Photo: Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Instructor, Rena Vandenbos (left), conducts fish surveys with students as part of a field school project for the program. Faculty members of the School of Environment and Geomatics (formerly School of Renewable Resources) at Selkirk College have re-designed curriculum in four environmental diploma programs for fall 2011.
Faculty members of the School of Environment and Geomatics (formerly School of Renewable Resources) at Selkirk College have spent the last year re-designing curriculum in four environmental diploma programs. The new curriculum is ready for fall 2011.
“We are excited to embark on a new era for environmental training here in the West Kootenay and Boundary Regions” states Selkirk College School Chair, Derek Marcoux. “You can begin your hands–on training in the environmental sector and then ladder into our own degree program in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It’s also easy to transfer to other post- secondary institutions across B.C.”
The School of Environment and Geomatics offers career technology two-year diploma programs in Forestry, Integrated Environmental Planning, and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife technologies.
According to a 2010 report by EcoCanada, there will be 100,000 job vacancies in the environmental sector over the next decade. Even during the economic downturn in 2008, over 40 per cent of environmental employers were hiring.
“Many of our graduates have found direct, related employment and are beginning their careers in this rapidly growing sector,” Marcoux says. “Jobs for forestry graduates have really picked up this past year. As well our graduates are successfully competing for B.C. Park Ranger jobs, fisheries technologist jobs and a wide variety of environmental-related employment such as environmental reclamation, environmental monitoring and land use planning.”
Marcoux further explains “We are also exploring the redevelopment of our Renewable Energy certificate in the coming year to offer training in residential and industrial renewable energy design and planning.”
The renewal process includes a name change for the school. “The name change from School of Renewable Resources to Environment and Geomatics reflects the increasing workforce demands in the environmental and geomatics [digital mapping or GIS] sectors,” Marcoux says.
GIS uses cutting-edge software tools for digital map creation and analysis. “It really is the way of the future,” says the School Chair. “GIS is used in all aspects of our society from environmental management to health care to economic analysis and offering the advanced diploma really complements our environmental training."
The School of Environment and Geomatics operates the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre (SGRC). The SGRC works collaboratively with partners such as regional districts, Columbia Basin Trust and industry to provide digital mapping tools.
“The SGRC is currently working on a $200,000 National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) project to create online mapping tools for carbon management on B.C.’s land base. The global market for carbon credits has experienced a 175 per cent annual increase from 2000-08, according to EcoCanada. This is a very exciting field to be developing applied mapping tools for government and industry,” Marcoux states.
Faculty members that teach GIS also work on applied research in the SGRC facility. This summer SGRC is also employing three GIS co-op students to help with the research further adding linkages between applied research and learning.
The career diploma programs accept applicants with grade 12 education while the advanced diploma in GIS is designed as specialized training for people with a previous credential such as a diploma or degree.
For more information on the School of Environment and Geomatics, visit www.selkirk.ca/eg or call 1.888.953.1133, ext. 392.
First published on June 20, 2011