I wouldn't be who I am today without the lake. I'm sure this is a sentiment shared by many—and I'm sure they all have equally beautiful stories to tell.
My story starts from the time I was born, having spent my early years learning to swim and pouring salt on the leaches that only ever seemed to latch on to me. This was at our first home in Algonquin Park. Before I continue I should clarify that I was born and raised in the GTA. For me, ‘home’ has never felt like the city, though I can appreciate its vibrancy and the watermarks that people find there.
Fast forward to my teenage years, after my parents purchased our little slice of island heaven on Kawagama Lake near Dorset, ON. Despite my father’s immediate objection, I managed to convince my parents to let me spend my summers working locally and living at the cottage from the time I was 16. It was there where I truly discovered who and what I wanted to be. Listening to the loon call as my alarm clock, jumping into the crisp clean waters for my 15 minute break at work- I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in environmental conservation. And so I did. Many years and many degrees later I am working towards building a career that helps protect not only my watermark, but all watermarks as well as the complex components of the ecosystems around them upon which their future depends.
To all the watermarks that have contributed to leading me down my path- thank you. To Kawagama—there are no words to express the love I have for you. You will always be home.