Passion for environment inspires pathway in education
With family ties to the industry and a love for time spent outdoors, a career in environmental reclamation was a natural fit for Tahnee Darmanin.
Now a biologist consultant with Terra Sano Environmental Consulting, Darmanin’s interest in the field began as a young girl visiting job sites where her family-owned water well drilling and soil sampling drilling company was working. She looked up to the environmental consultants onsite, admiring how well respected and knowledgeable they were and dreaming to one day to follow in their footsteps.
As a solo mother to two boys, it was important for Darmanin to serve as a positive role model by returning to school. Darmanin’s journey at Medicine Hat College (MHC) began as a mature student in Adult Beginner Education where she successfully completed grades 7 to 12 before enrolling in the Environmental Reclamation Technician Program, now titled Environmental Biology and Reclamation Technology (EBRT) as of Fall 2023.
“As a teenager, I dropped out of school in grade eight, so going back at age 30 to complete junior high, high school, and then college really showed my kids perseverance and that it’s never too late to become a 'somebody' and pursue your passions,” explains Darmanin.
Being a hometown student, attending MHC was a logical choice, however Darmanin says she would have relocated to attend the college regardless.
“The course load at MHC is more comprehensive compared to other colleges offering similar environmental programs; they focus more on grass species, which is rare. The sense of community and friendship at MHC is next to none and aside from the wealth of knowledge I received, the instructors were my favourite part. They treat you as an equal and really want nothing more than to see you succeed.
“I loved the sense of community and the cultural diversity at the college. I met many people from different countries and became friends with them. Without MHC, I would have never been given that opportunity. It's a comfortable place to just be yourself. Everyone is from a different walk of life, yet we are all there to reach the same goals.”
For Darmanin, a day in the life of her current career includes consulting meetings, attending abandoned well sites and reclaimed leases to assess the soil and vegetation, collecting samples for testing, and comparing onsite sample plots to offsite controls.
Just two and a half years after graduation, Darmanin is soon to achieve her ultimate goal of starting her own consulting company and being her own boss.
When asked how her studies at MHC prepared her for her career, Darmanin says that the EBRT program gave her the skills and knowledge she needed to be successful in her profession.
“I can adequately assess the topography of the land and I know what kind of soils, vegetation species, and how much water will be in the area at just a glance. I would highly recommend this program to others who are considering pursuing a similar career path, specifically focusing on the Vegetation Taxonomy and soil classification aspect of the program. They may be the most challenging part of your education, but they are highly sought after in your career.
“This program benefits you not only in your professional life, but also in your daily life and how you interact with the land around you. You will see stories in the landscape that only you can read, and what better way to spend your life, making money while enjoying the wilderness,” reflects Darmanin.
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