Hey, I am Jonny Nene. For the last four months, I have been the OFAH Fitzsimons Financial Group Inc. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Intern.
My love for fishing is one of the main reasons why I chose to pursue a career in fish and wildlife, but the road that led me to my internship with the OFAH was full of curves and hills. I spent seven years in manufacturing before realizing I desired fulfilment in my career. This led me to pursue an education at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario. I worked very hard and graduated in the spring of 2020 from the Fish and Wildlife Technician diploma program. I was recognized for my efforts by receiving the Danny Fitzgerald Memorial Award for academic success. Although the culmination was somewhat anticlimactic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have many fond memories of my time at Fleming that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. After eight months, at least 100 job applications, and a handful of interviews, I finally landed a position as the OFAH Fitzsimons Financial Group Inc. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Intern.
Ultimately, you want to feel a sense of pride in your work. I think the vast majority of those in fish and wildlife conservation are driven by their passion for the environment. With a prominent presence in fish and wildlife conservation, I feel incredibly proud to have worked for the OFAH. The individual tasks I have undertaken are part of a much larger picture. I wrote, filmed, and edited educational video segments for the now virtual, Classroom Hatchery Program. This equated to one of my largest efforts throughout my internship. The experience helped me hone my research and writing skills while developing new ones in filming and video editing. But beyond that, I educated youth and promoted stewardship values, all in support of a restoration program aimed at bringing back an important part of Ontario’s natural heritage. Regardless of the perspective, my involvement with OFAH has been incredibly fulfilling.
As my internship nears its end, I feel proud of what I have accomplished. I completed technical reports, gathered research, and supported the inaugural instalment of the Virtual Classroom Hatchery program. I hope that my work provides value to the OFAH in its continued pursuit of fish and wildlife conservation. With many uncertainties due to the pandemic, I hope OFAH members found some clarity as myself and OFAH staff worked to keep them updated on hunting and fishing closures around the province.
I am fortunate to have secured a summer position for the upcoming field season with Natural Resource Solutions Inc. and the Norris Lab at the University of Guelph. I will be conducting field surveys for a wood thrush study before transitioning to various consulting projects. I would like to give thanks to the OFAH and Fitzsimons Financial Group Inc. for supporting my internship. I have learned a lot during my internship and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience that has helped me grow as a professional and a person.