This post is brought to you by Shelby, our summer Communications Assistant, and Asher, our summer Conservation Project Assistant. They both reflect on their experiences at at the Boreal Ecology Centre, and how two people from opposite sides of the world found a taste of home at the edge of the boreal forest.
Whether it be the running stream of the nearby Boggy River or the exploration of the endless enigmatic forest, the Boreal Ecology Centre (BEC) has given me an opportunity to call it home.
For context, I come from Kalimpong, a small town situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. So then, how does someone from the mountains find himself at home in the plains? It is the culture surrounding the Boreal Ecology Centre. In the few months I have been doing my practicum with A Rocha, I have not only developed an appreciation for nature, but also the stewards responsible for taking care of it.
The BEC has a beautiful ecology, with natural flora and fauna exploding at every nook and cranny. The experience one has with nature is surreal. Yet, it is the people taking care of it that ties the place together.
In my time at the BEC I have seen Scott (Director of A Rocha Manitoba) frolicking with joy at the sight of a beaver dam, and Zoe (Program Manager) filled with excitement as she finds animal footprints in the snow to identify. I have seen many other instances where the people nurturing the ecology are rewarded with an endless supply of earth’s gifts.
My coworker Shelby says it best, summing up what A Rocha and the BEC hope to provide: an opportunity for us to engage with creation that unveils the curious, earth loving child within us.
Therefore, why do I say the BEC has provided me an opportunity to call it home? It is the culture of the place, and the small moments where one gets to bond with nature; where both creation and stewards come together to build a healthy ecology. It is a place a person can call home.
During the past couple years I have lived in multiple homes in multiple countries, and I have only been back home in Winnipeg for six months. Living in the prairies again was quite a shock to me because I was no longer used to the freezing cold winters, the endless flat land, and the sting of wind on my face.
But, more than that, I think that since I hadn’t lived in the prairies in so long I had forgotten how much I enjoyed them, and how beautiful they are. It wasn’t until last week when I visited the Boreal Ecology Centre for the first time that I understood how joyful and beautiful the prairies could really be.
When Sean, Scott’s son who had joined us for the day, found out that I had never been to the Boreal Ecology Centre before, he exclaimed “Dad! Can I show Shelby around when we get there?” When we arrived he quickly took me around the entire Lodge, excitedly pointing out everything and telling me all about the area.
Then I met the Barkmans, a family who takes care of the property during the week. They joined us and immediately all the children started canoeing and kayaking in the river, and spent the entire day exploring outside.
Finally, Asher, who has been out to the Boreal Ecology Centre multiple times, really showed me how joyful this place could be when he said, “I love it here, it reminds me of home.” I thought that was funny because I had just found out he was from Northeastern India, which is not a place that I would compare to the prairies.
But I agreed with him, because it reminded me of home too. It reminded me that no matter where I travel or what “home” looks like, the prairies will always be my home. They are beautiful and spectacular, and they create a place to find hope, joy and rest. I think Sean summed it up the best. When we were leaving he said “I wish we could go to the Boreal Ecology Centre every week.”
So do I.