Water - a resource that we often take for granted in Canada but one that requires a great deal of knowledge and infrastructure to manage. Conestoga's Environmental Engineering Applications and Environmental Civil Engineering Technology students get firsthand experience working with industry professionals and the latest tools and technologies thanks to generous support from companies like Aardvark Drilling Limited of Guelph.
Aardvark has been donating equipment, materials and labour for installation of groundwater monitoring wells and collection of soil cores since 2000. These wells are also used by students to map groundwater contours and flow direction, measure in situ hydraulic conductivity values, and collect groundwater samples using industry-accepted methods. To date, a network of twenty wells have been installed on the Doon and Cambridge campuses.
"Part of our mandate is to give back to the community and assist in the development of Ontario's youth," explains Darren Juneau, CEO of Aardvark. "In addition to donation of tools and materials, our owners, management and staff also contribute their time. Conestoga affords us the opportunity to have direct interaction with future entrepreneurs, managers, workers and policy makers that will directly affect our industry, which is particularly rewarding to our staff and management team."
Students agree that the hands-on experience is an incredibly valuable one. Student Dave Drago notes "Aardvark Drilling provided us with exposure to hollow stem auger drilling and monitoring well installation while evaluating the geological condition of the soils and location of water table. It's been a huge benefit to my academic resume and field experience."
Projects like this are critical to students' experiences as they head into the field of environmental engineering. David Farrish, Program Coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Applications Post Graduate Program recognizes the direct impact of these partnerships and support from industry. "Environmental drilling is an integral part of assessing contaminated sites for soil and groundwater contamination. Many of our students work for consultants conducting these environmental site assessments."
For Aardvark Drilling, the relationship goes beyond just a donation but really is a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with Conestoga. "Our interaction with the College doesn't stop with our donation and volunteer time. We also encourage staff to continue their education through courses at the College, I am involved personally as a part-time faculty member, and we hire graduates. It's a great partnership on so many levels."