Protecting and preserving the environment is second nature to this Class of 2016 Lakeland College alumna.
Codie Lee Yasieniuk is a conservation program specialist for Ducks Unlimited Canada
. Working out of their Camrose, Alta. office, Yasieniuk builds positive working relationships with local governments, landowners, industry, agricultural producers and other conservation agencies.
“I do everything from surveying and paperwork to growing Ducks’ partnerships and relationships with landowners. I am the first point of contact for most people in helping them improve their operations for the benefit of the environment. I love what I do because each day is different. I get to help people change their environmental footprint, and be a part of their journey from beginning to end – it is a rewarding experience,” says Yasieniuk, an environmental conservation and reclamation
Yasieniuk has always had a deep passion for the environment. The environmental enthusiast grew up on her family’s ranch on the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve in Hafford, Sask. The biosphere is one of 18 biosphere reserves in Canada and the only one in Saskatchewan. Naturally, her family’s ranching methods demonstrate strong environmental ethics and practices.
“I thought our practices were normal until I left for post-secondary. There I learned of different ranching methods that didn’t put the environment first – it was shocking,” she says.
After a year of university, Yasieniuk enrolled in Lakeland’s School of Environmental Sciences
for the hands-on learning opportunities that were lacking in her previous education. She says it was the best decision she made.
“In our first week of class, we went on a field trip and studied grass. It was amazing. Instead of sitting in a classroom and learning about it theoretically, I was getting dirt under my nails and getting the hands-on experience I needed.”
After Lakeland, Yasieniuk worked for the Peace Country Beef and Forage Association in Fairview, Alta., ATCO Electric as a member of their vegetation management team and in Sturgeon County as a vegetation management technician. As she fulfills her duties with Ducks Unlimited, Yasieniuk explains she uses a little bit of everything from her Lakeland education. This includes more than 20 applied skills, including site and risk assessments, management and conservation of soils, and plant identification.
“In some of the courses, I regretfully remember thinking ‘I’m never going to need this’ and ‘Why are we memorizing all these plants?’ Now, I can appreciate all those things. In my role I am able to meet with landowners and use this foundational knowledge to answer their questions. It’s great to have my foot in every door.”
Yasieniuk is one of several Lakeland alumni who work with Ducks Unlimited Canada
. In fact, Yasieniuk is based out of DUC’s Camrose office with Angus Bryan, Class of 2015. Bryan took over from long-time DUC staffer Robbin Hunka, Class of 1976. Bryan and Yasieniuk are also colleagues of Andy Van Imshoot, Class of 1977.