MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Fall 2018

36 ML BLUE FALL 2018 words :: Carmen Kuntz Jenn Hoare’s kids are living a childhood much like her own. Before she begins her own story of becoming the Algonquin Provincial Park Biologist, she starts with stories of the past weekend’s family canoe trip. Accounts of sunshine on calm lakes, toddlers falling asleep in canoes and the subsequent mayhem of unpacking from overnighting in Algonquin tumble out. For the Park’s biologist, enjoying the ecosystems she works hard to protect is not a perk of the job, but a way of life. Mountain Life: When did your fascination with biology start? Jennifer Hoare: I was always thrilled by the natural world. As a kid, I had hundreds of acres outside my door where I was free to roam. I spent years investigating anything that piqued my interest: climbing trees for a better vantage, poking into bear dens, hopping around wetlands, looking for tracks, scat. ML: You grew up in Muskoka, not far from Algonquin. What is your earliest memory of the Park? JH: It was going for a day hike with my best friend’s family. I was maybe 10. I remember hiking Peck Lake trail, which is one of the interpretive trails along the Highway 60 corridor, and I remember seeing many signs of moose. It seemed like we were going to just bump into a moose on the trail—or so I hoped anyway. I now know this was a time when moose populations in the park were at their highest ever recorded. ML: What is themain purpose or function of the Algonquin Provincial Park Biologist? JH: I provide information and advice on natural resources to help manage Algonquin Provincial Park. As the Park Biologist, I work as part of a team of other ecologists, biologists, and planners that provide advice on things like park facility development, forestry operations, and recreational use. We want to ensure that the things people come to the Park to enjoy are there into perpetuity: pristine lakes, amazing trout fishing, healthy, curious moose, and intact ecosystems with all the ecological pieces and processes that have always been there. ML: During your time studying terrestrial and aquatic ecology at Malaspina University College (now Vancouver Island University), you did a lot of field studies and field courses. How did this prepare you for your current profession? JH: From Belize to the west coast of Vancouver Island, I got to study diversity and connections within ecosystems. All the field time really keyed me into observing and asking questions, and introduced ways in which to answer those questions. This has been an asset when talking with researchers PARK PROTECTOR A conversation with Algonquin Provincial Park Biologist Jennifer Hoare ENVIRO “The Park research stations provide some of the longest running research studies in the world and have produced a vast amount of primary literature over the years.”