Sue Hemphill is a very familiar face at Scout Island, where her full-time work has turned into 30 to 40 hours per week of volunteer time. See page A18 for more. Angie Mindus photo

Fighting for environment, one student at a time

Scout Island Nature Centre executive director Sue Hemphill dedicates her time teaching residents to care about their environment

At 70 years old, Sue Hemphill still puts in as many hours as most people half her age and she doesn’t mind that at all.

Lakecity residents both young and old, will know Hemphill for her work at Scout Island Nature Centre where she has dedicated the last 15 years teaching youth about the environment they live in and the beauty of it all right down to the last bug.

Previously a teacher who also later studied biology, Hemphill said her later work in life has been a “perfect combination” of her passions.

Many may be surprised to learn that her work is all on volunteer time now.

“It’s no longer work, it’s volunteer because we’re hiring younger staff and people like me don’t need cash in their pockets and young people do.”

Though she doesn’t get paid in cash, and still puts in between 30 and 40 hours per week as executive director, Hemphill said job satisfaction is enough for her.

“It depends what you call pay. It’s the satisfaction of working with everybody that is enough pay — it’s nice to see the place grow.”

Her favourite part of the job over the years has been teaching the thousands of students who visit Scout Island every year.

She still enjoys that aspect, however, now is also rewarded by watching her younger staff go on to teach school children the importance of caring for the environment.

She explained that recently she was thrilled to hear a staffer say they understand now the value of a marsh system because of what was learned at the Scout Island Nature Centre.

“That’s exactly what we’re trying to do —change that attitude toward nature, that it’s worth caring for.”

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