Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Friday, 26 October 2018

Mentorship Matters: Building Skills through the Latornell Professional Development Program

The working world is tough. From landing your first job to the ongoing hunt for your ‘dream’ job, we often feel like it’s not easy to compete in today’s working world. This is just as true for the environmental field as for any other sector. Thinking back to the start of your own career journey, wouldn’t it have been great if someone was there to give you a helping hand? A sounding board to guide you and share advice or resources? Or perhaps having someone put in a good word for you would have been more helpful. Even those who are more senior in their roles can often benefit from a refreshing new perspective. Regardless of the specifics, we could all use a little company on the journey down our career path at some point. True to the heart of this, the Latornell Conservation Symposium continues to offer opportunities for environmental and conservation professionals to meet, network and share stories, career insights and passions. Not only do we offer events as part of the conference program, but for almost three years we have hosted events year-round in an effort to bring together environmental professionals with an interest in mentorship and professional development.

Five years ago the Latornell Symposium celebrated its 20th year, and in recognition of this important milestone we launched the Latornell Mentorship Program. Now in its fifth year, this initiative has been rebranded as the Professional Development Program. Our new name underscores our goal of being more inclusive of a diverse environmental sector which includes both new and internationally-trained professionals. However, our vision of connecting professionals within the environmental sector has not changed, and mentorship continues to be a common thread running throughout all the conference. Since the first Latornell Symposium was held in 1993 hundreds of personal and professional connections have been forged amongst dedicated conservationists working within the sector through events like our grant recipient wine and cheese receptions and dedicated professional development sessions. Building on this solid foundation, this year we are excited to announce that we will be joined by Cher Jones – a Social Media Trainer and Personal Branding Coach who will be leading our Thursday morning breakfast session to teach us how to build a professional and polished social media presence. We encourage everyone – especially those who are established in their careers – to join us and develop empowering new skills that help keep us relevant within the modern workforce.

The Professional Development Program is also feverishly working on the details of a winter 2019 snowshoeing and networking outing to be held in the Kingston area. This is the final event planned in a series this year which aims to connect conservation professionals in different parts of the province. Earlier this year, we partnered with BlueDrinks TO and the Toronto Green Community to participate in a Lost Rivers walk through the Toronto Port lands, and hosted a Careers in Conservation Lunch n’ Learn near London with representatives from St. Clair Region Conservation Authority and Credit Valley Conservation. Look out for the details of the winter snowshoeing event on our Linked In group and on the Latornell website, under “General Info/Professional Development Program”.

We hope that you will find a way to contribute to the Latornell Professional Development community, as it provides each of us with a chance to ignite a spark; a chance to grow; and to learn and inspire others. We look forward to seeing you on the 13th of November, on our Linked In group and at future events.

Yours in Conservation,

Jamie Joudrey & Bill Trenouth

Jamie Joudrey is a Natural Heritage Coordinator with Ontario Heritage Trust and Bill Trenouth is a Integrated Water Management Program Manager with Credit Valley Conservation

Monday, 10 September 2018


‘Give a Girl the Right Shoes and She Can Conquer the World’

It was a grade 7 classroom trip to Noisy River that got me hooked on the environment. When an orientation game went awry and I got displaced from my group, I quickly turned it into a survival challenge thinking to myself…..”If I simply follow the river, I will eventually find my way back to my classmates”. Despite being reprimanded for my waywardness, my teacher commended me for using my intuitive orientation skills using the landscape and suggested I might want to consider a career in the environment sector.

Following this first revelation of my love for the environment, following high school I completed a degree in Geography at Brock University hoping that it would land me in some sort of position where I could work with nature. Planner, cartographer, field technician… My options were endless. There was only one challenge. At the time, I was entering a field that was still predominantly filled by men.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was chosen to work as an “Environmentalist” (yes that was my title) with the Federation of Ontario Naturalists to work on a number of different conservation projects. I loved my first job. I got to work with everyone from politicians to biologists to consultants. It was very fulfilling and I knew I had found a career that I was very passionate about and would stay in for some time.

