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Landowners, Wetlands

Hand-me-down nature

A bit of Mr. Sharp is handed down to another generation

Robert Sharp and his granddaughter, Mackenzie. © Chris Sharp

The Sharps have a new family home in the country. It’s an idyllic place to raise kids, situated near the Rideau River and an easy commute to town for Chris and his wife, Lyndsay.

Chris has been looking forward to moving out of Ottawa and getting back to the outdoor lifestyle of his childhood. “We have two little girls,” he says. “And they’ll be outdoors a lot more now that we’ve moved to a more rural location.”

He’s been making plans for duck habitat since before they started building their new home south of the city. True to his training as a biologist, Chris took in the setting and imagined a pair pond and nest boxes, surrounded by sheltering grasses.

“Most of the property will be left in grassland,” he says, “which is quite rare around here. A pond and adjacent grassland will be good for wildlife, including ground-nesting ducks.”

The best times are outdoor times

Chris grew up with three older brothers outside of Timmins, where the best times were outdoor times. Chris was part of DUC’s former Greenwing Program and one of his early memories is being out banding ducks with DUC volunteers. He also recalls doing many school projects about wetlands or waterfowl, including a grade four animal project about Canada geese.

“We spent a lot of time fishing, hunting and at the cottage,” he says. “My dad’s quite the naturalist and instilling that in his boys was important to him. He continues to share his appreciation for nature with his grandkids.”

Chris’s father is Robert Sharp, a 35-year DUC volunteer and founding member of the Timmins chapter. Fellow volunteer, Lynne Grenon, can’t say enough about him. “We’re the longest-standing committee members,” she notes with pride. “For as long as I can remember, Mr. Sharp has taken care of our live auctions.”

They’ve worked together on the Timmins fundraising banquet for more than two decades but it’s just natural to call him Mr. Sharp, she explains. “I can’t call him Rob. Everyone on the committee has so much respect for him.”

Lynne sees his father’s influence in Chris. “All his boys love the outdoors. They all have a bit of Mr. Sharp in them.”

Chris is handing down that awareness of nature to the next generation beside a new pair pond where two little girls are learning about wildlife—and probably quite a bit about mud too.

 

This pair pond was funded in part by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act for habitat projects in Canada that restore and enhance vital waterfowl habitats.

All his boys love the outdoors. They all have a bit of Mr. Sharp in them.

Lynne Grenon, DUC 35-year volunteer

The Sharp family’s new pair pond and grassland are downriver of the Rideau River Migratory Bird Sanctuary in a region where thousands of ducks and geese rest and feed during migration.
© Chris Sharp The Sharp family’s new pair pond and grassland are downriver of the Rideau River Migratory Bird Sanctuary in a region where thousands of ducks and geese rest and feed during migration.