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Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Sask Polytech helps with oil spill clean up

Real-world experience and problem solving will benefit students in the classroom 


After 250,000 litres of crude oil and other material leaked into the North Saskatchewan River in July, the whole province, with consultants and experts from across Canada joined together to lend their expertise. One of those experts was Saskatchewan Polytechnic's School of Natural Resources and Built Environment aquatics instructor, Darcy Lightle.

"As an environmental consultant, I can contribute to spill response efforts and restoration work," says Lightle. "This experience will be something I take back to the classroom as a case study."

Lightle says that while he was taking water samples on the North Saskatchewan River, he was thinking about how this real-world experience will benefit students.

"We teach them the steps needed to perform safe and effective water sampling during events like an oil spill, from basic field techniques such as boating safety, to collecting water using field equipment and labelling sample bottles," says Lightle. "This is an event students will know about and can relate to, which will hopefully enhance their learning."

Lightle looks forward to working alongside more than a few of his past students.

"One of the best things we do at Sask Polytech is prepare students to be ready to do this kind of work," says Lightle. "Practical aspects of the Natural Resources and Built Environment program give them the experience to work alongside other environmental professionals and respond with confidence to environmental problems such as an oil spill."

"We are happy to contribute when we can," says Jamie Hilts, dean of the School of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing as well as the school of Natural Resources and Built Environment. "We pride ourselves on maintaining close working relationships with industry leaders and we work to be a part of the environmental resources community within Saskatchewan."

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