Kelsey Forestell

by FORP on June 3rd, 2013

Student (Environmental Sciences), Lakehead University
Esker Lakes Ontario Ranger, 2011
My first exposure to the Ontario Ranger program was complete luck; I had been looking for co-op options during the summer, to satisfy the program requirements at my high school.  After reading about the Ontario Ranger Program I knew it was something I would like to try, and I sent in my application. The more I learned about the program, the more I wanted the opportunity to experience it. Finally I got my acceptance into the program, and at the end of June I took the 10 hour car ride to Kirkland Lake.

I had camped my entire life, but I had never been as far north as Kirkland Lake. I had my first glimpse of the northern part of our province and was beyond excited to start working there. After the first few weeks at the Esker Lakes Ontario Ranger camp, I knew that I was home. The work was tough but rewarding; whether we were pruning trails or singing in our canoes, we had a blast.
Before the Ontario Ranger Program, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea what kind of jobs were out there, and with grade 12 quickly approaching, I was going to have to decide which program and university I would be attending. During my experience as a Ranger I fell in love with the environment and wanted to protect what I had seen on our canoe trips. To think that such beauty existed, and yet was unseen by most of the population, made me want to protect and work in such a place. Waking up in the morning knowing that I was a getting paid to experience the wonders of what our environment had to offer made me feel  like I had won the lottery. The Ontario Ranger Program helped me to choose Lakehead University, where I am currently studying Environmental Sciences.
The Ontario Ranger program is more than just a job; I continue to use the morals and lessons that were taught to me there. I met my best friends at Esker and I don’t know what I would do without them; I consider the girls I went to Rangers with to be my sisters. In getting to know each other, we learned that we all came from different walks of life, but we accepted that we all had something different to offer.

Thanks to the Ontario Ranger Program I have continued to devote my summers to work with the Ministry of Natural Resources, and I hope to work in the MNR after I graduate, too. My life was completely altered by one summer, which helped to shape me into the person I am today.  I am truly grateful for my experience, and hope that the government sees the continuing value and importance of the Ontario Ranger Program to Ontario’s youth.

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Esker Lakes, 2011


Gwen Hochheimer - August 7th, 2013 at 10:59 AM
'80 Esker Lakes...a Ranger, was what Park Superintendents and Conservation Officers were called, that's why we were JR's but most of us didn't care for the "Junior" bit. The superintendent was John Stephenson. Park security guard was Ernie. The director of JR's for Swastika District was (Mr) Kerry Mitchell.The tanks at the convenience store inside the park blew up the week the JR's were leaving. Most of them never knew we had a fire in the park that year.Also, within the first week, we took part in trapping a bear which was then transported to the Ontario/Manitoba border. Her last chance to live because she'd returned once before.

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