Student Blog: Jon’s First Week

By: Jon Banninga – Student Sustainability Technician

This week, starting Monday, I began working as the sustainability technician at the NOTL Campus with the office of sustainability, alongside Amber, Christine and Katie. Besides Monday, which was dedicated to generic training modules and seminars, this week has already begun with some major projects and a variety of tasks. The main task for this week has been the inventory of all the tree and plant tags that will be used to tag trees around the campus, as well as by the horticulture department to label the campus gardens. Counting, sorting and organizing all of the tags and plaques is the main goal, which will help with future field work, hopefully starting next week. The main task for the summer will be the tagging, identifying, measuring and logging of the trees that grow here at the NOTL campus.

Tuesday, we made a tour of the grounds to preview what the boundaries of the tree inventory are and where the inventory should start. I’m really looking forward to starting outside next week, as the tag inventory I’m working on this week is mostly all done indoors. While we were out on the wetlands trail, we saw two swans checking out the north lagoon, which was the first time of the year any of us had seen some there. We also lifted some salamander boards below the escarpment and found a few red-backed salamanders, which is always cool to see. The huge amounts of rain we’ve been getting in the region made for a wet and muddy hike, but the rain held off in the morning so we could enjoy a bit of sunshine. The rest of the day I worked on the inventory of all the tree tags from the green house. Wednesday morning, we met up with the school of environmental and horticulture studies as well as some reps from Ontario Paper Thorold Foundation to demonstrate some lab equipment that was purchased with a donation from them. We took some photos and lead them on a tour of the wetlands trail to show them the lagoons and outdoor classroom. Thursday morning, we met up at Virgil dam with the NPCA and the environmental rep from GM to determine a site for a wildflower garden planting event later this summer. They assessed two different sites and it was determined that the site directly by Virgil dam would be the best because it was directly by the previous water sample sites, and easily accessible for the event. We (students) will be a part of the site preparation a few days before the event, preparing the ground and soil for planting.

Overall, this first week has been a great start. Even though the main task for the week has been tag inventory, the other small tasks and events thrown in to the picture like tours, meeting with other staff, and the site assessment at Virgil dam, have provided variety and made the week productive. I’m super excited to get going with the actual field work and tree inventory and for week two!