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Meet the interns and community mentors, both current and past, who have worked with Water First. Click on an individual for a brief biography.

Alex Cartagena

Alex Cartagena

Position: Sheshegwaning First Nation
Categories: Interns

For Alex, the Water First Internship is a ticket out of chronic underemployment and unemployment, he hopes, and it’s work that he likes. “I enjoy learning formulas, and how to use equipment,” he said.

Alex has obtained his Water Quality Analyst and his Operator-In-Training, he is currently working part-time at the Sheshegwaning water treatment plant.

Alex Cartagena

Alex Cartagena

Sheshegwaning First Nation
Alex Nahwegahbow

Alex Nahwegahbow

Position: Whitefish River First Nation
Categories: Interns

Alex Nahwegahbow obtained his Operator-In-Training certification and Water Quality Analyst certification, two goals that he set out at the start of the internship. “This is a great opportunity,” he said. “I like this work, and it’s a good job to get into.”

Armed with his OIT, WQA, and the knowledge and experience gained during the Internship, Alex is currently working as an OIT for the Ontario Clean Water Agency in Espanola ON.

Alex Nahwegahbow

Alex Nahwegahbow

Whitefish River First Nation
Amy Waboose

Amy Waboose

Position: Whitefish River First Nation
Categories: Interns

“A lot of people are oblivious about the water,” says Amy Waboose. “But for our culture, water is life. It’s important, and I try to teach my son the same.”

Amy is now working full-time at the Whitefish River First Nation Water Treatment plant as an Operator-in-Training and Water Quality Analyst. She also maintains her strong connection to water by sitting as a youth representative on the Whitefish River Source Water Protection Committee.

Amy Waboose

Amy Waboose

Whitefish River First Nation

Bella McLeod

Position: Nipissing First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I feel like this Water First opportunity came at such a perfect time in my life. I was at a crossroads with what to do after college and I found myself at a desk job I was not happy with. I had seen the job posting that my mother sent me on Facebook, and that was that day I sent in my 2 week notice to finance department. On my last day I got word that I was offered the internship!“

My relationship with water has always been strong. Women are the water carriers. I have a passion to protect our water and environment for the future 7 generations ahead of us.

I want to learn as much as I can during this internship about safe drinking water and environmental protection for my community and all First Nations on Turtle Island. I can see myself in the future travelling to all First Nations and assisting with land and water monitoring and partake in projects for a sustainable future for all.”

Bella McLeod

Nipissing First Nation
Cassidy Beaudin

Cassidy Beaudin

Position: M'Chigeeng First Nation
Categories: Interns

An avid outdoorsman, Cassidy Beaudin is keen to turn his Water First Internship experience into a job as a treatment plant operator. “Water is the key to life, I’ve always known how important it is,” he said. “And I really like being part of making clean water.”

After graduating high school last year, Cassidy completed one semester of the Environmental Technician program at Canadore College but found the course wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. He returned to the Island, spent some time working construction, and applied to the Water First Internship as soon as he found out about it. “It’s a good career,” he said. “My uncle is a water treatment plant operator in North Bay.”

Cassidy has taken to the everyday tasks that are part of the job, from sampling to tapping into water lines to cleaning out holding tanks, and he sees a future for himself in the field.

Cassidy obtained his Operator-In-Training certification for both water and wastewater treatment as well as his Water Quality Analyst through the Internship.

Cassidy Beaudin

Cassidy Beaudin

M'Chigeeng First Nation
Chelsea Debassige

Chelsea Debassige

Position: Zhiibaahaasing First Nation
Categories: Interns

The Water First Internship has given Chelsea a chance to work in her home community (the most remote on Manitoulin Island).

Chelsea is currently the project coordinator for Swim Drink Fish Canada in her home community, a position she wouldn’t have been able to obtain without the experience she gained during the internship. For that reason, she believes the Water First Internship model will transfer well to other First Nations communities, especially those even more remote than Zhiibaahaasing.

Chelsea Debassige

Chelsea Debassige

Zhiibaahaasing First Nation
Chris Wemwigwans

Chris Wemigwans

Position: Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I wanna make sure that my children & grandchildren have healthy water if that means that I have to track it to the source that that’s what I will do.”

Chris saw the Water First Internship as a chance to learn valuable skills and lay the groundwork for a career in his home community. Chris was hired by Aundeck Omni Kaning (AOK) after the internship and is now working as an OIT at the local water treatment plant.

