhance ecological integrity in protected areas?

Well, here are five top tips from Ontario Parks ecologists to help make your dream a reality:

1. Get hands-on experience

If you haven’t graduated from college or university yet, enroll in a field course. Alternatively, ask an instructor if you can work or volunteer for their research project.

An Ontario Parks Biologist hard at work.

Already graduated? Don’t worry! No matter where you live in Ontario, there are conservation organizations looking for volunteers to do ground work.

2. Take the lead

Ontario Parks staff take on many different projects, often working with all kinds of people. If you can demonstrate your experience working with others, you’ll stand out.

staff catching butterflies

Completing a Master of Science can be a great way to get these skills, but it’s not the only way!

3. Be willing to start at the bottom

It’s competitive out there, but if you have the right skill-set and are willing to be flexible, new opportunities can show up where you least expect them.

staff hiking

For example, Ontario Parks hires summer students across the province every year. Wherever you get your start, make the most of it by finding ways to gain new skills and experience, learning from ALL of the people you work with, and letting your supervisor know what your career goals are.

4. Develop good contacts

Whether you’re reaching out to a stranger you found on the internet or a family friend, ask meaningful questions and follow up on their responses.

staff in front of office

Be genuine in your interest. It’s obvious when someone is just going through their “I need a job” checklist. Remember to thank that person for sharing their time with you!

5. Love nature

We’re all motivated by our interest in and passion for conservation biology and the natural sciences.

An Ontario Parks ecologist using a measuring tape around a tree's trunk to measure its circumference.

We’ve honed our skills and built our knowledge on the time we’ve spent outside and keeping up to date on the latest publications and research.

School is the beginning of a career as a biologist, but the learning never ends.

Wondering about current opportunities?

We are currently hiring for 2023! Apply now to join us for this year’s season.