It's more than just planting trees, and it's more than just a summer job.
Katie Zember has always been more comfortable wading through fields and streams than sitting at a desk.
The Holland College student plans to spend her summer making central Prince Edward Island a better place for fish and animals to live. She will enter her second year of the two-year Wildlife Conservation Technology Program at Holland College this September.
“I wanted to combine my love for biology and the outdoors in a profession,” the Oyster Bed native said. “I am very happy with the path I’m on.”
Habitat enhancement like tree planting and stream restoration is just part of the work Zember and the team with the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association (BBEMA) will spend the summer doing.
Zember grew up on a farm -- her parents own the Great Canadian Soap Company – so she has always preferred the outdoors.
“My work here this summer directly relates to my studies,” she said, adding she’s particularly interested in tree planting in riparian zones and re-vegetating and strengthening brush mats to help prevent silt buildup and erosion in banks and streams.
“Everything connects to our watershed; it’s the core of the eco system."
Katie and her co-workers will share their educational and hands-on experiences with a group of Summerside Intermediate students as part of a BioBlitz. BBEMA folks and the students will come together again to release fish at Linkletter Provincial Park, near Summerside, on June 15.
Later this season, the field crew will begin stream sampling to test dissolved oxygen, conductivity, flow rates, and pH levels in the Bedeque Bay watershed. BBEMA, a non-governmental organization, manages the Bedeque Bay watershed which is comprised of six sub-watersheds: Sunbury Cove, Wilmot River, Dunk River, Bradshaw River, Seven Mile Bay/Salutation Cove and Schurmans Point.
The Bedeque Bay watershed is one of the most intensively developed watersheds for agricultural production. There is also is a strong aquaculture industry, with the Dunk and Wilmot estuaries of Bedeque Bay being the largest oyster-producing areas of Prince Edward Island. More than 65 per cent of the oysters produced in Prince Edward Island are harvested from this watershed.