Hands-on learning in the hatchery

By: Laura Copeland

lenora3-editWhile searching for a post-graduate program to build on her knowledge and experience, Lenora Dias came across the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences at Fleming College’s Frost Campus.

“Aquaculture caught my eye,” she says, adding that the amount of field work in the program initially drew her in. The compressed, one-year program is the only Aquaculture program offered as a post-graduate certificate in Ontario. As part of the program, students have the opportunity to learn and work in the on-campus salmonid fish hatchery as well as complete a paid co-op placement in the third semester.

“Getting the hands-on work in the hatchery gives you not only the ability to learn more but also the experience before getting into the industry, rather than learning just by ‘the textbook’ in a classroom setting. You can actually work with fish and learn more about them at different stages of life.”

lenora2-editNow Lenora’s personal interests in the field span a number of areas: the different types of aquatic species that can be farmed; how aquaculture can be used for conservation and restorative purposes; how aquaculture aids in sustainability and helps food safety and security; the limited awareness of the aquaculture industry and its benefits; and her own interest in studying and working with aquatic species. She is also working in the hatchery on weekends to further her learning.

Lenora, who was born and raised in Dubai, UAE, is a graduate of Canadian University Dubai with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Management. She has a passion for nature and wildlife conservation/protection and enjoys a number of hobbies outside of the classroom such as hiking, soccer and basketball, sketching and painting, and playing acoustic drums.

Heading into the program’s final semester, Lenora will complete her co-op placement as an Aquaculture and Aquaponics Assistant with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“I am looking forward to moving again and getting more hands-on work in a different setting,” Lenora says.

And she is leaving the door open on a career path when she graduates– whether it’s continuing her studies in Aquaculture or moving to the west coast to work on a fish farm.