Environmental Research Associate

  Posted: April 10, 2024
  Location: Minden, Ontario
  Type: In-Person
  Internship Program: Clean Tech
  Hourly rate: $23
  Hours per Week: 35
  Start Date: April 26, 2024
  End Date: February 28, 2025

Job Description

We are seeking funding to employ an Environmental Research Associate (ERA) for a period of up to 44 weeks. This position will play a pivotal role in bolstering the Woodlands and Waterways EcoWatch (WWEW) Program by aiding in the expansion of our aquatic and terrestrial biomonitoring efforts. Additionally, the ERA will provide essential support to the WWEW Coordinator across various environmental research projects, including our Water Quality Testing program. This initiative aims to establish standardized water quality testing within our region in the absence of a Watershed Council or Conservation Authority that would conduct this work in other regions of Ontario, thus contributing towards enhanced environmental stewardship and community well-being.

The past success of the WWEW program underscores the importance of investing in talent development. Thanks to preivous support from Career Launcher, we have been able to offer internships from 2019-2023. Notably, three former interns transitioned into full-time roles within our organization, while others advanced their careers within the environmental sector. For instance, one intern secured a position as an Environmental officer with a prominent municipality, while another joined the Regulatory Division of a leading mining company. This emphasizes our commitment to nurturing talent and fosturing career advancement within the environmental field.

Additionally, we are dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusivity within our workforce. As such, we actively encourage applications from: Indigenous youth, individuals with disabilities, and those from visible minority groups. Furthermore, we recognize the unique challenges faced by rural youth and consider rural youth within our definition of "youth who experience barriers". By embracing diversity in all its forms, we strive to create an inclusive environment thats reflective of our community.

As we believe that it is important for Career Launcher to understand the context in which this internship position has been created, we have included the larger project description below.
With the impact of climate change, development impacts and the rise of invasive species, the monitoring of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem health is of utmost importance. In July 2019, U-Links launched a pilot project which coordinated and leveraged the resources of regional lake associations, Trent University School of the Environment, Fleming College School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, citizen scientists and the Dorset Environmental Science Centre (DESC) to start a benthic biomonitoring program for participating lake associations in Haliburton County that could be replicated in other regions of the province. The pilot project was effective in obtaining baseline information for a number of lakes in Haliburton County. The pilot project also defined the processes and protocols necessary to ensure that the best standards of practice will be used to procure and analyze this data. These protocols have been vetted by the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network. All lake associations that were involved in the initial pilot project were engaged in the expansion of the program in 2020, involving additional lakes in the Haliburton and Kawartha Lakes region. In 2021 the program was formalized as Woodlands and Waterways EcoWatch (WWEW) and was broadened in scope to include forest health monitoring in collaboration with the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT). The number of lakes to be sampled in 2023 has expanded to 25. The number of permanent sample plots (PSPs) for monitoring the forests and biota on HHLT properties has also increased until 2019, the Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) did not have any data for this region. This unique work is starting to fill that gap.

Woodlands and Waterways EcoWatch is a community based environmental monitoring program coordinated by the U-Links Centre for Community-Based Research in conjunction with several volunteer and not-for-profit organizations in the Haliburton County and Kawartha Lakes Region. The program utilizes the resources and knowledge of Trent University and Fleming College to assist community organizations monitor the long-term health of the forests and lakes of Haliburton County and Kawartha Lakes region. Our work to date has resulted in the following:
- Formation of the Woodlands and Waterways EcoWatch steering committee with representation from U-Links, Trent University, Fleming College and community stakeholders.
- Creation of a protocol for benthos and terrestrial biomonitoring resulting in the consistent collection of data, and the development of two new bio-monitoring courses at Trent University and Fleming College
- Establishment of sampling sites on 25 lakes in Haliburton and Peterborough Counties- benthos sampling and subsequent analysis was conducted at each of these sites.
- Establishment of 29 Permanent Sample Plot in forest environments on HHLT properties
- Reports and data provided to the corresponding lake associations and the Ontario Benthos Biomonitoring Network at the Dorset Environmental Science Centre (DESC).
- Education of members of the public about benthic biomonitoring in collaboration with local organizations through workshops, webinars, and presentations.
- Creation of a citizen science program and training lake association volunteers in benthic sampling protocols.
- Training and professional certification of 10 volunteers (citizen scientists) in OBBN sampling protocols.
- Launch of a new Water Quality Testing Pilot Project with 10 lake associations and 22 lakes in 2022.
-Increase engagement from 10 lake associations to 25 by 2025, involving 50% of lake associations in Haliburton County.

