Hear what former ABMI field technologists have to say about their experiences monitoring Alberta’s biodiversity across the province.
Myrthe Van Brempt
Current Position: Biologist for environmental consultancies and research institutes.
ABMI Summer Field Technologist Experience: One season, Ecosystem Health (Aquatic)
Last summer, I had the opportunity of to work with the ABMI as a field tech and expand my field skills while travelling all over the province of Alberta. As a recently graduated biologist from Belgium, I was seeking to get more experience in field work abroad. The ABMI was the perfect match for me. I got to learn plenty of new valuable skills including compass navigation, quad safety, ecosite classification, and diverse environmental sampling techniques, all while working with a team of wonderful people. As a European, I was amazed by the variety of landscapes and wilderness Alberta is home to and felt privileged to be able to study its biodiversity for work. Field days were often long and hard work carrying field gear around, but also satisfying and memorable with sometimes breathtaking views, fun quad rides or helicopter access to remote places. Every day brought a new adventure, a new experience or life lesson, and unforgettable moments I am very grateful for.
This job is perfect for you if you like outdoor physical work, want to learn more about biodiversity monitoring on a large scale, and are looking to learn a bunch of new skills!
Current Position: Recent BSc of Environmental Science graduate from the University of Calgary
ABMI Summer Field Technologist Experience: 1 season, Ecosystem Health (Aquatic)
“I had the opportunity to work with ABMI as a field tech during the 2023 field season. Throughout this experience, I received exceptional training in quad operation, boating, wildlife safety, and environmental sampling.
Having lived in Alberta my entire life, working with ABMI deepened my appreciation for the stunning landscapes of this province. The field season provided me with unique moments, from exploring remote wetlands in the north via helicopter to engaging in heartfelt conversations with passionate farmers in the south. ABMI allowed me to discover hidden corners of Alberta that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. What made these adventures even more memorable was the camaraderie among the field techs, who remain close friends of mine.
Some days were filled with thrilling quad rides and breathtaking scenery, while others involved navigating challenges like not getting the truck stuck in the mud or close bear encounters. However, each day brought new lessons and experiences for which I am sincerely grateful.”
Current Position: Ecology Technician in environmental consulting
ABMI Summer Field Technologist Experience: 2 seasons, Ecosystem Health (Aquatic)
“I participated in two field seasons with the ABMI, which brought me to see a wide variety of Albertan landscapes. I've always been a fan of wetlands, whether they're marshes, swamps, fens or bogs. They provide us with such ecological services that I feel privileged to study them through a scientific lens with work. Being from Quebec, the field seasons with ABMI allowed me to learn a great diversity of new plant species with the help of skilled botanists. One of the strongest assets of the program is the quality of teaching around field skills, especially from the field coordinators. The Field Tech position is a great job if you're looking to navigate some epic terrain, gain or polish some skills and meet a bunch of awesome folks that will nerd with you about nature!”
Current Position: Field Technologist at Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute
ABMI Summer Field Technologist Experience: 2 seasons, Ecosystem Health (Terrestrial Plant Tech)
“ABMI has been such a fun and exciting work opportunity, dare I say a nature lover’s “dream job” in the environmental field :) Over my past two field seasons I have seen so many parts of the province from the mountains in Grande Cache, the grasslands in Brooks, the foothills in Hinton and the boreal in Fort Vermillion. Exploring so many eco-regions and collecting data on moss/lichen, vascular plants, trees and soils has been a super educational and interesting experience while learning how to work in the field. Another fun little part of the job was accessing our sites via trucks, quads or helicopters and then hiking into site where you often get to see some neat areas along the way. There are a lot of moments in this job that make you feel shocked that you are getting paid to hike and look at plants which many of us do for fun on our days off as well. While there can be some tough field days where the entire day feels like you’re walking uphill, it’s raining, and you’re soaked; the work we do is really rewarding and I have made lots of sweet memories. I have met some of the most wonderful folks working here and seen so many cool areas that I would have never been to otherwise. Two great ABMI summers in the books and counting!!!”
Current position: Student of Environmental Management at Lakehead University
ABMI Summer field technologist experience: 2 seasons, Oil Sands Monitoring & Ecosystem Health (Terrestrial)
“Working with ABMI has given me the opportunity to see a wide variety of different ecosystems in Alberta while developing my field skills. Being from South- Western Ontario I hadn’t seen much of Alberta before working for ABMI. Now, through work, I have climbed mountains in the south, in June hiked
through deep snow in the west and flown in helicopters in the remote north. ABMI expanded my abilities by training me on plant identification, quadding, game-camera setup/retrieval, and many other skills. In 2021, I was stationed at the Oil Sands Monitoring (OSM) base where I got to work with and meet amazing people from across Canada. During this time, we worked in the oil-sands area near industrial activities, such as pipelines and wells, while getting the chance to work in remote areas where I gained a lot of confidence.
I was also fortunate enough to have the chance to work at the Ecosystem Health base at the end of the 2021 field season and in 2022. Ecosystem Health had different protocols which focused on different aspects of the environment to measure biodiversity and characteristics of the sites we visited. These protocols included moss and lichen collection, soil samples, tree surveys, and ecosite classification which helped me become more comfortable with data collection in the field. The experiences I gained as well as the bonds I shared with my coworkers created some really great memories of working at ABMI.”
Current position: Student of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at Laval University, Quebec City
ABMI Summer field technologist experience: 1 season, Ecosystem Health (Terrestrial)
“One of the things I valued the most about ABMI is their scientific rigor. Quality of data collection is essential, and they ensure that each measurement is of the highest quality. This gave importance and meaning to my work in the field. The sentence I probably said the most was "I can't believe that I'm working right now". That was easy to say from a 2000 m altitude mountain or while I was doing some thrilling quadding. Bonus, it's as if ABMI was a magnet to the most awesome people you can work with. I can sum up my experience in three words: Wilderness, friendship and knowledge.”
Current position: Research Assistant, Applied Conservation Ecology Lab, University of Alberta
ABMI Summer field technologist experience: 4 seasons, North Terrestrial
"Working with the ABMI as a summer technologist was one of my best working experiences. I had done previous field jobs, but with this position, I was able to really develop my field skills and learn new ones. The field methods I learned at ABMI, such as field navigation, plot measurements, ecosite classification, and forest stand measurements, are widely applicable skills for any future work. I was able to expand on and develop my vascular plant identification skills, which is an extremely valuable skill to have. These experiences have helped me considerably in my current job as a research assistant, as I am responsible for designing and conducting my own field research, as well as assisting my colleagues’ with their research and field work.
And of course, in addition to the great learning experience, working as a summer field tech for the ABMI was the most fun job I’ve ever had! I flew in a helicopter for the first time, learned the best ways to get my quad unstuck, worked in remote places where few people had ever gone, swam in lakes high on the Canadian shield that were only accessible by helicopter, and saw species I’d never seen before. I formed lasting friendships with field partners and other technicians, and formed a network of peers and supervisors that actually helped me find work outside of the ABMI.
I would happily recommend this position with the ABMI to anyone looking for a great way to spend their summer, exploring remote areas of Alberta, building valuable field skills, and working with a great group of people!"