Initially overwhelmed at the amount of information involved in testing water, twelve weeks in Chris started to feel comfortable with the work. “It’s really great to get so much hands-on experience,” he said. “For me, hands-on is so much easier to learn.”

“I like it because it’s environmentally based,” he said. “As I’m getting older I’m starting to think about the generations that are coming. This is important work.”

Chris Wemwigwans

Chris Wemigwans

Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation

Davidson Clarke

Position: Shoal Lake 39 First Nation
Categories: Interns

“The internship has been amazing. It’s been eye-opening, to say the least. A lot of people don’t think of water as they should; they take it for granted. The environmental side of it is what I was most excited about. 

I had my second kid right before ELC (Entry-Level Course) started. Working in the community and starting a career has really helped me feel like I’m doing what’s right for my family, my community and myself.” 

Davidson graduated from the Internship Program with his Small Systems, ELC and OIT (Operator-in-Training) certifications. Listen to Davidson’s reflection on the Internship Program here.

Davidson Clarke

Shoal Lake 39 First Nation

Destiny Geroux

Position: Shawanaga First Nation
Categories: Interns

“Before joining the Internship Program, I was working at a fish hatchery and with the Species-at-Risk Program, which involved a lot of wildlife training and surveys on aquatic animals and reptiles. I also like to play guitar and game!

Water in Shawanaga First Nation hasn’t had any problems with its quality, but more with quantity: we don’t have enough water supply to be able to safely do the flushing. If there is a wildfire, it is really unfortunate because there isn’t much we can do.

Water First staff have been incredibly understandable – not like how my teachers in high school said that the workplace was going to be. I feel like I am learning more from Water First than I did at my actual school; I feel like they are really taking the time to understand the interns. After graduating from the Internship Program, I’m hoping to land a position at the new plant and be able to help out my community.”

Destiny Geroux

Shawanaga First Nation
Water First Intern: Dyami Tuskin

Dyami Tuskin

Position: Shawanaga First Nation
Categories: Interns

Before Dyami started the Internship Program, he didn’t know a whole lot about water quality. Dyami was working as a mechanic, but was searching for other meaningful work. After being sent the Internship job posting from the Shawanaga First Nation HR Manager, he decided to apply.

“At first, I was just doing this for myself but then realized that providing clean water to the community is one of the most important things someone could do for the community.”

After graduating from the Internship, Dyami hopes to pursue a career in the water or wastewater service field. 

“My favourite thing about the Internship is that I am in a career that myself, nor anybody, had thought I would be in.”

Water First Intern: Dyami Tuskin

Dyami Tuskin

Shawanaga First Nation
Eric Vautour

Eric Vautour

Position: Sheguindah First Nation
Categories: Interns

Now a graduate from the Water First Intern program, Eric splits his time between the water plant and working on environmental projects like his communities source water protection plan.

Eric explains, “This Internship has taught me more about the situation of clean water in our province. I didn’t know how many First Nations communities were without clean water. I really want to change that in the next few years.”

During the Internship, Eric has enjoyed learning about a variety of drinking water systems in Manitoulin’s other six First Nations communities, as well as gaining more in-depth knowledge about water quality testing.

Eric Vautour

Eric Vautour

Sheguindah First Nation
Water First Intern: Harmony Restoule

Harmony Restoule

Position: Dokis First Nation
Categories: Interns

“Knowing my role as an Anishinaabek woman and protector of water has been a driving force to making the most of this program. Knowing that I am helping to provide clean drinkable water to my family and community, while other First Nations continue to struggle, is a humbling experience. [I am doing this] for my kids. I know the connection I, as a mother, have with water: water surrounded and protected my babies while they came from the spirit world into this one. I owe a lot to the gifts of water. This is my little part to help protect Nibi.

The program has been monumental in allowing me to explore the world of water operations. The hands-on experience with skilled Operators and other experts in the field, the training opportunities, and just the chance to try something new. It has opened my eyes from thinking it was simply testing and reading values but understanding the relationship of the water to everything around it.

Outside of the Internship, I enjoy revitalizing our traditional crafts and experimenting with new mediums and techniques. I love to work with birch bark. It has so many incredibly useful properties to our people.”

