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Guide ProfilesGuide Profiles

Meet Some of Our StaffMeet Some of Our Staff

We employ experienced local holiday leaders boasting impressive credentials. Newfoundland and Labrador presents dozens of logistical challenges for anybody coordinating a tour or learning holiday. There are travel routes without public washrooms or other basic services yet these areas feature sites of international significance and world-class life experiences. These areas can lack the support of even a simple plaque or sign. Our years of experience have introduced us to many vital resource people - whether it be someone with a good well willing to provide visitors with a clean washroom or a retired fisherman who protects the “secret” nesting site of an endangered bird. Other vital resource people are associated with our parks, museums, and other protected areas. It has taken years to gather our knowledge and every year our leaders and guests make new discoveries and contributions. Our leaders are our most important resource people as they show visitors the anchor site of the Mayflower, the northern tip of the Appalachian Mountains and other local highlights. This sort of knowledge doesn’t usually make it into the travel information books - unless one of our Wildland Tours staff or resource people are writing the book! Expect a fun and remarkable local host for your vacation.

Dave SnowDave Snow
Dave Snow at Cape St. Mary's

 Sadly, our fearless leader, company owner and most of all our friend David Snow passed away suddenly in April 2017. 
Dave was a naturalist and educator who first fell in love with the seabirds of the North Atlantic in 1979 while living and working as a researcher on Gull Island, part of the Witless Bay Seabird Sanctuary. He started Wildland Tours in 1984 to help protect the seabird sanctuary and the province’s many other wildlife resources by demonstrating their economic value to business-oriented politicians.  David was passionate about all creatures great and small and for their well being. David pioneered environmental tourism in the province and helped establish Newfoundland & Labrador as a cruise destination. Winner of awards such as the Governor General’s Award for Conservation and the Heritage Canada Sustainable Tourism Award and multiple National Geographic awards for his company Wildland Tours.
Dave was an avid whale watcher who taught in Canada and the U.S. about whales and their environment. Dave frequently wrote about Newfoundland, whales, aquaculture, wildlife, history, archaeology, and the environment. Each year Dave led as many holidays as time permitted including our Whale Study Weeks and Southern Labrador Adventure programs. Dave was also the project leader of our efforts to census the orcas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Look for Dave and former Wildland Tours holiday leader, Dr. Sean Todd (now Director of Allied Whale in the USA) on the award-winning 2000 video Whale of a Tale, which is still getting airplay around the world. Dave leaves behind three children Alan, Angela, and Jennifer and they are all animal lovers who enjoy the whales, wildlife, and great outdoors of Newfoundland and Labrador.  David is missed dearly by all who knew him and his company continues on in his memory.

Ann Simmons, Operations ManagerAnn Simmons, Operations Manager
Ann Simmons is the Wildland Tours Office Manager

Ann Simmons returned to Newfoundland in 2000 after 15 years on the mainland where she worked as an event planner and creative soul with a Nova Scotia advertising company. The call of her Newfoundland home proved hard to resist and once she was settled back home, Ann joined the office staff of Wildland Tours in 2001. Today, Ann is still the cheery voice on the phone when folks call to discuss the province’s whales, wildlife, and vacation highlights. She is an experienced Newfoundland and Labrador vacation and event planner who stimulates her artistic side through the painting of murals and store windows throughout St. John’s.  Ann counts the viewing of polar bears in Northern Labrador and adventures among the whales of eastern Newfoundland among her favorite Wildland Tours experiences.  Another favorite highlight is meeting our guests and sharing stories of travel, adventure, and wildlife from around the world. 

Mark TsangMark Tsang
Mark Tsang

Mark Tsang is one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s best known skiing and winter sports enthusiasts. Working with us for springs, summers, and falls since 1997, Mark has led most of our Viking Trail Experience holidays. He specializes in outdoor explorations for travellers interested in the wildlife and wilderness of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula and Southern Labrador. An avid photographer, Mark has sold his work to international outdoors magazines plus he has contributed bird close-ups to our Wildland Tours promotional catalogue. His dramatic photos of the northern lights adorn the walls of our St. John’s office. Mark is also our resident fossil expert…and time traveller. He takes guests from the 1,000 year-old Viking settlement to fossil beds boasting the remains of 520 million year-old trilobites to a site that preserves the 3.3 billion year-old primordial ooze that is believed to have generated the first life on earth.  Mark provided many of the photographs you see on this website. A collection of Mark’s photography can be viewed on Flickr.

Jared ClarkeJared Clarke
Dr. Jared Clarke is a popular nature tour leader.

A native Newfoundlander, Jared Clarke,  grew up on the northeast coast of the province and was introduced to the outdoors at a very young age – mostly by his grandfathers. Jared has become one of this province’s best known local naturalists and we have been delighted to have him lead excursions for us the past four years.  He became interested in birds while working for a local conservation group and never looked back. Locally he is well known as an occasional newspaper columnist writing about birds, however, ours are not birding tours.  Guests soon discover Jared is a well-rounded naturalist and leader equally comfortable with the whales, butterflies, and wildflowers….don’t worry about the word “bird”.  He has led nature tours and workshops big and small across this province combining his keen knowledge of local birds with a broad base of natural and cultural history. Jared is also a husband and father of two beautiful little girls. Check out his professional bird site and profile: http://birdtherock.com/about-birdtherock/ and we encourage you to check out all of Jared’s photos.  

