Science savvy stu­dents at­tend eco camp

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - NEWS - RON GRECH

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.

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