field season

My Summer at ACAP

Having worked in the environmental and conservation field for a few years now and seeing and hearing about all the various project that ACAP Saint John had worked on in the past and were presently working on, sparked my interest in wanting to work there. When I was offered the amazing opportunity to work for them for the summer, I jumped on it. There were many projects that I had the pleasure to work on, too many to talk about them all, but I will mention a few of the ones I enjoyed the most.

One of my favorite projects to work on was the harbour baseline monitoring program. Part of this project involved fishing using fyke nets and a beech seine. This was especially fun for me having never worked in the marine environment before let alone in the largest tides in the world. Our fishing occurred at six different sites. Each with its own interesting obstacle, from ankle deep mud to large waves soaking you in saltwater, and I loved every bit of it. Having been able to see and work with the many different species of fish was a great opportunity.

Another one of my favorite projects was seal spotting. Through out the summer we conducted seal counts using spotting scopes observing haul out sites often frequented by seals. We also canoed and kayaked out into a known seal location one evening. The seals swam around our boats for just under two hours, its was quite an experience. Working with seals allowed me the opportunity to work with mammals which is a career goal of mine, and I look forward to seeing where the project goes in the future.

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The final project that I really enjoyed was working on the street tree inventory of the North End. Urban forestry provided some unique identification challenges that allowed me to expand my knowledge of non-native and rare trees in New Brunswick. The survey also allowed me to explore Saint John and visit places I would have never seen otherwise.

Overall, I really enjoyed working at ACAP Saint John for the summer. There was always something new and interesting happening in the office. The ACAP team were all nice and fun to work with, they were always teaching me new things and allowing me to get hands on and learn more about the environment and their own expertise. Many of the projects had partnerships outside of ACAP from around the province which allowed me to make new connections and learn about what other work is going on around New Brunswick. Thank you for the great summer it was an experience I will never forget.

Aiden Isbill

My Summer at ACAP - Cristian Estrella

ACAP Saint John has been a great work experience; I have gone from learning about the Canadian Fauna to learning about the different marine species found in the Maritimes. Providing support to an ecological survey around the Little Marsh Creek area provided me with data analysis experience and real life application of such data. I learned to identify prominent fish species such as sticklebacks, trout, killifish and shiners, as well as rare species such as the American eel, and Sea Lamprey. Co-leading an urban tree inventory for the Lower West Side provided me with the tools to accurately identify all the tree species found in the area.

Overall the ACAP experience has been a very valuable one in terms of the knowledge acquired and the experience as a whole. The support provided by the staff was invaluable and their willingness to help or provide guidance when needed gets them an “excellent” rating. The ACAP Saint John experience was wonderful and I would recommend to anyone able to at least volunteer from one of their projects, to do it without hesitation because you will not regret it.

 - Cristian Estrella

My Summer at ACAP - Andrew Shaddick

After receiving my SEED voucher and scrolling through the many job opportunities, ACAP Saint John very much caught my eye with the description they had posted. It was one of the only environmental non-profits in my area, and the work they had done around the city was something I greatly respected. I was confident that I wanted to work there. 

Upon starting the job, I met my coworkers and was shown around the Social Enterprise Hub, where several other non-profits have their offices. I was struck by the relaxed and pleasant atmosphere in the building and of the people occupying it. For the first week or so, I spent my time reading many of the previous reports that the staff at ACAP Saint John had made over the years. Within the second week, I was in the middle of a full day of tree planting and picking up litter down by Spar Cove. It was tiring work, but I found myself genuinely valuing the improvements we were making to the previously mistreated area. With every tree I planted, I imagined what they might look like in twenty or thirty years. 

It wasn’t long before the first opportunity to go electrofishing came. I had personally never heard of the concept prior to working here, but I suppose the name is pretty self-explanatory. The goal was to get an idea of the abundance, number of species, and size of fish in a particular stream. What always surprised me was just how many fish were contained within what appeared to be a roadside ditch or shallow, forested stream. Our focus during late June/early July was a habitat survey and eventual electrofishing of Little Marsh Creek. I can’t imagine walking around with rubber overalls through densely forested areas in thirty-degree weather is everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally thought it was a great experience, and I’d do it again and again. There was something very enjoyable about exploring an area, taking note of its various natural features, then coming back to discover what sort of fish live in that environment. 

The main duty of us summer students, aside from gardening and keeping the Sustainer Container watered, was completing a tree inventory of the Lower West. We would drive over to catalog trees and record diagnostic details about them, including species, location, height, etc. During this time, we talked with curious and friendly locals about the project, many of whom seemed happy to have people taking an interest in the area. The inventory itself took us about a month to finish, in which we documented nearly six-hundred trees over fifty-seven streets. 

One of my favourite things about working at ACAP Saint John was coming into the office and seeing what new things we were doing that day. The variety of duties kept work interesting and enjoyable. But personally, the best part of working here was that none of it actually felt like work: It was all fun, which was only made better by the kind, funny, and knowledgeable people at ACAP Saint John. It’s unfortunate that I only got to spend a short fourteen weeks in the office, but I appreciate the time I spent here all the same.

Thank you for the opportunity to work at ACAP Saint John and for the wonderful summer I had here,

Andrew Shaddick

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