Roy Parker : Enjoying an active retirement as a Property Guardian
28 May 2020
Roy Parker is a Property Guardian for Tangier River Conservation Lands, a land he has come to love and protect with an almost paternalistic respect. He talks fondly of the coastal shoreline overlooking the 100 Wild Islands, the riverside shoreline and the forest, saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands that comprise this property, originally protected in 2015.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors,’ explained Roy. “I think anyone of my generation would have been out in the fields and woods. It was our playground. I was fortunate in that my grandparents had a farm in the Musquodoboit valley, and every summer I would work the fields, and my uncles taught me to fish in the Musquodoboit River”.
That experience, together with being involved in scouting during his youth, led Roy to Dalhousie to study Biology. Environment Canada was a newly created organization then, and he considers himself fortunate to have been recruited right from college to the new organization. He became an Environmental Biologist, working on the impact of pulp mills and mines on the aquatic environment, regulatory development and in his later years, the early development of controls for Bay of Fundy salmon farming. After 34 years he retired, and he and wife Sharon purchased a small rural property in Pictou County. Roy started volunteering then, with the Pictou County Rivers Association.
“We had our place in Pictou for 14 years, but the last couple of years started to be less enjoyable as we got older and found the gardening work more of a chore,” said Roy, “So a few years ago, we sold up and moved into an apartment in the city. We wanted to be close to our two daughters and the grandkids.”
Around that time, longtime friend Mark Hunter was walking his usual route around his Dartmouth neighbourhood when he spotted a new sign on the street. After a few days of walking by, he became curious, and walked into that building to ask what they did. That was Mark’s first encounter with the Nature Trust, and he was so enamored with the team that he signed up as a Property Guardian for Hemeon’s Head on the South Shore. He told Roy about the Nature Trust, and so he got in touch also, leading ultimately to his current support work on the Tangier River Conservation Lands.
“We have a cabin in Musquodoboit,” said Roy, “And I like to go up there to fish. Tangier River is only a short ride from there, so it is quite easy for me to manage. With the help of a few friends and some of the Nature Trust staff, we’ve been able to get the property cleaned up, and have added signage, marked seven abandoned mining survey pits, and done some trail clearing”
“I have really enjoyed this work,” Roy said. “The Nature Trust team are fantastic, dedicated, hardworking people. It is rewarding to be active, knowing that what you are doing is helping other people enjoy nature, and helping protect this land for the future.”