- 2000 - 2010
My mum would take us to the ROM during March Break when we were kids growing up in Huntsville, but I hadn't returned since then - the early 80's.
I had just started graduate work in ecology at Trent University, around 2000, and ended up with a supervisor interested in Bullfrogs from Nogies Creek, near Bobcaygeon Ontario. His name was Michael Berrill, and to get me started on my research project, he loaned me three large boxes of "data" about frogs (and fish and plants) from Nogies Creek. As I began reading the information in the boxes a name kept popping up. The name was Dr. Ed Crossman, then curator of ichthyology and herpetology at the Royal Ontario Museum.
I felt it important to meet this guy, if I was going to make any sense of this long-term census of Bullfrog populations in the Creek. So I called him. He was quick to respond, and invited me to the ROM to meet. It was the fall of 2000 when I traveled from Peterborough to Toronto for our first (of many) meetings. We met at the staff entrance. He was HUGE, with such a deep voice, and somewhat menacing demeanor. But I learned quickly that he was the sweetest guy, and knew the Creek better than anyone: he and colleagues had been studying fish and frogs there since the early 70's, and he was excited that I was re-opening the file.
Ed and I became friends, and I even had dinner with him and his wife Margaret at their place on a few occasions. We never did figure out why the Bullfrogs in Nogies Creek are so much smaller than elsewhere in the province, but we suspected it because of heavy poaching of large individuals in the 80's and 90's. My favourite experience with Ed was touring the then alcohol collection of fish and frogs and snakes at the ROM, deep behind the scenes (I felt so special). Before he died, he gave me the attached photo, a snake emerging from its egg sack. I always thought the the picture meant "new beginnings". I still have it. It's now in my office at the ROM, sitting next to me, reminding me that new beginnings are always possible.