I was born and raised in southern Ontario, Canada.  From a young age, I quickly found a love of nature and exploring.  We spent our summers camping throughout Ontario and sometimes further, exploring Canada and the United States.  I remember collecting tadpoles, insects, leaves and anything else that I would find.  Throughout the years, we would regularly visit the local conservation areas near home.  My passion for birds started at the age of 5, when my mom received a bird field guide for her birthday.  I remember taking the book to bed with me every night and learning the birds through the photographs and reading the text.  My favourite bird in the book was the Blue-gray Tanager, which through a rather over-exposed photo, appeared an inconceivable light blue.

Me and Oscar, Mountsberg Conservation Area, 2007
Through my school years, I was dedicated to my studies and involved in various extra-curricular activities including figure skating, music programs, wildlife clubs and more.  Due to a poor placement in grade 7, I felt I needed more than just basic schooling.  I began to volunteer at my favourite natural place to visit in the area, Mountsberg Conservation Area.  Since I was young (12 years old at the time), I aided where I could, including cleaning animal cages, assisting with school programs, and eventually helping in their Raptor Centre.  I immediately fell in love even more with the birds there, and the opportunity to work directly wild birds of prey was incredibly rewarding.  I carried on working at the park and primarily in the Raptor Centre for over 10 years.  

Another interest of mine that started at a young age was a growing passion for rainforests and tropical environments and animals.  I remember completing various projects in my school years about rainforests, deforestation, creating games, and focusing interest on animals found in those areas.  Little did I know that this dream to live and work in the tropics would be a reality for me.  In 2007, after completing my undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology, I traveled to Peru with a friend to volunteer at a biodiversity station, deep in the heart of the western Amazon.  I immediately fell in love - this trip was a dream come true.  Incredible species including capybaras, Black Hawk-Eagles, Red-and-green Macaws and a plethora of other wildlife opened my eyes to the world of tourism in Latin America, particularly in biologically-diverse and environmentally sensitive areas.  

I furthered my education later that year by studying Eco-tourism Management.  While keeping an eye out for various opportunities in Central and South America, I came across a posting for a volunteer position to work with Harpy Eagles in the forests of Central Panama.  While a 6-month volunteer commitment was difficult to manage up until this point, I realized that the experience gained would be worth it.  So, in late 2008, I arrived in Gamboa, Panama, and worked for 7 months on the Peregrine Fund's Harpy Eagle Conservation Project, a long-term project studying these magnificent and beautiful birds. With my background and passion in working with raptors, and a continuously growing passion for the Neotropics, working on this project was the best decision I have made to date.  

Amazonian Ecuador, 2010
Since then, I have returned to the tropics several times, to Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Honduras for various jobs (and travel opportunities as well!).  While each country is different in their own ways, I am particularly fond of both Panama and Ecuador, for their diversity in habitats and amazing wildlife.  Combining my education and interests in biology, education, conservation and the Neotropics, I am still pursuing opportunities in Latin America, in the best ways that I can - conservation projects, community development, guiding and more.  I have an open road ahead of me, live in the present and look forward to what the future brings.  

~ Jenn 
Exploring a small cave at Rockwood Conservation Area, Ontario (2012)

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