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This summer, 55 teenagers from across the province got a feel for what a career in natural resource management might look like, thanks to the Stewardship Youth Rangers (SYR) work-experience program. For the past decade, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s SYR has accepted 16- and 17-year-olds into its eight-week program with the goal of inspiring them to take up careers in the field.
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“I thought it would be really neat to get into it (SYR program) and learn more about the outdoors and stuff like that, and work with the ministry, because I would like to become a conservation officer,” said participant Dawson Smith of Kingston.
In late July, the youth rangers took in three days of workshops at Fleming College’s Frost campus in Lindsay, where, among other things, they learned about outdoor safety, fish identification, arboriculture, and birding. They also toured the school’s muskellunge fish hatchery, which is part of the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration project, the only genetically wild stock muskie program in North America.
“The Stewardship Youth Rangers get to experience a number of activities that represent programs at the college, and the workshops give them a taste of what it would be like to be a student here, as well as career opportunities,” said Derrick Laplante, a Fleming technologist.
Smith was enthusiastic about visiting the Lindsay campus (which he hopes to be attending next year) and the SYR program. An avid outdoorsman and member of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, he wants to help ensure future generations have ample hunting and fishing opportunities.
“I’d like to learn more about the animals and why they are as important as they are. I want to make sure that we never lose what we have, by making sure populations are sustainable, said Smith.”
Learn about how to apply for the Stewardship Youth Rangers by clicking here.