Darrell PenneyDarrell Penney

In 1988, High School Teacher Darrell Penney found himself working next door to a replacement teacher who was covering biology for 4 months.  Over that time the two teachers discovered they shared a love of the outdoors as they organized field trips together, including one where they showed the kids how to catch trout with their bare hands.  A few months later Darrell met with that replacement teacher – our company’s founder Dave Snow - to discuss leading summer walking tours for UK guests, and since that time Darrell has been a popular summertime holiday leader with us. 
A native of Corner Brook on Newfoundland’s west coast, Darrell grew up living the region’s outdoor life with skiing, boating, snowshoeing, salmon fishing, and walking in the great outdoors developing into lifelong interests.   Joining Wildland Tours to lead tours exploring the scenery, nature, outports, and wildlife of Newfoundland and Labrador allowed Darrell to revisit many of the regions he had enjoyed as a student; and he has maintained his close contact with the land and sea as he continued leading tours every year since.  When not leading tours Darrell uses his designation as a professional prospector as an excuse to explore the province from Northern Labrador to remote coastal islands.
Darrell’s sharp eyes have provided important sightings of rare North Atlantic whales along the Newfoundland coast.  In 1998 Darrell brought a significant archaeological find to the province’s university when a local fisherman took Darrell’s tour group to view what turned out to be 18th century etchings in stone created by hopeful settlers on their way to the New World.  These travellers were bound for America only to be captured and held hostage by pirates on a coastal island.  Forced to sit day after day in the flat bedrock valley of a small bay, the hostages etched elaborate images into the rock illustrating the pirate vessels, the flags of the day, the distant Royal Navy vessels that were attempting to capture the pirates, and the names and stories of hostages….all providing remarkable physical insights into that distant time.  Darrell has many other Newfoundland and Labrador stories to share and in 2016 he is looking forward to hosting some of our Newfoundland Adventures together with a Whale Study Week for some visiting Japanese nature lovers.   Darrell recently retired from teaching to spend more time touring, exploring, and spending time with his family; especially his two grandchildren, Greyson and Jayden.

Birding leader Greg StroudBirding leader Greg Stroud
Newfoundland naturalist Greg Stroud, birding leader

Greg Stroud is a native Newfoundlander who spends most of his life outdoors enjoying nature. After graduating from university with a biology degree he started his career with Parks Canada as a park naturalist specializing in botany and birds. When he is not working he is chasing birds and photographing plants and insects. For the past 30 years birding has been his main passion taking him to all corners of the continent. In addition to birding he is an avid kayaker and sailor always looking for the next adventure in life. Greg has used some of his vacation time to work as an expedition cruise ship naturalist and as a birding tour leader for several groups travelling with Wildland Tours. Out of all of the places he has travelled, his home province of Newfoundland remains his favorite place in the world, especially Cape St. Mary’s which he describes as more of a spiritual experience than a birding destination.

Carolyn StapleCarolyn Staple
Carolyn Staple loves sharing the stories of coastal Newfoundland

Carolyn Staple was born and raised in St. Philip’s, NL, ‘round the bay just outside of town’.  She is a lovely mixed breed baygirl/townie cross.  Her deep connection to the island has kept her anchored here; she has always lived on the rock, in various communities from the island’s east to west coast.  After travelling the world in her 20’s while working as a flight attendant, she left the airline industry to follow her passion for the outdoors and completed a Diploma in Adventure Tourism/Outdoor Recreation.  She has been working as an outdoor/environmental educator and nature/adventure guide ever since, now travelling around her home province sharing its beauty with others.  She has most recently worked as a Tour Manager for several multi-sport eco-adventure tour companies in NL; Interpretation Officer with Parks Canada in Gros Morne National Park; Teaching Assistant for the Eastern School District’s Environmental Education program; and Outdoor Recreation Fieldworker for the City of St. John’s.  She sits on the board for the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Educators.  Her favorite thing is to hang out at the beach or in the woods and have a boil up around a fire with her daughters, Willow and River, her pups, Daisy and Dozer and her cat Ringo, all of who share her love for the outdoors.  She spends her evenings creating luxury ‘Pixy Mama Hammocks’ for people to hang out and enjoy nature in. 
The first trip Carolyn led for Wildland Tours was in 2003 and she’s been coming back for more ever since.  “Touring around this island paradise with excited visitors, proudly showing off our natural and cultural beauty… I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer!  I’d be crazy not to!”  Carolyn loves to get people of all ages tuned in and turned on to nature so that they may gain awareness, appreciation, and respect for their surroundings, while optimizing their physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being.  She strives to encourage personal growth, share ideas, work together, and above all, smile and have fun! She especially loves sharing the many stories of Newfoundland’s people and nature with travellers and explorers.  From birding on a secluded trail to finding you that special community panorama, Carolyn’s years of experience hosting Newfoundland visitors ensures your vacation is in safe and caring hands.