NIC biology students helping with Project Watershed research
NIC students Matthew Orlowski (right) and Jaewon Kim collect samples at Goose Spit. Photo Credit: North Island College
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Students have been helping with sampling for forage fish eggs on key shorelines throughout the region.
The research project is made possible thanks to funding from the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation fund.
“There’s a huge knowledge gap with forage fish and their spawning areas,” said Jennifer Sutherst, project manager and estuary coordinator, Comox Valley Project Watershed Society. “Forage fish are a significant food source for a lot of different species, so it’s really important to get these data so we can better understand how they’re using this habitat.”
NIC instructor Georgie Harrison worked with Sutherst on setting up the project.
“One of the advantages we have at NIC is our connections to community organizations that provide these kinds of unique and wonderful opportunities for our students,” said Harrison. “Being able to do field work in your first and second year isn’t something you would get the chance to do at a big institution. And it’s very rewarding as an instructor to watch my students work in the field and apply their skills.”
Biology student Matthew Orlowski jumped at the chance to get involved with the project.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” he said. “It’s so hands on and it really gives a deeper understanding of it, being in the field and actually doing the work.”
Fellow student Jaewon Kim said being able to help out with important research has been a great experience.
“You can see the importance of the science their doing,” he said. “To be in the lab at school and doing experiments is great, but when you can do something that you know is making a difference, and you can see the difference – it’s quite rewarding.”
Orlowski and Kim are joined by Livia Hosegrove, Christian Synder, Angela Mitchell William Lu, Jasmin Urdahl, Mubarak Salim and Courtney Charnell. Along with being in the field to gather samples, students are helping with analyzing the samples and collecting data. Project Watershed has also been able to use NIC’s lab spaces to examine the samples.
“NIC has been integral to this project from the get-go,” said Sutherst.
Harrison notes that along with the field work, the other skills students get to practice are invaluable as well.
“They get to practice professional behaviour,” she said. “They’re working with biologists, learning how to work in a professional research environment. The team at Project Watershed has been fantastic about supporting our students and encouraging them, sharing details of their professional careers. It’s been a really positive relationship.”
NIC is offering a range of biology courses this fall, including Principles of Modern Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Cell Biology, and Principles of Ecology.
Over the past month, there have been many forage fish and/or forage fish egg sightings spread along the coast of Vancouver Island.
Jennifer Sutherst has been a key leader at Project Watershed for the last seven years.
Project Watershed hosted a Fundraising Blitz this November which closed with a Reverse Telethon on Saturday, November 28th. The Blitz successfully raised over $60,000 and donations are still rolling in. All donations from the Blitz have been matched by the Ngan-Page family fund and they have extended their commitment to match donations until December 31st!
Project Watershed Now Accepts E-transfers
Project Watershed is offering a contract for a part-time (32 hrs. [+ or -] per week) opportunity to perform as an Executive Director. This is an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise working on innovative and collaborative multi-disciplinary habitat restoration projects. Project Watershed supports professional growth; opportunities for training and mentoring will be provided.
Christmas is coming and this year visits with relatives, friends and family are being discouraged. In these social distancing times sending a beautiful card will show you care and support our local environment.
On October 23 and 24th, 2020, volunteers helped reclaim 150 meters of streamside along Mallard Creek.
A three tiered fundraiser that includes a 50/50 raffle, online auction, and reverse telethon to raise funds to protect and restore Kus-kus-sum.