Fostering the next generation of leaders in conservation in Rouge National Urban Park
Waterfront Regeneration Trust fellowship empowering students through hands-on learning in Rouge National Urban Park
Since 2019, emerging conservation leaders have been earning an opportunity to shine in Rouge National Urban Park, thanks to the legacy of a community leader who helped save and protect the Greater Toronto Area’s Rouge Valley.
Established in 2019, the Pauline Browes Future Conservation Leaders Fellowship is awarded to environmental leaders who demonstrate a passion for conservation and strive to make their community a better place.
Meet Keira McManus, this year’s fellowship recipient. Keira describes the work environment as a highlight of her experience at the Rouge, stating: “Working with such a motivated and knowledgeable team of co-workers made every day exciting and educational.”
Starting some work days as early as 5 a.m., Keira enjoyed how still and beautiful the park was at that time: “Bird surveys took place at various restoration sites throughout the park, and I loved seeing the birds use the restored habitats. I learned so much so quickly about identifying bird species visually and from their calls.”
Conservation has always been one of McManus’ passions. An early employment opportunity and inspiring mentors at the Ojibway Nature Centre helped to solidify her goals and set her on her current educational path pursuing a joint honours degree in Environmental Studies and Biology at the University of Waterloo. Keira ultimately plans to obtain a Master’s Degree in Ecological Restoration.
In her fellowship submission, McManus comments on what it takes to be a responsible environmental steward, and, through her role organizing children’s nature events as a volunteer with Waterloo Region Nature demonstrates that:
“Environmental stewardship requires a foundation of community and the collaboration of diverse perspectives. Being an environmental steward means being an active member in the community that uplifts others and displays a positive example for future environmental stewards.”
“Each year we are struck by the quality of candidates that the Parks Canada team provides for the Fellowship. Keira’s passion to be, and her understanding of what it takes to be, an environmental leader are impressive. Her work with local naturalist groups, university organizations, and now with Parks Canada shows she is embracing the values and actions our environment needs”, said Pauline Browes Board Member of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust.
The Fellowship was established by the Board of Directors for the Waterfront Regeneration Trust to build the next generation of stewards for the Rouge. It was named after the Hon. Pauline Browes in recognition of the nearly four decades of tremendous contributions that she made to conserve the Rouge Valley and ultimately see it designated as Canada’s first national urban park.
Discover Keira’s vlog post and find out more about the Pauline Browes Future Conservation Leaders Fellowship work as part of the Rouge National Urban Park Resource Conservation team.