Spending her childhood exploring nature and the beautiful, rugged coastal landscapes around her native Nova Scotia, Katie Scott has always had a love of the outdoors. Combining both her passion for conservation with a background in biology and education, Scott’s role as outreach specialist for Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) in Atlantic Canada allows her to experience the best of both worlds and share her strong connection with nature with others.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors and that really steered my interest as I began my post-secondary studies,” says Scott.
Based out of the Wetland Centre in the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, a partnership between DUC and the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry, Scott oversees educational programming and organizing the many interactive activities offered at the centre and throughout the region. Designed to connect visitors to nature, activities include on-site field trips where guests can try critter-dipping and partake in bird watching, as well as nature walks throughout the park’s trail system. With over 30,000 visitors last year, the centre is a popular destination for students, families and anyone interested in outdoor recreational activities.
“Our biggest project right now is the wetland field trip program—we organize field trips for students to visit the centre, but also other areas all over Nova Scotia,” says Scott. “Our goal is to provide accessible, fun educational programming so we can share the wonder of wetlands and nature with our visitors and the importance of protecting these natural spaces.”
A lifelong love of the outdoors
After completing her undergraduate studies in biology at Dalhousie University, Scott went on to pursue her Bachelor of Education and became an elementary school teacher. Following a few years of teaching, Scott missed being immersed in nature and the opportunity to use her science background. She then took a position at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park before joining the DUC education and outreach team in 2014.
We work with a lot of rural schools, but also urban schools, newcomers and people from all different backgrounds. It’s a great opportunity to give young people the chance to put their natural curiosity to the test and encourage visitors to explore on their own and discover something new.
Inspiring others through wetland education
First focused on the Wetland Centre of Excellence (WCE) program, Scott engaged and supported four local schools to become new centres in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. As the program evolved and grew to include nine WCE locations, she transitioned into an outreach specialist role and now works closely with a team to create and deliver education programming in each of the Atlantic provinces.
Scott enjoys coordinating, creating and delivering the education programs and watching visitors have that light bulb moment when they’ve learned something new. This involves creating land-based learning workshops which involve visits to treasured wetlands, fostering partnerships with Indigenous communities and supporting the integration of traditional ecological knowledge into the centre’s programs. Accessibility is also a very important part of the centre’s education initiative overall and transportation is provided to ensure programs are available to all.
The experience of appreciating and respecting nature
As DUC celebrates its 85th anniversary in 2023, Scott is proud to be raising awareness about the importance of protecting and restoring natural habitats for future generations.
“I’m very grateful to have grown up appreciating and respecting nature,” says Scott. “And now, through my role as outreach specialist, I am able to give that same experience to students. We work with a lot of rural schools, but also urban schools, newcomers and people from all different backgrounds. It’s a great opportunity to give young people the chance to put their natural curiosity to the test and encourage visitors to explore on their own and discover something new.”
Interested in a conservation career?
Join our team of passionate professionals. Just like Katie Scott.View Careers