Looking back on her childhood growing up in Bancroft, Ontario, Michelle Dano fondly remembers 10-day canoeing trips with her family and summers at a rustic cottage spent playing in a lake and exploring nature. When she moved to Ottawa to attend university, she realized just how much she valued Canada’s wild spaces and pursued summer jobs that allowed her to work in nature.
After graduating with a degree in biology, Dano landed an internship position with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Saskatchewan. Through its Conservation Intern program, NCC creates opportunities for students and new graduates to develop their skills and gain valuable experience.
“Going out into the field with qualified professionals in my desired area of expertise was an awesome experience,” says Dano. “I was able to learn so much more than is possible in a university classroom. I got a better understanding of ecological processes because I saw them first-hand.”
Dano says the internship allowed her to hone her field work skills while gaining experience in communication and volunteer management. That, in turn, led to her current position as the stewardship coordinator in NCC’s British Columbia Southern Interior program.
“Everyone is here because they believe in the importance of conserving nature,” says Dano. “It’s very exciting to be part of a group of committed people, and it is so inspiring to learn from them.”
Working alongside NCC staff, interns help steward lands across Canada, and lend a hand in critical land management work. In return, NCC offers these students real-life, hands-on educational opportunities not found elsewhere.
“NCC’s Conservation Intern program provides outstanding experiences for university and college students in areas such as conservation science, land management and wildlife research,” says Erica Thompson, senior director for national conservation engagement and development. “We are committed to building a natural legacy for Canada. Developing the next generation of leaders is a natural part of that commitment.”
NCC thanks Imperial, the National Conservation Intern Program Development Sponsor, for supporting this program.