Our Tofino Neighbours - Mark Maftei

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Shawna Gardham
By Shawna Gardham, Public & Media Relations Manager
Newsletters23 May 2024


Mark Maftei, Executive Director of the Raincoast Education Society (RES), has always had an affinity for the natural world. He grew up surrounded by pets and spent much of his time outdoors, developing a deep connection with nature through camping, hiking, and canoeing. Mark recounts a pivotal moment: “Seeing an osprey flying overhead as a young boy in Toronto blew my mind because that’s when I realized there were amazing animals right at home – I didn’t need to go to the Amazon to see them.”

Mark Maftei In The Field
Mark Maftei In The Field

Fuelled by this fascination for animals and nature, he went on to become a wildlife biologist. While his family bred birds at home in a large aviary, his real passion wasn’t awakened until much later when he worked in a large goose colony in Nunavut. His work took him to remote field camps in the Arctic, where he developed a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of ecosystems. “Working in the tundra and seeing all of these breeding birds, knowing how far they had migrated and what interesting lives they must lead, made me want to learn more about them,” Mark shares.

Shorebirds in Tofino by Kaylyn Kwasnecha
Shorebirds in Tofino

While Mark has spent many years in remote corners of the world, he considers Tofino his home. Here, he enjoys surfing, fishing, and spending time on the water with his kids. As Executive Director of the Raincoast Education Society, Mark oversees the organization's various educational programs and leads research and monitoring projects. One of RES's keystone events is the annual Shorebird Festival, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The festival aims to highlight shorebird migration and educate people about the diverse bird species that call Tofino home. “We hope to spark interest, teach people about these creatures, promote good stewardship, and just have fun!” Mark shares. In addition to the festival, RES hosts numerous free events throughout the year, welcoming both locals and visitors.

Mark Maftei Leading Workshop by Tammi Belliveau
Mark Maftei Leading a Workshop

Mark's commitment to wildlife education extends beyond RES's events. He hopes that the organization's efforts will inspire people to care for these incredible environments and ecosystems that exist all around us. “From a conservation point of view, I hope our efforts with RES open people’s eyes to what we have here in our region and prompt them to make responsible decisions to steward habitats that are always under pressure from development and disturbance,” Mark explains.

Discover the many ways you can get involved, participate in events, and support the Raincoast Education Society's mission to help shape an environmentally sensitive future for the Clayoquot and Barkley Sound region by visiting https://raincoasteducation.org.

Dunlin Shorebird by Jess Findlay
Dunlin Shorebird

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