September 2021's Featured Agrologist is Kim Cimini, PAg, Peace River (District 2)!
What are your areas of practice? What is your expertise?
I have worked as a private-sector environmental consultant in northeast BC for most of my career, while also exploring opportunities in the public service and the oil and gas industry. I have a nerdy passion for soil classification and have also spent a lot of time building my skills in boreal forest vegetation ID, wetland and stream classification, and deciphering provincial legislation and guidelines. As I continue to learn, I love to coach growing professionals on the science of fieldwork and the art of composing a strong technical report.
My areas of practice are:
- Soil and land conservation, reclamation planning and management
- Vegetation identification, assessment, and management
- Wetland and riparian area evaluation, conservation planning and management
Why did you choose the career in which you are currently?
As a kid, when dreaming about careers, I never knew that work in the environmental sector was even an option; I just wanted to be outside. I stumbled across a college program in Land and Resource Management in the local newspaper and, after digging a soil pit in the first week to see the various structures, textures, and horizons, I was hooked! I’m forever working to improve my knowledge of the ecosystems around us and learning the “mysteries” of the natural world we live in. This career is fantastic, as it enables me to explore the forests and fields of the north while also helping to reduce or revert the impacts of industrial development on the landscape.
What do you do in a typical workday or week?
When not distracting my colleagues, you’ll often find me coordinating the week’s work, tracking project progress, writing and/or reviewing technical reports, and chatting with local community members, First Nations, and local governments about the ongoing work and projects we’re completing.
Describe a challenge encountered in your career, and how you resolved it.
A lot of the field assessments we complete as environmental consultants are both fun and physical, taking us to remote locations under all weather conditions. At times this can include camp and hotel stays; trudging through mud, snow, and mosquitoes; and heaps of overtime. This was exciting as a junior and intermediate field staff member with few ties, but I eventually reached a point where I needed more work/life balance and to be a bit kinder to my body. I thought this would require a career change, so I explored a few opportunities outside of consulting. However, I missed the connection to the natural world and having the opportunity to be immersed in what I had studied at school. I’ve since returned to consulting and have been able to achieve the needed balance by managing programs and projects from the office and working with an enthusiastic and highly collaborative team. And when I need a blast of fresh air, I’m still able to wiggle my way into a field day with the crews.
Please share some favourite bonus "perks" and/or experiences from your career.
- Getting paid to drive/quad/hike in beautiful parts of the region seen by very few others;
- Catching wonders of the night sky while on the job, including the most incredible northern lights displays, a meteor shower, and a lunar eclipse;
- Stumbling across rare and uncommon plant species;
- Discovering the regional edible and medicinal plants;
- Hiking with First Nations Elders and seeing the landscape through their eyes;
- Learning how to dress and pack a lunch for soil surveys at -40C;
- “Dancing” with a momma wolf and her pups i.e. ensuring they didn’t eat the summer student and me!;
- Working with an exciting and diverse group of professionals that include agrologists, biologists, geologists, engineers, archaeologists, and foresters, and learning from their varied perspectives and experiences.