Internship Spotlight: Robyn Knight with CPAWS-NL

Robyn Knight hold a petrel strandling. 2020.
Robyn Knight hold a petrel strandling. 2020.

Robyn Knight is the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NL Chapter (CPAWS-NL) intern, a position made possible by Conservation Corps NL’s Internship Program. Previously, Robyn worked with Conservation Corps NL (CCNL) as a Team Leader in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s for CCNL’s Green Team Program in 2015. She holds a BSc and MSc in Biology from Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). She is interested in environmental conservation and marine science.

Having grown up in Newfoundland, I developed a strong appreciation and passion for the ocean and nature, so deciding to pursue a career in biology was an easy choice. I have since completed my MSc and BSc in Biology, where I developed a keen interest in environmental conservation and marine science.

This fall, I was excited to gain experience in my field as part of CCNL’s Internship Program. I joined Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NL Chapter (CPAWS-NL) as their Conservation Assistant. For those who are not familiar with CPAWS, it is a national non-profit charitable conservation group that works to protect Canada’s wild ecosystems in parks, ecological and wilderness reserves.

This is my second position with CCNL. In 2015, I worked as a Green Team Leader in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s. I lead my team in developing a waste management plan for the town. It was a really great experience and the team still keeps in touch with one another. This job helped me develop many skills that I use in my current role at CPAWS-NL, such as how to be an effective leader and communicator. I also gained valuable experience with CCNL doing community outreach activities; a skill that is important to have when working with the public.

I started my position as Conservation Assistant in September 2020. In my internship, I am responsible for working on multiple conservation projects, including the Puffin and Petrel Patrol Project and the Ship to Shore program.

Robin Knight stands with Berkley Loveless, the Harbour Authority for Seal Cove.

The Puffin and Petrel Patrol Project is one of CPAWS-NL’s most well-known initiatives. In this project, we rescue stranded Atlantic Puffins and Leach’s Storm-Petrels with the help of volunteers during fledgling season each year.

One of the biggest highlights of my job at CPAWS so far would have to be rescuing Leach’s Storm-Petrels through the Puffin and Petrel Patrol project. Between September and November, juvenile petrels leave their burrows for the first time and become stranded in Conception Bay and nearby areas as they make their way out to sea. My job was to reach out to the public, businesses, and town councils, to spread awareness of petrel strandings and to help people with rescues and releases.

Stranded petrels are transported in boxes to the coast, where they are released.

Recently, I visited one of our most dedicated volunteers in Bay de Verde who checks for stranded petrels every day during fledgling season. I helped her release around 50 petrels back to sea in just a couple of days! Volunteering with this project is a great way to get involved with wildlife conservation and people really enjoy being part of it. You can find more information about this project on the CPAWS-NL website, or follow along on the Puffin & Petrel Patrol NL Facebook page.

Another project I am currently working on the Ship to Shore program. This project brought me to the Connaigre Peninsula in the Fall where I met with harbour management, local fish harvesters, and ocean users to talk about marine debris and species at risk. We even organized an underwater cleanup through our partnership with Ocean Quest Adventures and local volunteers, which was super fun and interesting! This part of the province is beautiful and I enjoyed meeting people from the different communities I visited.

Robin Knight and volunteers stand in front of the trash they collected from their underwater cleanup on the Connaigre Peninsula. 2020.

After my internship ends, I would like to continue to pursue a career in environmental science. I am not sure where that will take me, especially in today’s climate, but I am looking forward to the journey.

Learn more about Conservation Corps NL’s Internship Program here.

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