Thanks to my sister Michelle McIlroy for designing the logo!


Ever since I was a child, I have been very interested in nature and the environment. I have a B.S. degree in wildlife biology, and have worked as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist, and ecologist. I am conducting a brief survey of world leaders, government officials, religious leaders, corporate CEOs, environmental groups, wildlife experts, and others regarding nature and the environment. I am also very interested in religious views, customs, and beliefs from around the world, and the interactions between religion, culture, society, and the environment. This is something I am doing out of personal interest, and is not connected to any group or organization. I have been working on this project since the summer of 2006, and hope to eventually turn it into a book and/or documentary. I am hoping to make this into a global project, with responses from all segments of society. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or comments. If you have not already done so, I hope that you will consider taking part in my project, and please spread the word to anyone you think might be interested! Thanks for stopping by!


August 29, 2006

Robert A. Ritchie

Parks Naturalist, The Niagara Parks Commission

Today's Date: 29.August.2006

1. What interaction with an animal and/or nature in your life has had the biggest impact on you?

My parents exposed me (and my siblings) to nature of all sorts through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. My father is/was interested in birds so in searching for birds in the trees for him to observe and identify I was more interested in the beauty, friendliness and sheltering of the trees. It has only been in the latter half of my life that I have come to realize that the web of life that radiates out from “my” central core of trees is really what it is all about, for me.

2. Did you have a favorite place in the great outdoors during your childhood?

In 1956 when I was 8 years old my parents moved us out of Toronto (even then it was a metropolitan area) to a small “hobby” farm north of the city (it was farming country then but is subdivisions and wealthy estates now). I remember thinking it was the worst thing that could happen, leaving all my city “chums” behind, moving from a big city elementary school to a one-room country school with eight grades taught by one teacher; but it was the best thing that could have happened to an 8-year-old boy. The adjacent forest became my favourite place and I got to know about 1000 surrounding acres very intimately – every pond, lake, forest, field, hill, valley, etc., and all the occupants therein. Then came puberty and a driver’s license………………………..!

Now? “Be Here Now” – no one favourite place, but I do spend a lot of time in the Near North of Ontario, especially inside the polygon bounded by Parry Sound, North Bay, Algonquin Park and Huntsville.

3. As a former zookeeper, I would love to know what your favorite animal is, and why?

As I get older I search for the inherent beauty in each and every species (flora and fauna) regardless of the labels and attributes (both positive and negative) that human beings ascribe to them. What makes each of them tick and where do they fit into the greater scheme of things (the web of life)? As a child I had a “koala bear” and a “fuzzy rabbit”; I still have them (hidden away safely in my blanket box, along with the first shoes of my children), although the Koala bear is getting thread bare from love.

4. What do you think is the greatest environmental challenge facing us now, and what do you think will be the greatest challenge in the future?

The greatest environmental challenge facing us now is getting human beings to live within their means as it relates to the overall Carrying Capacity of our individual environments and the planet as a whole, and the survival of all the other species that we threaten with extinction. The greatest challenge in the (immediate/pending) future will be our own survival as a species when The Correction (my emphasis) plunges our burgeoning population to well below the Carrying Capacity that the environment and the planet ascribe to us.

5. If you could give everyone one piece of advice regarding the environment and our natural resources, what would it be?

Examine your “wants” and your “needs”, don’t give in to needless advertising and marketing, give up something each day that you don’t need, “live lightly on the E(e)arth”, and “teach your children well”. “You can’t always get what you want but you just might find you get what you need.” But my favourite quotation is: “Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.”

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