Coastal Classrooms and Hands-on Learning at Coast Mountain College
At Coast Mountain College, the Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE) students embark on a transformative, experiential-based learning experience that leads to rewarding careers.
Chevy Alexander, traveled from her hometown of Sooke, BC, to take the Prince Rupert-based program because it offers hands-on learning.
"I picked Coast Mountain College for the Applied Coastal Ecology program because it’s one of the only schools in Canada that offers a hands-on learning environment," says Alexander, adding her goal is to work for Oceans and Fisheries or Environment Canada once completing the diploma.
Applied Coastal Ecology students kicked off the semester September 8th with a four-night adventure to the rugged landscape of Oona River off the coast of Prince Rupert.
The group took a ferry to Porcher Island, located 46 km south of the port of Prince Rupert. It is part of a heavily glaciated band of a rain forest and coastal archipelago that reaches from Portland Inlet in the north to Queen Charlotte Strait in the South.
Clad in gumboots and rain gear, students got outside, despite the suddenly changing weather patterns and persistent rain. Students stayed at the Oona River Hatchery during the field trip, where they learned about area vegetation and salmon life cycle, among other topics.
ACE balances foundational learning in areas such as biology, geography, chemistry, and oceanography with applied courses in areas such as salmon, groundfish and shellfish management, stream habitat restoration, rainforest ecology, wildlife management, and more.
This experience is what attracted Denise Mclean to the program, who looks forward to completing her two-year diploma and getting her hands dirty in an area of conservation.
"The program you can take at Coast Mountain College you can’t take anywhere else. It’s very unique to our northwest region, and it very much specializes in our ecosystems here," says Mclean, who recently graduated from high school in Prince Rupert. "This opens up lots of doors to job opportunities to work after the two-years or go into a degree program. There’s a lot of connecting schools."