Water First Intern: Harmony Restoule

Harmony Restoule

Dokis First Nation
Hunter Edison

Hunter Edison

Position: Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation
Categories: Interns

Prior to joining the internship, Hunter was a millwright with Kenora Forest Products.

Hunter enjoys working in the Water Treatment Plant and has an extensive understanding of the work required to provide clean water to his community. From adjusting chlorine residuals to troubleshooting and planning. Hunter is excited to become a certified operator and continue to provide clean water to his community.

Hunter Edison

Hunter Edison

Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

Isaiah Tabobondung

Position: Wasauksing First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I grew up with family in the water treatment field and always really enjoyed what they were doing. I saw the job posting in the band newsletter and jumped on the amazing opportunity to pursue a career as an operator.

I live on an island and we do lots of swimming, canoeing, and spending lots of time on and around the water. In 2012 when I was in Grade 6, my class went on a field trip to the water plant. I knew very little about the water before being a part of Water First, but since then, I’ve always wanted to work in the water treatment plant. The few things I did know about water quality were just helping do a few in the field tests with the band office.

I am doing this for myself, to better my own knowledge, and to help my community or other communities that struggle to have clean drinking water. I am doing this to help preserve our First Nation brothers and sisters.

I have truly loved my experience with the Water First Internship Program. I have enjoyed being able to learn how to take care of the water and how to help others understand why we treat the water. I also enjoy every in-person training weeks; they are always a blast with good memories!”

Isaiah Tabobondung

Wasauksing First Nation
Water First Intern: Ivan Polchinski

Ivan Polchinski

Position: Kebaowek First Nation
Categories: Interns

Before starting the restoration project, Ivan was working with Land Management at Kebaowek First Nation in various forestry-related jobs. As the mentor of the group, Ivan shared extensive knowledge about the traditional lands and waterways surrounding the community.

He said that he applied for the mentor position because it gave him the opportunity to work with other people and to learn about different aspects of restoration from the biologist and Water First staff. “I have fished my whole life on Lake Kipawa but I never knew how vulnerable the fish are.” Ivan appreciates the knowledge that he has gained about walleye, their habitat, and restoration techniques during the project.

Ivan hopes that he can continue providing knowledge and guidance to youth in the community. “Knowledge is the key, learning from each other and getting the knowledge out there can help the fisheries for the future. I love the fact that the youth in school are being taught about environmental stewardship and restoration through the Water First education workshops.”

Water First Intern: Ivan Polchinski

Ivan Polchinski

Kebaowek First Nation

Jamie Lee Parenteau

Position: Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation
Categories: Interns

Jamie Lee has enjoyed the Water First Internship and learning about the important role this position has in the community. Following the Water First Internship, she is interested in championing the need for clean water and water treatment operators in First Nations communities.

“The only time people think about where their water comes from is when they can’t drink it. They don’t realize people are working 24 hours a day, testing daily, weekly, monthly to make sure the water is good.”

Jamie Lee Parenteau

Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation
Jeremy Redsky

Jeremy Redsky

Position: Shoal Lake 40 First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I am in this program because I thought it would be interesting, and also my community has been under a boil water advisory for a really long time. It has affected my community in a way where we were promised for a long time by the government.

I am doing this for my family and for my community to make a career out of this and pursue a good job and live a meaningful and healthy life.”

Jeremy Redsky

Jeremy Redsky

Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

Justice Chartrand-McDonald

Position: Washagamis Bay First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I started this course knowing nothing but water coming out of the tap but started to take water more seriously as I learned.

In the past, water was never drinkable in my life. The pipes were old; you can’t even water plants or anything without draining the water tanks and the pumphouse. But now our reserve has a water facility plant, new pipelines, bigger water volume, and most important to me, the water is finally safe to drink. I love to see changes in my community and that’s why I’m not going anytime soon.

Why is water important? At first, water was just water to me, but I was taught that water was important to us as First Nations to protect it. Water is life, without water there is no life. And not just for us, but for the animals as well, because we do not own the water, we just use the water and protect their water.”

Justice Chartrand-McDonald

Washagamis Bay First Nation
Water First Intern: Kacie McLaren

Kacie McLaren

Position: Kebaowek First Nation
Categories: Interns

Kacie is an Algonquin from Kebaowek First Nation. She has an Environmental Technician diploma from Canadore College. She heard about the fish habitat restoration project from her dad and decided to apply because as an environmentalist she is passionate about protecting mother nature. “The earth is what brings everyone together, it keeps us connected. We will not have a society if we continue to destroy the environment. We are a part of the earth, and the earth is a part of us.”

