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Sunday, 5 May 2013

SLM Grad Student Jake Skinner's Field Experience as a Community Researcher on the Pender Islands

Hello y'all,

This is my first field experience share, to my fellow classmates, faculty, employer and the engaged public. As part of our   program we are required to gain out-of-academia experience in the field which we one day hope to work in. I have the privilege to share that as part of this experience I am being contractually employed by the corporation, which I wished to work for post-graduation, the CRD. The CRD is arguably one of the most innovative municipality districts in Canada and is at the forefront of sustainable transportation, parks and recreation.There engagement in creating a culture of quality of life services/facilities attracts and retains visitors and residents alike.

The story of how this all came to be is rooted in chance opportunities  Our first class field trip took us to the Penders Islands where we met with local organizational heads to discuss sustainability challenges and opportunities. I was moved by what I heard from the CRD's Southern Gulf Islands Economic Development Commission (EDC for short), specifically it's director Mr. David Howe and the director of the newly formed ŦELÁṈET Centre for Innovation and Peace, Derek Masselink. Based off of a responsive report I wrote about the Pender Islands transportation challenges and opportunities  I was contacted by Mr. Howe to discuss working together on future projects. The first project was re-focusing my thesis on the Pender Islands' primary transportation issue, the ferries. To assist in this process  Mr. Masselink has been an invaluable supporter, as my thesis co-supervisor.

Back to this internship, Mr. Masselink encouraged me to apply for a communal developer position on the Pender Islands, which would be completing three mini-projects. Although I was hired for the position, our project was nixed due to funding shortfalls. However, Mr. Howe was grateful enough to harness CRD funds to employee me to complete the communal innovatory project.

I am only two weeks into the project but basically the goal is to inventory resident's perceptions and desires of quality of life amenities, for programming purposes and also to inventory the Penders' human talent, so that economic development can draw on the Islands' internal strengths.

I am being guided by a brilliant supervisor, Mamie Hutt-Temoana, who is a part-time Pender resident and the CEO of Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC. Together we are in the preliminary stages of the project, which is entailing a grand literature review of communal research reports and methodological techniques.

This is an exciting time for the Penders', which I am super amped and grateful to be involved in. This is my first sharing post and I will have two more following. Probably one after the stakeholder engagement process and another after the data has been collected. Thank you to all of those who keep believing in me and throwing opportunities my way :)
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