The Quebec-Labrador Foundation
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My tasks fell under three projects: the Piping Plover Conservation Project, the Youth Leadership Program, and the Marine Debris Project.
For the Piping Plover Conservation Project, I spent two weeks in the Codroy Valley (in southwestern Newfoundland) surveying selected beaches for Piping Plover activity. I walked up and down miles of coastline looking for the endangered bird and its nests with binoculars, all the while noting “stewardship indicators” such as how many people were at the beach on a given day, whether or not dogs were kept on-leash, and how many ATV tracks could be seen. I entered all data into a database which would be submitted to the provincial government. I repeated surveys of the same beaches during those two weeks in order to track the regional Piping Plover population over time. At the end, I made a “Piping Plover Profiles” poster summarizing the Plover activity we had been observing for the Stewardship Association of Municipalities meeting.
For the Youth Leader Program, I developed and led educational programs about local ecology for young people from coastal communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. . . we were encouraged to choose topics to specialize in and research in order to make new teaching materials. I ended up creating a half hour-long PowerPoint presentation on marine debris. We incorporated our new presentations into full-day programs which we planned and led ourselves. These workshops included games, skits, hands-on activities for the kids, and demonstrations relating to the material we taught.
For the third project, the Marine Debris Project, I took part in several beach cleanups.
It was evident that QLF strives to engender social change in its community-based approach to conservation. From the community cleanups that we led to the elementary school lessons that we held, all of our projects were aimed at instilling greener habits and shaping the next generation of environmental advocates locally. My internship with QLF was certainly educationally enriching, too. I learned much about the ecosystem of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as more universal topics, such as the recovery of species at risk, bio-magnification, biodiversity, and climate change.
Learning about QLF’s community-based approach to conservation has also influenced my career considerations. Now that I’ve seen how dynamic of an endeavor conservation can be—involving not only fieldwork, but also conversations with community leaders, lessons in elementary schools, and so much more—I feel more inclined to pursue a career in the field. One of my hopes for my PICS internship was to envision how environmental activism could figure into my professional life. Working for QLF has certainly accomplished that.