TIM LANDON: THE ADVENTURE GUY
Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Graduate 2003
ACTIVITY UPDATE: Summer 2007 - Tim Landon works at Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park where he is a Park Interpreter for the many visitors to this vast and beautiful northern Alberta wilderness destination.
A Park Interpreter can make a family's holiday extra special by providing educational information about the flora, fauna, wildlife, and geology of an area, all the while showing them lots of fun.
This summer, Tim met up with several members of the Larsen family who got 'up close and personal' with a gigantic walleye and were equally impressed by Tim's work at the park. After their family holiday, Jo-Anna Larsen wrote to Tim to say: “I think you are very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and just plain awesome!”
Jo-Anna provided proof of their fish story in the photo below which shows Elizabeth Larsen (Camrose, AB); Victoria Larsen (Fairview, AB); Tim Landon; Bailey Larsen (Fairview, AB); Samantha Larsen (Dawson City, YT); and Jo-Anna Larsen (Camrose, AB).
Some of Tim's other summer activities are shown below including kayaking the Peace River; a bird talk with some Grade 1 students
. Bottom row: A visit from white-winged crossbills, Tim at Peace River; heading out on Lesser Slave River. (Photos taken by Tim Landon, Jeff Manchak. and Cory Klassen).
TIM LANDON: A Profile
Tim Landon is a bright guy. He’s well-educated, with degrees in Biology and Psychology from Queen’s University, and he has plenty of life experience, having worked as a Youth Care and Corrections Officer for 12 years.
Although Landon had been successful in his work, he needed a change and wanted a career that would feed his appetite for the outdoors. With that motivation, in 2003 he made the decision to attend Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley’s relatively new Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Program, which started him on a Canada-wide journey.
Throughout his high school years in Ottawa, Landon was a good student. He carried on this academic standing while attending Algonquin College, making the honour roll upon graduation. It’s not surprising he did well in his studies because Landon was focused on making a quick career change and the program meshed perfectly with both his career plan and his schedule.
“I chose the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Program because it was only one year and was based more on soft adventure skills,” said Landon. “The program was very comprehensive and I found that all of the skills and certifications I was able to earn would help me get a job in the outdoor adventure industry.”
Program Skills Led to Employment in Adventure Field
Since graduating, Landon has worked for several employers in the outdoor adventure and therapeutic wilderness fields. He initially stayed in the Ottawa Valley after graduation, working at Wilderness Tours in Beachburg where he led six to seven mountain bike rides a day and did bike maintenance.
From 2003 to 2004, Landon worked at the International School for Earth Studies (ISES) in Quebec as a youth counsellor, facilitator and wilderness guide for teenage boys. During his time at ISES, Landon helped educate the boys about rehabilitating wildlife as well as looking after the resident dogs, horses and raptors.
Dogsledding was a significant component of this program, as students bonded with the dogs while learning to care for them. Nature discovery and leadership were also key aspects of this unique program. Landon took part in introducing the boys to local flora and fauna and acquiring basic wilderness survival skills. Landon also brought mountain biking to ISES. Landon had learned many of these skills in the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Program.
Also in 2004, Landon worked at Esprit Rafting in Quebec. He worked in several capacities, from supporting raft trips by driving the shuttle bus and preparing a riverside lunch, to leading group rides, maintaining bikes, and conducting cycling skills clinics. He also performed live music, singing and playing guitar on Saturday nights for enthusiastic patrons. Whether it was leading a bike ride or feeding fifty hungry rafters, Landon understood that his clients were relying on him to facilitate their enjoyment and appreciation of nature’s playground.
From Ottawa Valley to BC Mountains
Late in 2004, Landon packed up his camping gear and moved to British Columbia. He had visited BC while on vacation in 1997 and knew he’d be back some day. Through word of mouth, he got a job at Camp Trapping/Cariboo Action Training Society, a residential therapeutic wilderness program for young offenders in central B.C. Here, Landon worked as a youth counsellor and wilderness guide, teaching outdoor education lessons, guiding canoe and backpacking trips, and helping to implement this intense and physically demanding program.
While he has worked at a variety of rewarding jobs, Landon feels the highlight of his career is working for Alberta’s Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture as a Seasonal Park Interpreter. “I am very fortunate in that I get to earn a good living while helping to reconnect people with nature. How many people can claim their job actually aligns with their personal agenda and perfectly matches their skills set?”
His responsibilities range from writing, putting together and presenting full-scale amphitheatre shows--complete with live music--to designing, scripting and leading guided interpretive hikes. Landon also roves the campground, chatting with campers and sets up “point-duty” interpretive displays.
He will be returning to Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park and his office space in the recently completed and highly innovative Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation (www.borealbirdcentre.ca) for his second season in 2007.
“I’m looking forward to another fun, challenging and exciting season in this beautiful and special place. We plan on developing two new amphitheatre shows and adding a guided interpretive bike ride to our program offerings.”
Industry-Recognized Certifications Beneficial
Landon has been able to combine his previous work as a youth counsellor with his newly-developed interpretive skills earned in college, to position himself for a wide variety of jobs available in the adventure industry. He also picked up several industry-recognized certifications in the program including: Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council Heritage Interpreter Certification, ORCA Canoe Tripping Level II, Food Handlers Certification, Mountain Bike Trail Guide, and Wilderness First Responder, all of which are important to potential employers.
Although Landon has to communicate by e-mail and phone with his family who live in Ontario, he has no regrets about choosing a career that could take him anywhere in the world. “My family is cool with the line of work I got involved in and are very happy that I get to work in a field that I have a great passion for,” said Landon.
If it wasn’t for the Outdoor Adventure Naturalist Program at Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley, Landon would not have all of the skills and expertise that have enabled him to work all over Canada in the outdoor industry.
Landon is a great role model for future Outdoor Adventure Naturalist students or anyone wanting to pursue a career in the outdoor adventure industry.
All photos owned and provided by Tim Landon for exclusive use on this website.