Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!
Our female scientists are absolutely integral to Ontario parks, working as researchers, biologists, ecologists and more!
Take a look at some of our amazing scientists:
Eugenie Au, snake researcher
As a snake researcher, Eugenie spends her summers patrolling the rocky shoreline of Killbear Provincial Park, searching for eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes and eastern fox snakes.
She places a microchip in each captured snake to monitor populations in the park.
Sometimes a lucky visitor can witness the process!
“Each snake has its own personality and history. I enjoy sharing it with visitors and knowing that they can leave with a little more love for this “fearsome” species.
Corina Brdar, Senior Area Ecologist
Corina loves to use and share her ecological expertise to help protect and restore provincial parks.
“Every day I get to research new topics and interact with experts from all areas of ecology. My work is very applied, but is based on science done by academics and other government scientists.
“I’ve been doing this work since I finished graduate school almost 20 years ago and I hope to continue doing it until I retire.”
Morgan Hawkins, intern biologist
As an intern biologist, Morgan focuses on conducting wildlife research.
The information it collects helps in planning park management and maintaining ecological integrity.
“I love doing science, particularly wildlife research, because it allows people to learn about the unknown in nature and allows me to have an intimate relationship with the natural world.
“With Ontario Parks, I work to gather as much information as possible about the plants and animals in our protected areas.
“In this photo, I’m fighting (and losing) a swarm of mosquitoes in the field while setting up an acoustic monitor. The monitor is set to capture the songs of bats, amphibians and birds so we can better understand the species and population distributions on the landscape.
“The best part of my job is working outdoors with amazing people who carry out projects that help important conservation efforts.”
Jasmine Veitch, AWRS small mammal researcher
Jasmine works for the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station as a graduate student.
He is currently exploring the impacts of parasites on wild rodents to determine how parasites influence stress hormone levels in Algonquin Provincial Park.
“I have always been passionate about nature and biology, and working on the small mammal research project at Algonquin has allowed me to connect with the natural world.
“Having the opportunity to spend every day exploring the outdoors provides a treasure trove of experiences that you otherwise would not have had the opportunity to have.”
Elizabeth Steadman, piping plover monitor
Elizabeth has spent three summers as a plover monitor and volunteer coordinator at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.
During the summers, when the plovers nested elsewhere, she helped them with more important jobs, such as:
- Monarch Butterfly Counts
- cormorant surveys
- Tree and turtle nursery work.
- Many other fun natural enrichments!
He continues to work with Piping Plovers in Ontario and is pursuing a Master of Science at Trent University. She will sample 16 beaches across Ontario, trying to understand the amount of food available to piping plovers, as well as other habitat features that drive them to nest on certain beaches.
“Without a doubt, the most interesting part of my job is learning about the connections found in nature. This may sound strange at first, but I’ve come to think of Piping Plovers as the tap-dancing penguin from Happy Feet, only they dance in the sand.
“Many shorebirds visit Ontario beaches to feed on invertebrates along the water’s edge, kelp-filled shorelines, debris lines filled with driftwood, and short areas of vegetated dunes. However, only some of them have adapted large, round eyes, short beaks, and quickly moving legs to find invertebrates on or below the surface of the sand. It turns out that plovers are one of the adapted shorebirds that can tap dance their stomachs full. Talk about dinner and a show!
This intrepid park biologist is tracking radio-collared wolves from a helicopter and looking for peregrine falcons at the same time!