Manitoulin Island’s newest conservation officer Tawny Godin loves life on Island

CO Tawny Godin

MANITOULIN—While she has not been on Manitoulin for very long, Tawny Godin is certainly enjoying it and is looking to continuing her work and living on the Island. Ms. Godin, who was born and raised in Pembroke (where her family still lives), is a new conservation officer with the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (MNDMNRF) on the Island.

“I am very excited and lucky to work in such an amazing location such as the Island,” Ms. Godin told The Expositor. “I look forward to meeting and getting to know as many people as I can and to become more familiar with this amazing land that I now get to call home. I live in Little Current, and every day I get to experience and enjoy all the activities that each season holds. I have been exploring the many trails, visited every town all the way across the Island and I’m starting to get familiar with the lay of the land.”

“I’ve learned so much about Island history and about the beautiful Indigenous communities that have made this island the wonder that it is,” continued Ms. Godin. “Every day I look forward to getting out in the field, meeting my neighbours, even all the way across the Island, and seeing what new adventure that day holds.”

“I’ve quickly made some great friends on the Island, as everyone is so welcoming,” said Ms. Godin. “From the moment I started telling people that I work on Manitoulin Island, I’ve had no other response from people other than saying, ‘you are going to absolutely love it here, it’s such a beautiful place,’ and I can’t help but agree.”

Ms. Godin explained, “I worked with Ontario Parks back when they were a part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), and then parks changed to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), but I’ve worked in total with the ministry for 10 years.”

“I worked in Bonnechere Provincial Park for eight years, in many positions, starting with four years as a natural heritage educator, then park warden, senior park clerk, non-operating park operations technician, stewardship youth ranger team lead, gate attendant, store attendant and maintenance in the shoulder seasons, and finishing off as a senior operations technician at Algonquin Provincial Park.”

“I was then successful in a contracted conservation officer French-language speaking position with the Aylmer enforcement unit out of Chatham. I worked for five months in the field after successfully graduating from Ontario Police College,” said Ms. Godin. “I was then successful in applying for a full-time permanent conservation officer position here on Manitoulin Island.”

Ms. Godin continued, “after being successful for the full-time (CO) position on the Island, I made the transition from Chatham as soon as I could do so reasonably. I started with the (MNDMNRF) Sudbury enforcement unit in mid-December, which helped me transition nicely because it’s fairly quiet around that time as hunting season is wrapping up and anglers are waiting for the ice to freeze over.”

Prior to being accepted for her job on the Island with the ministry, “I had never been to the Island before. In fact, my first time here was when I moved to the area. So that first day was super exciting for me, getting to see everything in person that I’ve heard so much about.”

Ms. Godin said, “coming to the Island was definitely a factor in accepting the position. I had the option among  a handful of places, and I was lucky enough to have already had some friends who lived on the Island for a few years. They moved here for jobs and never left because of how much they love it here. After a short conversation about the pros and cons of the island, I quickly learned there were very few cons and a long list of pros. How could you not be excited to live in a place like this?  I did some research and really liked that the Island offers a little of everything in terms of outdoor activities.”

Ms. Godin, who is single said, “I don’t have a family of my own, but I do have the most amazing rescue dog from Turkey. And I can guarantee she loves it here. She has already made a bunch of friends herself!”

“I am definitely a people person, and there is nothing more welcoming than having conversations with people who are spending their spare time in a beautiful area, taking part in activities that they love with friends and family. I’m excited to get to know as many people as I can, and create a healthy and respect the relationship with them.”

Ms. Godin has taken over one of the two CO positions on the Island. “I have the privilege of replacing Jeff Horula as a conservation officer. Jeff has moved offices to Espanola, so he’s still close and I still get the chance to work with him on a regular basis.”

“Also, just in case (members of the public) weren’t aware, our new office is in Mindemoya where the previous Ontario Provincial Police office was,” said Ms. Godin. “We are no longer in Manitowaning.”