I was a little bit of an oxymoron. I loved the conservation field and getting my hands dirty but I also loved pretty clothes and makeup. I questioned if I would be taken seriously if I entered the room wearing pantyhose, heels and pastel blush. Despite my internal questioning, it didn’t take long before I realized that I did have a place in this sector, heels or flats!

My career over the last almost 30 years has been very diversified….from restoration, to project management, to fundraising to government relations. As each year passed and as I took on new positions I also started to see a diversification in the sector. The meetings I attend now have more women at the tables. The conferences I attend have more women keynotes, and the organizations I work with today have a higher percentage of women than men working for them.

I have many people to thank for my involvement and evolution in this line of work….both men and women….but I can confidently say that working as a woman in this sector has been exceptionally rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

Kim Gavine is the General Manager of Conservation Ontario and has been working as a Conservationist since 1989.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Latornell Steering Committee Member, Kerry Ann Charles, Finds Her Passion

Growing up l lived both on and off reserve, always being proud of who I was but never really knowing what that meant. I have always had a passion for nature and the outdoors and a certain curiosity about how things are all connected. I never would have thought that my inquisitiveness and the connection that I felt to nature would lead me down a path that would present such amazing opportunities for me to learn about my history, my culture and my traditions while also creating a setting for me to share that knowledge with others and embed it in my work.

I have had the privileged of working in my Community for several years and have worn many different hats. This has allowed me the opportunity to learn a wide variety of knowledge and skills and meet a range of interesting and intelligent characters, one of those being Andee Pelan. Andee is a former Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority employee and Latornell Steering Committee Member. She is someone for whom I have a great deal of gratitude and respect. It’s because of her passion as an environmentalist and conservationist and her persistence that I am now writing this blog and sitting as a part of the Latornell Steering Committee.

It was almost a decade ago that I started my environmental career and I met and worked with Andee saving butternut trees and other flora and fauna from the fate of the 407. Not long after this work she provided me with one of my first speaking engagements when she invited me to speak at the Latornell Conservation Symposium in 2010. Being new to the environmental field with little experience and no academic background, I was unaware of the magnitude of this Symposium and what kind of a platform had been presented to me. Intimidated and nervous I muddled my way through my presentation and fled the Nottawasaga grounds. Unbeknown to me at the time, my presentation sparked a great deal of interest in delegates who attended the session and it initiated my networking with non-indigenous governments and organizations. On a couple of occasions, I have since attended this event as both a speaker and a delegate but am one of a handful of Indigenous peoples who have.

Andee often expressed to me over the years that she felt the Indigenous voice was an important component missing in the content as well as the audience at the Latornell Symposium. This coupled with my newfound knowledge about myself and my cultural connections to Mother Earth throughout my Environmental career finally convinced me to give into her requests to become a member of the steering committee. In the Spring of 2017 as a new steering committee member she encouraged me to take advantage of the opportunity to bring the Western Science Conservation World together with the Deep Ways of Knowing and Brilliance of Our Indigenous communities.

As the Latornell Conservation Symposium celebrates its 25th year anniversary and in this time of truth and reconciliation I am honoured to have been offered such a huge platform to invite members of the Indigenous communities out to share our knowledge, traditions and culture with the non-indigenous communities. I also am humbled, grateful as well as hopeful that with the indescribable support that has come from the committee and all of my Networks in the organization of this event it will prove to be meaningful and a ripple effect will be created that will ignite positive change for our seven generations of all Nationalities.

I am super excited to be a part of the 2018 Latornell Conservation Symposium. As a proud Anishnabe Kwe (Frist Nation Women) working in the Environmental field I look forward to the new friendships that will be made, and the opportunity for real reconciliation that will be built on respect, trust, understanding and reciprocity.

Happy Indigenous awareness month and see you November 13-15th at the Nottawasaga Inn, in Alliston, Ontario. Come listen, learn, share, make new friends and be part of history in the making.

