This spring I earned the opportunity to work with Fiera Biological Consulting in their 2019 Co-op Program as a Junior Environmental Specialist. As a freshly graduated Bachelor of Science student specialized in ecology, I was eager to learn everything I could about ecological consulting. The first thing that impressed me about Fiera was their desire to help me achieve my professional goals. The first day I started, the two Principles of the company, Shari and Joseph, asked me to compile a list of areas where I wished to gain more experience. They, in turn, would do everything they could to further my professional development in those areas. My expectations were beyond exceeded.
The highly diverse staff allowed for exposure to a wide range of disciplines and experiences including wetland identification and delineation, wildlife surveys, landscape ecology, hydrology, wildlife ecology, environmental planning and policy, geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing. Not only were the staff extremely accommodating and encouraged questions, but they also valued everyone’s unique knowledge and skills. My previous summer work experiences and undergraduate thesis have given me a specialized understanding of bog and fen complexes. I was encouraged to share my unique insights with the rest of Fiera’s staff to further their knowledge of peatland ecosystems. The most impressive quality I found from working with Fiera’s team of highly skilled individuals is their desire to always evolve, learn from everyone around them, and push the boundaries of environmental consulting.
Fiera Biological Consulting has given me the opportunity to learn invaluable skills that I will undoubtedly use in my future careers, including wetland classification and delineation, wildlife and biophysical assessments, client relations, environmental policy and various types of report writing. The interdisciplinary team at Fiera, as well as their extensive research and development program means that there are always new and exciting opportunities to plan for and learn from. While my first experience into private consulting initially seemed frightening and daunting at times, the staff have been keen to assist and guide me through challenging projects with their extremely organized and well designed processes.
Fiera encourages an open and inviting working environment and weekly staff meetings allow everyone to come together and talk about their progress, stay on track, and set goals for the coming week. These meetings also allow ideas on project directions to flow freely permitting projects and decisions to constantly evolve and improve.
Three months in to my four-month term, my experience with Fiera Biological Consulting has exceeded my expectations. Not only have I gained a vast number of invaluable skills, but I have also learned the value of a strong, interdisciplinary, communicative team that is always willing to lend a helping hand to one another. Fiera truly has a passion for what they do and high integrity in their work. It has been a blessing so far to learn from them and I encourage future co-op students to pursue this experience.
Written by: Jacey Bronson, 2019 Co-op Program, Junior Environmental Specialist, Fiera Biological Consulting.