Welcome to Conservation Champions, a new series, introducing you to the staff of Kawartha Conservation who work to protect the people, property and environment within the Kawartha watershed.
Kawartha Conservation balances environmental capacity and human need, while managing natural resource features that are essential for sustaining water quality and quantity, through watershed planning, stewardship, environmental monitoring and research, and management of conservation and natural areas.
Our programs and services are focused within the natural boundaries of the Kawartha watershed, which extend from Lake Scugog in the southwest and Pigeon Lake in the east, to Balsam Lake in the northwest and Crystal Lake in the northeast – a total of 2,563 square kilometres.
Today, we introduce you to Manager of Technical Services, Dave Pridham.
Name: Dave Pridham
Title: Manager of Technical Services
Years at Kawartha Conservation: 10 Years
Q: What is you education background?
A: I graduated from Fleming College in 1972 from the Fish and Wildlife Program. I also attended Laurentian University, Sault Ste. Marie campus, partially through a history and geography BA program.
I am an associate member of the Ontario Professional Foresters’ Association and a provincially Certified Tree Marker.
Over the years I have taken many other resource, people and project management workshops of one type or another.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: The main thing is that I believe in what we’re doing. Secondly, I work with great people – committed, professional, and very good at what they do.
Lastly, I came here with a mostly forest management background. However, for the last ten plus years I’ve worked with scientists specialising in one aspect or another of water, lake or aquatic habitat management. The learning curve has been immense and extremely gratifying.
Q: Why does what you do matter?
A: Water is extremely important to everyone and too much taken for granted. Too many people do not understand how fragile and finite our water resources are.
Q: What advice would you give others who are interested in a similar position as yours?
A: Once you have an idea of what career path (or paths) you wish to consider, find someone who does that and you can talk to. Make an appointment for a time when you each have an hour or so to talk. Go prepared – have questions and write down answers. Ask if you can speak with this person again sometime.
Finding the right school is important. It doesn’t need to be a long way from your community for it to be the right fit.
Put some effort into your courses and think about which electives will be most relevant.
On the job experience is very important. You will likely have to work at two or more seasonal or contract positions before you will be successful at achieving a permanent position. Work hard and commit to being an excellent team worker - employment references can make or break a career.
Put a lot of work into any resume and job application you submit – the review of that document will be your first interview, although you won’t be there. It will tell a recruiter much more about you than you think.
I will end with a quote from Robert Fulford. “Choosing your work is one great task of youth. Begin by imagining the pleasures and dangers on the road ahead. Ask yourself, will the work challenge me? You’ll be happy, and make those around you happy, if your work pleases you and you enjoy its demands.”