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This fledgling naturalist never stopped nourishing her hunger for knowledge about the natural world. Starting at age 11, she spent two summers at the River Institute’s “Ecofriends” day camp at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area where she could “touch frogs and do nature-based crafts”. She then transitioned to the Junior Scientist camp at the institute’s headquarters in Cornwall. For the three years she attended, she picked up on the teachings and enthusiasm of Dr. Brian Hickey and revelled in the endless opportunities to set hoop nets, catch turtles, seine for fish, and identify freshwater invertebrates. Dr. Hickey’s hands-on approach to learning science inspired Kate to continue on her path as a naturalist, a person who uses knowledge of natural history to educate others. By the time she was 16, Kate had joined the River Institute (RI) staff as a summer intern. She went on to work at Cooper Marsh as an interpreter for one summer and returned to the RI every year since then to work as a research assistant and field technician. She has worked on several projects and with all her experience, often leads various field crews. A day in her life might look like this: loading the truck and/or boat with equipment, heading out to the site, gearing up with waders, seine netting to catch (and release) minnows, completing water quality surveys, taking water quality measurements, and so on.

Now 23, Kate has recently completed her Bachelor of Science degree majoring in ecology and biodiversity at Bishop’s University and already has her eye on future post-graduate studies.

“You don’t have to grow out of being curious”.

Until she entered the scene, Kate didn’t know a career existed that allowed a person to be curious forever. As it turns out, there are many opportunities.