By Trevor Oattes
MVCA Communications Assistant
Every year, thanks in part to government funding, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority hires students to work in a number of different departments throughout the summer. With September only a few days away, we here at MVCA wanted to reflect on their time with us.
James Croft, Brendan Martin, Jessica Daze and Trevor Oattes are just a few of the summer students that made MVCA their home these past few months. Croft and Martin spent their time as members of the monitoring crew, driving throughout the Mississippi River and Carp watersheds to evaluate and record the overall health of the watershed. Daze was the education assistant at the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area (MOK) and Oattes spent his time in communications, primarily as a nature photographer and social media assistant.
“I enjoyed being outside all summer long,” said Croft, a civil engineering student at the University of Ottawa. “It was nice to learn so much about a field that I wouldn’t necessarily have been exposed to at school.”
Croft and Martin participated in electrofishing, tree planting, water sampling and community outreach. They were witness to the best sights and sounds that the natural environment of the watershed has to offer.
“The biggest takeaway for me was getting into the field and using that time to help build the community outreach program,” said Martin, an environmental technologist student at Fleming College. “I’m hoping to end up at a conservation authority once I graduate. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up back here in a few years.”
The MOK had several summer students, some of whom worked in the R. Tait McKenzie and Dr. James Naismith Museums or in grounds keeping and maintenance. Daze spent her time with children from the area, educating them on the natural habitat surrounding them.
“I learned a lot about nature, a lot more than I already knew,” said Daze, an ecosystem management technologist student at Fleming College. “Not only did I learn about the environment, but I also learned about what works and what doesn’t when teaching children.”
While working in communications, Oattes went on several of the monitoring crew’s trips as a photographer. His primary duty was running the MVCA’s Instagram page, where many of his photos are currently on display.
“My favorite experience with MVCA was getting out into nature and improving my photography skills. I’ve learned new techniques and even have one of my pictures featured on a City of Ottawa sign,” said Oattes, a journalism student at Algonquin College. “Now I’m off to finish college before another two years at Ottawa U, then I’ll try to find work at a daily newspaper.”
Working at MVCA has provided the students with the opportunity to work in a field of interest to them while gaining a better understanding of environmental implications and working for a not-for-profit organization.