Photo: NRMT and SVRSS students working together to process walleye dorsal spines to
determine the age of the fish.
Environmental resources are more important than ever and this week a new set of graduates from the Natural Resource Management Program (NRMT) at the University College of the North leave the classroom and enter their respective fields. As they setoff on into careers of wildlife and fisheries technicians, foresters, and conservation officers, the next class of students is deciding if they will attend UCN and the NRMT program.
For some students at Swan Valley Regional Secondary School (SVRSS), the decision may have been made easier with opportunities to not only tour UCN but work with students of the NRMT program. Swan Valley Regional Secondary School (SVRSS) students are provided the opportunity to select the Resources and Environmental Management Program as an elective. Being offered a range of environmental courses in forestry, fisheries and wildlife, they can stream into more specialized streams as they progress through the program from grade 9 to 12. Providing a foundation of technician skills, it may be a natural transition for many students to the Natural Resource Management Technology (NRMT) diploma Program at the University College of the North (UCN).
The importance of public education in resource management cannot be understated, and to stress this the NRMT curriculum requires students to engage in a public relations activity. The opportunity to bring high school and college students together came about as NRMT students were able to reach out and invite the SVRSS class to work with them to get them interested in the environment and think about choosing a career in natural resources. A major draw to the program is the significant amount of field work throughout the two-year program. The college students were able to give first hand accounts this including the two week “Winter Camp” and three week “Fall Camp” field practicums which take place throughout Northern Manitoba.
There are many benefits to the small class sizes at UCN, one of which is allowing the two groups of students to work side by side in the laboratory on research currently being worked on. Working with the same samples and equipment, NRMT students walked the high school students through the fisheries project they were currently working on to determine the age and growth relation in walleye. Kari Goethe, the SVRSS Resource and Environmental Management teacher was ecstatic for the field trip opportunity. “It was a great opportunity for the two schools to come together and present hands on opportunities for the students, student-to-student interaction, and build interest in environment and natural resources.”
With the similarities of the two programs and at just over 2 hours away, Swan River and The Pas make natural partners in natural resource education. Future collaboration between the two schools will not only provide experiential learning opportunities but also help students decide if they want a career in natural resources and will be a part of the next class in the NRMT program.
Photo: SRVSS Students assisting in the age determination of Walleye using Dorsal Spines.