As a sprayer operator for Strathcona County Waurner spent most of his time applying herbicide offering a practical approach to addressing the severity and ecologically devastating nature of invasive plant species. He undertook a soil and vegetation study of the county’s roadsides and participated in a biophysical assessment determining the fate of a candidate property as a municipal or environmental reserve. Waurner was introduced to the science of Arboriculture, attended a Dow Chemical Conference, and toured the Maxxam Analytics facility to learn about water and soil analysis. Waurner says that he worked with a great group of people at Strathcona County who provided insights into different career paths including environmental consulting, well capping, and environmental planning.
Samantha completed an internship at The Mustard Seed, this past summer. Her main role was to facilitate the care and maintenance of community gardens in Edmonton’s inner city. She was able to do this by building relationships with members of this community. In addition to community gardens in the Boyle McCauley neighbourhood, she and her co-workers made weekly trips to the Lady Flower Garden just Northeast of the city. Lady Flower Garden is based around the idea of community development and wellness. It is a collective effort of various inner city agencies. Their trips to the garden were the highlight of the week for many eager participants. The opportunity to watch participants interact with each other, work the land, and hear their testimonies of the peace of mind the garden brought them was an unforgettable experience for Samantha. In addition to the gardens, she also co-coach to The Mustard Seed’s baseball team. In which she was responsible for organizing the transportation, meals and equipment for the team, while creating a safe, fun and respectful environment for participants.
Daniel worked a student wildlife technician with the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) this summer, primarily working with waterfowl. He did three distinct jobs over the summer starting with the annual air-ground survey done throughout southern Alberta. This entailed driving along pre-set sections of gravel road with a pair of binoculars and counting/identifying every duck on any waterbody within 200 meters of the road. He then added the findings to an existing database in order to get an estimate on population sizes for different species of duck to set appropriate hunting regulations. The second job that Dan did was to survey 15 lakes in Alberta in which he looked for a black waterfowl species called Scoters. Dan added their findings to a database to acquire an estimation of population size. He used a boat along transects in each lake and kept count of all the scoters. The most exciting and final part of his job was banding ducks in Fairview, Alberta. He baited desirable spots along the shores of lakes with grain seed, waited for ducks to find the grain and start eating it, and then set up a large netted trap to catch them. Dan and his co-workers managed to band over 3500 ducks in the 35 day span in Fairview area. Being able to handle live ducks was an experience Dan will never forget.
Carmen’s summer internship was spent at Andrukow Group Solutions Incorporated located in Provost, AB. Andrukow Group is an agribusiness inputs company. They supply products and services such as fertilizer, pesticides, crop checking and soil testing. She was responsible for loading and unloading bulk fertilizer, loading and recommending pesticides for farmers, assisting in crop checking and the mapping of test plots. The majority of her job was spent in conversation with farmers and with eyes always on the sky, a conversation about weather was never far away. During her internship she learned about the modern techniques of farming. She was able to practice plant identification and was accountable for the maintenance and inventory of the chemical shed. Carmen was given a unique view of the diversity, struggles and joys that accompany the changing world that is agribusiness.
Karyn worked at Fortec Consulting (Forestry consulting company) based out of Terrace BC. Karyn worked primarily in other areas of BC including Hudson’s Hope, Chetwynd and Anahim Lake. She worked through weather systems ranging from thunderstorms to snow squalls. While literally bushwhacking in the dense forests of BC, Karyn would do GPS surveys and draft out the blocks of land for logging companies to potentially harvest. She also mapped the location of the WTP’s (wildlife tree patches), collected data from streams and other environmental data collection. While mapping the blocks of land, she and her co-workers would assess various aspects of the land including where roads could be constructed to assist the future logging trucks. Karyn felt this internship provided excellent field experience.
Mike worked for ACE Vegetation Control Services Ltd. based out of Nisku, AB. Their services include weed spraying, mowing, and brushing for the oil and gas industry. He was stationed in northern Alberta between Conklin and Ft. Mackay and worked on remote sites. He accessed these sites via an Argo which is an amphibious machine with tank-like attributes, because of the water holding muskeg terrain of northern Alberta. Mikes’ tasks consisted of safety precautionary measures, meeting with clients, eradicating invasive species of plants, and recording all observations. These tasks were conducted under the Alberta Weed Control Act which is put in place to manage noxious weeds that inhibit the flourishing of natural plant species. He worked with some of the top oil producing companies in western Canada such as Suncor, Canadian Natural, Syncrude and Imperial Oil. He also was able to work directly with landowners in rural Alberta. Mike said that he gained relationships that will last a lifetime and worked for a company that wanted to see him succeed in his future endeavours.
