Katy Ellis

“Sometimes you throw your hat into the ring and you find yourself on the other side of the world.”

These were Joel’s words to me, as I couldn’t quite believe I was being offered a job with NRA / CRE. I’m equally excited and honoured to be here, working with a company that has such a history of connection to and protection of wild places.

Growing up in Cambridge and living the last three years in Cornwall (both the English versions, not Ontario), my main interactions with water were making a valiant attempt at surfing the South West’s wild Atlantic swells. My first experience of a wild river was walking the Vjosa in Albania source to sea, Europe’s first river national park. It was a crazy three weeks including stumbling into ancient mountain music festivals, midnight dance lessons in remote villages, armed guards chasing us off dams, and running into a pair of wolves. Safe to say, wild rivers captured my imagination.

One month later, I made my way to the Yukon for the first time, researching bark beetle ecology in Kluane National Park as part of my university degree. Needless to say, counting beetles and pine cones took somewhat of a back seat when Kluane’s mountains and rivers beckoned to be explored, and I found myself disappearing off into the backcountry for a few days with a similarly minded university friend. I think, subconsciously, the Yukon’s intoxicating wilderness had seeped into my bones…

After 2023’s summer spent leading canoe trips for at-risk youth in Ontario, I saw first-hand the value in inspiring people about our planet’s wild places. The effort of wrestling with feisty adolescent attitudes was rewarded with seeing youth experience rivers, forests and night skies for the first time. Returning home to the UK, I stumbled across Joel’s job advert whilst dreaming about returning to the Yukon one day. After initially never thinking my application from the UK would be taken seriously, I found myself on a plane back to Whitehorse just a few weeks later.

I am thrilled to be joining NRA / CRE as the Office Manager and Expedition Planner. I know the boots to fill are large after Nadine and Jeremy, but I’m ready to throw my energy, enthusiasm and a touch of dry British humour into the mix!

I am grateful for the warm welcome I have received from Joel, Dana, Bri and everyone else I have met so far, and am excited to continue learning from such a passionate team of people and explore more of the Wild North.