My favourite part of the day is when people stop me and ask me what I’m doing. – Emily Piggott, lake conservation summer student
By Kate Watson
If you happen to be walking around Dartmouth’s Oathill Lake this summer, you may spy a young woman hard at work uprooting invasive plant species or on the water taking samples.
Her name is Emily Piggott, and she’s a recent StFX Chemistry grad and soon-to-be Masters in Environmental Engineering student at Carleton. She’s been hired as a summer student for the Oathill Lake Conservation Society in partnership with the Youth Conservation Corps at the Clean Foundation, and she hopes you’ll stop and say hello.
“For the past two summers, I worked in a chemistry lab,” she explains. “I found that I really enjoyed research, but it was hard being cooped up in a space without windows.
“This job has me outside, interacting with people, and I love that.”
A good part of Piggott’s workday is spent working to rid the area surrounding the lake of three invasive species: Multiflora Rose, Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed. These plants spread so aggressively that they threaten to choke out the indigenous plants around them. Since they’re very difficult to eradicate, Piggott tags their location using GPS after she removes them so that the growth can be monitored from year to year.
Another component of Piggott’s job is monitoring the oxygen levels, salinity and general water quality of the lake. OLCS is working diligently to bring the lake back to a healthy state, and the bi-weekly monitoring allows the progress to be measured and charted. (Read more about Oathill Lake’s road to recovery here.)
Piggott has also completed an inventory of all the drains (more than 100!) that flow into the Oathill Lake stormwater catchment area, and is continuing the marking program that alerts people not to dump anything into the drains.
“I’ve lived in this community for my most of my life and grew up swimming, canoeing and skating on the lake, and biking around it, too,” says Piggott with a smile.
“There are are so many people who are invested in this beautiful place. I feel lucky to work here.”
Join the Oathill Lake Conservation Society Facebook page for weekly updates.