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Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees

November 24 2021, 11:06 AM

Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees

Lucy and Desi live a pretty comfortable life at the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton. The black bear siblings have a great enclosure and a steady source of food served to them daily. Like the other animals at the zoo, they receive great care from a dedicated team of professionals.

They lucked out.

Ten years ago, a terrible hunting incident led to deaths of their mother and sibling. The tiny cubs were stuck on top of a power line structure in Allardville, terrified and clinging to safety.

On April 10, 2011, NB Power received a call from the Department of Natural Resources, asking for help rescuing the cubs. Line workers James Doucet and Bruce White (who has since retired) jumped into action.

James still works in the Bathurst area as a Lead Powerline Technician and vividly remembers that day.

“Bruce and I were on call that weekend,” he said. “We sure weren’t expecting to be part of a rescue mission! We drove to the location and realized we needed a bigger truck. We came back with a double bucket truck and went up to help the bears. The cub that had been hanging on was easy to keep hold of as she melted into Bruce’s arms. The other one was a bit more feisty and harder to get down to safety!”

The Department of Natural Resources transported the cubs to the Magnetic Hill Zoo to be with a team of animal care professionals.

Tiffany Bateman is an Animal Care Supervisor at the zoo. She was part of the team that helped with the cubs when they arrived a decade ago.

“When I first saw them, Lucy and Desi were about the size of a loaf of bread,” she said. “It was an incredible experience to bottle feed the cubs and see them gain strength and grow into adolescent bears. They were curious, mischievous and adorable.”

As they grew into toddlers, the bears also became incredibly messy.

“We’d blend up a mix of baby food, puppy chow, cottage cheese and other items into a slurry,” said Tiffany. “In those early months, feeding time was like watching human toddlers eat spaghetti with their hands!”

The newest zoo residents received a lot of attention, and many families came to see them in an indoor enclosure for an up-close experience.

Lucy and Desi adapted well to the zoo environment and transitioned into an outdoor bear enclosure the next year. There they met 18-year-old bear Gary, who was happy to have the youngsters around.

“He was a great friend and teacher to the cubs and their energy gave him a new lease on life,” said Tiffany. “Sadly, Gary passed away last summer. Now Lucy is the dominant one – she definitely makes it known that she’s in charge. Desi is more playful and curious.”

In case you’re wondering, Lucy and Desi don’t hibernate like bears in the wild. They have different diets depending on the time of year and are quieter and chubbier during the winter months. This means they’re often visible during winter zoo visits.

Next time you visit the Magnetic Hill Zoo, be sure to say hi to Lucy and Desi for us!

 


From left; Lucy, Gary and Desi.

Co-op Placements a Win-Win

November 17 2021, 11:25 AM

Co-op Placements a Win-Win

For Massan Dopegno, NB Power is an opportunity to put what she’s learning at Université De Moncton (U de M) into action.

The third-year Computer Science student started her first eight-month Co-op term with our Digital Technology team on May 3, 2021.

Massan is from Togo, a country in West Africa. She began her post-secondary studies in Togo and realized that she wanted to study abroad. After researching her options as an international student, she chose U de M and travelled to Canada for the first time, arriving in the dead of winter in 2019.

“Arriving in a new place where I knew no one was a big adjustment, and then on top of that it was -15 C, something I hadn’t felt before,” says Massan. “But New Brunswick is great – I really like it here. I’ve found people here very enthusiastic and open minded to learn about my culture and share their own. From day one, I’ve felt welcomed by New Brunswickers, my U de M community and NB Power."

To be eligible for a Co-op term at NB Power, students must be enrolled in Co-op programs at post-secondary institutions. This means that their education alternates between academic studies and periods of paid job experience to enhance their overall learning.

Massan takes direction from Gino Arseneau, Senior IT Specialist, who has worked at NB Power for 30 years. Gino’s group is responsible for the development and support of applications such as e-Forms, Timesheet and off-the-shelf applications like PeopleSoft and SAP.

Gino says the partnership with post-secondary institutions is mutually beneficial. He is currently leading four Co-op employees from U de M and UNB: Massan, Cody Dunnett, Nick Trask and Nicole Duplessis. They are primarily focused on custom application development using Microsoft Visual Studio.

“I love working with students – they are full of energy and so eager to learn,” says Gino. “We see them bringing new ideas to the table every day. They are so engaged because we’re giving them a chance to gain practical experience that links to their theoretical learning in school. A positive Co-op term enhances the student’s overall education by also providing experience with how businesses operate and the social aspect of a real workplace.”

For Gino’s team, there’s a mix of simple and complex work to find that sweet spot between keeping students engaged but not overloaded. For many, it’s their first chance to work in both development (creation and testing) and production (live, in use) environments.

“I really love when a colleague comes to us with an issue and we get to go solve it,” said Massan. “Gino sets the direction, but doesn’t give us the solution, and he’s there if we get stuck. But we really get a chance to stand on our own. It’s been an amazing experience to be treated as a peer and have my opinions and expertise respected.”

The most common Co-op placements at NB Power involve Power Engineering, Business Administration, Digital Technology and Engineering.

Carole Volpe, Senior Manager, Careers & Resourcing, says that Co-op placements with universities and colleges allow NB Power to connect with future employees while meeting business needs.

“The ultimate goal is that we’ll capture the attention of these students so they’ll want to work at NB Power after graduation,” said Carole. “We see it all the time – the next-level caliber of job candidates who participated in Co-op programs. It might take longer to complete your program, but the hands-on experience is invaluable.”

Massan is very happy with her decision to go through a Co-op program. She can already see how she’ll have an edge when it comes to job hunting after graduation.

“Even in just a few months, my confidence in my abilities has grown,” said Massan. “Not to mention that moving to Fredericton and starting this role is helping me improve my English and network in new ways. I am so thankful for this opportunity and know it is setting me up for success with the rest of my program when I return to school this winter.”

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