Submitted by the Stewardship Youth Rangers

Hello and boozhoo from the 2014 Stewardship Youth Rangers of Fort Frances District!
We are eight high school students (Hailey Beaudry, Caleigh Payne, Cameron Jolicoeur, Matt Berube, Mitchell Jones-Foy, James Gesic, Ashtyn Dokuchie, and Jenny Hammond) who are very excited to be participating in this Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry summer employment program!
We’re looking forward to learning more about natural resources in the Fort Frances area and how we can be good stewards of them—all while acquiring valuable workplace skills, training, and experience.
For the second year in a row, our program has partnered with the local United Native Friendship Centre and Shooniyaa Wa-Biitong Training and Employment Centre.
This partnership has allowed the program to expand locally to have two six-person SYR teams.
Our teams are made up of a balance of aboriginal and non-aboriginal youth led by our team leaders, Shannon Kabatay and Petri Bailey, and assistant team leaders Kelli Cole and Christina Vandermeer.
Our first day at work was Monday, June 30, when we met our fellow colleagues at the Fort Frances District MNRF office during our tour and had a chance to speak with several ministry staff to learn more about their work.
We also received training in the workplace discrimination harassment policy and violence in the workplace prevention.
We learned about the importance of personal protective equipment and marine safety, too. It was a great first day!
On the Wednesday (July 2), we taught students in Mrs. Gurski’s summer class at St. Michael’s School and at the UNFC about the many animal species found in our district, such as red fox, timber wolf, skunk, and lake sturgeon.
We brought along some animal pelts to give the students an opportunity to learn more about fur-bearing mammals up close!
Later in the day, MNRF conservation officer Kevin Elliott spoke to us about his career and really inspired us to pursue our own career goals one day.
Thursday (July 3) was safety day, when we learned a great deal about workplace health and safety and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
All the rangers agreed that the training definitely will be helpful in our future employment pursuits.
Then on the Friday (July 4), we finished our first week by heading out to nearby Rice Bay, which was a perfect setting to receive training in the Global Positioning System (GPS)—a space-based satellite navigation system.
We rangers also learned the essentials of navigation techniques, such as using compasses and reading maps, and put our new skills to the test by doing some orienteering.
We know it’s a skill that will be vital to our success and safety while working outdoors this summer.
Later in the day, we participated in bear encounter safety training and learned how to be “Bear Wise.”
Overall, it’s been a great start to what’s already shaping up to be a fantastic summer.
Look for updates on our projects and ongoing work in Fort Frances District over the next seven weeks!