Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Today’s post comes from Kevin Gevaert, discovery guide at Rondeau Provincial Park.

I am a student discovery guide here at Rondeau Provincial Park. This will be my fourth year as a performer on the Discovery Program.

Let me tell you about my trip in the parks.

A little bit about me

I currently study at Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. The course I took for the Fish and Wildlife Technology program has benefited me greatly, especially working here in Rondeau.

This program has given me the skills I needed to help with the research and identification parts of the job.

It also fostered a passion for sharing the knowledge I have about the wildlife found here!

Get used to crowds

Being part of the Discovery team continues to allow me to develop my skills. I was pretty comfortable with the wildlife part of the job; after all, it’s what I study. However, the programs running and the crowds that accompanied them were a different story.

A girl watches a snake on the Discovery program

During my first year, it was quite stressful to speak in front of a crowd. I wasn’t very comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. The first program I created at Rondeau was a children’s program about turtles, and I was once nervous about teaching it!

It took me a few shows before I adjusted. After the third or fourth time I ran the program, the nerves began to subside and programming became easier, as did talking to visitors. I had finally found my rhythm.

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Over the years, I created multiple programs that showcased my knowledge and passion for the species within the park. My “Fish Frenzy” meet with the Naturalista program where anyone in the audience could attend was my favorite to run.

During this program, I would take the time to explain what species of native and non-native fish were found in Rondeau Bay. I also created a dark sky star walk, which took a lot of research and learning to create. Something I know I can take with me back to school and beyond!

Taking education to the countryside

Fleming College’s Fish and Wildlife program is a highly challenging, practical course that has taught me several valuable lessons and skills related to the ecology and environment of Ontario.

The best part of the job is that I have been able to take these lessons into the field with me here in Rondeau.

An important component of learning is ensuring your identification skills are top-notch. Plants, trees, bushes, visual and auditory bird identification, and game fish identification are just some of the things you need to be able to identify. Having this knowledge has proven useful in the field.

I constantly learn new things about topics I am passionate about whether at school or at work.

Every day is a new adventure

I love working at Rondeau because every day is different here. There are so many unique ecosystems and a wide variety of species in Rondeau Provincial Park.

Many of them are sensitive habitats and species at risk. Seeing these species daily is just one of the reasons I love going to work every day.

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you always end up here

hand holding cmall snakeWorking as part of the Discovery team seemed inevitable in retrospect. When I was in high school, as part of my co-op, I worked with the snake research team here.

It was my first real experience working in the field and gave me a wonderful experience working with some incredible snake species.

Thinking about it now, I can see myself continuing down the path of acting as a future career. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others, working and being outdoors, and working in a hands-on environment.

Grateful

Every year it surprises me. The Discovery Program continues to provide me with excellent opportunities to develop a variety of skills. All of which I know will help me grow in the future.

The Discovery Program at Ontario Parks has created a path for me that will likely last a lifetime, benefiting my education and providing me with an amazing summer job.

Greetings and I hope to see you on my next program.