Kacie enjoyed working on the restoration project because she was able to implement the theory and tools that she learned in school while learning about walleye habitat and how to restore and protect it. She said that the knowledge gained has helped her understand the impact road construction and other forestry activities can have on the watershed and water quality.

In the future, Kacie wants to engage with community members to bring awareness and show that the youth care. Youth want to fix the damage from the past and make the Land start healing again. “It is extremely important for me to protect our traditional rights and lands. There was a time when we didn’t need all of these resources to survive. I know that times have drastically changed, but I am a firm believer that we can live in balance with contemporary times.”

Water First Intern: Kacie McLaren

Kacie McLaren

Kebaowek First Nation

Kennedy Dokis

Position: Dokis First Nation
Categories: Interns

“Before starting the Water First Internship Program, I was working at the school in Dokis and spending my time outdoors, going on adventures, watching movies, playing video games and hanging out with my cousins. I saw the posting on Facebook and thought that I should give it a shot. I also wanted to help the local water treatment plant operator, as she is the only one working there, and it can be pretty hard to do everything by yourself. 

My relationship with water is pretty good, in my opinion. I love everything about it – how it moves, what it can do to things, and just how different looking it can be. We haven’t experienced water challenges in a while; once, we had diesel leak into our water plant we had to go get water bottles to hand out to the community every week so that everyone is good and safe.

I’m doing this for my shoomis (grandfather). He always taught how to treat the water and what it can do to help with traditional teachings. Water is one of the most important things that was taught to us when we were younger. He passed away in April of 2020, and his native name was ‘the water that comes back’.

I’ve learned a lot about how the water works, and how to control everything in the water plant. If anything goes wrong I know what to do and who to call. After graduating from the program, I am hoping i’ll be able to work here at the water plant in Dokis or find a water plant somewhere in town or far away. Just see where life takes me, one step at a time.”

Kennedy Dokis

Dokis First Nation
Lawrence Mameanskum

Lawrence Mameanskum

Position: Naskapi Nation
Categories: Interns

“I started working with Water First because I want to gain more knowledge about restoration and water quality analysis,” shares Lawrence.

Lawrence is a Water First Environmental Intern from Kawawachikamach. He has been working on water quality and restoration projects for Naskapi Nation in partnership with Water First. Last summer he was involved in fish populations assessments in Attikamagen Lake. “This lake is very important to my community as it is part of our traditional fishing and hunting territory.”

Lawrence is a Canadian Ranger taking on rescues in the north. He is trained and knowledgeable about the land, which has been helpful for the team. He has a love for fishing and this past winter was asked to hunt caribou for the community.

Lawrence is interested in balancing traditional knowledge with western science and conservation. “ I liked using the scientific equipment and enjoyed learning new techniques during my first field season with Water First.” With the teachings from his grandfather, he is able to bridge both worlds for his community. “I hope I can share my experiences and knowledge with the younger generation and teach them about the restoration and conservation of our land.”

Lawrence Mameanskum

Lawrence Mameanskum

Naskapi Nation

Lori Corbiere

Position: Wahnapitae First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I wanted to join Water First because I needed a change in my life where I feel I can help not only the environment, but my community and surrounding communities as well. We all need to start taking different measures to start taking care of Shkagamik-kwe, not only for us but for our future generations.

My relationship with water is life: we all need water in order to live a happy and healthy life. In our First Nation, we all have wells and sand points. Although we have clean water, it is a bit challenging to keep track of everyone to maintain clean water to each household. Before I started this internship, I did not know how much. We need a water treatment plant here to make easier to monitor water going to each household. Clean water is deserved to everyone in our community.

I am having a great time in this program, and being able work with these different tools and instruments to make sure our water and environment stays safe and clean is interesting to me. I love our in-class moments and out-of-town training. I like the fact that we can see how other communities work and keep there water and environment clean and sustainable for their communities.”

Lori Corbiere

Wahnapitae First Nation
Water First Intern: McKaylii Jawbone

McKaylii Jawbone

Position: Kebaowek First Nation
Categories: Interns

McKaylii has a diploma from the Environmental Technology program. She read about Water First’s fish habitat restoration project in the Kebaowek newsletter during her last semester at Canadore college.