Miranda worked for DWB Consulting, based out of Prince George BC and servicing BC’s northern forests. Amidst the swarms of bugs, she put on her bug hat and chest waders, a 30 pound vest and 60 pound electro fisher to be ready for her workday. She then proceeded to bushwhack 4 km through the forest with her co-worker. Electrofishing was one of the many things she learned this summer. She also did stream assessments, plant identification and soil typing for proposed cut blocks. She did a lot of bushwhacking, quadding and driving down the network of forest service roads in central B.C. “It was a summer full of long days, abominable bugs, fantastic views, lots of wildlife, and so many trees," says Miranda. “Through this job, I gained a new appreciation of the outdoors and a better understanding of the forestry industry.”
Justin Wagenaar (Biology concentration)
Justin spent his summer working for Environment and Climate Change Canada as an Upper Air Technician in Alert, Nunavut. Alert is the worlds most northern permanently inhabited settlement, and is a Canadian Forces Station. Justin’s main duty was to launch and monitor weather balloons twice daily. The weather balloon collects temperature, humidity, air pressure and wind data up to 35,000m in altitude. Justin’s other tasks included; climate observations, snow surveys, and a variety of small tasks for the office. Through this position Justin learned more about the northern climate and weather. Throughout the summer Justin also had the opportunity to visit the Global Atmospheric Watch Lab and learn more about atmospheric chemistry.
Kenton Veldman (Sociology concentration)
Kenton worked for Environment Canada for his internship, through the branch of the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). His job consisted of waterfowl surveys, data tabulation and duck banding. Being an outdoors enthusiast most of his life, Kenton fished and hiked in Northern BC. and over the course of the summer he realized that he was a good fit for fieldwork. He gained a new understanding of how government regulations and protocols work. He also found it interesting to hear about the many studies that CWS Environment Canada is involved in. Accuracy and consistency were traits that really mattered for the survey counts as they are then used to monitor population growth and control of waterfowl numbers (impact on waterfowl hunting). He was very happy with how the surveys finished up and despite a dry beginning to the summer they collected accurate data and were able to conclude based on that data, that there was a healthy increase in population. The people at the Canadian Wildlife Service were all willing to share their knowledge and experiences making this a great internship experience.
Jason Vanwyk (Social Science concentration)
Jason worked for the Pigeon Lake Watershed Association (PLWA) for the summer months, where he assisted PLWA’s efforts in promoting healthy lake practices. He lived in this small lake community for the summer and engaged lake residents in conversations about the lake. One of the ways he was able to do this was by hosting info booths at various farmers markets around the lake to educate people about the impacts of human development on a lake ecosystem. Pigeon Lake is Alberta’s largest central lake with a 2:1 watershed to lake ratio. He also helped the PLWA team in constructing rain gardens (photo) in various places around the lake, and set up detection apparatus for aquatic invasive species, one being zebra muscles. He engaged with the public in various ways including one-on-one with lake front owners, and offered suggestions that could assist in keeping the lake and ecosystem healthy. Jason enjoyed working in this small lake community, and gained a new appreciation for watershed and shoreline health.
Brendan Middel (Biology concentration)
Brendan Middel (ENVS Biology) worked as a Research Technician under a University of Alberta Masters student and a team of two other King’s students. They were collecting data on the regeneration of endangered Whitebark Pine species post-fire. He learned some field sampling methods and fine-tuned his tree identification skills on burned trees and small tree seedlings. He also photo-catalogued many alpine flower species between June and August. Brendan followed his team through the Rocky Mountains, from Kananaskis and Banff, to Lake Louise, Kootenay National Park, Jasper, and Wilmore Wilderness Park north of Jasper. They tented in the front country and the back-country, and normally hiked 12 kilometres with at least 2000m of elevation change daily, for remote sites, they had helicopter access.
Many of the skills needed were transferable from Brendan’s course work at King’s. Data collected included microsites of seedlings, live tree-cover density, aspect, elevation, basal area, understory cover, substrate samples, and forest types. Seeing wildlife and working at high elevation were highlights. Work required high energy output, but rewards included viewing a Caribou and her calves, many Spruce Grouse and young, Ptarmigan and young, Great Horned Sheep, a pair of Osprey, a Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, many Clark’s Nutcrackers, song-birds, a Great-Horned Owl, a Black Bear, Mule Deer, Pikas, Hoary Marmots, Voles, and Elk.
