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Dr. Sonya Richmond

Location : The Great Trail, Simcoe, Ontario Canada

Nominated By : Sean

Dr. Sonya Richmond (PhD Forestry), worked for almost a decade as a GIS Analyst assisting in the development of award winning Provincial Birding Atlases and publishing her research as a professional Ornithologist. In 2019 she sold her home and donated her possessions to fund a planned 4 year, 24,000 km trek across Canada on the world’s longest pathway – The Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail). While very few people have made this trek in its entirety, none have done so for a cause and with the primary purpose of promoting diversity, accessibility and multiculturalism in the outdoors while striving to get youth engaged with and connected to nature through Citizen Science.

Increasingly concerned about the influence of screen time on youth, her goal is to get young Canadians to spend more time in nature and interested in exploration toward becoming engaged leaders in their communities as well as lifelong environmental stewards. So far, in 330 days on the trail she has trekked more than 7000 km, given more than 100 presentations, and been featured in more than 75 articles, interviews, and podcasts across Canada and around the world. Her undertaking has been supported and featured by Nature Newfoundland, Parks Canada, the Island Nature Trust, Nature New Brunswick, the Boreal Legacy Project, and Ontario Nature. While hiking she provides daily updates through her blog (www.comewalkwithus.online), facebook page, and instagram feed – all of which are freely available to be followed by anyone. Her hike has been sponsored by Bird Studies Canada, and is advised by members of Canada’s Explorer’s Club. In addition she has been named a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, honoured as Great Trail Pathfinder, and recently been funded as an RCGS Expedition.

She and her dedication are inspirational.