Hammering home the message of community leadership

NBCC Moncton Carpentry student working on a public viewing platform at Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by NCC)

NBCC Moncton Carpentry student working on a public viewing platform at Johnson's Mills, NB (Photo by NCC)

November 27, 2014 | by Steve Austin | 0 Comments

Every summer, massive flocks of shorebirds journey through the Bay of Fundy from the Canadian Arctic before heading to South America. Among the feathered visitors, approximately 80 per cent of the world's population of semipalmated sandpipers stop at the Upper Bay of Fundy to feed and rest. Through a partnership between the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and New Brunswick Community College (NBCC), conservationists and nature lovers can view this spectacle from the Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre while leaving the birds undisturbed.

Over the past two years, students in our carpentry program at NBCC Moncton have put their skills to use for the greater good — removing and replacing sections of the large deck and public viewing platform where the shorebirds come in every year. It’s the biggest project the class has undertaken and part of the college’s commitment to service learning.

The carpentry classes of 2013 and 2014 working on service learning projects for NCC in New Brunswick (Photo by Steve Austin)

The carpentry classes of 2013 and 2014 working on service learning projects for NCC in New Brunswick (Photo by Steve Austin)

We take pride in knowing that our students will graduate with some experience under their belt and the ability to enter the workforce ready to work. We tell our students to “roll up their sleeves” — they will gain insight and practical, hands-on experience in their future careers as the academic year progresses.

The project is a win-win for both NBCC students and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Typically the value of these projects is significant — including materials and labour, the value can range from anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000.

Service learning is one of the cornerstones of NBCC’s new Robertson Institute for Community Leadership. Launched this fall, the institute marks a new era of leadership and learning for our students, staff and communities. From 2014 onward, every NBCC student will graduate having completed a community leadership course and service learning experience by participating in projects and partnerships like that with NCC.

These experiences are real-life and our students realize that they and our partners will benefit for years to come.

When it comes to the trades, most tradespeople probably wouldn’t think of it as helping, but just using the skills they have. They might not think their contribution is significant — but it is. When our 4,000+ students use their skills to better the community, they have the ability to make our vision of transforming lives and communities a reality.

This was evidenced when we launched the Community Leadership Institute on October 15. Staff and students from our six regions engaged in an afternoon of service, which resulted in nearly 200 community leadership and service learning activities totaling over 8,000 volunteer hours and untold value for the community organizations that benefitted.

This is just the beginning for NBCC. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnerships with community organizations like the Nature Conservancy of Canada as we work collectively to realize our vision of transforming lives and communities.


About the Author

Steve Austin Steve Austin is a tradesperson and an instructor in the Carpentry program at New Brunswick Community College, Moncton Campus.

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