by Candace Deschamps

A transformative story of how I came to work at Pukaskwa National Park. Join me, as I delve into the personal realization of the intricate beauty and wonder of planet Earth and why the Resource Conservation Officer position was so fitting at this time in my life.

Growing up in Marathon, Ontario, I never really knew what career I wanted to pursue. My parents’ suggestions—doctor, lawyer, or forensic sketch artist—never really sparked my interest.

As an adolescent I felt as though I was the odd ball out. I was never really interested in the most popular clothing brands, sports teams, pop music, or reality television shows. I was more interested in abstract art and how it made people feel, and classical and metal music that expressed such emotion, charisma, and deep thought about the ways of the world. I always felt more peaceful while going for walks in the forest, or listening to the waves crashing onto the rocks at Pebble Beach. Something about the natural world felt so real and inviting, like being at home. The uniqueness of each individual rock and the complex patterns of the flowers and ferns intrigued me. I was amazed at how all these living and non-living things came together and made such beautiful sights, smells, and tastes.

Throughout the years I also saw the negative impacts of human activities, such as pollution, climate change and ocean acidification. I needed to do something to help this planet, to help protect the beautiful things I cherished and found so much wonder in. I wanted to surround myself with likeminded people who shared my love for conservation and continual improvement and progress. I wanted to do my part to protect the natural spaces in this world that are necessary for all life on Earth.

After coming to this profound realization, I applied to the Natural Environmental Technician – Conservation and Management course at the Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology. It was there I learned more about the living processes I was so mesmerized by in my early years. After graduation I worked as a construction environmental monitor and then for the lands and resources office in my Indigenous community of Pic Mobert First Nation. These experiences were great learning opportunities, although I yearned for something more.

Last summer, I came across a job posting on the Pic Mobert First Nation website for a Resource Management Officer at Pukaskwa National Park. Reading the description of the position I felt so excited! I took my time in writing the application, and studied for the written technical test. Before the interview, I researched the park to familiarise myself with its ins and outs. After being chosen for the position I fell in love with my job. Each day is a new adventure. We spend our time monitoring rivers and streams, protecting at-risk plants on beautiful beaches, hiking through rugged terrain and so much more I have yet to experience. I look forward to the career ahead of me and I am inspired by Parks Canada’s mandate to protect Canada’s natural heritage. I see my role in conserving the timeless beauty that is found here at Pukaskwa National Park and I am truly blessed.

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