Conservation Biology Co-op Student Studies Migratory Birds in Churchill, Manitoba
Growing up, Jacob Gerard always had a love for the outdoors. In high school, he participated in outdoor skills programs and always felt at home in nature.
Now in his third-year of the Conservation Biology co-op program at Trent, Jacob has taken his personal interests and his academic education into the field, traveling to Churchill, Manitoba this summer with Court Brown, an Environmental & Life Sciences master’s students in Dr. Erica Nol’s lab.
Their work was focused on collecting data on Lesser Yellowlegs—a migratory bird species—and was part of a collaboration between Trent University and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game studying migratory birds.
This experience has allowed Jacob to apply conservation biology theory and build practical research skills.
“I learned how to safely handle birds, safe capture practices, survey methods, and I also learned about the culture of the local Indigenous People, and about community of Churchill,” said Jacob.
The experience, Jacob said, has also really opened his eyes to the diversity of Arctic ecosystems.
“Ever since I went to the Arctic this summer, I’ve really enjoyed studying northern species,” said Jacob. “It’s a fascinating environment with an interesting range of species.”
For students looking to get professional, hands-on, or career-related experience, Jacob says co-op placements at Trent University are a great avenue.
“Co-op placements give you an awesome opportunity to take what you’re learning in class and apply it in the real world so early in your career,” he said. “They really helped me strengthen my understanding of a variety of topics, and I was able to make connections with other professionals in the field.”
During his placement, Jacob got to work with researchers from around the world who were also conducting research in the northern Manitoba town.
“It was really beneficial to make connections with researchers from other universities in Canada and to have the opportunity to communicate science in a way that everyone can understand,” said Jacob.
As a self-described outdoorsy person, the co-op experience through Conservation Biology at Trent was the perfect opportunity to combine passions with professional goals.
“I love to be boots on the ground, and to be able to integrate my other outdoor skills—how to stay safe in the outdoors, how to make a fire—through my work,” he said. “This co-op really opened my eyes to the wide variety of career paths in conservation and got me excited about species at risk research and wilderness and wildlife management.”
Learn more about Conservation Biology at Trent.
Posted on December 9, 2022