To the casual observer, he looks like he’s merely wading slowly in the stream, enjoying the sunshine. He stoops occasionally to capture things from the water and adds them to his collection. Luc Fournier is not just idly passing the time. He’s here with a purpose, using skills and training learned in the Loyalist College School of Biosciences Environmental Technician program. He’s working for the Quinte Conservation Authority as a Water Quality Technician.
“Most of my days are spent outside as we do a lot of work in streams collecting samples,” he explained. “Once collected, we bring them back to the office, count them and then identify them. By identifying the types of bugs in the streams, we are able to determine, by ratio, if the stream is healthy or if it has any negative organic effects stressing on it.”
When Luc initially saw the job posting for the position he felt very comfortable applying for it — because his environmental studies at Loyalist have prepared him with the knowledge and skills necessary to assume the role. “While attending Loyalist my faculty commented on how we would be studying Ontario Benthos Bio-monitoring Network (OBBN) sample techniques as it is now widely used in the industry. Sure enough, my first job after college is all about OBBN.
“I’m enjoying having the freedom to make decisions and spend most of my time working with a small group outdoors. This position will give me experience with a well-respected organization and definitely add depth to my resume.”
The College offers a two-year Environmental Technician program and a three-year advanced Technologist program. Students planning to enter environmental studies at Loyalist should be prepared to get their hands dirty. The program is about real-world learning for real-world problems. It includes extensive field-work and hands-on instruction with the technologies of the future. In addition to sampling and analyzing environmental contaminants, the students also gain an understanding of the underlying social systems that contribute to pollutants in water, soil and air.
Loyalist environmental graduates are working in diverse and interesting positions. They can be found in industry working to reduce and clean up waste; conducting environmental investigations and enforcement for government agencies; monitoring water and wastewater treatments for municipalities; and, providing technical support to consulting engineers, urban and rural planners, and environmental consultants. Green issues in mainstream politics have opened up many opportunities in this field.
Loyalist Biosciences programs include: Biotechnology Technician and Technologist, Chemical Engineering Technician and Technologist, Chemical Laboratory Assistant and Environmental Technician and Technologist.