The intern will have the opportunity to engage in various above ecological monitoring and educational initiatives, fostering rich developmental experiences applicable to their future careers.

Knowledge and Skills

-Possession of a technical diploma or degree in environmnetal technology, environmental sciences, biology, ecosystems management, or a related field.
-Proficiency in ecological monitoring and biological sampling techniques, including familiarity with benthic macroinvertebrates. Preferred qualifications include Ontario Benthic Biomonitoring Network (OBBN) certification and/or experience in vegetation sampling or water quality protocols.
-Must have reliable access to a vehicle and hold a valid drivers lisence, as transportation to field sites in Haliburton County is necessary due to the absence of public transportation.
-Strong written and verbal communication skills.
-Excellent attention to detail and critical thinking skills.
-Knowledge of environmental research methodologies and a proactive approach to staying updated on evolving environmental issues specific to Haliburton County.
-Strong time management and organizational capabilities, with the capacity to prioritize and manage multiple tasts effectively.
-Competency in Microsoft Office and familiarity with social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, X (Formerly Twitter) and Instagram. Preferred qualifications include familiarity with 'R', statistical coding language.

-Capable of working collaboratively in a team environment, fostering effective partnerships with colleagues, community stakeholders, and post-secondary students.
-Demonstrated ability to work autonomously and take initiative.
-Physical fitness to meet demands of field work, which may involve transporting equipment weighing up to 50lbs by hand, in various weather conditions and seasons (all seasons), often while contending with biting insects.
-Exemplary work ethic and self-motivation, with a proven track record of managing multiple priorities and adapting to dynamic environments.
-Familiarity with Haliburton County is advantageous.

Duties and Responsibilities

The incumbent works with the U-Links Program Coordinator to determine current priorities on a bi-weekly basis to ensure workload does not exceed available time. Priorities will shift during the employment term:
-Engage with key stakeholders including the Director, Program Coordinator and Administration & Logistics Coordinator.
-Conduct comprehensive data collection activities, focusing on both aquatic and terrestrial biomonitoring sites. Assist in data analysis and integration into environmental reports.
-Support logistical operations by assisting the Program Coordinator in coordinating site access and field work logistics with local project partners and to contribute to various projects as needed.
-Take charge of equipment maintenance by cleaining, maintaining and calibrating field instruments and equipment. Proptly report any damage to the Program Coordinator.
-Provide supervision and support to students under the guidance of U-Links staff, ensuring effective project execution.
-Contribute to securing program funding by collaborating with U-Links staff and its Management Committee. Deliver presentations to community organizations to solicit contributions supporting U-Links programming needs.
-Represent U-Links at academic events like open houses, orientation sessions and other events to attract students that are interested in community-based research.
-Actively participate in U-Links Management Committee and WWEW Steering Committee and other sub-committee meetings. Follow up on action items and maintain strong relationships with committees.
-Undertake special projects as required and fulfill other duties as directed by the U-Links Program Coordinator.

Education Required

Possession of a technical diploma or degree in environmental technology, environmental sciences, biology, ecosystems management, or a related field.

OBBN Certification, Pleasure Craft Operators Card (or ability to obtain), Ontario Drivers License (G2 at minimum).
U-Links will provide all other certifications (e.g. Health & Safety, Accessibility, WHMIS, Working On-Ice Safety, Working On-Water Safety, etc.).

We will also provide professional development opportunities in Project Management, Grant Writing, or other topics related to work in this sector that will enhance the employability of the ERA after working with U-Links.

  How to Apply

To apply, send your resume to

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