“Coming to the ROM was the best part of my childhood,” says Tom Hilditch. Like many kids in Ontario, he was a member of the Saturday Morning Club for years, travelling to Toronto from Etobicoke with his two best friends every week. “I learned to use chopsticks here,” he recalls smiling. “I worked for weeks to decipher the Rosetta Stone and I always stopped to look at and to touch the Iron Creek meteorite in the Rotunda because I was fascinated by it.”
This special ritual and these memories are still etched in Tom’s mind. But what he loved best about the Museum was learning about plants, trees, and animals. A self-taught ecologist, the ROM gave him a “deep appreciation for nature” from a young age. Tom went on to found Savanta, an environmental consulting firm, in part inspired by these formative experiences at the Museum.
Tom rediscovered the ROM while working in the Humber Valley River, when he enlisted the help of Deborah Metsger, a botanist who runs the Museum’s Green Plant Herbarium. She helped him to identify some lesser known sedge and grass species for his work and he again felt that familiar sense of “inquiry, discovery and excitement” he’d experienced at the ROM as a child.
Working closely with Dave Ireland, Managing Director, ROM Biodiversity, Tom is bringing the Ontario Endangered Species Act Conference to the ROM in April. “I hope the conference will be an annual event at the ROM that will generate dialogue and lead to innovative ideas that inspire species conservation,” he says.
Tom has generously supported ROM research, Fact or Fiction and numerous other initiatives. He is a member of the Royal Patrons Circle (RPC) and brings his son and daughter or colleagues for the program’s exclusive behind-the-scenes tours at the ROM as often as possible. “RPC always offers new and exciting ways to experience the ROM and it’s great networking with like-minded individuals,” he says.
Interested in joining the Royal Patrons Circle? Please contact Jayne Whitfield at 416.586.5842 or firstname.lastname@example.org