I recently had the pleasure of having Geoff Carpentier on my television show, and was so impressed by his travel tales, I thought I would feature him in this article. For those of you who do not know Geoff, he has a bi weekly column in this publication, which focuses on nature and wildlife.
Geoff is an ecologist and world traveller, who has taken tour groups all over the planet, including 35 (or so) trips to Antarctica. His life began in Winnipeg, where his mother was a stay at home mom and his dad was a medic and paratrooper with the Canadian military.
After two years, the family moved to Crowsnest Pass, in Alberta, a town high in the Rockies, near the US border with a current population of 5,500. On his sixth birthday, Geoff’s family relocated to Montreal and he was able to spend his birthday on a train; quite an exciting adventure for a young boy.
Three years later the family moved to New Brunswick, and then Petawawa, Ontario, where Geoff spent his teenage years. Working was part of growing up. He secured a paper route, and a job washing windows at the Canadian Forces Base. He also worked as a server and a busser, and decided a University stint would set him up for a more pleasant lifestyle.
Geoff attended the University of Guelph, majoring in Biological Sciences. His passion had always been birds and an opportunity to study them was fantastic. “Everyone wanted to graduate and work for the Ministry of Natural Resources in their specialized field, but when I finished school, jobs were hard to come by.”
Geoff managed to secure a position with the Ministry of Environment as a pesticide specialist, because of his great knowledge of nature. For 14 years he was able to help regulate the ever-changing industry, and has made boundless inroads into the safe use of pesticides. “The best part about the job was, I was able to work outdoors,” Geoff added.
During this time, Geoff married Kim Lendvay, and the couple raised three children. Geoff continued to work for the Ministry until he retired. One day, in 2005, he received a call from an Australian company asking if he would be interested in taking a group of people to Antarctica. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and he jumped at the chance. His vast knowledge of the eco structure and wildlife gave him an edge and made him a great resource on the tour.
That was the first of at least 35 trips to the southernmost continent. “Some tours are as long as 19 days, while others are only a week. Each one brings new experiences,” Geoff explained. He has also been one of the few people who have set foot on the other side of the Antarctic Circle.