Dylan White - Naturalist

Dylan White


Dylan is an ecologist and explorer who has rowed and cycled halfway around the globe. Specialist in wildlife, plants and the wilderness.

Dylan grew up in the city, but fell in love with wild places and the creatures that inhabit them before he could walk. It was clear from his childhood nickname, the “Happy Camper”, that Dylan was meant for the outdoors.

This lifelong passion for experiencing, conserving and learning about nature has propelled Dylan into two parallel careers.

He is a professional ecologist with more than seven years of work on more than 150 diverse projects for government, non-profit, private, and academic clients. Experience from thousands of field hours and an Environmental Science degree has given Dylan a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge about ecological systems in Canada, and around the world.

He is also a wilderness and wildlife guide. This career started with canoe trips around Ontario as a teenager. Dylan loved these trips and nurtured his wilderness skills which led him to contracts as an Algonquin canoe guide, and, later, to BC as a whitewater raft guide. Eventually, he went on to organize his own large-scale expeditions, which would take him nearly halfway around the globe by bike and by oar.

Since 2016, Dylan has combined his two career streams to serve as an international naturalist. He’s led very successful tours of Namibia and Western South Africa and will continue this work with upcoming contracts in Greenland and Argentina in 2018.

When he isn’t working, Dylan splits his time between Toronto and Guelph, ON with frequent forays into the bush. He is an experienced musician and performs regularly on electric bass and piano with a variety of groups around southern Ontario.

Canadian Odyssey 2009 – 8,000 km

In 2009, right after graduating from University, Dylan set off with a friend, on a cross-Canadian cycling expedition. Their goal was travel to from Victoria, BC to St. John’s, NL, on a completely self-supported tour: everything they needed to maintain their bikes, cook a meal, camp out and shoot a small film, would be carried in their paniers. The film element was to capture interviews with freshwater experts across Canada for archives of the Canadian Environmental Network (Ottawa).

One hundred days after their fresh-faced start on Vancouver island—having crossed a half dozen western ranges, the wild winds of the prairies, rolling Ontario shield, the St. Lawrence lowlands, Appalachian hills and coastal plains of the Maritimes, and finally the rugged lands of the ‘Rock’—they arrived in St. John’s with dozens of hours of footage and hundreds of stories to tell.

Dylan left this trip with new perspectives about his country and an even greater hunger for journeys and adventures. And so, after a contract working as a biologist in the Yukon, he returned to southern Ontario to train and prepare for his most ambitious project yet—the Big Blue expedition.

Big Blue Expedition 2011 – 5,000 km

The trip would be a fully self-supported and human-powered expedition across the Atlantic Ocean: no sails or motors, and no support boat. More than a year of preparations, training, and the coordination of an international team were needed before the motley crew and their unique custom vessel shipped themselves and their gear to Morocco. After two weeks of pre-launch work, Big Blue set “sail” westbound from the port of Agadir.

The following fifty-three days would be the most challenging that Dylan had ever faced. Twelve hours a day, split into two hour shifts—around the clock—was to be the work schedule for this five-thousand-kilometre row. The crew pushed through colossal storms, a crash-landing, baking sun, man ‘o war stings, skin corroded by salt, sleep deprivation, food shortages, a mutiny, and the constant threat of our boat falling apart.

They arrived in Port St Charles Barbados in early March. Dylan was twenty-fiv pounds lighter. He’d seen dolphins flying overhead while he sat in the trough of a wave, the sky with simultaneous sun in the west and stars in the east, bioluminescent algae sparkling green in the night with each oar stroke, schools of flying fish leaping airborne from pursuing mahi mahi, and a whole host of incredible visions along the north equatorial current.

Most importantly Dylan had survived—and thrived—on the ocean. Many of his fellow crew have become lifelong friends and ever since he landed few things have seemed insurmountable by comparison. The expedition was chronicled start to finish, by the onboard scribe Charlie Wilkins. You can read all about it yourself in Charlie’s popular book Little Ship of Fools.