Fleming’s new and unique conservation biology program helps put passion into practice

Conservation Biology graduate Katy Sokoloski with a non-venomous blue racer snake


Peterborough ON – (June 8, 2021) – Katy Sokoloski grew up with a passion for nature, all its creatures and related sciences.

“When I first came to Fleming, I was taking a different program but had the intention of pursuing conservation as my end goal,” she said. “It was quite serendipitous that I started the same year that Fleming introduced the Conservation Biology program.”

Part of Fleming’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, the new Conservation Biology program is unique in Ontario. The program focuses on the conservation of at-risk animal populations using current research and technologies, including genetics and environmental DNA (eDNA).

“I am a part of the generation where climate change, coupled with human impact, is really changing how our world looks and operates in an often negative way. I see conservation biology as invaluable for not only our future but protecting the planet as a whole,” said Sokoloski.

Citing the range of applied experiences within the program, she said, “I feel Conservation Biology has covered a surprising amount of learning that goes much deeper than just a surface level of detail.”

The program curriculum covers: identification of all taxa of animals, trees and shrubs, recording field observations of different animals, practicing capture and handling methods, writing permit applications, and using GIS software to create maps.

“Despite the challenges that the past couple of years have brought, I feel I have learned the practical skills within the field and labs, as well as the technical and analytical skills to be able to portray my ideas in a way that will have an impact.”

Sokoloski said her favourite part of the program was the high level of engagement from the faculty. “They have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is drawn from their own experience working within the field.”

As a new graduate, Sokoloski hopes to work within urban areas to create or restore functioning habitats and change the idea of how cities are supposed to look. She plans to attend university to continue her learning.

“(Frost) is the most beautiful campus with a wonderful environment that I have never experienced at school before. I am going to really miss it!”

Learn more: flemingcollege.ca/programs/conservation-biology.