Natalie Bourke - Annual Whooping Crane Festival in Port Aransas, Texas

Natalie Bourke, Public Outreach Education Officer, Parks Canada-Wood Buffalo National Park

Presentation: Born Wild & Free-The Whoopers of Wood Buffalo National Park

Bio: Natalie Bourke is a Public Outreach Education Officer for Parks Canada’s Southwest Northwest Territories Field Unit which includes the Whooping Crane nesting area in Wood Buffalo National Park. As a brand new Parks Canada employee in 1989, Natalie had the privilege of accompanying renowned Canadian Wildlife Service scientist Ernie Kuyt on a Whooping Crane survey which in those days consisted of dizzying swoops in a small plane, using binoculars to try and identify leg band colors. Apparently there were few staff who could “stomach” this survey technique, but Natalie was one of them and the experience contributed to her interest in learning how to fly and later piloting her own small plane.

An avid outdoorsperson, Natalie has a B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. She is a certified public school teacher and also has a Diploma in Adult Education from St. Francis Xavier University. Her many years with Parks Canada have taken her into schools and communities all over Canada’s north, and she is excited to connect with the many Whooping Crane enthusiasts at this festival.

LOCATION: Port Aransas Community Center