Welcome to Staff Spotlight! Here we highlight the diverse stories of our valuable staff!
My name is Katrina and my nature name is Catbird Kat. I started here in 2011 doing an internship for my B. Ed. I fell in love with the Nature Centre and teaching outside immediately. That summer I began working summer camp, and I worked here part-time until I became a full-time teacher and School Programs Coordinator in 2013.
My aunt, Gael, is my first connection to nature. My mother’s family is from northern Ontario and my earliest memories are spending summer and winter breaks with my family up north. Some of my favourite times were picking wild blueberries outside of town and watching all the wildlife that would come to my aunt and uncle’s yard. There were two rabbits called Somebunny and Anybunny who came around for years, bald eagles that would fish in the lake, and flying squirrels that would take over the bird feeders at night, but would take off at the slightest movement or provocation from us. My aunt really inspired a deep connection and love for nature in me.
Finding out that there was nature in Toronto was an eye opening experience! When I was young I had nature time during school breaks. My family would drive up to Thunder Lake just outside of Dryden, Ontario, and had city time for the rest of the year just waiting to go back north. Learning about High Park and the Nature Centre right here in Toronto changed the trajectory of the work I wanted to do, from school teacher to outdoor educator.
My favourite time of year in the park is migration season. I love seeing all the birds come back. It’s a very exciting time to be in the park and it’s so lovely to connect children with such a beautiful and globally significant natural event. Showing kids that there is nature to be found, even in big cities like Toronto, is really special. Showing children and students how important natural areas like High Park are for animals is an amazing experience.
I am not only an outdoor educator; I have a few hobbies outside Nature Centre life! I love exploring in new natural areas and learning about them from other people. I’ve been going down to South Carolina over March break for a couple of years now and love learning about the birds and trees down there from local experts. I love to play volleyball and be active. Ashbridges Bay has become a favourite summer hangout of mine: good birds, Lake Ontario, and so much volleyball! I also love to knit! While I love knitting socks and colourful mittens, sweaters are my favourite thing to make.
I hope to see you in the park soon!
Check out the mini-bios for our other staff members on our Staff & Board page!