Serena Sturton (Natural Resources Conservation)

Program Supervisor at Catch the Spirit Youth Society in Burnaby, BC

UBC Forestry Co-op student, Serena Sturton, smiles with her thumbs up in front of a forest.

This summer I worked as a Program Supervisor for CTS Youth Society; a non-profit organization that offers free environmental stewardship and leadership camps for Metro Vancouver youth ages 12-18. As CTS works in partnership with Metro Vancouver Regional Parks and Pacific Parklands Foundation, I was fortunate to work with them on numerous events and stewardship projects. In this position I had the opportunity to educate youth about the importance of sustainability and the role of conservation in our world today. I also taught youth how to identify both native and invasive flora and fauna and worked together with them on numerous invasive species removals. Through every aspect of this job, I supported youth in their experiences giving back to the environment and community in positive ways. My responsibilities included but were not limited to mentoring youth ages 15-18 through their camp preparation and facilitation, working behind the scenes to develop environmental education programming for CTS’ inaugural weekday camps as well as lead them on a bi-weekly basis, and supervised groups of participants through environmental stewardship projects at Capilano River, Belcarra, Boundary Bay and Colony Farm regional parks. Through this role I gained newfound confidence in my abilities and skills as an educator, mentor, and supervisor. As Program Supervisor, I learned how to perform new tasks such as applying for grants, event planning, project development, creating risk and safety protocol and designing environmental education resources and tools. This co-op placement also provided me an opportunity to grow and develop further my interpersonal and written communication, organization, conflict resolution, risk management, leadership, goal setting and collaboration skills especially working as co-lead planning the Annual CTS BBQ, the largest event of the season. The co-op program has given me an incredible opportunity to grow and develop as a student, professional and person. It has enabled me to make lasting connections and discover what careers I want to pursue in the future.

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