Fat bikes, bear spray, and remote cameras.
These may sound like items for one epic adventure, but for Parks Canada team members in Łutsël K’é, they were vital tools of engagement at a career fair last week. Parks Canada staff from Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve were recently engaging youth, teachers and community members in Łutsël K’é in a new approach to a career fair. Students and staff from Łutsel K’e Dene School were invited to take part in a number of hands-on activities relating to employment skills needed within Parks Canada.
Acting Park Operations Manager, Kyle Van Delft, was on-site with other Parks Canada staff to facilitate the unconventional event. “This wasn’t your average career fair where students walk around a gymnasium and collect brochures,” says Van Delft, “the students were able to do hands-on activities through various sessions, including trying out things like trail building and fat biking, and learn about fish health through a dissection demonstration and more.”
Over the course of two days, Parks staff engaged with over 20 students and locals by rotating small groups through a number of workshops. Participants were able to learn about human-wildlife conflict and were able to practice using bear spray in a simulated bear encounter and simulated marking bears for study or wildlife control by shooting paintballs. In addition, students learned about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) by creating a map of how they got to school, how to use wildlife cameras, attended a wilderness first aid demonstration, and more.
“It was a really cool, interesting experience”, says Tthën Catholique, a student at Łutsel K’e Dene School, “I liked going in the stretcher [as part of a wilderness first aid demonstration]. It was really fun.”
By encouraging students to learn about job skills typical of Parks Canada employment and providing them with practical skills needed to meet qualifications, Parks Canada hopes to encourage more local youth to apply to consider Parks Canada as a career path. Based on the success of this approach in Łutsël K’é means Parks Canada is considering a similar approach for future events in other northern communities.