Kimberly McGough is a participant in Group 1 of the Canadian Conservation Corps.

What can I say… CCC has been one heck of an adventure!

I can’t believe that three months has flown by already. I am now back home in Alberta after completing my work placement at Scales Nature Park out in Ontario.

kim nicole and christina at scales
Nicole Webster, Christina Borring-Olsen and Kimberly McGough completing their learning placement at Scales Nature Park.

Scales is a place like no other. During my placement there were unlimited opportunities for growth, skills building, networking, and learning first-hand about conservation. With the unique and dynamic atmosphere of Scales, many days brought new opportunities along with new challenges.

Field Learning At Its Best

Looking back I have to say that I am very proud of myself for taking on all those challenges and completing my stage two placement. From this experience I will be taking away valuable skills and knowledge about wildlife and habitat conservation. Also, I have learned so much about reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario and throughout Canada. Finally, I now have a thorough understanding of conducting fieldwork for species at risk.

Going into my placement I had a basic idea of the type of work they did at Scales. However, it wasn’t until I was actually submersed in the work that I gained an appreciation and understanding of the hard work that goes into ground-level conservation projects. It takes some very dedicated and passionate people to run a conservation initiative, and devote all their time and energy into creating awareness and helping to save species at risk.

I must say it has been a pretty cool opportunity to get to know different biologists, environmentalists, and other people that are passionate about conservation. Until Scales, I didn’t know there were many people out there like me who get super excited about finding a snake or a snail, or enjoyed meandering to look for tiny flowers, insects and birds.

Pelee Island

One of my most memorable experiences with Scales was getting to go on a week-long conservation road trip through Southern Ontario to Pelee Island. We were able to take part in different conservation initiatives with various biologists and organizations. Once we got to Pelee Island, which is surrounded by Lake Erie, I was in awe of the landscape and all of the species that were unique to the island.

Is that the ocean? Pelee Isand and Lake Erie (Photo credits Kimberly McGough)
Is that the ocean? Pelee Isand and Lake Erie (Photo © Kimberly McGough)

Quite often I was lulled into thinking that we were by the ocean — the water seemed endless and the waves were constantly coming up onto the beaches. Also, I kept finding shells!

Snake break with Todd the Fox Snake (photo credits Nicole Webster)
Snake break with Todd the Fox Snake (photo © Nicole Webster)

By far my favorite part of the job was learning about the different animals and getting to interact with them. I am also going to miss the adventures that took place, the excitement of all the staff and never knowing what each day of conservation would bring.

Scales crew out in the field looking for species at risk (photo credits Kimberly McGough)
Scales crew out in the field looking for species at risk (photo © Kimberly McGough)

After this experience I feel that many new doors have opened. I am excited for the opportunities that will come of it. I definitely was sad to leave my fellow cohorts who were placed with me, as well as all other awesome staff at Scales.

I am happy to be back home in Calgary and look forward to what will unfold for my community project in the third stage of the Canadian Conservation Corps.

Learn more about the Canadian Conservation Corps.