Tana Mussell and Dan Kelly are two local graduates with the with the Seven Generations Environmental Monitoring course.

Tana Mussell and Dan Kelly are two local graduates with the with the Seven Generations Environmental Monitoring course.

Doors opening up for environmental technicians

Tana Mussell and Dan Kelly completed an intensive environmental technician course, and were just hired by Seven Generations Environmental Services to work at BC Hydro’s new Interior to Lower Mainland (ILM) Transmission Project.

Tana Mussell of Chilliwack has gained a whole new appreciation for the mysterious world of erosion and sediment control.

She’s also stoked by the career options opening up since acquiring a new skill set from the Environmental Technician certificate course she just finished.

“There is nothing like waking up in the morning and being excited about learning more about this program, and about a future career,” Mussell told The Progress during the training. “I gained knowledge and skills in areas I didn’t know existed before, like erosion and sediment control, or plant identification.”

Mussell is one of several specialized trainees who just completed an intensified course by Vancouver Island University, which included a field stint in Chilliwack.

It was part of a unique training partnership forged by Seven Generations Environmental Services, owned by six local Sto:lo communities with an eye to the future. The company was created in part to fill the demand for an environmental monitoring team at BC Hydro’s new Interior to Lower Mainland (ILM) Transmission Project.

Tana Mussell and Dan Kelly were two of the trainees from the Chilliwack area and surrounding Sto:lo communities, among 18 accepted into the training course.

“I would like to say how grateful I am to have had some of the best instructors in B.C. training us, and how thankful I am to the six Sto:lo chiefs and to Seven Generation, for creating this extraordinary opportunity for myself and my classmates,” said Kelly. He’s hoping his background and enthusiasm will be of assistance as he takes on his new role as project supervisor.

“The training really opened doors for me,” he said.

“It’s been exciting and I think it’s about time that First Nations start up their own environmental companies for themselves like this.”

Mussell was recently hand-picked as crew leader for the project, and  said she realized, when putting together her resumé for the project, that she already had a passion for and a little research experience in the field of fish biology.

“I was always interested in the environment, so this just made sense,” she explained.

The students graduated on Aug. 31 with an Environmental Technician certificate and several will transition to full time employment with Seven Generations Environmental Services, and a project assignment with their first client, BC Hydro.

Course topics ranged from soil bioengineering to water sampling, erosion and sediment control, fish ID, spill responses, habitat restoration, and safety certification.

“We are proud to come together in this business venture that will ensure meaningful employment while building capacity to ensure that we remain involved and connected with the long term stewardship and sustainability of the land,” explained Seven Generations board chair Joe Hall.

“In order to provide land use certainty for business development, First Nations must own and operate relevant, professional and profitable enterprises.

“With Seven Generations Environmental Services, we intend to take our inherent passion for the land, and be among the leading providers of environmental monitoring and related services in North America.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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