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Conservation Doesn’t Follow Our Schedule


A few weeks ago, CPAWS was expecting the announcement of a new marine protected area on a Saturday. This is common because the Canada Gazette, which is the official publication of new and proposed regulations for the Government of Canada, publishes on Saturdays. Since the first part of the Canada Gazette serves to engage Canadians in the consultation process, CPAWS often gets involved as soon as an announcement is made – even in the off-hours.

Having been in Toronto for meetings on Thursday and Friday, I had planned to drive back to Ottawa on the Saturday morning. I had been staying overnight at my father’s house in Hamilton to avoid unnecessary hotel costs for CPAWS and it allowed me to have breakfast with him and my step-mother.

After breakfast, I spent some time responding to questions from a couple of MPs about the content of the amendments we helped to draft to put conservation first in the Rouge National Urban Park legislation. Then I spent some time on the phone with one of our supporters who had suggestions and information about the development threats in Banff National Park. I got into my car to drive home, stopped in Cobourg to have tea with one of our major donors, but before getting back on the road worked with members of my team in Ottawa and Vancouver on a press release we had prepared in anticipation of an announcement around marine protected areas. I had to stop a couple more times along the route as the information about this announcement became clearer and our response needed to be amended. Got home a little later than anticipated, but managed to get some work done along the way.

Now… before you jump to the conclusion that we ignore the value of work-life balance at CPAWS, I am telling you this story to point out that our conservation work is a deeply held passion and not the kind of thing we can easily turn off at 5 p.m. on a Friday. We work hard and the work we do is a calling, not a mere job. As a result, we seize the opportunities whenever they present themselves.

We have a small but dedicated team across Canada that invests much more time and resources than they probably should, yet our results speak for themselves. When we close the office for the holidays, it will be well-deserved, but it won’t mean that we don’t eat, drink and sleep conservation during that time. Some of our spouses and families may occasionally find our passion borders on obsession, but that’s another story!

Thanks for feeding our passion by supporting our work through your letters, petitions, events and donations. It makes a world of difference to the wildlife, ecosystems and nature we all love and seek to protect.