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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Congrats! Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute Gold Star Construction Program receives Partner Award from Kawartha Conservation

Kawartha Lakes Mums Congratulates LCVI Gold Star Construction Program!

Congratulations to Jeff Droppo and the LCVI Gold Star Construction Program. This just in from Kawartha Conservation:
There couldn’t have been a better way to wrap up a 30 year teaching career for Jeff Droppo. His last session with students coincided with Kawartha Conservation’s AGM on January 22, where he and his team of students received the Partner Award for their central role in building a 250 meter long boardwalk in Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area (PRHCA), located southwest of Highway 35 and 7A in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

For the past 7 years, Mr. Droppo has served as the Head of Business Technology at the Gold Star Construction Program and as an instructor at Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI). From May to November 2013, he and a team of LCVI students put more than 2,500 hours of work toward the construction of the boardwalk, which has also received support from the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
The old boardwalk, built in 1988 to connect the west and east trail loops, was removed in 2012 with the support of the Ministry of Natural Resources Stewardship Rangers. From prefabricating panels and drilling holes, to putting the finishing touches on the boardwalk, Mr. Droppo supervised all stages of student involvement. A team of 10 to 12 students began work in May 2013. After the summer break, another group of 8 to10 students picked up where the first group had left off and put the finishing touches on the boardwalk in November.
Shane Walden is a grade 12 student at LCVI who was among those engaged from the start on this project. He described the experience as remarkable and quite meaningful.
Lookout added to the boardwalk, giving a view of the Provincially Significant Wetland in Pigeon River Headwaters Conservation Area.
 “It was a lot of hard work and I learned a lot,” he said. He recalled that being able to put the last screws in the boardwalk gave him great pleasure and sense of fulfillment, having given something back to the community. 
 For grade 11 student, Ryan Vonk, the best take-away was that he learned the best and most efficient ways to construct this type of structure.
 Mr. Droppo recalled this project, basically in the middle of nowhere, presented a great challenge. The project, being a remote site, posed logistical challenges for the team. Making sure to have all of the tools packed before setting off to the site for a day’s work was essential.
 “There is no electric power out there. You either have to work with a generator or battery operated tools. If you forgot something, that was it for the day,” he said. 
 Only once did they forget a tool. Racing against time was another challenge. As November snow set in, the team got to the end of their schedule with the top rail still 100 feet short of being finished.
 “I told the students that we were done with what we were asked to do, but that we could work another 3 to 4 days to complete the top rail,” he recalled. “Everyone in the team was in support of finishing it.”
 In the end, everyone received well-deserved course credit, leaving Mr. Droppo impressed with how the team took ownership of the project. As he gets ready for his retirement, Mr. Droppo sees the award from Kawartha Conservation as validation of what he has accomplished with the program over the past 7 years.
 “The completion of the project is a win-win for everyone. Kawartha Conservation needed community assistance to complete a project of this magnitude, and we were able to come together and do the work in a way that benefited the students. So it worked both ways,” he said, hoping that people will start enjoying the boardwalk when it officially opens in the spring. 
 LCVI Gold Star Program receives Kawartha Conservation’s Partner Award during its AGM on Jan. 22. From left to right: Colin Willemsen; Dylan Upton; Shane Walden; Cooper Ellis-Trent; Ryan Vonk; David Shipway; Jordan Moreau; Jeffrey Droppo, Instructor, LCVI; Heather Stauble, Director, Kawartha Conservation; Talon Carlin; and Nick Russell
 Shane and Ryan said that they planned to visit the boardwalk in the future, and hope that it lasts forever. Neither was thrilled to see Mr. Droppo retire.
 “It’s sad. Mr. Droppo is such a great instructor and we gained a lot of hands-on experience,” said Ryan. “He was great! His skills and experience will definitely be missed very much here at the LCVI,” added Shane. 
 A total of five awards were presented on Jan. 22. For more about each of the 2014 Environmental Recognition Award recipients, visit http://adf.ly/4009826/kawartha-conservation-awards

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