With her passion for Environmental Stewardship, she spearheaded a community celebration event where community members met everyone involved in the project, and the interns shared their knowledge and success stories about the restoration work they are proud of.

“Not only did we want to make a difference in the Kipawa Lake fishery, but we also wanted to learn about our land and all the ways we can help preserve the ecosystem, and through this project, we were able to accomplish that and much more.”

Mckaylii believes that Water First’s approach of hiring and training locally is important. She says that the knowledge and experience she gained during the restoration project has helped her understand what it takes to run a project like this, and has made her better at her job in the Land Management office. She hopes to help with future restoration work and to keep other restoration projects going in the community.

Water First Intern: McKaylii Jawbone

McKaylii Jawbone

Kebaowek First Nation
Naomi Mandamin

Naomi Mandamin

Position: Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory
Categories: Interns

Naomi was born in Sudbury and moved to Wiikwemkoong when she was in Grade 5. As a result, she says with a smile, “I’m not a bush person, I’m a city girl.” She has been fascinated with science for as long as she can remember. “I’ve always wanted to work in a lab,” she says.

The scope of Water First’s training – from testing for chlorine, hardness, alkalinity, and turbidity to microbiological analysis and surface water sampling – is right up Naomi’s alley. Naomi is now working as the Environmental Coordinator for UCCMM.

Naomi Mandamin

Naomi Mandamin

Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory
Nathan Copenace

Nathan Copenace

Position: Washagamis Bay First Nation
Categories: Interns

Passionate and dedicated, Nathan is from Washagamis Bay First Nation. “The Water First program was first brought up to me by my father. He emailed the flyer and talked about how this is a good opportunity, not just career-wise but for the whole community. I didn’t know anything about our water situation until this opportunity came about and presented itself. It made me look deeper and try to understand what a water treatment operator does.

The community has never had clean drinking water since I was born, so I never really questioned it. After some looking into it, I found out why it was so important to understand what a water treatment plant operator is. They don’t just make clean water but water for emergencies like fires. They also understand the plant to a point where they know how much water they have before they run out. There is a lot they do to understand the water in order to treat and inform the surrounding communities if there is a possible danger in the water source. This program really opened my eyes to what it means to be a water treatment operator.”

Nathan Copenace

Nathan Copenace

Washagamis Bay First Nation
Water First Intern: Nathan Pamajewon

Nathan Pamajewon

Position: Shawanaga First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I enjoy being out on the land. It gives me inspiration towards making music and drawing. I also like fishing, hunting, and gathering medicine. I’m proud of where I come from and the lands and resources that our land has to offer for us.

Before starting the Internship, I was in a Level 1 carpenter apprenticeship and was just finishing that up. Thinking about my future, I was all over the map when it came to what I wanted to do, and this opportunity just fit my personality much more. I love the environment and our people, and being able to provide safe drinking water to my community really hit my heart.

I’ve always been around the water growing up. It was something I felt I had a direct connection with. At first, I only knew a bit about water; I didn’t think that there was so much behind it, but I’m glad I learned the process and how to take pride in your work and keeping everyone safe. My inspiration was to be one of the men that provided care and respect for water as an Indigenous individual; alongside our women was even better. Water Warriors from both genders protecting that lifeline was a big thing to be involved with.

I am doing this for our people water is life, and I consider this to be an honour to keep it protected for now and the future. I want to take every step to becoming a successful Indigenous warrior in this line of work, and inspire the Indigenous youth to see the importance when it comes to water.

I believe this to be a career for myself, and I’ve enjoyed all of the experience so far, that I have been given the chance to obtain greater things in life. I want to see our community grow and become the best it can be. Provide the best and safe drinking water for my community or another community that’s not mine. Sky’s the limit.”

Water First Intern: Nathan Pamajewon

Nathan Pamajewon

Shawanaga First Nation

Nick Chapman

Position: Temagami First Nation
Categories: Interns

“I wanted to join Water First because I love the environment. My dream was to become a Conservation Officer, and before graduation, I was given this opportunity by one of my sister’s friends. In my perspective, I thought that learning to become a water treatment operator was pretty close to my dream and that this would give me more time to decide on my future.

I’m mostly doing this for myself; I wanted to prove to myself that anything is possible if I try hard enough, prove that I am smart enough and I can put in the initiative.

