Growing up, I had spent most of my childhood outside exploring the natural world, reading my collection of National Geographic magazines, as well as encyclopedias on North American plants, animals, and insects. My parents always encouraged this curiosity and helped to nurture it by gifting me microscopes, bug catching nets, and models of animal anatomy that needed to be put together. I would spend my time catching frogs, and snakes, or looking for starfish, sand dollars or tiny minnows in the shallows on the beach, digging for clams and crabs with my aunt and uncle, or looking for jellies that had washed up on the shore.
In high school, I was voted most likely to solve climate change. In hindsight, my career path should have seemed obvious, but I grew up in a small village in Nova Scotia where career opportunities weren’t diverse and a career in the sciences didn’t seem like an option. I moved to Alberta and began my career in administration. It wasn’t something I enjoyed, but the pay was livable, and I became comfortable.
After some time, I came to recognize that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life and career, and I had grown out of touch with the things that were important to me. I began to take the needed steps to realign myself with what would make me happy by upgrading my math courses and refreshing my high school biology. I applied for the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation program at BCIT, and was accepted in the summer of 2021.
My partner and I made the move to Vancouver in September 2021, and I began my program in the fall with the end goal of pursuing a career in aquatic sciences.
I became aware of the Georgia Strait Alliance years ago when I lived in Alberta. I believed so much in their cause and contributed monthly donations to the organization and always said if I one day ended up moving to the west coast, I would want to volunteer and become involved in any way that I could. Earlier this year, GSA was hosting a volunteer orientation, and shortly thereafter I began volunteering with GSA during orca month in June.
This summer I’ve taken up an internship as an aquatic scientist with a consulting company. In my role, I am responsible for providing the best data that I can so that the best possible decisions can be made for the environment.
My work doesn’t always reflect directly back to the Salish Sea and the orcas that call these waters home, but the work contributed by Georgia Strait Alliance have served as a reminder of why I do what I do, and what my end goal in the conservation movement is – to play my part in conserving and protecting our environment, including the orcas.
By: Ambre Comeau – Georgia Strait Alliance’s volunteer