Sciensational Sssnakes!!

Conservation Through Education

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Staff Profile: Dan Hoops

Dan has been with us as a staff member for two summers now, and he was a volunteer for the four years before that! It has been interesting watching him gain experience and develop skills with both the animals (the easy part) and the programs. At this point it is hard to believe that only a couple of years ago he was nervous about doing a program for a day care centre- now he’s comfortable on a stage in front of hundreds of people! Sadly, we have to say farewell to him, as he is headed off to McGill University, complete with a scholarship for academic achievement. Congratulations, Dan, and we’re sure you’ll do well in Montreal!

Posted by Jeff Hathaway at 11:13 AM | Comments (4)  

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We're back!

Actually, we've been back since Tuesday night, but it's been a little busy catching up on things. Eighteen days on the road leaves quite a bit to do at home! From Marten River, we headed north through Kirkland Lake and Timmins, and across through Foleyet to Pukaskwa National Park, our most distant venue. We enjoyed a day off in Pukaskwa, and as seems to be tradition, spent the day exhausting ourselves! We hiked about 20 km, 16 of which was the main hiking trail to (and from) the suspension bridge over the White River gorge at Chigamawinigum Falls- very spectacular!!! I'll post a few pictures if I can get the digital camera to start co-operating again; it hasn't felt like working for a few days. From there, we came back by way of White Lake PP and Wakimi Lake PP, with a final program at a day care centre in Sudbury on the way home. In total, we covered almost 4000 km in the van on the tour, performing 33 programs to ~3350 people (plus 6 shows and 1100 km if you count what Jenny and Christa/ Dan did on the way to and from Marten River for our animal and staff rotation).

We saw less wildlife this summer than the last couple of years, probably due to the heat. We did see 1 deer, 1 moose, and 1 bear, both while driving. From a herpetological perspective, we saw 1 painted turtle, 1 snapping turtle, 1 garter snake, 1 smooth green snake, and quite a few leopard, green, bull, and mink frogs, plus american toads. The heat was pretty intense- on two days we had to put bottles of ice (or stuff out of the fridge!) into the styrofoam boxes we use to transport the animals, just to keep the temperatures inside manageable. We've never had to do that before. We don't have air conditioning in the van, so we just endured the temperatures that ranged as high as 38C while we were driving with the windows open. Most days weren't quite that hot, though. The heat also apparently caused the fish to stop biting- at least that's what everyone kept telling us wherever we went. We were happy to accept that theory, as we certainly didn't have much luck. After Marten River, I caught only 1 little pike (really small, as in 20 cm) for the rest of the trip. Better luck next year, I hope!

All in all a great trip! Many thanks to the Ontario Parks, public libraries, and other venues that worked with us to co-ordinate the scheduling, and especially to Dan, Crystal, and Christa for their effort, flexibility, humor, and sense of adventure along the way!

Posted by Jeff Hathaway at 8:49 AM | Comments (0)