Opening doors with Ontario Parks

Today’s blog was written by Pilar Manorome, a park planner in Protected Areas Section at Ontario Parks.

As a kid, I was always fascinated by the natural world around me and was very fortunate to grow up in Norfolk County.

It was a place where I could step out my door and have a wide array of trees, wildflowers, birds, insects, and everything in between, right at my fingertips.

I am also very blessed to have a family that encouraged exploration of the natural world through taking me to the local conservation areas and provincial parks to find frogs and wildflowers, and down dirt roads to find birds and butterflies.

Although my mom and grandparents lit the spark, the flame was truly fanned when I started volunteering for my local Conservation Authority.

Working for Ontario Parks has only further fed the fire.

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Happy National Pet Day from Ontario Barks

In today’s post, the Chairdog of the Ontario Barks committee shows off his best buds at their favourite provincial parks with their humans! 

Oh boy! It’s National Pet Day! *zoomies*

Even though this is a special day, I’m going to be fur-real with you – in my household, every day is pet day.

From the endless array of squeaky toys (with yummy stuffing and no eyes), the long W-A-L-Ks filled with my smelly presents, and second dinners because the human thought I didn’t get fed by the other human – it’s a pawesome time.

And get this: the fun doesn’t stop here. Sometimes, the human packs a bag and we head on out to a provincial park (there are hundreds!) for an adventure!

Don’t believe me? I’ve gathered all the evidence below of my best buds enjoying park visits! (Don’t ask about who destroyed the couch though; there is no proof.)

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We’re looking for park wardens!

Ontario Parks currently manages more than 340 parks. In doing so, we protect over 8.2 million ha of land, lakes and rivers, while providing habitat for over 140 different species at risk.

At the same time, we provide recreational opportunities by operating more than 20,000 car campsites, 170 roofed accommodations, and 8,000 backcountry campsites.

How do we do this?

The success of our organization is a direct result of our amazing staff’s hard work. Park wardens are an integral part of our operations, and play a significant role in helping us achieve our goals.

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Where the best summer of my life has led me

Today’s blog comes from Laurel Finney. Laurel is the Discovery program project coordinator within the Ontario Parks Operations & Development section, providing direction and support for Discovery Program staff across the province. Previously Laurel worked at White Lake, Esker Lakes, Six Mile Lake, and Wasaga Beach provincial parks.

When I was 17, I applied to and was accepted into the Ontario Junior Ranger program.

Its tagline was “best summer of my life” – and that still rings true for me.

My parents drove me to Washago and from there, I traveled on my own, by train, to Gogama, where I had the best summer of my life and made some of my truest friends.

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My summer as a Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake

Today’s blog was written by Justin Sallans, Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

As someone who has always loved nature, working as a Discovery ranger at Grundy Lake Provincial Park was the perfect choice for me.

Not only did I get to live and work in the park, but I also had the opportunity to share knowledge I had gained through my post-secondary studies.

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

Today’s blog comes from Hope Freeman, Discovery leader at Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Maybe it sounds cliché, but I truly love my job.

Ontario Parks has provided me with the opportunity to help protect our province’s unique biodiversity while learning and growing as a professional.

One of the best parts? Working in an inclusive environment that focuses on maintaining a good work-life balance.

Wondering how I got here?

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From Discovery team to butterfly biologist

Today’s blog was written by Michelle Polley, a Master’s student conducting research at Pinery Provincial Park where she formerly worked as a Discovery ranger.

I had never been lucky enough to camp at a provincial park. So when I started my first summer on the Discovery team at Pinery Provincial Park, I didn’t know what a naturalist’s job entailed.

I also didn’t know how that summer contract would affect the trajectory of my life.

Looking back, my experience brought me skills and experiences that led me down a path to develop my career and interests.

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Communication is key: from student to park superintendent

Today’s blog was written by Dave Ward, park superintendent for Ontario Parks’ Temagami Cluster.

The year is 2007. I had just completed my first year of college and had no idea what direction I wanted to go with my career.

I happened to know someone who worked for Ontario Parks as an interpreter in the Discovery program. It sounded like a fantastic job so I applied online for a student park ranger position.

After a thorough interview process, I was successful in getting a Discovery position at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park.

Little did I know at the time that my short summer experience with Ontario Parks would slowly turn into a career.

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A journey from the heart of Pinery to school outreach coordinator

Today’s blog was written by Almeera Ahmed, School Outreach Coordinator with the Discovery program.

Born and raised in the urban landscape of Brampton, Ontario, my childhood was far from the serene wilderness that would later define my career path.

Growing up, my encounters with wildlife were confined to the captivating narratives of wildlife documentaries.

However, this exposure was enough to ignite a flame of curiosity and passion for the natural world, propelling me towards a career in the environmental field.

Continue reading A journey from the heart of Pinery to school outreach coordinator