Sean Thompson was one of the top graduates from our professional guiding program in 2018-19. Sean had a unique perspective into entering adventure guiding. Unlike many…
Marlie Temple is a 2018 – 2019 WAC graduate. Spending summers on the beach in her hometown of Tsawwassen BC, and winters skiing in the mountains, she developed an appreciation for the outdoors at an early age. After playing 4 years of varsity volleyball in the United States and Canada, Marlie was eager to start traveling. She finished her high school degree working for the local government in Belize.
After graduating, she spent her summers working along the BC coast, and winters traveling. When she contemplated returning to school for her masters, Marlie decided instead to pursue her dream career of ‘being out there’ and running boats into some of the most remote and beautiful places our country has to offer. That’s when she found WAC.
After graduating from WAC in 2019, Marlie started her first guiding season at Farewell Harbour Lodge as a skipper and bear guide. Her days were spent wading through estuaries in search of grizzly bears or looking for whales around the Broughton Archipelago. She spent her evenings giving ecology lectures to the guests to deepen their understanding of the natural world they are visiting. Marlie is in her element. We caught up with her to hear some of her reflections on her new career path.
“Getting to develop a connection and relationship with remote and wild spaces, and the species that live there, is a real privilege. Each day reveals just a little more about the complexities of our coastal ecosystem.”
“Everyday I am in awe by something stunning that happens out there. One of the best parts of my job is getting to share that experience with our guests. I see them realize how special and interconnected our planet truly is. It is incredibly rewarding to see people leave with a greater sense of awareness of themselves and the part they play within the environment.”
Of course, being a guide is not only about watching wildlife. Marlie relates to the challenges of leadership and responsibility. “The gravity and consequences of your decision making are real and I wear that responsibility deeply. Whether it’s walking with grizzlies or driving the boat, your clients trust you to keep them safe. You are completely accountable for their wellbeing. There is a balance in bearing that responsibility and in staying composed so that it doesn’t overwhelm you. It allows you to stay clear headed and focused.”
As one of our highest performing students, Marlie shares the lessons that were most valuable to her from her guide training. “During my program there were times that I felt completely overwhelmed. It felt unfair, like the instructors were doing it on purpose. I see now that’s exactly what it was, intentional.
Now when I meet these experiences in the “real world”, I know what it will feel like. I don’t panic or get overwhelmed because I know I can handle it. Going back to what I learned in a controlled safe setting at school allowed me to apply it to the problem at hand. Then I can fully concentrate on what needs to be done without succumbing to anxiety or fear.
My training at WAC built my confidence in leadership and especially public speaking. It showed me I was capable of so much more than I had given myself credit for.”
Marlie has gone on to work with Bluewater Adventures on a Marine Debris Removal Initiative as well as Pacific Wild on conservation projects along the Central Coast. She has worked abroad as a skipper for Glacier Explorers in New Zealand’s Mount Cook National Park and also volunteers with salmonid enhancement and ecological restoration organizations here on Vancouver Island.