My Summer as a Discover Parks AmbassadorOctober 18, 2020
This past summer, I got the exciting opportunity to work as a Discover Park Ambassador for BC Parks Foundation in three of the most beautiful provincial parks on Vancouver Island. All centered around Parksville: Englishman River Falls, Little Qualicum Falls and Rathtrevor Beach, each have their own unique beauty and charm. I remember the first time I saw each of the parks, I was taken aback with gratitude for these protected spaces and their stunning views of mountains, oceans, waterfalls, old growth forests, and moss-covered trees. The best part was my whole job revolved around sharing with people the beauty of these places.
As a Park Ambassador my job was to improve visitors' park experience by not only being a source of information but also running fun and educational programs! I got the freedom to plan, create, and implement my very own programs about topics I was truly passionate about. Although I knew little of the island, having grown up in Ontario, I had the best experience exploring, discovering, and learning alongside all of you.
One of my favorite programs to run this summer was our park tours, where I got to show off the best of what the parks have to offer while discussing and sharing knowledge about the local plants and animals. I had some of my best memories spotting owls in the trees, hunting for crabs in tide pools, and hiking the trails with you. In the evenings, I provided campfire entertainment alongside my co-workers Dani and Seth, sharing laughs, stories and of course music!
The most valuable thing I took away from this past summer was simply being a part of parks. The more time I spent in each of the provincial parks the more connected I felt to them. I learned so much from working there. I taught myself how to identify west coast plants, researching which were edible and what medicinal uses they held. I learned from co- workers about all kinds of topics from Spotted Owls to Dungeness Crabs. And perhaps most importantly, I was taught the importance of taking care of protected areas and treating them with respect. Sharing this knowledge was a source of pride and there's nothing quite like putting a smile on a visitor's face.
So, I want to say thank you to all of you, whether you simply said good morning on a trail, took a tour of the park with me, or shared songs and stories around your campfire. I hope your summer was as memorable as mine was.
I can't conceive of anything being more varied, rich and handsome than planet earth: its crowning beauty is the natural world. I want to soak it up, to understand it ... then put it together and express it in my painting. This is the way I want to dedicate my life.”