Katia Leo (Forest Sciences)

Tree Planter at J.D. Irving Ltd. in Edmundston, NB

Katia smiling at the camera.

For my first co-op term, I worked as a Tree Planter in northern New Brunswick. Having grown up in Vancouver, being tossed into the woods forty-five minutes away from the nearest town was a bit of a shock—but a little venture into my new backyard had me falling in love. The air was fresh and sweet, lichen blanketed the trees, and the last of May’s snow was imprinted with moose and deer tracks. And not to mention the photos I got!

The beginning of planting was especially rough. The sun was scorching and the flies were hungry, and so much of my body ached. But it taught me to persevere and I came out stronger both mentally and physically, which I’ve carried with me back home.

After the season’s end, I got to shadow a wildlife biologist and a forest operator for a couple of days. I got real-life tours of genetic trial plantations, rare plants, and silvicultural planning on top of great conversation and story-telling. Co-op is a great way to pull your nose out of a book and spark passion in an actual forest, with actual trees, before they’re turned into your hefty BIOL 112 textbook; so, when you do go back to studying, you have a newfound appreciation for your education.

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