From animals in captivity to Canadian wildlife, Valedictorian Zachary Steele discusses his career change

zachary-steeleAfter 10 years as an animal care technician and maintenance worker, Zachary Steele was ready for change.

“I decided it was time to turn my focus from animals happily living in captivity, to the wildlife and natural resources of Canada,” said Zachary. “I decided to apply to Fleming to increase my knowledge of the outdoors, wildlife and more. I wanted to develop a skill-set that would qualify me to get involved in monitoring and protecting the ever-growing human impact on the natural world.”

Zachary enrolled in the Fish and Wildlife Technician program at Frost Campus, developing skills in wildlife technologies, theoretical concepts behind ecosystem interactions, and his ability to identify various flora and fauna of Canada.

“The amount of knowledge I now have about natural resources has changed my perception of the outdoors entirely. My experience at Frost Campus was one of the most rewarding I’ve ever had,” he said.

Zachary also enjoyed helping fellow students at Frost Campus. He tutored students in the Biodiversity Commons about identifying Ontario trees and shrubs, he tutored in room 232 (“Fish Lab”) about identification of fish species, and he did individual tutoring in the Learning Centre. “I found that teaching others really solidified my own learning and I could learn from them along the way,” he said.

Now that Zachary is graduating from the Fish and Wildlife Technician program, he is excited to be named Valedictorian of this year’s graduating class.

“I’m honoured to be considered for this role, and hope that I can do all I can to embody the best of what Fleming College’s School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences has to offer,” said Zachary. “I hope people get a sense of everything that we learn at Frost; not just the in-class course-related material, but how we as members of society can better each other and the natural world by sharing our knowledge and experiences, no matter what they may be.”

After the convocation ceremony on Friday, June 2, Zachary will spend his summer at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories working on Species at Risk Research. In the fall, he will return to Frost Campus for the Fish and Wildlife Technology program to continue developing his skills in this field. His long-term goal is to work as a fisheries technician/biologist.

“I would highly recommend anyone interested in the outdoors to take Fish and Wildlife,” said Zachary. “The program provides an incredibly diverse foundation from which to branch out into a career in natural resources.”