Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Luanne Patterson

Grad Class of 2000

CN's Pacific Division encompasses thousands of miles of trackage in Alberta and British Columbia, traversing a wide variety of ecosystems and often following the valleys of major rivers. In the course of its day to day operations, the railway frequently encounters potential environmental impacts that must be addressed, including such diverse issues as construction in fish-bearing streams, wildlife-train collisions, re-vegetation of disturbed sites, control of sedimentation, management of beaver-related water problems, and proper management of hazardous substances. When CN's Environment department was looking for help in managing these diverse environmental issues, it recognized a need for a person with an equally diverse academic background, such as that provided by the Natural Resource Sciences program at UCC.

Beginning with co-op terms, my early assignments for CN Environment involved completing Environmental Impact Assessments and monitoring engineering projects in BC. Upon graduation, I was hired as Environmental Protection Officer for the Pacific Division. My role has expanded to incorporate such tasks as managing re-vegetation and habitat projects, auditing the environmental performance of the railway's own operations and its contractors, expanding CN Environment's Geographic Information System, obtaining regulatory approvals required for major engineering projects, and liaison with such agencies as Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC and Alberta Environment and various environmental organizations and committees.

The Natural Resource Science program at UCC provided me with essential knowledge of such diverse topics as vegetation, wildlife, fisheries, soils, range, and GIS, but more importantly, I came away with the ability to 'pull it all together' into an understanding of their inter-relationships in the environment.

Luanne Patterson