One of the most challenging aspects of outreach is capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention. This is especially true when your audience is a group of high school students who are attending an obligatory event. The challenge is well-worth it, however, when you succeed in turning teens on to something new.
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Imagine you are relaxing in your beautiful garden, enjoying the natural beauty, the sounds, the colors, the scents. Now imagine you could do all of this and contribute to the protection of native biodiversity at the same time. You can make this happen by adding native plants to your garden.
Field work can be fun and rewarding, but it does have its challenges. My colleagues and I have endured many unfortunate events while traipsing about the wilder parts of Ontario. Bug bites, falling trees, unplanned pond and cave entries, thunderstorms, borderline hypothermia, skunk sprays and pulled groins are just some of the troubles we have faced.
Last weekend, on a queensnake survey in Bruce Peninsula National Park (BPNP), we ran into more trouble in the form of a 5,000 pound canoe.
Tanya Pulfer, conservation science manager, and I planned to search for the endangered queensnake along the shorelines in the Bruce Peninsula National Park and had borrowed Park Canada’s canoe. Our backs ached as we lugged this beast down an unmarked portage route, hauling it over fallen trees, while tripping on roots and rocks. When we finally reached our river destination, the water level was so low that it appeared as a thin ribbon surrounded by thick mats of aquatic vegetation.