Jacqueline L. Scott on a trail in Toronto's Riverdale Park in October. (Photo: Ebti Nabag)

Topics: Jan./Feb. 2021, Justice | Environment

5 things you’ll find in this birder’s tool kit

Jacqueline L. Scott wants to make the Canadian wilderness more inclusive


Jacqueline L. Scott can usually be found outside. However, the PhD student hasn’t always felt welcome in natural settings, which have largely been considered white spaces. Through her advocacy work, Scott wants to make the Canadian wilderness more inclusive, and one of her favourite ways to help people connect to nature is through birding.

“Nature is in the city. Part of what I’m interested in is to reframe what nature is: nature is here, and we are part of it,” Scott says.

Scott is planning a canoe trip that follows the fur trade route and explores Canadian Black history.

Here’s what’s in her tool kit:

No. 1: Thermos of chai tea (pictured above)

“Take a couple sips, and it’s just enough to warm you up,” says Scott. Her premium-grade thermos keeps tea warm for about five hours, although she says nothing stays hot below -40°C — her temperature limit.

No. 2: Birding book (pictured above)

Scott has a number lying around and just grabs whichever one is closest when she’s heading out the door.

No. 3: Extra mittens

(Photo: Ebti Nabag)

On the coldest days, Scott might wear two or three layers of mitts, so she always brings extras. “You have to protect yourself,” she says. “But at the same time, cold is just an attitude.”

No. 4: Dried ginger

(Photo: Ebti Nabag)

“In terms of a high-energy snack, it keeps you going,” says Scott.

No. 5: Binoculars

(Photo: Ebti Nabag)

Scott uses generic-brand binocu­lars to get a close-up view. She doesn’t consider herself one of “those” birders who need fancy high-tech equipment.

More on Broadview:

This article first appeared in Broadview’s January/February 2021 issue with the title “Birding booster.”

Amy van den Berg is a writer based in northern Ontario. 

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