Happy International Women’s Day!
At Ontario Parks, we simply couldn’t do without our women team members. They work as biologists, instructors, wardens, superintendents, planners, managers, and more.
Here’s the inside scoop on our staff:
Staff of Murphys Point and Rideau River provincial parks
Josie, Courtney, Kristina, and Nancy have provided leadership and guidance in the field of management, operations, and customer service for over 57 years combined!
Pillars of our work centres, they provide strength, guidance, and sound decision making in a fast-paced, ever-changing work environment.
Hear their first-hand experiences:
Josie Grenier, Assistant Park Superintendent
“There are many facets of my career with Ontario Parks that I truly enjoy, but one is particularly special. As a manager in the field of two operating parks I get the opportunity to discover and foster the next leaders who are coming up behind me in our organization. It’s very rewarding to watch their growth and advancement as they reach their professional goals over the years.”
Nancy Cooper, Retail Sales Clerk
“I’m able to make a difference with young people, in being able to mentor youth in gaining employment, learning life skills, and showing that adults do care. Ontario Parks lets me do what I love in regard to working with the summer students, while also being in contact with the beauty in both people and nature.”
Courtney Lafleur, Senior Park Clerk
“I love the diversity of my work with Ontario Parks. As a senior park clerk, I can move from finance to customer service to helping the park biologist all in one day.
At a certain age, girls are often encouraged to stop playing outside and getting dirty — but nature is for everyone and Ontario Parks provides that, and I am so proud to be a part of it.”
Kristina Brown, Senior Park Clerk
“Ontario Parks stole my heart in 2002, and I have been incredibly fortunate to have inspiring female supervisors, coworkers, and mentors though my career. I strive to be one of those inspiring females. There is no end to the growth and knowledge you can gain with Ontario Parks. I look forward to coming to work everyday as it is a new adventure and extremely rewarding!”
Isabelle Moy, Senior Park Interpreter, Killbear Provincial Park
Isabelle has worked as an interpreter at Killbear Provincial Park for four years, designing and delivering programs that engage children and campers with nature and the stories of the park.
“My favourite part about working at Killbear is that I get to connect people to nature, to have them see it as something they care about and want to protect for the future. Every day is something new and it’s tons of fun!”
Kathleen Houlahan Chayer, Senior Park Interpreter, Pinery Provincial Park
This is Kathleen’s tenth year working in the Discovery Program with Ontario Parks.
She spent the first part of her career at MacGregor Point Provincial Park where she learned appreciation for wetland ecosystems and all the amazing beings found in them. While at MacGregor Point, she led a team of Discovery students in projects like BioBlitzes, snake monitoring, and litter cleanups.
She considers working with students to be one of the best parts of her job and thinks it’s a huge honour to see student staff find inspiration and joy in the natural world.
Recently, Kathleen has taken a position at Pinery Provincial Park leading their Discovery School Program. This position allows her to focus on her favourite part of being a Discovery interpreter — helping people fall in love with provincial parks!
Kathryn Harrison, Senior Park Interpreter, Pinery Provincial Park
Kathryn has been working with Ontario Parks since 2016. She moved close to Pinery Provincial Park at that time and was so excited by the beauty of the park’s sand dunes and oak savannahs that she took on the first available opportunity to work there as a cleaner.
She has a background working in biology and ecosystem restoration that prepared her for her current role as acting Senior Park Interpreter with the Discovery Program.
“I am excited to be learning new things, and growing my career at Ontario Parks while sharing my appreciation for Pinery with others.”
Lise Sorenson, Entry Station Ranger, Quetico Provincial Park
Lise is the face and voice of Quetico Provincial Park for many park visitors. She is one of the most experienced backcountry canoeists on staff at the park and is the go-to trip planner for Quetico paddlers looking for help. Lise also supports the operation of Quetico’s more remote entry stations.
Over her career at Quetico, Lise has used her skills and experience as park ranger to develop map products for the park, layout and construct new summer and winter trails, and continues to play an integral role in the development and maintenance of the Quetico section of the Trans Canada trail and the sections outside of the park.
“It’s such a privilege to spend my work day helping people connect to the land…especially when that land is the resonant and enduring wilderness of Quetico Provincial Park.”
Andrea Maranduik, Senior Park Clerk, Awenda Provincial Park
Andrea has worked at Quetico (Junior Ranger), Awenda, Bass Lake, Springwater and Killbear provincial parks holding positions including maintenance, visitor services, enforcement, operations, park management and administration.
Andrea has also worked for the Revenue Administration Office of Ontario Parks along with the MNRF in Midhurst and Parry Sound Districts as a Resource Clerk and as the first female Fish and Wildlife Technician at Midhurst District.
Andrea is currently gearing up for the 2021 camping season at Awenda Provincial Park!
“Like a snake, I have had the opportunity to have and shed many skins being a woman in parks for the last 20 years; I continuously get to grow into a better, more capable and engaged resource manager!”
Simone Mantel, Assistant Park Superintendent, Darlington Provincial Park
“Working for Ontario Parks is the most challenging yet the most fulfilling job. I get to enjoy and protect Ontario’s natural beauty while helping others do the same. One of my favourite parts of the job is being able to provide leadership to, and work with, so many passionate and like-minded people!”
Sarah Morden, Provincial Instructor
Sarah is a part of an incredible team of men and women who train park wardens, Ontario Park’s law enforcement officers. In addition to coordinating and delivering training to new and returning officers, Sarah provides support to Ontario Parks’ enforcement program in the field and at a provincial level.
“I feel so privileged to be following in the footsteps of the incredibly strong and empathetic women of Ontario Parks who have come before me. These trail-blazing women have been my superintendents, managers, colleagues, mentors, and friends and they have inspired and empowered me throughout my career.”
Shawn Telford, Public Health Coordinator
Shawn has been working as a certified public health inspector for over 20 years, and employed by Ontario Parks for the last seven years. If Shawn were to sum up her position in one sentence, it would be that she works with all Ontario Parks to ensure compliance with public health legislation.
“This past year, 2020, was an especially challenging year with the emergence of COVID-19, and much of my time was spent developing directives to keep both staff and visitors safe while still allowing them to enjoy our wonderful park system.
My favourite part of my job is connecting with Ontario Parks staff across the province and working with health inspectors in over 30 different health units, coming together to ensure a safe park system for all.”
Morgan Hawkins, Wildlife Management Policy Project Lead
Morgan develops operational policy that focuses on safety of our visitors, our staff, and our wildlife.
Morgan’s most recent accomplishments include safe firearms policies and Black Bear encounter training. She has also worked for Ontario Parks as a park warden/steward and biologist intern.
“As a woman working in remote settings, enforcing provincial legislation or drafting policy on controversial topics such as firearms can be daunting. My best advice is to do what you love and do it with integrity.”