Blog

Co op at Delta Waterfowl

Gaining field experience supporting post-secondary pursuits.

The co op placement at Delta Waterfowl was an excellent match for Curtis Eelkema as it provided him with the opportunity to experience environmental management and to work in construction.

“I came into this co op openminded and not expecting anything in particular. I am very happy with the way things turned out because I got to be a part of the growth of Delta Waterfowl as well as make great connections.” ~ Curtis

As part of the Great Lakes Initiative, Curtis assisted in building and installing 170 hen houses in Southern Ontario for ducks. His first challenge was to source suppliers for flax straw for the inside of the hen houses, then to look for ponds to place the hen houses. This involved a search on google maps to locate appropriate ponds, and then to get the landowners permission to use the pond. In addition, Curtis was introduced to falconry, a way of hunting small game and ducks using trained hawks and falcons.

Maya Basdeo, Ontario Waterfowl Programs Manager, appreciated the level of competence that Curtis demonstrated. She noted, “When I asked Curtis to provide an estimate of how much lumber was needed to build a hawk enclosure, I expected a sketch on a piece of paper. Instead, Curtis designed a 3D model with an accurate lumber estimate using Tinker Cad. I was amazed that these kinds of skills are taught in high school, and that he took the initiative to use the best tools at his disposal!”

Co operative placements and experiential learning with Delta Waterfowl will benefit Curtis, who hopes to enroll in the Fish & Wildlife Technician program at Flemming College in September. A work placement such as this has given him exposure and experience directly related to his field of study and future career. Many transferable skills are practiced and learned during a placement that helps make students more job-ready and attractive to future employers.

Curtis notes, “I believe this co op has prepared me better for my career as now have more of an idea of what goes on in a job in the area of environmental management. A co op placement helps you learn more about yourself and your interests because it puts you into the world of work to learn instead of just hearing about what it might be from inside a
classroom.”

Adrianne SprogisAdrianne Sprogis, Communications Specialist
Hamilton District Christian High