Finding Wonder in Natural Heritage

The fourth #reverb10 prompt is:

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

In the past year I have renewed my appreciation for Canada’s natural heritage and beauty. In the past I have often over looked natural heritage for more man made history. A few of the natural heritage sites which filled me with wonder this year include the Agawa Canyon, Aubrey Falls, and Lake Superior.

The hours spent on a train to get to the Agawa Canyon were more than worth the trip. The canyon park includes numerous striking waterfalls, a river, and the canyon itself is a great display of natural heritage. The canyon was created by faulting in the Canadian shield and the remote nature of the canyon has resulted in the majority of the natural beauty of the site being maintained.

My visit to Aubrey Falls inspired further appreciation of natural beauty in Canada. However, that site is directly impacted by a hydro plant next to it. The amount of water which flows over the falls is actually controlled based on how much power is being generated. The stark contrast of nature and development at Aubrey Falls reminded me of the importance of preserving our natural heritage for future generations.

The drive up to Thunder Bay allowed me to take in the vastness of Lake Superior. The changing temperament of the water, the quietness of the North, and the sea like waves were some of my favourite parts of that drive.

Summer Whirlwind

After completing the course work portion of the UWO Public History program, I packed all my bags and moved to Ottawa. I spent the summer working as an intern for The History Group and volunteering at the Canadian Museum of Nature. I enjoyed my time at both organizations, and was able to gain a number of valuable experiences.

The History Group (THG) is a historical research company that focuses on a variety of research topics including: archaeological, first nations, anthropological, and civil litigation. While working with THG I worked on various source identification, and research organization projects. This work was primarily involving collections held by Library and Archives Canada. Working with these collections was both time consuming and interesting. My experience with THG allowed me to gain an understanding of how to organize huge amounts of material effectively, and which research techniques work best for me.

While volunteering at the Canadian Museum of Nature I assisted in the botany collection. Prior to volunteering my knowledge of botany was limited at best. Spending hours mounting various types of grasses from British Columbia, forges a new interest and appreciation for botanists. Additionally, unlike many of my past experiences the Canadian Museum of Nature was not comprised soley of those from the historical field. A large portion of the staff at the Museum of Nature are scientists and researchers. This mix of professionals was interesting and exposed me to a facility which combines history with numerous other fields.

Overall, my summer was filled with diversity. Historical research and museums collection work are drastically different. This diversity is something which speaks to the field of public history and the variety of fields which a public historian can find employment in.