The idea of the Arctic has always thrilled me. When I was young my father, who at that time was just starting his long tenure as a Quest Nature Tours leader, would tell me stories about his Arctic adventures. I would sit back in awe as he described the majesty of the land, the power of the ice, the untamed beauty of it all. In disbelief I would ask him how big the Polar Bears actually were, trying to comprehend the size of something that I had no frame-of-reference way of understanding.

"I imagined my father like my childhood heroes,
Sir David Attenborough and Steve Irwin."

As I grew older, my interests shifted from the Arctic as my father started leading Quest Nature Tours trips to Africa. Again, the idea of an elephant stunned me, but I began to appreciate the smaller things as well: the snakes, the birds, the insects. Since he travelled the world and saw all of this incredible nature, I imagined my father like my childhood heroes, Sir David Attenborough and Steve Irwin.

Charles Darwin and Steve Irwin

When I was fourteen, I was old enough to go on a Quest tour myself to the Galapagos archipelago. I traveled with my father and his father; what a sight that must have been, I thought - three generations of Earley men on one boat! In the Galapagos I saw the impacts that the environment could have on the biology and ecology of the animals that live there. I knew about Charles Darwin but it was seeing the islands myself that made his ground-breaking ideas so incredible and...maybe I could be that brilliant! This was, no doubt, a fanciful though in the mind of a young teenager but for the first time in my life I saw my appreciation of the natural world as a passion not only fit for my spare time, but for my future as a whole. That Quest trip was the spark that fueled everything I’ve done ever since.

"Jeez, you're just like
Steve Irwin!"
I studied Zoology at the University of British Columbia where I conducted two undergraduate research projects, one using genetics to investigate the ecology of parasitoid wasps and the other using camera traps to study campus biodiversity. For years, I worked as a Seasonal Park Naturalist in Ontario’s famous Algonquin Park, teaching visitors about the wildlife that surrounded them. I especially enjoyed sharing ecological tidbits with visitors and loved the interest that everything from ferns to Moose could inspire. Now, working with rattlesnakes in southern BC, I continue to share my passion for nature with the public and it makes me smile when they tell me, “Jeez, you’re just like Steve Irwin!

I have been fortunate enough to travel to some incredibly interesting places in the world but none of them are more exciting to me than the Arctic! This place we are going to seems spectacular. For the next four weeks I will be buzzing in anticipation, as I’m sure you all are! I can’t wait to share this adventure with all of you.