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Student Feature: Sahil Singh

May 11, 2022

Meet Sahil Singh, a student majoring in Environmental Science, Water Science concentration. Last summer Sahil applied his skills and knowledge in a real-world opportunity as a blue carbon research assistant working with Nature Bank and local first nations communities trying to estimate the amount of carbon stored by kelp beds into surrounding sediments. He came back with a new exciting experience in the field, as well as some great photos! 

WHAT INTERESTS YOU TO THE FIELD OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE?

"I believe that this is a valuable area of study with the ongoing changes that are occurring within our planet. I have always been active in the outdoors, I enjoy what nature has to offer, and believe future generations deserve to experience the same."

WHAT IS BLUE CARBON?

"Blue carbon is the carbon stored and sequestered in the soil/plants of coastal habitats. Kelp, mangroves, and salt marshes are what compose these habitats that remove CO2 from the atmosphere. These ecosystems act as carbon sinks, which is any entity that absorbs more carbon molecules than it releases. This stored carbon is known as blue carbon."

DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH EXPERIENCE AT NATURE BANK AS A FIELD SAMPLER AND WORKING WITH LOCAL FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES.

"I was unaware of how important this research was for the first nation communities, as blue carbon is not heavily researched and is a new area of study for many. Blue carbon can be translated to carbon credits, a way of putting a monetary value on the environment. When speaking with Doug Neasloss, the Stewardship Director of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation, he expressed how greatly he believes in what carbon credits can offer to their community and other organizations.

I as well learned that sampling work does not always go as expected. Many trials were needed to get a few sediment samples at each site. This was due to the coring device hitting rock at the ocean floor, the device not fully closing to create suction for the sample to be extracted, or the motor operating the winch failing. With team effort and multiple attempts we managed to successfully obtain an adequate number of samples."

ANY STORIES OR ANECDOTES FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE?

"When visiting the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais first nation community of Klemtu, my colleague and I were invited to attend a tombstone settlement feast that was previously postponed due to COVID the following year. This was my first time experiencing the culture firsthand. It was interesting to see the dancing and cultural practices that are carried out when a member of the community passes. Everyone in the community is kind-hearted and always willing to give back. The best gift I received was an art piece created by one of the locals of Klemtu."

Tombstone Settlement Feast
A gift art piece created by Jeff Robinson
Processing sample behind the truck to be sent to the lab.
Boat used when working with the guardians
The Stewardship Authority Office building where he stayed
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