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Ecologist ~ Naturalist  ~ Consultant ~ Community Stewardship Volunteer ~ Leader ~ Speaker ~ Photographer

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James Kamstra

I have been a field ecologist and naturalist for over 40 years.  My interest goes back even earlier as I was fascinated by animals, nature, and exploring since childhood.  I graduated with a B.Sc. in biology and environmental science at Trent University, then obtained a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) from York University.

I have been drawn to wild places particularly where intriguing flora and fauna can be encountered.  Whether by canoe, car, mountain bike, or on foot, I have explored many different habitats including the Arctic tundra, temperate mountains, deserts, tropical rainforests, and coral reefs.  I am frequently contacted to identify flora and fauna and to provide advice and understanding on the functions of ecosystems.  I have a broad interest in natural history particularly in fields of botany, birds, reptiles, and insects.

I have played an active role in various conservation organizations.  As a member of the Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO) for ten years, I was part of a decision-making team that evaluated and designated status of species at risk for Ontario.  Currently, I am on the board of directors for both Ontario Nature and North Durham Nature.  I am also the Ontario Regional Editor for the North American Butterfly Association.

I have written many technical reports, articles, and scientific papers but recently published a memoir of my father’s life in a book entitled Can’t Sit Still: The Adventurous Life of an Immigrant Entrepreneur.  In addition, I was co-author of a handbook about the natural history of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize.

As a senior ecologist with the engineering firm AECOM for many years, I have been on assignments across Canada to assess the impact of a wide range of development projects on the natural environment.  Projects have included wind turbines, residential housing, landfills, gravel pits, mines, golf courses, highways, pipelines, and hydroelectric dams.

My natural history experience extends beyond Canada that started with my Master’s Thesis, which I conducted in Belize, and has continued since with the opportunity to travel widely throughout Latin America.  I have also led ecotour groups to many international destinations including Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Galapagos, Guyana, Panama, Peru, and Portugal.

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