I am in love with this program. The knowledge I have been given is a blessing, I would have to say that our in-person study sessions are my favorite part of the program. Especially when we went to Killarney and we got to go test the river, we used D-nets and kick nets to find benthic macroinvertebrates (ex. Stonefly Larva or Midge Larva (Bloodworm)). Definitely have to say my most favorite memories are there.”

Nick Chapman

Temagami First Nation
Photo of Noah Mokoush

Noah Mokoush

Position: Naskapi Nation
Categories: Interns

Over the years, Noah has been inspired to take on community education projects. Everything from local concerns about stray dogs to diabetes studies and environmental projects. He shows his care through his work. “I like helping people and I’m very passionate about the land, our culture, and the people.”

Noah is a Water First Environmental Intern. He has been involved in a contaminant sampling program for heavy metals and fish population studies in Kawawachikamach. “I want the community to feel secure and show them that it’s okay to fish, but we have to be careful. I want to help the community make better choices.”

His role as a community translator of traditional Naskapi has been helpful with the recent Water First food frequency questionnaire. Interns are collecting data on fish consumption and possible health risks due to heavy metals. “This will help us make more informed decisions about our diet,” Noah explains.

With a great sense of humour and a strong interest in learning, Noah has enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other Water First Interns. After attending a Water First workshop in Quebec City last fall, Noah shared, “I like that there were also people from different First Nation communities. They had different obstacles than us, but we got to learn and exchange ideas with them. I hope it will help to keep improving our restoration work.”

 

Photo of Noah Mokoush

Noah Mokoush

Naskapi Nation
Paige Manitowabi

Paige Manitowabi

Position: Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory
Categories: Interns

Paige is excited to take what she’s learning as a Water First intern and combine it with her growing interest in traditional Anishinaabe ways. That mix of knowledge, she thinks, could be the key to solving a lot of issues. “It’s new knowledge – I’m learning a lot,” she said of the water quality training.

Paige is currently working as the environmental field technician at Wahnapitae First Nation. She is also attending Laurentian University part-time, pursuing a degree in Restoration Ecology.

Paige Manitowabi

Paige Manitowabi

Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory

Paul E. Recollet (and Sasha)

Position: Wahnapitae First Nation
Categories: Interns

I was enrolled in an online solar installation and maintenance program delivered through Gezhtoojig before starting the Internship. Honestly, I didn’t think much about this area of work, but the posting was brought to my attention a day before closing. With my past environmental-related training experiences, I figured this was the next progression in gaining more skills that are transferable.

Water is all our lives – it’s what sustains all living things on mother earth. My community is surrounded by big industry, ie. forestry, mining and the like. Those industries along with many others impact the quality of our water and our ability in the future to sustain our communities. I believe it’s our duty and way of life to ensure that we protect life, for our present and our future generations.

There are so many opportunities this program has opened my eyes to. I believe with my previous Indigenous environmental keepers training, the solar program training, past life/career experiences, and with Water First’s water quality and operator training portions of this particular program have given me the opportunity to further advance the people within my territory to become self sustaining and keepers of the land.

I’m never too old to learn new things – spoken from a man without a plan.

Paul E. Recollet (and Sasha)

Wahnapitae First Nation

Spencer Welling

Position: Wasauksing First Nation
Categories: Interns

“It felt like the Internship Program was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I knew that this program would help me start a career where I feel like I would be making a difference. When I went to the Water First website and started to understand what the organization was doing, I felt like I had to apply and be a part of the program.

I enjoy water immensely, I’d say I have a strong relationship with water. My community did experience water challenges when I was growing up. We were told the well at my house was not good for drinking. I think that it was like that for most wells in my community. This was certainly a challenge that led me to work with Water First. I knew next to nothing about water treatment, but did know a tiny bit about what kinda water you want to drink from if you ever find yourself lost in the woods.

I’m doing this for myself, my family, and my community. It’s important to know how things are done, and gives you a better appreciation for it. It’s a good career to have, which I’m sure would ease my parents minds knowing that. It also feels good knowing that my community will have a local water treatment operator at the plant to at least a couple decades. I’d like to get a Level 3 certification for water treatment, I do see this as a career for me. I’d like to increase my math skills and learn more about chemistry.”

Spencer Welling

Wasauksing First Nation