07-Jul-2014 07-Jul-2014

South Nation Conservation is pleased to employ 13 university students this summer, most of whom will gain practical experience in their fields of study along with pay cheques to help with tuition costs in the fall.

“We’re proud to be in the position of giving talented students jobs,” said SNC General Manager Dennis O’Grady, noting the program has been in place for several years.

“It’s a great way to assess future full-time employees. For some, SNC becomes their first employer after graduation.”

Eleven out of this season’s baker’s dozen of students originate in the region; they’re from Ottawa, Embrun, Newington, Ingleside, Crysler and Chesterville. SNC offices are in Finch, a convenient drive in most cases.

They attend university or college as far away as British Columbia. Most are enrolled at the universities of Ottawa, Carleton and Guelph where they specialize in everything from forestry and environmental science, to journalism and business.

The students are: Bonnie Boyd, Ben Gallant, Thierry Gibeault, Saxon Ireland, Hannah Jackson, Katie Keenan, Simone Larin, Benjamin Lawrence, Jordan Smyth, Nadine Chambers, Kiersti McMillan, Brent Harbers and Shaun Crook.

“I enjoy being able to work both indoors and outdoors and work in my field of study,” said Carleton science student Kiersti McMillan of Crysler. “It’s great to be working in my community to make a difference in the environment.”

Chesterville’s Brent Harbers, a Guelph natural resources management student, is keen on raising awareness about invasive species: “I appreciate the opportunity to participate in such a diverse workplace.”

Benjamin Lawrence of Ingleside is taking journalism at Kings College. He feels his experience at SNC is helping him acquire communications skills transferable to his chosen field.

“Our summer hires don’t have to be in conservation related fields,” O’Grady explained. “It’s great to have the students around for a few months. Their curiosity and enthusiasm provide an added spark and, of course, they’re a big help.”

SNC is the largest student employer in the area. Students hired to help with the expanded summer workload allow SNC to take advantage of environmental programs funded by the federal and provincial governments.

Some of the temporary hires work outside with cleanup and maintenance crews, with fisheries staff doing surveys, monitoring and habitat maintenance and enhancement work. Many cross over to more than one department, expanding their experience.

Mentored every step of the way, the students also learn about the inner workings of a fairly large organization through attending various meetings of the SNC board and committees.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Brock University student Simone Larin, Newington, 877-984-2948, ext. 321.