Special connections

Erica Thompson (Photo by Brian Yungblut)

Erica Thompson (Photo by Brian Yungblut)

For my family and me, summer is a special season for spending time together outside. I always love to include the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in my travel plans, whether near or far. My curiosity includes not only the living landscapes where we work, but also the hope of meeting NCC neighbours both new and dear.

A few special memories from my 16 years with NCC stand out to me: strolling through Happy Valley Forest with the late Dr. Henry Barnett (it was hard to keep up with him). He shared memories of a lifetime of bird observations in the hardwood forests of Ontario’s Oak Ridges Moraine documented in a meticulously kept journal; evidence of decades of commitment to observing species on his family’s property. Exploring the old ranch house, interpretation centre and restored grasslands at  Saskatchewan’s Old Man on His Back (OMB) with Alan Dumontel, who picked up the torch from his late wife, Sue (OMB's long-time interpreter). Running into my old friend and mentor Ron Reid at a bird blind on Ontario’s Carden Alvar. Ron was renovating the much-enjoyed structure, from which I have watched endangered eastern loggerhead shrikes over the years, as well as a female black bear and cub flipping rocks for snacks. Each of these memories reminds me of how important our volunteers, partners and friends are in helping to care for Canada's natural areas.

When visiting an NCC Nature Destination this summer, you’re likely to come across others who care deeply about the places they are helping protect. If you do meet them, I encourage you to take the time to say hello, and ask about their experiences and connections to these  special places. I’m sure you’ll leave feeling inspired, and even more connected to the NCC family,

Erica Thompson

Senior National Director, Conservation Engagement & Development

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