Kerry-Ann Charles is a member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and an employee of Cambium Aboriginal. She has been working in the Environmental field within her own community as well as with other First Nations Communities since 2009. Kerry-Ann became a member of the Latornell Conservation Symposium organizing committee in the spring of 2017.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Latornell Provides Lots of Benefits for Former Student Moderator

From November 21-23, 2017 I had the pleasure of attending the Latornell Conservation Symposium in Alliston, Ontario. From start to finish, it was an incredibly action packed and fulfilling few days. I had been to a Latornell conference during my undergraduate days and loved every minute of it. However, as work brought me to Eastern Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador), I lost touch with this incredible world. I say a world, because being at Latornell feels like you have stepped into a special universe…kind of like COMICON for conservation nerds!

After learning a little bit about the instigator of the Latornell Conservation Symposium, Arthur Latornell, I can see why such a wonderful atmosphere has been fostered. Arthur Latornell believed strongly in the mentorship of students and young professionals involved in natural resource activities. This commitment can be felt within the conference, where there is a deliberate focus on the mentorship of students and young professionals.

I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as a student moderator for the symposium. This role opened up a plethora of experiences that I would have otherwise missed out on. Being a student moderator allowed for unique opportunities to network with presenters and delegates, which facilitated professional development discussions, and the of meeting new friends. In fact, one of my peer student moderators (Cameron Curran, University of Guelph), and I have embarked on a new research study together.

This research study is exploring successes, challenges, and lessons learned with septic maintenance programs in rural municipalities in Ontario. The collaborative research team working on this project is made up of experts from the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, Ontario Onsite Wastewater Association, Canadian Environmental Law Association, University of Guelph, and Memorial University of Newfoundland. This project has also received endorsement from the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, as well as funding from the Rural Policy Learning Commons. Latornell 2017 served as an important venue where this team was able to connect and discover our mutual interests in the role septic system maintenance has on surface and groundwater supplies in Ontario.

Many other great experiences were had at the 2017 Latornell Symposium, including presenting during the student poster competition. I was able to relay my findings related to source water protection in rural Ontario to a wide array of practitioners and academics in the conservation field. I even won third prize in the competition.

I am excited to come back next year for the 25th Annual Latornell Conservation Symposium. As a student of interdisciplinary studies, I look forward to a holistic discussion on initiatives to understand, protect, and restore water, and land resources.

Thank you to the 2017 Latornell Conservation Symposium Steering Committee for giving me the opportunity to participate!

Sarah Minnes is a Doctoral Candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland, a graduate of the Rural Planning and Development MSc program at the University of Guelph, and a registered professional planner with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. Her doctoral research explores the implications of source water protection policies in Ontario for rural areas.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Announcing the 2018 Latornell Conservation Symposium Theme

Welcome to Our 2018 Latornell Conservation Symposium

The 25th Annual Latornell Conservation Symposium theme is “Lands to Great Lakes - Relationship Status: It’s Complicated”. I have lived my life in southern Ontario and have gone to school, worked, raised two children, camped, canoed, windsurfed and enjoyed all that the Lands and Great Lakes have to offer. I love it here and I bet you do too. The theme of this year’s symposium is intended to examine our relationship with the lands and lakes, how we live with them and address the associated environmental challenges.

At the international, federal, provincial and municipal government levels, a great deal of effort is ongoing to protect and improve the environmental features of the Lands and Great Lakes. These initiatives to understand, protect and restore water and land resources include, as examples; land use, natural heritage and infrastructure planning, watershed and subwatershed planning, stewardship, stormwater management and low impact development and adapting and mitigating climate change. How are we progressing on these issues and what else needs to be done and how can we do it to ensure we all live with healthy Lands and Great Lakes.

The Latornell Conservation Symposium is an annual event that provides a forum for practitioners, students, academics, politicians, and non-government organizations to network and discuss challenges and opportunities in the conservation field as well as learn about new tools, techniques and strategies for natural resources management in Ontario.

We are very excited about this year’s symposium and we hope that you and your colleagues are just as excited and respond to our call for presentations. The Latornell Conservation Symposium website and newsletter provide a range of details on this year’s symposium and topics and how our relationship with these issues can be, well, complicated. Submit your proposals via the website and we are looking for presentations, workshops, training and tour proposals.

To stay up to date on all the Latornell Conservation Symposium details, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in November

Scott Peck,
Latornell Symposium Chair

Blog provided by the 2018 Latornell Chair, Scott Peck