North Island College biology students are getting a unique opportunity to help with an important forage fish research project, thanks to a partnership between NIC and Comox Valley Project Watershed. 

Students have been helping with sampling for forage fish eggs on key shorelines throughout the region.

The research project is made possible thanks to funding from the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund.

NIC instructor Georgie Harrison worked with Comox Valley Project Watershed Society project manager Jennifer Sutherst to set up the project. 

Harrison says the partnership gives students the chance to get hands-on learning.

“One of the advantages we have at NIC is our connections to community organizations that provide these kinds of unique and wonderful opportunities for our students,” said Harrison. 

“Being able to do fieldwork in your first and second year isn’t something you would get the chance to do at a big institution. And it’s very rewarding as an instructor to watch my students work in the field and apply their skills.”

Biology student Matthew Orlowski jumped at the chance to get involved with the project.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity,” he said. “It’s so hands-on and it really gives a deeper understanding of it, being in the field and actually doing the work.”

Fellow student Jaewon Kim said being able to help out with important research has been a great experience.

“You can see the importance of the science their doing,” he said. “To be in the lab at school and doing experiments is great, but when you can do something that you know is making a difference, and you can see the difference – it’s quite rewarding.”

Orlowski and Kim are joined by Livia Hosegrove, Christian Synder, Angela Mitchell William Lu, Jasmin Urdahl, Mubarak Salim and Courtney Charnell. Along with being in the field to gather samples, students are helping with analyzing the samples and collecting data.

 Project Watershed has also been able to use NIC’s lab spaces to examine the samples.

To learn more about the Comox Valley Project Watershed, click here.