Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Today’s post comes from Madeline McNabb, a 2017 Discovery Ranger at White Lake Provincial Park.

We all dream of turning our passion into a job.

My opportunity came last summer when I worked at White Lake Provincial Park as a Discovery Ranger.

The Discovery program aims to inspire the curiosity of park visitors and encourage exploration of our natural environment. I created so many amazing memories last summer. There are too many wonderful things I want to share!

After much deliberation, I’ve narrowed it down to five main reasons why I loved being a Discovery Ranger:

Snake Discovery Program

1. The multitude of topics to explore

Did you know that all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads? Toads are actually a type of frog! Before this summer, I didn’t know.

I learned tons of fun facts like this thanks to the program’s wide range of exploration topics, from insects to mammals, from geology to citizen science.

There was more than enough to choose from when putting together my Exploration Station schedule!

I discovered that even though I thought I knew a lot about nature, I was always learning. Being a Discovery Ranger helped me realize that it’s always good to get outdoors and explore, no matter how old you are!

2. Using my creativity

There were many ways I was able to let my creativity shine through my role as a Discovery Ranger.

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Whether I was setting up the Exploration Station or choosing activities for visitors, there was always something there that kept me thinking outside the box.

Signs of the discovery program

My favorite exploration station was the art-themed one.

I learned about the Group of Seven and helped visitors create their own beautiful works of art inspired by nature. Families loved collecting loose leaves and pine cones to trace leaves and assemble twigs.

3. Be outside every day

If you love nature, you’re in luck. Being a Discovery Ranger means spending the entire summer outdoors!

At my Exploration Stations, I spent time talking to people in the park and helping children explore the nature and wildlife around them.

Close up of hands and frog

When no one was around, I captured and identified insects myself and took photographs of the beautiful scenery. I put my plant identification skills to the test and listened to the calls of our feathered friends.

4. Support from my coworkers

I may have been the only Discovery Ranger at White Lake this season, but I never felt alone.

I received plenty of help and support from park staff in other departments.

Park staff kneeling with a fish in a tank

The gate attendants were quick to recommend passing through a Scanning Station to incoming guests, and management took the time to provide me with support and background knowledge.

The maintenance staff also helped me install it.

The best thing about my job was that although we each had different responsibilities, we all worked together toward a common goal: ensuring our park was as healthy as possible so everyone could enjoy it.

5. Interact with young people

Most families attended my Exploration Stations, so I spent a lot of time with the children.

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Sometimes children would find something really interesting, like a feather or an anthill, and then explain it to their parents or younger siblings. I loved seeing their faces light up thanks to nature!

Boy using binoculars

One of my fondest memories is of a little girl who came up to me to show me a toad she had found. We talked about all the amazing wildlife that can be found in the park.

The fact that she continued exploring the surroundings even after the Exploration Station was full made me feel like I had managed to inspire someone to explore and love nature.

Overall, I’m a big fan of the Discovery Program. It has something for everyone! Whether you’re interested in amphibians or trees, there’s sure to be something to explore.

The discovery commitment

I compromise to:

  • Explore parks large and small
  • Observe plants and animals.
  • Discover the wonders of nature.

Will you accept the promise?

Do you want to be a Discovery Ranger this summer?

NHE leader with children at Bronte Creek

Learn more about how to apply to our Discovery team: