Volunteer Soars with Wild Ontario

By Annette Dawm, WorkStory Ambassador

Samantha “Sam” Manner works as volunteer Team Leader for the Wild Ontario program in the city of Guelph, where she is also attending university. Currently, Sam is working towards her Bachelor of Science. Her major is animal biology and her minor is in nutrition. Her future plans include either to attend the Ontario Veterinary College or to “work in the field of animal behaviour and welfare”. Although Sam has a very busy student life, she is still able to volunteer with the Wild Ontario program at least 4 times a week! Part of why Sam finds volunteering so rewarding is that she gets to educate the public while working with her team at Wild Ontario.

“I manage the daily health, training, and nutrition of a non-releasable American Kestrel, named Artemis, while also overseeing three of her other handlers. With our ten non-releasable birds of prey, Wild Ontario travels across the province delivering educational programs to the public on a variety of topics ranging from: ornithology, [the study of birds] ecology, conservation and stewardship.”

Artemis is considered to be “non-releasable”, which means that she will never be able to live in the wild. Now, with the help of Sam and her other handlers, she “is serving as an ambassador for her species through her story.” Sam relates Artemis’ story below:

“Artemis is a 5 year old female American Kestrel, the smallest falcon species in North America. Unfortunately, Artemis was taken from the wild at a young age and was likely being kept as a pet by someone. Housing wildlife without proper licensing is illegal. As a consequence of people taking her from the wild, she did not get the opportunity to learn the skills she would need to survive in the wild. In 2009, Artemis was surrendered to the Toronto Wildlife Centre. Here, they do tests to determine the bird’s fear of humans. Artemis was not afraid of humans and willingly took food from [them], which means it would be dangerous for her and for humans if she was released back to the wild.”

Sam has a few favourite things about volunteering with Wild Ontario and they involve working with others in the program as well as with the public. She tells us that, “One of my favourite things is working with my team towards a training goal for either the bird or the handler and seeing all that hard work come to fruition. At the programs we deliver, one of my favourite things is sharing information about the birds with members of the public and having them get really excited and wanting to share what they learned with all of their family and friends.”

For anyone who is interested in getting involved with Wild Ontario, Sam advises that it is a “big-time commitment”. Potential volunteers should be mindful that they will be required to dedicate a certain amount of their time to the program. If you wish to apply, you should either live in Guelph, Ontario or “have the ability to travel to Guelph at least 4 times a week.” The volunteer application and more information about the program can be found on their website, www.ourwildontario.ca .

Beer. Do we have your attention?

Ever considered being a brewmaster?   

"The recent opening of a new Halifax brew pub has given Karen Allen the chance to come home, be near her family and friends, and also make beer for a living.  It sounds like a sweet gig and she admits it.”It’s pretty awesome, yeah,”…

More on Karen’s brewmaster story…


Blood and Gore Leads to Happy Career in Photography

By Annette Dawm,  WorkStory Ambassador

Camille Porthouse is the owner of Camille Porthouse Photography, but unlike many other photographers, Camille doesn’t often take the traditional wedding and baby photos you might find on another professional’s Facebook page. Camille is happiest when she gets to work with individuals who share her love of blood, gore and latex clothing, all within the Alternative Photography Industry.

“I am lucky enough to specialize in something I love, which is working on artistic shoots with alternative models” says Porthouse. “This means I get to have almost full artistic control over the shoots I create. I get to come up with concepts for the makeup artists, and I also get to draw up designs to help clothing designers see my overall vision.”

Although she is at the helm of Camille Porthouse Photography, every project Camille works on is a collaborative piece of art. Each shoot comes together with the help of many talented people. The mutual bond that she and her fellow artists share is what gets her “most excited” about her job:

“I love that I can express myself through art while having amazing teams of individuals that want to see my visions come to fruition. It creates a group of artistic individuals that can all seek inspiration from one another.”

Even though Camille loves what she does now, she never liked photography growing up and she certainly wasn’t interested in taking pictures of people. However, one Christmas while she was living in Ottawa, she was given a professional camera. She soon learned how to use it, but she still wasn’t comfortable with human models. Then an unusual event changed everything for Camille!

“It wasn't until I heard about a city Zombie Walk event that I decided that this would be my first real test in taking photos. Once the 2008 Ottawa Zombie Walk happened I was completely hooked! People had an amazing response to my work and it fuelled me to look [at] this as a potential career. Life then took me to London, Ontario and I began shooting for charity fashion shows, and once again the annual city Zombie Walk. Word started spreading, and soon enough I was being contacted to work various city wide events.”

Camille was also a professional photographer for Canadian musicians, Hedley and Karl Wolf when they played in London in 2012. She was able to work at the concert as well as the after party. Following this event, Camille found herself working as a photographer at many hip hop concerts, but this wasn’t her thing. As for her advice to aspiring photographers in any genre, she wants you to know this: 

“For newcomers in the industry I would say, ‘just stop trying to do what is on trend. Follow your heart and your interests.’ I didn't at first, and I spent over a year shooting rap shows, which is about as far off from who I am as a person as you can get!’”

Camille has been following her own advice and she tells us that, “Since then, I have refined my business and feel happy shooting the things that I want to, the things that make me happiest. It just so happens that blood, gore, and latex clothing make me the happiest. Who would have thought?”

Her work has been making other people happy as well. She has been published in over 25 different Alternative magazines, both in the online world and in print. “I have had the most success so far with publications in South Africa and Australia. However, my work has also been published throughout North America and in England” says Porthouse. If you are interested in seeing Camille’s work and links to where she has been published, you can visit her Facebook page, which she credits as an “integral tool” in terms of creating a successful business. www.facebook.com/CamillePorthousePhotography  

Driving Ambition: Zach’s Golf Story

As told to Brandon Pedersen, WorkStory Ambassador      

Hi. My name is Zach Giusti. Let me begin by giving you a laydown on my personal interests. Since I was young, I always had a profound interest in both sports and money. Working for a local golf course, I quickly became interested in the game that I saw being played on a daily basis. To top it off, I also learned that professional golfers make quite the pay check. Although I began playing the game at age 6, my interest and love for it grew when I worked at the golf course. This led me to become the captain of my high school golf team, and I was awarded MVP in my senior year. Despite my love for the game, I knew the difficulties associated with becoming a professional at arguably the world’s most frustrating sport! That’s when I decided to apply to university.

I attended Wilfrid Laurier University, where I earned an honours degree in business with a marketing specialization. By the time I approached my fourth year, I realized it was time to start thinking about my future. I applied to numerous sales and marketing jobs and decided to write the LSAT during my last year. What would be better than wearing fancy clothes, driving an exotic car, and obviously, making a lot of money? But, despite my time management skills, I wasn’t able to succeed on the LSAT because of a number of other things going on in my life at the time – namely job applications, midterms, social life, etc. 

Luckily, I received multiple interviews from the sales and marketing companies I had applied to. After several interviews with the manager, I was hired by a billion dollar Paint Company to become a part of their Management Training Program. Eventually, after a few months of training, I was awarded the title of Branch Operations Manager. After about a year of commuting and working in my new position, I was becoming tired and unhappy with my choices. I decided this was not the path I wanted to be on the rest of my life. I wanted to work hard at something I loved.

This is when golf came back into my life. I have always been skilled at sports, in particular, golf. So why not become a pro? Easier said than done. I began by getting a full assessment by one of the top golf coaches in North America, and he told me that I had plenty of potential and that I should explore that potential while I still had the opportunity to (I am still young enough where I have a small window of opportunity to make it happen).

So here I am now, pursuing my dream. This past summer, I played in many professional tournaments on what is known as The Great Lakes Tour. However, playing in tournaments is only part of the process.

So yes, my days now are not spent doing “traditional” work. Waking up early, eating a big breakfast and then heading to the course where I will either practice for 6 hours, or practice a little and then play a round. Golf is a game where there is much more than meets the eye. Practice for me includes: stretching (often overlooked), hitting 1000+ golf balls at the range daily, and playing in as many tournaments as possible. Furthermore, the mental aspect of golf has been the toughest to overcome. Yes, I can shoot a very good practice round, but being able to imitate that in a tournament round is the toughest part. Long days, lots of practice, focus and dedication are what it takes to make it to the next level.

My goals are to be on the Canadian Professional Tour within 2 years and to play in Web.com events by 2017/2018. With my attitude and mindset, I believe I can do this.

So you might be thinking, “this isn’t your traditional work story.” But here’s the thing. I dropped everything, including a well-paid full time job in order to pursue something I love to do. And I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, I have never been happier – I love waking up early and working on something that I know I can be great at.

Nobody should tell you what you can and cannot do. The craziest thing is the support or lack of support I have received. Many people whom I thought would support me are telling me I’m crazy for doing this, it’s a waste of time, money and my degree. Others, whom I thought would not care one bit, have been extremely motivating in encouraging me to pursue my dream.

So there you have it. Whether you want to be a lawyer, doctor, athlete, astronaut – whatever – make sure you love what you do, because if you don’t, you will only have yourself to blame.