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Monday, 30 May 2016 10:01

Local High School students lend a helping hand to nature lovers

An aging wildlife viewing platform at Fleetwood Creek Natural Area was replaced and upgraded with accessibility features this spring with the help of the Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI) Gold Star Construction Program. The platform provides a commanding view of a unique 900 acre forest located on the Oak Ridges Moraine. In its ninth year, the Gold Star Program provides students with first-hand opportunities to apply their construction skills on real job sites. Students in this program, through the support of community partners, complete their credits for a semester while building a variety of construction projects. Following the program, LCVI often hears back from students who have gone on to be successful in trade apprenticeships such as carpenter, plumber, and electrician.

Beginning in early April, eight students from LCVI along with their Instructor, began construction of a new wildlife viewing platform at Fleetwood Creek Natural Area. The Natural Area, which we manage, is located near Bethany and is a popular destination for hiking and wildlife viewing. The viewing platform took the students less than a month to complete, and the results are quite impressive.

“The Gold Star program has been of tremendous assistance to us over the years”, says Rob Messervey, CAO of Kawartha Conservation. “The students provide quality and cost effective service, with a quick turn-around time, and we find them to be very professional and highly skilled. The new viewing deck at Fleetwood Creek will provide visitors to the Area with the opportunity to safely observe the scenic views for many years to come and is a great example of the value that the program brings to the community”.

The Fleetwood Creek viewing deck isn’t the first project Gold Star students have worked on with us.  In 2013, they built a new boardwalk at Pigeon Rivers Headwaters Conservation Area, and in 2014, new information kiosks at Durham East Cross Forest Conservation Area. These contributions facilitate the ability of local residents to step into nature and experience a variety of recreational activities, and the associated health benefits of spending active time outdoors.

“What’s great about this program is that it takes the classroom into the community, and allows students to interact with real clients on real projects with deadlines and expectations”, says Richard Lucas, Head of Business and Technology at LCVI and Gold Star Construction Program Instructor. "Each year we see the students develop authentic skills and improve their ability to work as a team as the semester progresses. We try to develop strong, community minded character, lifelong skills, as well as explore possible career directions. I’m always very proud of my students when I see their confidence build as they mature into young adults.”

We encourage community members to visit Fleetwood Creek, check out the new viewing platform, and admire the hard work of the Gold Star students. The Area is free to visit, and open to the public May-October from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  For more information and directions to the Area, visit our Fleetwood Creek webpage

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