Ten things learned at Parks Canada

Pukaskwa National Park

Kelly O’Brien, Kaytlin Constantin, and Erin Hansen

We are four university students working as part of the External Relations team in Parks Canada’s Northern Ontario office in Thunder Bay. As Hometown Heroes interviewers, media archivist and content developer, we collect, create, and organize content to be used in future communications. Here’s our list of top ten things we’ve learned at Parks Canada.

  1. Wear sunscreen. Especially advisable when you experience #ParksLife. Kristine mistakenly thought she would be on a boat tour of Rossport for 20 minutes and didn’t reapply sunscreen. The tour lasted 6 ½ hours. Ouch!
  2. You’ll have more fun than expected. Between interviews, edits, and research on the internet, our office gets together for pot lucks, bowling, and volunteering at Shelter House. We’re lucky to have been surrounded by a great team of co-workers this summer. 
  3. Respect cultural and historical sensitivities. As an interviewer this summer, Kelly learned some of her interviewees had historical connections with Parks Canada that extended far beyond visiting national parks as a child. It’s been eye opening. 
  4. Meetings are necessary. We meet with our supervisors once per week, in addition to having weekly team meetings, to convene with colleagues, discuss ideas and ensure we’re on the right track. It’s great to know people want your experience with Parks Canada to benefit you. 
  5. Social media involves a surprising amount of leg work. While social media is typically spontaneous, Parks Canada uses weekly themed posts to build a following. Kaytlin is cataloguing pictures to make them more accessible to colleagues who may use them to create engaging and informative content. 
  6. When you think you’ve seen all of Lake Superior, there’s more. Seriously. One minute Lake Superior is a beautiful, deep, and elusive inland sea, reaching depths of over 600 feet, and the next, your boat is sitting in just four feet of water. 
  7. Northern Ontario is massive in character and vastness. In the span of a few months, we’ve been to Pukaskwa National Park, Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Red Rock, Rossport, and Nipigon- all of which are within a four hour radius of Thunder Bay. There is a reason our anthem includes “the True North strong and free”. 
  8. Northern Ontario is rich in history. On our way home from Pukaskwa National Park, we visited Neys Provincial Park to collect information with Erin about a Hometown Hero. In addition to being a beautiful park, it was once a German prisoner of war camp and a Japanese-Canadian internment camp. Northern Ontario is such an amazing place to explore. 
  9. Parks Canada’s team serves fellow Canadians. We’ve watched our External Relations colleagues communicate events, liaise with media, prepare financial agendas, follow federal standards, and so much more. They have earned our admiration and respect, twice over. 
  10. Never underestimate how much your boss does. Your supervisor not only has their job to attend to, but yours as well. We’ve been very lucky to have two great supervisors guiding us through our summer experience. They have been supportive and inspirational.

(left to right) Kristine, Erin, Kelly, and Kaytlin touring the Rossport Islands
© Parks Canada

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