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Conservation Corps helped Corner Brook’s Sian French kickstart her career in the environmental field

Rory McInnes, left, and Christian Fudge weed the community garden the Vine Place Green Team in Corner Brook is working on this summer.
Rory McInnes, left, and Christian Fudge weed the community garden the Vine Place Green Team in Corner Brook is working on this summer.

In its 25-year history, the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador has helped lots of young people get a start on their careers in the environmental fields.

One of them is Sian French of Corner Brook.

French, who worked as a regional supervisor with the Conservation Corps in 1995, is now director of provincial parks with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Springdale native had just returned from the University of Guelph with her bachelor’s degree in environment protection when she was hired to supervise the Green Teams deployed throughout central Newfoundland that summer.

Under her watch, the teams in Springdale, Grand Falls-Windsor and St. Alban’s did education and outreach work in their communities, along with projects such as planting trees and developing walking trails.

For her, landing a job where she could be part of the hiring process and have a supervisory role was great for her future resume.

“That’s not an opportunity many young people get very early on in their careers,” she said. “It was a big career boost for me.”

Before heading back to university to pursue her master’s degree, French gained more valuable experience by volunteering on the Conservation Corps’ provincial board of directors.

She knows the organization and its Green Teams — groups of usually four youth who get assigned to do conservation and environmental work for the summer months — have produced some leaders in the environment field. For instance, one of the team leaders under her watch a couple of decades ago has since went on to become a lead scientist with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“It’s a fabulous program and it’s nice to see it has had some longevity,” she said. “Hopefully, it lasts for at least another 25 years.”

 

- The Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador has employed more than 2,600 youth in its 25-year history.

- In 2017, Conservation Corps has 17 Green Team projects located in various communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.

- The youth-lead projects are focused on environmental and cultural priorities, including river and fish habitat restoration, heritage preservation, trail development and community gardening.

Source: Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador

Sian French, who is now director of provincial parks with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, was a regional supervisor with the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador back in 1995.

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