Photo: Emily Walker (centre) with the Conservation Science team of Summer 2020

Six Months at A Rocha

What an amazing six months I spent interning with A Rocha! During my stay at the picturesque Brooksdale Environmental Centre I tattooed endangered fish, identified countless plant species, helped restore two boats, learnt to cook, studied the life cycle of the western toad, was part of a delegation to City Council, and saw orcas up close.

But what made this time most valuable was the community and friendships. Sitting together in the middle of a lake watching the sun come up, or standing chest-deep in the little Campbell river on a hot day, watching a film together or playing music – these were my best experiences and memories of A Rocha.

When my sister came to visit, I asked about her impressions of A Rocha. She said that her overwhelming impression was that of a community where people were not in it for themselves, but rather in it together, for everyone else. And having been here for 6 months, I can confirm those impressions as the hallmarks of this community – a community that cares so deeply for both people and place.

As I return to the UK, I know I will sorely miss everything and everyone that have become such a big part of my life, but at the same time I know I will be taking a small part of A Rocha back with me – in the form of hopes, memories and ideals that I hope will grow and flourish on the far side of the Atlantic.

In closing, I’d like to share a few key lessons I will carry with me:

  • Knowing your place is essential to caring for it,
  • The best way to share community is through food,
  • Always soak your beans overnight before cooking.
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