Monday, March 30, 2020

Exciting news! Great continuing support from the Canadian Ornithological Community!

We are thrilled to announce that ‘Come Walk With Us’ has been awarded its second grant from the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund!!!    Established in 1976, in honour of Mr. James Baillie, an Assistant Curator in the Ornithology Department at the Royal Ontario Museum who devoted his life to the study of birds for almost half a century.   The focus of the Baillie Fund is to support amateur ornithological research as well as individuals and organizations that increase the understanding, appreciation, conservation and protection of Canadian birds in their natural environment.

This award reflects the type of support we have received from the Canadian Ornithological community and bird lovers across the nation!  We are deeply honoured to have been considered for and received this grant! 

Mr. Baillie's enthusiasm and knowledge have inspired hundreds of naturalists to pursue the study of birds and their conservation for years.  We hope that in continuing our 24,000 km trek across Canada along The Great Trail geared towards expanding diversity in outdoor activities and striving to inspire youth to connect with nature through birding by focusing on their online time by becoming active Citizen Sciences will continue Mr. Baillie’s legacy and passion for ornithology by inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards!
See you on the trail….

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hike for bird conservation comes to Ontario and Québec

Featured News Story on Birds Canada website

The arrival of spring will herald the second season of the #hike4birds across Canada I’m doing with my partner Sean Morton on the world’s longest trail – the 24,000-km Great Trail.

We are undertaking this epic journey to inspire people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, genders, orientations, and identities to connect to nature through birding. With the support of Birds Canada, the James L. Baillie Memorial Fund, the Great Trail, and the Explorer’s Club, we are encouraging people to protect Canada’s wild birds and their habitats. We’re sharing information about birds, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, and simple steps that everyone can take to help birds whether in their own backyards or in the Boreal, including becoming Citizen Scientists.

Bird walk in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia Photo: Come Walk With Us

The response so far has been very encouraging, especially from outside the scientific and birding communities. While they may not identify as naturalists and birders, most people actually do see the effects of climate change, see that there are fewer birds in their backyards, and want to know what they can do to help. The largest positive response has come from sharing Birds Canada’s 6 simple steps to help birds. People really grab onto these easy means to help birds and the environment as well as loving the notion that they can enact change from their backyards to the Boreal.
The first stage of our journey across Canada began in Cape Spear, NL on 1 June 2019 and took us to Rivière-du-Loup, QC by 11 November 2019. If you missed our coverage of that leg, you can click here to learn more.

Bird walk with Nature NL Photo: Come Walk With Us
During April and May of 2020, we will “warm up” for this year’s hike by traversing southwestern Ontario during the spring migration season, following the Great Trail from Brantford to Windsor. Along the way, we will explore many of the province’s essential birding hotspots, including the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve, Aylmer Wildlife Management Area, Rondeau Provincial Park, St. Clair National Wildlife Area, Hillman Marsh, Point Pelee National Park, the Jack Miner Bird Sanctuary, and the Ojibway Prairie Complex.

Then we will continue our #hike4birds westward across Canada, resuming in Rivière-du-Loup and trekking through Québec, Ontario, and into Manitoba.

While we walk from coast to coast to coast through Canada’s communities, we will share stories of our time on The Great Trail, show how easy it is to make birds and nature a regular part of our lives, and introduce people to Citizen Science and local naturalist initiatives. We are inviting everyone to “Come Walk With Us” by following our journey online. To stay connected with us, please follow our social media accounts listed at the bottom of this page.

Black-and-white Warbler Photo: Come Walk With Us

In 2020, we are excited to return to the Boreal Region of Canada, where we are going to spark conversations with people about how the species in their own backyards depend upon this essential ecosystem. We also hope to inspire the people we visit south of the Boreal Region to make their own backyards more bird-friendly to help these migratory marvels. More than 300 bird species rely on the Boreal Region as their “nursery” for breeding and raising their young. The region is essential to the estimated 3 to 5 billion birds which are born there each year. As such, the Boreal and the migrating birds that rely upon it are important indicators of environmental health. At present, climate change, industrial development, and a general lack of awareness regarding the Boreal are just some of the major factors that threaten its conservation.

