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.

UFT students plant for the future on Fleming’s 50th anniversary

tree-planting

To celebrate Fleming College’s 50th anniversary, Urban Forestry Technician students Jessica Carthy and Tyler Petersen wanted to make a positive impact on the next 50+ years. After winning the Green Your Campus pitch competition, the students used the $1500 prize money to plant trees at Frost Campus.

“50 years is a long time if you ask me,” said Jessica. “Imagine what the 100th anniversary could be like if we plant more!”

Jessica and Tyler’s Green Your Campus pitch was to plant trees on campus in honour of Fleming’s 50th anniversary. The competition was co-hosted by Fleming’s Office of Sustainability, FastStart and the Trent Green Team, and featured 10 Fleming groups and 25 groups from Trent University. Projects were judged by Fleming and Trent faculty based on presentation and potential effect on meeting the college’s sustainability plan goals.

“It’s important to be staying just as green as we are gray,” said Jessica, who said her peers and professors air spaded and lifted a Kentucky Coffeetree last fall to another spot on campus to save it. “Planting trees is one of the best possible ways to help our environment. If there are trees, the insects, birds and animals will follow.”

Jessica and Tyler are increasing the tree diversity on campus with the help of Technologist Brian Saxon, using trees native to Canada and different from the existing inventory.

They decided to make the first trees planted extra special by planting them in honour of faculty members Katrina Van Osch-saxon and Tom Mikel, recognizing their excellence in teaching and passion for environmental studies. Jessica, Tyler and their Urban Forestry Technician classmates planted two Red Oak trees for Katrina and Tom because the species is hardy, native to Canada, and will thrive at Frost Campus.

Katrina thanked the students on behalf of herself and Tom at the Women in Trees event on Saturday, April 22. “We know it’s going to be planted right and pruned well,” said Katrina. “150 years from now they’ll be the two nicest trees on campus.”

Jessica said they are going to stretch the $1500 as far as possible, but hopes this idea can be used by other campuses as well. “We would love to see that more trees are planted to celebrate because future students will thank us for it,” said Jessica.

 

Environmental Technology grad Ben Colgan creates more conscientious campus community

ben-colgan-focus-on-fleming“I have fun with waste,” says Ben Colgan, Sustainability and Waste Management Intern at Fleming College’s Office of Sustainability. “This is a great place to work.”

For the past six months, Ben has been interning for the Office of Sustainability through the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Clean Tech Internship program. He is responsible for implementing the waste diversion strategy developed by the Office of Sustainability.

During his internship, which ended on May 11, Ben worked closely with Fleming’s Physical Resources Department and created a centralized sorting system to increase waste diversion, organized waste diversion and reduction events, conducted waste audits to understand waste generation on campus, and helped develop a marketing video to raise awareness.

“The best experience of this internship is seeing a more conscientious community on campus and raising awareness on waste,” said Ben. “And doing the video with marketing was a lot of fun and very different from what I’m doing.”

Ben has enjoyed working at the Sutherland Campus for the past six months, but holds a special spot in his heart for the Frost Campus, where he went to post-secondary school. Ben is a 2014 graduate of the Environmental Technology program.

“I took the Environmental Technology program based on what I heard for employment and I was interested in protecting human health in the environment— protecting against adverse effects of pollution and misuse of the environment,” said Ben.

“It was great, it’s a fantastic program. The faculty were extraordinarily knowledgeable, friendly, and always willing to help. It was a positive and fun experience,” he said. “This program lets students take in a broad knowledge of the environmental industry and prepares you to take off in a direction that suits you best.”

For Ben, the direction that suited him best was waste management. During his third-year placement, he gained industry experience with the County of Peterborough in their Waste Management Department, which led to contracts on-and-off for two years. Following this, he worked for the City of Greater Sudbury in waste and sustainability on a six-month contract and then was hired as the Sustainability and Waste Management Intern at Fleming College.

Ben said the skills he gained in the Environmental Technology program are applicable to his internship, including project planning, coordination, data analysis, and sampling procedures.

Now that his CICan Clean Tech Internship is complete, Ben is leaving Fleming College for a full-time permanent position in Peterborough in the environmental field.

His advice to current Fleming students is to get involved and focus on your goals. “Get involved and be a part of the community. Get to know your professors and start thinking early about where you want to go to make it happen, whether it be an internship, professional development courses, networking with people in the industry,” said Ben.