Lakeland College recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Alberta Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture pertaining to applied research and educational activities in Vermilion Provincial Park.
“There is a long history of Lakeland College working with Vermilion Provincial Park. We thought it was time to formalize the relationship,” said Terry Krause, planning team leader for the east central area of the Parks, Conservation, Recreation and Sport Division.
The two organizations will work together to develop and maintain educational opportunities and applied research and field programming activities that enhance the environmental management and stewardship of Vermilion Provincial Park.
“We’ve been trying to encourage more scientific research in our parks for quite awhile,” said John Kristensen, assistant deputy minister of Parks, Conservation, Recreation and Sport Division. “This is one of the first formal agreements we’ve signed related to research. I hope it becomes the model for further projects throughout the province.”
Numerous activities are already underway, said Lakeland College instructor Michael Crowe. Grazing leases on the north shore of the reservoir are being monitored to provide data for grazing and vegetation management. Students recently mapped the locations of all of the Canada Thistle adjacent to recreational trails as part of an invasive species monitoring program. Parks has provided high quality air photo images of the area so students can do GIS training. Other projects include reclamation of disturbed areas near and in the campground and determining best practices for haying in riparian areas. In the past students have done water quality monitoring of the trout pond.
“We’re fortunate Lakeland College is just a few minutes away from all of these training opportunities available in Vermilion Provincial Park,” said Crowe. “It’s a great way to enhance our students’ education while providing the park with information they can use to help develop resource management strategies.”
Students in the conservation and restoration ecology, environmental conservation and reclamation, environmental protection technology, and wildlife and fisheries conservation diploma programs, and the bachelor of applied science: environmental management program all are involved in training opportunities and/or projects at the park while they are at Lakeland. It’s this type of practical training that appeals to employers, said Crowe.
“Employers tell us that Lakeland graduates are ready to hit the ground running when they arrive at the workplace,” said Crowe. “We are contacted regularly by industry employers looking to hire our graduates.”
Photo: Alice Wainwright-Stewart, Lakeland College vice president academic (front left), and John Kristensen, assistant deputy minister of Alberta Parks, Conservation, Recreation and Sport, (front right) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement regarding applied research and educational activities in Vermilion Provincial Park. Also pictured (back row l. - r.) are Lee Arthur, Allen Verbeek, and Michael Crowe of Lakeland College and Terry Krause, Roger Reilander and Gary Walsh of Alberta Parks, Conservation, Recreation and Sport.
Instructor, Conservation and Restoration Ecology
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