Many great stories begin with someone taking a chance, and that is how my story with Thames Talbot Land Trust began.
In April of 2019, I was fresh out of college with my post-graduate certificate and looking for the opportunity to gain traction in the environmental field.
Previously, I had struggled immensely to find an environmental job. After graduating university in 2017, I sent my resume and cover letter far and wide, but no one was interested in hiring someone who had no environmental work experience. After a year of no luck, enrolling in the Environmental Management and Assessment post-graduate certificate program at Niagara College was my next step, and as it came to an end, I wondered if I would have the same difficulties.
Fortunately for me, I stumbled upon a job ad for a summer contract as the Communications and Outreach Assistant at TTLT. I had never thought that working at an environmental non-profit was a career option before, but I took my chance and received an interview. To my good fortune, the good people at TTLT decided to take a chance on me.
That summer was an opportunity for learning and growth. I discovered a passion for communications and the creativity it required, I learned that being on a computer all day is very hard to get used to, I gradually became more knowledgeable about our native plants and animals, and I gained an interest in species ID which made me look at the natural world more closely. I was also afforded opportunities to grow and try new things, such as event organizing, seed stratification, and designing of materials. By the end of the summer, I was pleasantly surprised at all the skills I had gained in such a short amount of time. None of that would have been possible, though, without the amazing staff, board, and volunteers that I had the privilege of working with.
My colleagues were beyond supportive, answered the 1,001 questions I had, and believed in me. Not only were they kind, caring, intelligent, and wonderful people to work with, but they were people with whom I could see myself being friends. Having worked at many different jobs, that is something I know doesn’t happen very often, and it made my experience that much richer. On top of that, the board members and volunteers I met were all passionate, helpful, and caring people, who just made it that much easier to enjoy my job. After my summer contract ended, I remained with TTLT in a volunteer capacity, which lead me back to a paid position as the Schools Program Coordinator the following February.
The TTLT summer job positions offer a beginning to new experiences, opportunities for growth, and access to a network of amazing individuals who are all in it to protect nature with everything that they've got. All the TTLT summer staffers who have come and gone will have their own stories to tell, which I imagine would be different from mine, but similar in that for all of us, that summer job was just the beginning.
Written by Darby Alderson