Kara Letain (Sociology concentration)
Kara, an ENVS student with a concentration in Sociology, worked for Norwex Canada, an environmental direct sales company. Splitting her time between a small city named Dauphin, located in Manitoba, and Dallas, Texas. Norwex has their head office for Canada in Dauphin and their head office for the U.S in Dallas, which was located beside one of the main Amazon distributor, providing an interesting size comparison. Kara was given the opportunity to work with some exceptionally experienced professionals in marketing, business management, and graphic design. Her key roles over the summer included product development centred on millenials, enhancing the Norwex fundraiser through marketing, as well as rebranding, researching the company’s environmental footprint, and developing strategies for reducing this footprint. Having never had job experience outside of the customer service industry, Kara had a first hand look at how corporate business’ operate and collaborate internally as well as externally. This business experience helped Kara understand how these industries function and what to expect in future work. Communication was key for getting any of her tasks completed; and she also developed time management, organization, critical thinking, creativity and self-discipline skills through independent and group projects. This business touched on many of Kara’s interests, including working with people and being part of an atmosphere that is really trying to make a positive difference.
“This opportunity allowed me to gain knowledge to an extent that I never expected. It was refreshing to work with a company whose mission was to radically reduce chemicals in homes and placed so much emphasis on this throughout every step of their business. This gave me real hope for finding meaningful work after I graduate with my Environmental Studies degree. The skills I developed will be a huge benefit to me and my future.”
Matt Clayton (Biology concentration)
Matt Clayton worked alongside Kenton Veldman at Environment Canada under the Canadian Wildlife Services branch as an assistant wildlife technician dealing particularly with waterfowl. Matt did a variety of different tasks including duck surveys, data entry, and duck banding. From start to finish, Matt was travelled across Alberta from the southern grasslands near Medicine Hat, to the northern prairies in Fairview. His summer was split into two parts: surveying and banding. For the surveys, Matt identified all the waterfowl on ponds, lakes, or puddles in a transect that would span roughly 10 miles. The transects started in Medicine Hat and finished around Vegreville, which took close to three weeks to complete. The second part of Matt’s job involved handling and banding ducks for six weeks in Fairview, Alberta. The data collected from both the surveys and banding will be used in the future to understand waterfowl population dynamics, as well as to help set regulations for hunting standards. This job was extremely rewarding for Matt, enabling him to learn a great deal about environmental fieldwork and to use skills he has acquired from ecology and conservation biology. Matt recommends this job to anyone who is interested in learning more about Albertan waterfowl and wants experience with wildlife management.
Kathryn Binnema (Economics and Politics concentration)
Kathryn worked for the Meteorological Service of Canada as a weather technician on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. Each day she prepared, released and oversaw the daily weather balloons, and participated in extra science programs on the island. The weather balloon data was gathered to form a comprehensive model of the conditions of the upper atmosphere that meteorologists use to predict weather in Canada and worldwide. The extra project included the monitoring pollutant gases, taking flask samples, downloading algae bloom data, as well as daily weather measurements. She also aided with the island’s invertebrate study. Due to the isolated location, the job provided unique set of challenges, such as interacting with the same four people for three months, but also many opportunities. Her time on the island affirmed her desire to have an outdoor career and taught her to trust in her abilities and judgment. Kathryn was lucky to experience the landscape and wildlife of this unique area of Canada.
Monika Behnke (Sociology concentration)
Monika worked for Hidden River Environmental Management (HREM) and Balanced Ecological Management (BEM) in Terrace, BC. Primarily working with HREM, she was involved in many different tasks, including water quality sampling, running interpretive walks, fish assessment and identification, and environmental monitoring. With BEM, she did bird surveys and forestry work. She learned how to seine for fish and how to identify the salmon fry caught for data collection. She was also taught how to write different permits and reports concerning environmental monitoring. Through this work, she learned a lot about her home town, proving that there are always things new to learn and so many things happening that we don’t see.
Sean Adams (English concentration)
Sean worked as a Seasonal Conservation Officer/Park Ranger at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. His main responsibilities were to patrol and ensure the protection of the park and its users through education and enforcement of provincial park laws. Through Alberta Parks’ extensive training at King’s, he learned the necessary control tactics and communication skills for this law enforcement position and the tasks he would perform in the field. On a daily basis, he would approach and interact with park users ensuring their compliance with provincial park regulations. He also educated them on hunting, wildlife, or fishing related queries. On occasion, Sean would work out of Blackfoot Provincial Park and the Bruderheim Recreational Area where he would perform off-highway vehicle inspections. Coal Lake was another area he patrolled, where he would do fisheries and boat safety checks. Other side projects included making boundary and access points maps for Alberta Parks’ Camrose District and delivering an interpreter’s presentation to children on making fire-starters for camping trips. Sean enjoyed interacting with the public in engaging, meaningful ways and creating a positive educational experience for Alberta Park’s users.