To learn more and follow along with our hike or sponsorship opportunities be sure to check:
Twitter:  @TransCanadaWalk
Instagram:  @ComeWalkWithUsOnTheGreatTrail

Photo: Come Walk With Us

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Tough Girl Podcast!

I am so very honoured to have been featured on the Tough Girl Podcast run by the incredible and inspiring Sarah Williams!

Check out the article and listen in on our treks including time on the Camino de Santiago, GR65, Via Podiensis, Ontario's Bruce Trail and of course our #hike4birds along Canada's 24,000 km long The Great Trail. We also talk about striving to inspire youth to reconnect with nature through Citizen Science and Birding!

We invite you to listen in on the interview at: Tough Girl Podcast Sonya Richmond.


Sonya Richmond - 42 year old Canadian who is currently hiking across Canada on The Great Trail - 24,000km!

March 2, 2020

Sonya is a 42 year old Canadian who is currently hiking across Canada on the longest multi-use recreational trail in the world with her partner Sean.  The 24,000 km long Great Trail stretches from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia, and from Edmonton, Alberta to Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories.  They began their journey in Cape Spear, Newfoundland on 1 June 2019 and hiked just over 3,000 km to Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec before the winter arrived.  They will head back to the trail in spring, and estimate they will complete their journey in fall of 2022.
Sonya's love of hiking, camping, and the outdoors began as child during multiple school trips into the wilderness.  She built on these experiences in university, where she studied Conservation Biology and Forestry, and spent as much time as possible outside, doing field research on forest songbirds.  Her love of long-distance hiking began with Ontario's 900 km long Bruce Trail, and grew when she hiked the 800 km Camino Frances in Spain with Sean in 2016.  Together Sonya and Sean hiked across France on the Via Podiensis (GR 65) in 2017, and along Newfoundland's East Coast Trail in 2018.  After that they decided to make hiking a more central part of their lives, and after selling the house, donating most of their possessions, and leaving behind Sonya's desk job, they did a warm-up hike along the Camino Portuguese in early 2019 and then began their adventure on the Great Trail.
As they hike, their goal is to share positive images and stories of their travels across Canada to showcase the amazing and diverse people, places, history, and landscapes that make up this country.  By sharing their passion for birds, hiking, and nature in person, on their blog, and through social media they hope to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds, but especially youth, to get outside, explore, and connect to nature through birding and Citizen Science.
Listen to Sonya Now!
Click here if you can't see the link below.

Show notes
  • Who is Sonya
  • Growing up in Canada
  • Getting into hiking and nature
  • The Bruce Trail, Canada
  • Accommodation on the Bruce Trail
  • Walking the Camino’s in Europe
  • GR65
  • Her love of hiking
  • The Great Trail in Canada - 24,000 km
  • Their reasons for walking the Great Trail
  • Planning to hike the trail
  • How long would it take?
  • Starting in the East
  • Breaking it down into sections
  • Time and money
  • Walking for a cause
  • Having a passion for birds
  • Selling their home
  • Being ready for a change
  • The reactions of friends and family
  • Concerns before the start
  • Dealing with Hurricane Dorian
  • Problem solving while on the trail
  • Day to day life on the trail
  • The highlights so far
  • Bird watching on the trail
  • Getting fit for the trail
  • Taking it slower at the start
  • Budgets and accommodation
  • Stating section 2 in March 2020
  • What happens during the winter months
  • Advice and tips for you to undertake your own challenges
  • Why you need to try things out first
Social Media

Website: (has links to blogs for our hikes across Canada, the Camino Frances, Via Podiensis, and East Coast Trail) 

Twitter: @TransCanadaWalk 
Feeling inspired week after week?