Thank you, Farley Mowat

Caribou crossing snowy tundra (Photo by Goldmann Jo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Caribou crossing snowy tundra (Photo by Goldmann Jo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

May 8, 2014 | by Cary Hamel | 0 Comments

I hadn't realized, until I sat down to write this post, the influence that Farley Mowat had on me.
 
Flashback to Grade 5, and I am reading People of the Deer. The descriptions of vast wilderness, terrifying but beautiful barren landscapes and human survival in the face of indifferent natural forces have me hooked! I am spellbound by the mysterious tundra landscape that lies somewhere due north of the Winnipeg suburb that I live in. On the coldest winter days, with blowing snow and howling winds, I pretend to be walking across Mowat’s tundra alone, this "land of little sticks," trying to reach some destination that I have to get to in order to survive (which is, of course, actually my elementary school).
 
Farley Mowat’s books helped cultivate within me a deep respect, passion and sense of responsibility towards Canada's wilderness. He greatly influenced my path in life and I knew then in Grade 5 that I wanted to spend my life trying to protect natural areas.
 
And even now, at 40 years old, on the coldest winter days I still strap on my snowshoes and head out to explore the "tundra" behind my southern Manitoba home.

About the Author

Cary Hamel is the conservation science manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada Manitoba Region.

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