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Getting To Know: Simone Mantel

In today's feature of the InspHERational Women of the Outdoors blog series, we catch up with Simone Mantel! Simone is a Federal Wildlife Officer out of Quebec City. We asked her a few questions on her earliest outdoor memories, what put her on the path to her career and what advice she has for women interested in wildlife enforcement!

1. In my opinion, you have one of the coolest jobs ever. Can you explain to our readers your job title and what that entails? I work as a Federal Wildlife Officer out of Quebec City, QC. Our primary mandates include migratory bird hunting and the protection of migratory bird refuges, protecting national wildlife areas, species at risk, and international and interprovincial trade/transport of plants and animals (my personal favourite!). As ‘federal’ Wildlife Officers, we are able to take on cases that carry over between provinces, and other countries, when provincial officers don’t have the authority. So far in my role, I have worked with US Fish and Wildlife, Canada Border Services, and provincial agencies to help out with cases and operations.


2. Is your career path any different than what you imagined in your younger years? Is there a job that you had along the way that inspired you to choose this path?

I never envisioned myself ending up in this role, mostly because I didn’t know much about it until recently. I worked for Ontario Parks for 7 years in various positions, most recently as a Park Warden and then Assistant Park Superintendent. In those positions, I really enjoyed the role of educating the public and feeling like I had a direct impact on protecting Ontario’s natural environment. I absolutely loved that my office was a beautiful Provincial Park. Without starting out as a Student at Killarney Provincial Park back in 2015, I would have never ended up here.

3. What is your first memory experiencing the outdoors and falling in love with it?

As a child, I went camping with my family and felt most like myself when outdoors. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love the outdoors. In high school, I participated in an environmental specialist program and went on numerous backcountry camping trips across Ontario. After going on a few camping trips in Provincial Parks and learning that people worked at these places for a living, that quickly became my dream!


4. What career advice could you give to girls who are interested in following a similar path to you?

Networking is useful not only to develop connections and references within the field with people who can potentially help you advance your career, but speaking to others (field scientists, conservation officers, fisheries officers, etc.) allowed me to figure out which job was the best fit for me. I would highly recommend attending any information sessions that these organization offer (i.e. at the Ontario Adventure Show), reaching out to hiring managers, or finding people through platforms like LinkedIn. I also think coming into these jobs with experience in your personal life that can contribute to foundational knowledge (i.e. hunting/fishing on your own time, exploring the region you want to work in to get familiar with the land, the local flora and fauna) and make you stand out among others.



5. Out of all of the places you've lived/worked, where has been your favourite?

There will always be a place in my heart for Killarney Provincial Park. I reminisce of my time living and working there almost every day, still, after having worked there for 6 seasons and living there full-time for two years. My time living and working in Killarney were my favourite years of my life and I can accredit that place for getting me to where I am now, both mentally and career-wise.





6. Additionally, as a woman in an enforcement position, do you have any words of encouragement for the girls out there that wish to pursue such a powerful role but may be too intimidated to start?

You are stronger than you think. Cultivate confidence, it is SO important. Take risks. We need more women in these positions! Sure, we don’t do things the same way as men, but that’s why we are needed. Play to your strengths, don’t try to be someone you are not. Find your niche within the field based on what you’re good at and also what you enjoy and run with it! Maybe you want to work outdoors, but don’t know if enforcement is for you, I would recommend starting out in a ‘lower ranking’ position within the organization you want to work for – whether that be a Park Warden with MECP/MNRF (if your goal is to be a provincial CO), or as a student staff/junior staff with Environment Canada (if you want to get into the Feds) to get a taste of the job and the organization!

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