Meet our amazing summer students!
Each year as June approaches our office is energized and preparing for a busy summer of conservation work. At the same time, as the weather warms, as the migratory birds return, as the flowers bloom, students get busy searching for the perfect summer job. This year we are lucky to have had four passionate students as unique as their favourite New Brunswick species and ecosystems join the CPAWS-NB team. Meet Benuelle, Grace, Lauren, and Rachael!
We are so fortunate at CPAWS-NB to have the help of these young women, and we thought you would want to get to know them, too! With that in mind, we asked each of them to answer a few questions about their experience with CPAWS-NB (so far) and what inspires their love of nature in our beautiful province.
What makes you passionate about conservation in New Brunswick?
Benuelle: New Brunswick has been my home for the last 10 years and this place holds a special place in my heart. Whenever I think about what mother nature looks like, I always picture New Brunswick in my mind. This province has so much to offer, not only its beauty, but also the species that live here. We are lucky to live in a very beautiful place with plenty of untouched nature. I think it is important conserve what we have so that the next generation will also get to experience the natural beauty of New Brunswick, as well as preserve the health of our wild ecosystems.
Grace: From a young age I have had a strong connection to nature and have known early on that this was an important part of my purpose on this planet. Growing up surrounded by New Brunswick’s beautiful wildlife has made me all the more passionate about protecting my home for future generations to thrive in.
Lauren: Ever since I was a child, I loved nature and the outdoors. You could always find me running around outside, climbing trees and getting my hands dirty. The intrinsic value of nature was instilled in me from a very young age. As I got older, I really began to appreciate all the natural areas we have in New Brunswick – beautiful old forests, pristine rivers, rising mountains and vast beaches. As an adult, I hope to preserve the nature that I fell in love with as a child, for the wildlife that lives there and for my future children to enjoy one day.
Rachael: Living in St. Martins, I was constantly surrounded by nature. My family was always going for hikes in the woods behind my house, going to the beach to play in the mudflats, heading to the Fundy Trail to explore the hiking trails there and even kayaking in and around the St. Martins sea caves. I’m passionate about conservation in New Brunswick because I want to ensure that people for generations to come can enjoy the amazing nature that I experienced growing up!
What is your favourite New Brunswick species or ecosystem?
Benuelle: My favourite NB ecosystem is found at New River Beach Provincial Park.
Grace: My favourite NB species, an unpopular opinion, is the dandelion because of their underrated medicinal and healing properties.
Lauren: I am a huge fan of forests and birds. My favourite bird is the red breasted nuthatch – it’s small but mighty!
Rachael: My favourite NB ecosystems are wetlands!
What have you learned about conservation work during your time with CPAWS-NB?
Benuelle: My time with CPAWS-NB made me realize how much of New Brunswick is unprotected and how important it is to protect these areas. New Brunswick natural areas are home to many diverse wildlife and unique plant species, and it is very unfortunate that with all the beautiful things our province has to offer, we hold the worst record in Canada for protecting nature. We need to conserve the diversity of natural areas in New Brunswick. This is why I love working with CPAWS-NB: this organization promotes the protection of New Brunswick’s wild ecosystems.
Grace: Working with CPAWS-NB has truly been one of the most valuable experiences I have had. I have learned so much about the importance of working collaboratively with government, Indigenous Peoples, and other organizations as a team to enact change. I have also come to understand just how important sharing my love of nature can be, helping others to gain respect for our planet, encouraging them to cultivate their own harmonious relationships with the natural world. Leading by example and with love is crucial to conservation work, and CPAWS truly embodies this practice.
Lauren: I’ve learned a lot about ocean conservation and marine protected areas during my time with CPAWS-NB. I’ve learned that in the last three years Canada has made tremendous progress in protecting more ocean areas; however, New Brunswick is lagging – protecting less than 1% of our coastal areas, which is far from our goal of protecting at least 10% of marine and coastal areas by 2020. This really put into perspective for me how influential the work we do at CPAWS-NB is, and how valuable works like the CPAWS Dare to be Deeper report are for making a difference in our province.
Rachael: During my time at CPAWS NB, I have learned a lot about the challenges currently facing conservationists in New Brunswick, but also a lot about the positive work being done in our province! There are so many wonderful organizations working to protect nature, some of which I hadn’t heard of before joining CPAWS-NB. Working here has taught me how important it is to get more people involved in the conversation about protecting our province’s natural areas!
What will you be doing come September?
Benuelle: In September, I will be going into the final year of my undergraduate degree in Biology at UNB and will be taking the marine block to learn more about the ocean ecosystems. My experiences with CPAWS-NB has inspired me to keep advocating for the things I am passionate about and hopefully to engage in more volunteer work related to conservation in the fall.
Grace: In September, I will be heading into the second year of my Bachelor of Arts degree at STU where I plan to complete a double major in Environment and Society and Women’s and Gender Studies. This will combine my passion for the environment and social justice, helping me to continue to acquire the knowledge and skills I need for creating the world I wish to see.
Lauren: In September I will be heading back to UNB to finish the last year of my degree in Environment and Natural Resources. I’m looking forward to completing my education and to get out in the working world – and to hopefully make a difference for wildlife in New Brunswick!
Rachael: In September, I will be starting the last year of my Bachelor of Science in Environment and Natural Resources with a specialization in water resources management at UNB Fredericton.
Having one student join our team can be a great help each summer; but having four students as dedicated and enthusiastic as these four young women has been an experience we won’t forget! Now that you’ve met the summer students, you’ll surely agree that we hit the jackpot this year!
Look for the CPAWS-NB team and Benuelle, Grace, Lauren, and Rachael at our events around the province this summer! You can even join us this Saturday, July 20 for Parks Day at New River Beach Provincial Park.
Check our Facebook page for regular updates on CPAWS-NB events.
Julie Reimer is a PhD student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Board Member of CPAWS-NB. Having worked in the whale watching industry in New Brunswick and conducted her Master’s research on conservation planning for the North Atlantic right whale, Julie is an advocate for MPAs in New Brunswick. Julie’s current research attempts to see the “bigger picture” of conservation, reaching beyond protected areas to understand the synergies between conservation actions and ocean industries. To connect with Julie, visit http://juliereimer.wixsite.com/hello.