Leigha Matthews interned at Conservation Corps NL’s Communications Assistant from June to August 2020. Leigha is studying Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
I started my summer job with Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL) as their Communications Assistant at the start of June 2020. This job held many surprising aspects. Being someone who loves to always be on my toes and constantly experiencing new things, this was perfect for me. As the Communications Assistant, I was responsible for planning our social media and creating content for all our different platforms where I shared all that CCNL has been doing. To stay on top of everything, I spent much of my first week creating spreadsheets and calendars to ensure that I wouldn’t fall behind on the social media posts.
I also visited teams from CCNL’s Green Team program. Every summer, CCNL employs youth across the province to work on cultural and environmental heritage projects and develop professional skills. I traveled to different Green Team sites to meet the team members and to learn about their projects in order to share all the great things they have done via social media. Some of these places I had never visited before. This job has allowed me to explore my province and gain knowledge of all these different towns and communities and what is unique and important to protect in each.
Before starting this job I didn’t have much experience in office work or environmental conservation. I had always been interested and following environmental issues in the world and in Newfoundland and Labrador but I never knew how to get involved. I came into this job with a personal interest in photography and videography which I was excited to transition into a professional setting where I was able to use photos and videos to share important content and spread awareness about each team and their projects.
I’m currently studying Political Science at Memorial University and I believe that a huge aspect of the political world right now is environmental conservation. This job has given me the opportunity to educate myself on these issues and how we can move to improve them. This information has allowed me to have a better understanding of what’s happening in the world and connect it to my studies.
I was given the opportunity to attend many different workshops during my visits with the Green Teams. I was able to attend a cemetery conservation workshop led by Heritage NL with the Cape Broyle Green Team. We learned about how fragile cemeteries are and ways to preserve the cemetery’s physical grave stones as well as its history. I also attended an interviewing workshop with the Town of Carbonear, which will soon be creating their own podcast series. The interview workshop is one that I am excited to be able to use in the future as it has given me skills to conduct interviews and speak to more more efficiently in my day-to-day, but also in my professional life.
I’m not even sure where to start when it comes to what I’ve learned this summer. I’ve learned office skills to photography and videography skills to the importance of environmental and cultural conservation in Newfoundland and Labrador, and so much in between.
My favourite part of this job by far has been the opportunity to connect and meet with so many people from all over the province. Each team member, community partner and regional supervisor that I have had the privilege of talking with has given me a new outlook on every project. The enthusiasm each of them hold and express has been so positive and has allowed me to learn all about them, their background and their involvement in the community and the projects. I will be forever grateful of all the people this job has allowed me to connect with.
The only con to this job was that it was only eight weeks long and those weeks flew by extremely fast. That being said, the skills I have developed during this short time will certainly last a lifetime and I will be forever thankful that I was able to work alongside so many wonderful and influential people. I am extremely excited to bring all this knowledge into my school work and even my personal life.