What inspires you most about Canada?
The sheer breadth of it, and the extremes of weather here. To experience a single place at 30°C and -40°C degrees, and everything in between, over the course of the year is something everybody should do.
Is there a time of the year best suited for wildlife spotting?
It really depends. Spring and fall on the prairies, for the migrations. Early summer in the East, for the nesting birds. May and June in Canada are magical, especially June in the mountains. July is fantastic in the really high country. Winter on the West Coast has a tonne of wildlife and rain.
What tips can you give our guests on spotting wildlife in Canada?
Sunrise and sunset—those are the only times that really matter. Also, get off the big roads and explore a bit. Give the animals their distance. Learn your plants and their habitats—it helps you understand the wildlife.
Tell us about your favourite wildlife encounter.
Once I was to lead a walk in the mountains but it was cancelled because somebody saw a grizzly on the trail. So I drove up to the parking lot to tell people it was off. As a consolation, I set up a display table about bears: scat and tracks and stuff. I set up a spotting scope just to look up at all the greenery on the meadow, and didn’t even focus it on anything. A man walks up, looks through the scope, and says quietly, “Oh yeah, there it is.” The grizzly was right in focus in the scope. I may have pushed him out of the way to look at it.
As a wildlife expert on an Evergreen tour, what are some things that you want our guests to know about you?
I have been watching wildlife in the west since I was a kid. I can identify pretty much every bird by sound. I know wild plants and their medicinal uses. And I tell awful jokes.