Water First Internship Donor Update September 2020

Interns and instructors in February 2020.

This summer, the Bimose intern team expanded! The Internship program grew from 11 to 16 interns from 11 communities.

At the beginning of July, this second group of interns started the program with online delivery. In August, they started work placements in their water treatment plants. They are working alongside interns that joined the program earlier in the year. Hands on learning and integrated mentorship in the treatment plants creates a unique experience for Water First interns.

Jamie Lee Parenteau, Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation

Meet some of the latest interns to join the team

Jonas Esquega

Wabigoon Lake First Nation

Concerned about nuclear waste stored underground in his area. He wants to learn how water works and how to keep it safe.

Greg Kent

Wabaseemoong First Nation

Motivated. Engaged. Loves fishing.

Kim Greene

Shoal Lake 39 First Nation

Wants to learn about water and help communities.

Access to technology can be a barrier to learning and participating.

That’s why we recently sent a wireless internet router to the Shoal Lake 39 Water Treatment Plant. Now, three interns have access to the internet at the plant to keep up with their studies.

Since the router was sent, all three have completed the Small Water Systems Certification that was delivered online.

[I'm] learning a lot of things I didn't know about - water source protection and everything that goes with it. [Water First is] teaching a lot of things that a community needs for clean water.

Nathan Copenance, Washagamis Bay First Nation

Thank you Water First and Bimose for putting this program together for us. Thanks for always checking up on me for quizzes and making sure I’m doing my work. I need that kind of motivation in my life.

Jeremy Ledoux, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Weekly assignment packages ready to be mailed out.
Water Resources Specialist, Ryan Osman, hosting an online tutorial on June 18, 2020.

Online tutorials have become the norm for interns as Water First instructors support and mentor from afar.

We have asked for and received a Letter of Invitation from the communities where we plan to visit for August and September, recognizing that there is continued risk, but that we will work together to travel and train as safely as possible, following established precautions and protocols.

Jen Atkinson, Director of Operations, Water First

With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted it was essential to communicate about safety protocols with our partners at Bimose Tribal Council. We were very excited to be invited to travel to Kenora with clear social distancing and hygiene measures in place. The joy and excitement of the team to be able to meet with the interns face to face was immense. Walkerton Clean Water Center delivered the second week of Entry Level Course training and certification exam in August to the entire group.

Waiting patiently to enter the training facilities.
Interns participating in the Entry Level Certification program.

A second certification that the Internship program prepares the interns to take is the Operator in Training (OIT) certification exam. Passing this exam is mandatory to become an OIT.

The exam has been set for the end of September. The interns are deep into their studies and preparations for this important milestone of the Water First Internship program.