When David Hale enrolled in the Ecosystem Management Technician program, he entered Fleming Collegeâ€™s Frost Campus with the mindset of earning good grades and graduating as quickly as possible. But after making connections with people and learning more about the natural world, his point of view changed on what he wanted from his college experience.
â€śThe Frost Campus community was awesome, from the front desk workers to the cafeteria staff, the teachers and the students. I found it incredibly unique and I think this is mostly because we all have a common interest: to work in the outdoors and preserve the natural environment,â€ť David explained. â€śThe community is very tight knit and you get to know students from a number of different disciplines as well as your own.â€ť
David decided to take Flemingâ€™s Ecosystem Management program after realizing he could turn his passion for the environment into a career.
â€śWhen I exited high school I thought my passion for the outdoors was only a hobby, but after taking an unrelated program in university I decided to try and turn it into a career,â€ť he said. â€śI wanted to learn more about what I was passionate about.â€ť
Over the past two years, David learned plant identification, ecosystem classification, soil and water sampling techniques, and how to design research studies. He also developed personal skills, such as leadership and teamwork.
â€śMy most memorable experience from my time at Fleming was, without a doubt, being able to spend my final semester abroad at Pidwa Wilderness Reserve in South Africa,â€ť said David. â€śIt was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that Iâ€™ll remember for the rest of my life. We saw the most incredible things on a daily basis and we got to meet the most amazing people. While there, we also got to further develop all of the practical skills we learned in Lindsay.â€ť
David graduated from Fleming College this month and served as Valedictorian for the School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences on Friday, June 1 at convocation.
â€śI hope that people feel a sense of pride after my valedictorian speech,â€ť he said. â€śFleming College is very well recognized and being a graduate is a great accomplishment.â€ť
The Class of 2018 graduate said he would recommend the Ecosystem Management program to anyone wanting to gain practical knowledge and skills in the environmental field. He credits the program with placing a huge emphasis on preparing students for their job search, including resume building and interview techniques, as well as covering academic topics and research skills.
â€śPersonally, I found that the best part of the program was the faculty; as long as you work hard, the teachers will do anything to make sure you get everything you wanted out of the program and then some,â€ť said David. â€śThe fact that you can compete to spend a semester in South Africa is just one more thing that makes Flemingâ€™s Ecosystem Management program unlike any other!â€ť
Next year, David plans to attend Trent University for Conservation Biology. His ultimate career goal is to work abroad in conservation.
â€śFrost Campus is a special place and I know Iâ€™ll be carrying it with me as I move on in the future,â€ť he added.