Training to train others in community-based water monitoring
By Heather Shaw, LLC Program Assistant
I started working with Living Lakes Canada (LLC) about two months ago as a program assistant for the CABIN and STREAM programs. I have an educational background in environmental science, and the majority of my work experience has been conservation focused. I feel fortunate that I get to call the outdoors my office (most of the time), and that I have a job I am passionate and excited about!
So far, my experience working with LLC has been very rewarding, and I have been able to apply my knowledge and education in a very positive way. In my first few weeks, I learned the ins and outs of CABIN and STREAM, and completed my CABIN field training in Nelson, B.C. The course took place over two days in two beautiful locations which included Cottonwood creek, and Sproule Creek. Over the course of the two days, STREAM-CABIN Program Manager Raegan Mallinson and Program Biologist Kyle Prince led the team through all of the steps necessary to complete a CABIN field sheet. We learned the proper protocols and techniques to collect stream measurements, water chemistry, and my favourite — benthics, the bugs on the bottom of streams. My experience during the CABIN training furthered my enthusiasm, and I am feeling motivated and ready to help others learn and successfully complete the CABIN and STREAM training.
Any work taking place in a wilderness environment has an element of risk associated with it. The work we do in and around rivers is considered a low risk activity, however, it is important to be able to recognize potential hazards, reduce risk, and have a safety plan. As part of ensuring that LLC continues to deliver professional and safe training sessions, Raegan, Anwen (another program assistant) and myself completed a three-day swiftwater rescue course in Squamish B.C. We worked with Matt, an instructor from Boreal River Rescue who taught us to identify hazards in streams and rivers, perform a self rescue, as well as a rescue of another person or group. We spent two full days in the Mamquam river swimming through rapids, practising rescue scenarios, and undoubtedly swallowing a portion of the river. I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone, however, I now feel very confident and prepared in my ability to recognize hazards, wade through rivers/streams and carry out a safe rescue if ever needed. On top of all of that, it was a great team building experience that I feel set us up for success as we enter our busy field season.
In the video below Heather puts the CABIN kicknet protocol into practice.