Independent research project puts students in the lead< More Stories
"I thought it was interesting because I've grown up here and I have never noticed any differences between different areas of the park, so I wanted to see if there actually was a significant difference or not,” says Crews.
Not only did Crews discover that the diameter of trees in the old growth area is larger, but there’s also higher levels of potash in the soil than in the younger forested area. “There is quite a difference between those two areas, which is interesting because you would almost expect it to be nearly the same because they are so close in proximity."
Before Crews and her classmates created their own research projects, they completed two instructor-led research projects. Learning how to take samples, complete various calculations and other research techniques in advance helped prepare them to take the lead with their own projects.
"I really liked being able to do my own research and writing a report on it because it's something that actual researchers do professionally. They do their research, explain what they did and what their results were, and in a way that makes sense to other people,” says Crews. “I liked being able to do that and also have the support of my instructor.
“You do learn in the classroom but it's not the same as actually going out, doing hands-on lab work and using the techniques that you are learning."
Crews plans to transfer to either the University of Saskatchewan to study veterinary medicine or the University of Northern British Columbia to study ecology. She says the applied skills she’s learning now, thanks to the research and lab experiences the university transfer program offers, will help her greatly in the future.
"You get an introduction into the things that you will be doing, so by the time you've graduated you already have experience working in the field. You are going to be a lot more comfortable and confident, so it’s really helpful to have this experience.”