NCC staff share their Natural Happy Places (Part Two)
At the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) our staff members from across the country each bring a unique perspective to conservation nationally and in their home province. From forests to coastlines, like every Canadian, NCC staff have their own special Natural Happy Place. Whether it is close to home or a couple hours in the car, staff share their favourite places in nature with me, below. If you missed Part One of the story, click here to read on.
Kailey Setter, conservation engagement program manager, Calgary, AB
It may be no epic mountain vista, but the quiet, unassuming grassland landscape at NCC’s Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area is definitely one of my favourite natural happy places! Having grown up in the shadow of the Rockies, there is something striking about the vast openness of the Canadian Prairies. In fact, I love this landscape so much I make the more than five-hour drive from Calgary to southwest Saskatchewan every year to see it. Do you know what the most beautiful part of this landscape is? Its sublety. It begs to be explored. Look closer and it will surprise you.
Carys Richards, communications coordinator, Calgary, AB
One of my favourite natural happy places is Wateron Lakes National Park. I love being in the mountains, and this is an amazing place to experience the Canadian Rockies and spot native wildlife. I grew up on the outskirts of Banff National Park and these days I prefer to head to Waterton when I need my nature fix, because it’s much less busy.
Tiffany Cassidy, communications manager, Regina, SK
My natural happy place is the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. In the corner of southwest Saskatchewan and southeast Alberta, it is an amazing place of forests and steep hills. If you’re looking for an active weekend escape, take your mountain bike and ride the trails.
Dale Gross, natural areas manager, Missouri Coteau, Regina, SK
For me, over the last few years my happy place has evolved. My happy place(s) are part Old Man on His Back, part Wideview, part Buffalo Valley and the prospects at Big Muddy, Saskatchewan. These are natural, functioning systems over vast spaces of natural grassland. They have become relatively rare on a global scale, and especially in North America.
So to see these vistas in better than good shape due to some smart, long-term range management planning by the long-term landowners (e.g. Peter and Sharon Butala, Alexander family, Alan and Sue Dumontel, Ivan and Joyce Thomson, Rick Lapaire and Marshall Sali) and their attentiveness to changes they observed on the landscape. These spaces and their thoughtful managers (stewards) captured the attention of one of Canada’s largest organization mandated to protect ecologically and economically valuable lands in Canada.
I’m happy to say I get to visit, let alone at least partially understand, the history and nature on these sites.
Jasmine Steffler, executive assistant to the vice-president, marketing & development, Toronto, ON
Having recently moved to Toronto, I’ve found that my Natural Happy Place is any green space within the city. While it would sometimes be preferable to spend time in nature outside of the urban jungle, a park or a natural area within the city is often just what I need to feel refreshed and provides the perfect backdrop for a few calming breaths.
Lisa Freeze, administrative assitant and receptionist, Toronto, ON
My favourite Natural Happy Place is Banff, Alberta. After university ended, my friends and I rented a car and drove through Banff National Park. We stopped wherever there was an opportunity to go hiking and were never disappointed by the view.
Quincin Chan, online fundraising and digital strategy coordinator, Toronto, ON
For the first leg of our Western Canada road trip, we camped at Two Jack Lakeside and our tent was basically right by the water. In the morning we would see moose having a drink of water in the lake, and in the evening we would have a picnic by the water and enjoy the beautiful sceneries. I feel so lucky to live in Canada where there are so many beautiful parks natural spaces that our kids can visit and spend time in nature.
Paula Noel, New Brunswick program director, Fredriction, NB
My Natural Happy Place is Oromocto Island, in the St. John River. It's close enough to home to get there in a short canoe trip after work. We grab a picnic basket and spend most warm summer evenings on the beautiful sandy beach at the top of the island.
Kathryn Morse, director of communications, Halifax, NS
My Happy Place is Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia. It’s a wonderful place to swim, bike, canoe and camp, and so peaceful that at night you can hear hemlock needles hitting the top of your tent.
Stay tuned to find out who is the winner of NCC's Natural Happy Place contest and discover more of these incredible places from across the country in the next installment of this blog!