My time at Raincoast: A Reflection

Saying goodbye for now to my 9 week summer internship with Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Throughout the past 9 weeks of the summer, I had the fortunate opportunity of being Raincoast’s Land Protection Intern. My role primarily consisted of assisting in planning awareness raising events and informing surrounding communities about the importance of protecting KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest within the endangered Coastal Douglas-Fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone

Much of my work involved attending farmers markets around the Greater Victoria Area, where I attended the Saanich Peninsula, Moss Street, Esquimalt x2 markets and even got to attend the Pender Islands Farmers Market. It was at these markets where I met so many great people who showed interest in supporting Raincoast’s projects, got involved through donating, and inquired about volunteer opportunities. The markets also offered me the opportunity to develop my public outreach skills. Attending these markets independently helped me to step out of my comfort zone and engage with so many wonderful people to talk about topics I am so passionate about.

In July, I had the chance to travel to Pender Island, where I got to meet the lovely folks from the Pender Islands Conservancy, represent Raincoast at the farmers market, and conduct ecological restoration and big tree measuring in S,DÁYES Flycatcher Forest with a group of students from across the United States. 

Sunset with trees in the foreground.
Photo by Paige Griffin.

I’m glad I was able to see Raincoast and the Conservancy’s restoration efforts first hand and share this experience with a group of young people who had never visited these rare and beautiful ecosystems before. Taking a break from working remotely and getting to connect with my colleagues in person, while conducting ecological restoration, was a rewarding experience and I am fortunate to have gotten to go. 

When I wasn’t attending farmers markets or travelling to Pender Islands, I was continuing to raise public awareness about the KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest land acquisition campaign. This involved reaching out to different amenities around the Greater Victoria Area and around Pender Islands and delivering brochures and rack cards to places such as hotels, visitors centres, coffee shops, and registered short term vacation rentals, all of whom happily supported carrying the brochures.  This was an ongoing effort and helped increase public awareness immensely. 

Communicating with folks mostly through online platforms, writing articles,  synthesising the Gulf Islands Webinar Series, and designing a fundraising poster offered me a chance to further develop my writing and creative design skills. Assisting in the planning of the upcoming  EcoFair also helped me develop my public outreach skills, as it involved communicating with different businesses across the region, to gather donations for the silent auction part of EcoFair, and recruiting sustainably driven organisations to come for the EcoExpo portion of the event. 

Pond with trees in the foreground.
Photo by Paige Griffin.
Sword fern in a forest.
Photo by Paige Griffin.

Prior to starting my position with Raincoast, being a recent graduate of the University of Victoria, I found myself at a junction, unsure of where to go next. The safety blanket of school was lifted and the “what now?” question lingered in my head while I considered what was next. Fortunately, this internship was perfect, as it mirrored many of the topics I have studied and am passionate about. It has served as a guide in the right direction as to what type of career I want to pursue. 

I am fortunate I got the experience of  working for an organisation like Raincoast, even if it was just for a short period of time. I am also thankful for the wonderful experiences I had and getting to know my colleagues who all do such fascinating work, especially my supervisor, Shauna Doll, who was a fantastic mentor and an inspiration with the work she does. I hope to take all that I have learned and apply my new and further developed skills to my next employment opportunity while continuing to make an environmentally driven investment in our collective future. 

I look forward to returning to Raincoast for a short period of time in October to help out at the Fall 2022 EcoFair on Pender Islands. This is not goodbye, this is see you later.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.