Growing up Megan Kobitzsch always had a love of the outdoors, but she didn’t really connect that interest to a career direction until her mom suggested it.
“As a kid, my mom would watch how I interacted in the outdoors during our many camping trips, but I myself wasn’t aware,” says Megan. As she wrestled with the question of what to do after graduation, her mom suggested she look into Cap’s Outdoor Recreation Management program.
Like many people, however, Megan took a few years off after high school working odd jobs, travelling and figuring out her next steps.
What eventually drew her to the Outdoor Recreation program was the broad set of skills that every student leaves with. “A lot of programs out there are very specific, I wanted skills that would enable me to do marketing and financial planning, as well as become a guide and Cap’s program has all that,” Megan says.
But because of this wide skill-set, Megan believes that you have to figure out for yourself what the program will give you, and for her, that means not being afraid to jump on opportunities. That’s exactly how she ended up in her current role as facility coordinator for Metro Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR). It all started in 2008 when she got hired on as a volunteer in the LCSR during the program. She grew up in Lynn Valley and knew that that’s where she wanted to develop her career.
“You have to be that first person to volunteer to help out and be willing to do anything,” she says of how she got her start. In the next few months, she would pull invasive plants in the watershed area, mostly Japanese knotweed.
She’s gone from short 4-6 month contracts with the LSCR to starting a 12-month contract as a facility coordinator for the LSCR. In her roles, she has done everything from facility maintenance and various environmental tasks in the Watershed to communicating with external agencies and interacting with the public. “It’s a great fit. I like to put my nose into everything and here I get trained to do so many different types of jobs.” She’s done chainsaw training, small vessel operator training and taken countless courses on tree types, to name just a few.
Megan admits to having been a little bit nervous about going back to school but soon discovered that she fit right in amongst other like-minded outdoorsy people. Looking back, the trips the students took together are what stand out. They touched her profoundly—even the rainy ones. “We went on a trip to Garibaldi Lake and it poured the entire time but our instructors somehow managed to make the rain not matter,” she says.
But what was her most memorable trip? A nine-day kayaking trip to Clayoquot sound – her first time experiencing the rugged West Coast. “When you experience something like that, it gives you a different outlook on life and, to me, that’s the real outlook on life. It makes you calm in the real world.”
Submitted by Marketing & Communications