Sustainability intern Rob Monico aims to make waves in water conservation

rob-monicoBetween organizing the Frost Campus Bioblitz and Del Crary Park Shoreline Cleanup events to researching water conservation strategies and rain water catchment systems, Rob Monico kept busy interning at Fleming College’s Office of Sustainability.

From June to December 2017, Rob has been working as the Water Conservation and Sustainability Intern through the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Clean Tech Internship program. He is responsible for researching water conservation strategies that can be implemented at Fleming College campus locations.

During his internship, Rob researched a rainwater catchment system for the Frost Campus Living Wall, and community gardens at Frost Campus and Sutherland Campus, which he hopes the college will implement in the future. “I also updated the Residence Green Living Guide to educate students on how to conserve water. For example, play a song while you shower to keep the shower under five minutes— just don’t play ‘Free Bird’ or ‘Stairway to Heaven,’” he laughed.

While part of Rob’s internship was research-based, the Water Conservation and Sustainability Intern also spent time organizing sustainability events. Rob was part of the leadership team for the Peterborough/Kawarthas/Northumberland Envirothon, which was held at Sutherland Campus in April. The event challenged local high school students to compete in environmental science tests and the winning team went on to compete in the Ontario Envirothon held at Frost Campus.

In September, he executed the first 24-hour bioblitz at Frost Campus, which is a biological inventory to help quantify the number of species in a given ecosystem to assess the decline in biodiversity. He coordinated a visit from Leslie Frost Public School that day as well, welcoming 300 elementary students to campus to learn about different ecosystems.

Shoreline cleanup
Shoreline cleanup event at Del Crary Park

The following month, Rob led a Fleming College shoreline cleanup at Del Crary Park in Peterborough, Ont., which was in partnership with World Wildlife Fund Canada as part of their Living Planet @ Campus program. Rob said 60 staff and students came to the cleanup on Saturday, Oct. 14 to help.

Needless to say, with all of this event planning and water conservation research, Rob certainly put his Fleming College education to use. Rob is an Ecological Restoration Honours B.Sc. – Joint Trent-Fleming Degree/Diploma graduate (Class of 2016) and a Project Management graduate (Class of 2017).

“I developed my project management skills through this internship, which was great because I finished that program here,” said Rob, who previously worked as a student employee and completed his Project Management applied project at the Office of Sustainability. “I also developed communication and leadership qualities as I started to oversee student workers and their projects, as well as event planning.”

Rob’s advice to current students is to take initiative. “Don’t wait for doors to open or expect that doors even exist, kick them down or make your own opportunities,” he said. “Fleming is all about ‘Learn, Belong, Become’ and they are all about making opportunities, accommodating student ideas, and getting involved in the community. You don’t know unless you ask!”

Rob credits Fleming staff and faculty for accommodating his request to blend his student worker role at the Office of Sustainability with his Project Management studies, so that he was able to combine his work with his academics.