Science savvy students attend eco camp
Wearing rubber boots and wielding nets, Coralie Quévillon and Denis Carrière are collecting bugs and other living specimens in the shallow water along the edge of Chapman Lake.
Quévillon and Carrière were among the 78 high school students from Timmins and surrounding communities taking part in an ecological science camp being held at Camp Bickell this week.
It is the second year Kidd Operations has sponsored a fall ecology camp at Bickell.
Quévillon and Carrière were part of the group of French language students who spent two nights at the camp during the first half of the week. English language students, also scheduled to spend two nights, attended during second half of the week.
There were students at the camp this week from as far north as Hearst, and as far south as New Liskeard.
As he collected samples, Carrière, a Grade 11 student from École secondaire catholique Thériault, explained that populations of insect and water life “help to determine the health of a lake. Some bugs live in less polluted water because they can’t handle the pollution, so the more bugs there are, the less polluted the water it is.”
Carriere, along with the other students at the camp, is doing well in sciences at school and has a keen interest in possibly pursuing a career in environmental or ecological studies.
Emma Tremblay, a Grade 12 student from Thériault, said she signed up for the camp because she though this would be a “cool way” to get some field experience.
“I am looking to get a degree in biology or biochemistry,” she said.
Quévillon, a Grade 10 student from École secondaire Renaissance, expressed similar career interests.
“I love the outdoors and I love learning about the environment and just knowing what’s around me.”
Quévillon said she attended the camp “to see all my choices for the future, so it will help me because I do love biology.”
Robert O’Connor, a retired teacher and co-ordinator for the ecology camp, said the aim of the week-long outing is “to expose our Northern students to careers in the environmental industry.
“It gives them the different career paths that they can take and go work in the environment, because a lot of the people that we have” working in environment and ecology “are from southern Ontario.”
He said it begs the question, “Why aren’t our students taking these jobs with the Ministry of the Environment or working for the local mines in the environmental field?”
Over the two-and-a-half days spent at the camp by each group — the 28 French language students and 50 English students — they learned to take water samples and took in presentations by about a dozen professionals in mining, a couple of government ministries and several consulting firms.
There were speakers from Kidd Operations, Blue Heron Environmental Services, Morrish Environmental Solutions, MikroTek, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
Coralie Quévillon and Denis Carrière collect specimens during an exercise at Camp Bickell, where they along with students from across the district taking part in the second-annual Kidd Operations fall ecology camp held at Camp Bickell this week.