Protector of our parks
Senior warden gets merit award

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson ( May 12/00) - The 2000 Award of Merit from the NWT Recreation and Parks Association is going to Fort Simpson's Carl Lafferty.

A senior warden at Nahanni National Park Reserve, Lafferty is planning to be in Hay River for an official ceremony this weekend.

"This award was a complete surprise," he said.

"I'm getting recognized for something I enjoy doing and I get paid to do. It's kind of a good feeling. Over the years my efforts haven't been overlooked I guess."

He began his job with Nahanni National Park Reserve in 1990. Prior to that he had spent a summer in a fire-control capacity at Wood Buffalo National Park. He also did a short stint at Prince Albert National Park.

The letter announcing his selection as the winner of the Award of Merit reads, in part:

"You were mentioned to be one of the 'mountain men' to the locals of Fort Simpson. Also, your visibility in the schools and communities has made you a very positive role model for the children and has given you the respect of your peers and community leaders. Your hard work and promotion of the National Parks program throughout the Deh Cho region is much appreciated at the territorial level."

Lafferty said his favourite part of his job is meeting people and ensuring they have a positive experience.

"When we have an opportunity to meet with visitors I always tell junior staff to make sure the impression you leave is a good one," he said.

"That may be the only contact they have with Parks staff so you have to make sure you make it memorable for them and give them as much good, accurate information as you can."

Educating students is another important facet of his job. Lafferty also feels he has a rapport with many local students because he grew up in Fort Simpson and went to school with many of their parents.

"The sooner we can get in there and give the message of conservation and protection, it makes it a lot easier down the road and makes people appreciate exactly what we have and why we're protecting it."