Bears thriving a decade after rescue by NB Power employees
November 24 2021, 11:06 AM
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
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.”
National Tradesperson Day
September 17 2021, 13:21 PM
The third Friday of September is recognized as National Tradesperson Day to celebrate the important contributions of skilled trades workers across the country.
From our carpenters to our millwrights, and our electricians to our welders, skilled trades play a key role in providing safe and reliable energy to New Brunswickers.
We’d like to introduce you to Chad Crawford, a Mechanical Maintainer on the NB Power team.
Born and raised in the Moncton area, Chad says he was a very hands-on child, always taking things apart and trying to rebuild them.
His high school shop teacher recognized his passion and skill, recommending the Industrial Mechanic program at the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) after graduation. Chad completed the program and worked his way through apprenticeships and testing to achieve his Red Seal, referred to by many as his ticket.
Staying in his home province was always a goal, so Chad was excited to accept a full-time position at the Coleson Cove Generating Station in 2015.
As the Lead Hand for the Unit 2 turbine system, Chad is responsible for repairs and maintenance on one of the three 350 megawatt units located just outside of Saint John.
“The team at Coleson Cove is fantastic,” Chad says. “I like that every day there’s a new challenge – and I never back away from an opportunity to learn more. The first couple of years in this role were about learning the systems in the plant and now I’m able to specialize my skills a bit.”
As the father of two young children, Chad values NB Power’s strong workplace safety culture.
“Safety at NB Power job sites is unlike anything else I’ve seen,” he said. “We have the tools, resources and knowledge to keep everyone safe – it’s up to each of us to own our personal safety and look out for one another. I feel confident knowing that if I encounter a safety issue, it will be fixed before anyone is in harm’s way. That gives me peace of mind that I’ll make it home each day to my wife and kids.”
Chad is proud to represent skilled trades at NB Power and suggests that more young people explore a career in the trades.
“I’ve always said if you get a trade, it stays with you your whole life,” he said. “There is tremendous earning potential and so many opportunities to do meaningful and challenging work right here in New Brunswick. The need for skilled tradespeople keeps growing. I highly encourage students to learn more about the great programs offered at NBCC. You might just end up in your dream job.”
National Lineworker Appreciation Day
July 9 2021, 10:00 AM
Did you know that July 10 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day? In 2019, utilities and organizations across Canada united in celebration for the first-ever Lineworker Appreciation Day.
Lineworkers are heroes in our books. These dedicated men and women are part of communities in every corner of New Brunswick. They work hard to keep customers connected, often facing challenging conditions and safety hazards. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve continued to provide safe and reliable service for our customers.
To celebrate National Lineworker Appreciation Day, we’d like to introduce you to Tyler Messer, an apprentice lineworker in the St. Stephen area.
Tyler grew up a proud “country boy” in the village of McAdam. As a high school student, he wasn’t sure what type of career he’d like to pursue. That all changed in 2014, when post-tropical storm Arthur battered the Maritimes and caused about 150,000 customers to lose power in New Brunswick – including his community.
“I always knew that I wanted a hands-on job that allowed me to work outside,” Tyler said. “I saw lineworkers in my town cleaning up from the storm and rebuilding powerlines, I thought – wow, I would love to do that.”
Tyler’s final semester of high school included a co-op placement with NB Power at the St. Stephen District Office. He spent one day per week in the field with a crew, getting to see first-hand what the job was all about. It didn’t take long for him to decide that he wanted to be a lineworker, too.
After graduating from McAdam High School, he enrolled in the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) Powerline Technician program. This education involves both classroom and on-the-job training prior to graduation, and a phased block approach leading to a Red Seal designation.
Tyler was hired by NB Power as an apprentice in 2020, around the time the pandemic began. Once it was safe to do so, he did his orientation and started working with the St. Stephen team. For the past year, Tyler has been working alongside senior, experienced lineworkers. Throughout his education and work experience, safety has always been the main focus.
“The work itself is complex and very physical,” said Tyler. “It requires teamwork, problem-solving and thinking outside the box. But safety is by far the most important factor. Nothing matters than keeping everyone safe – our customers, co-workers and myself.”
Tyler says the variety of what the job entails makes every day an adventure. Helping with large-scale outages and storm response is especially rewarding.
“This is not a 9-5 job. You need to able to put your life on pause to help others,” he said. “Driving on back roads at 2 AM in winter conditions, looking out for moose and bears is a whole other experience. We never know what we’re going to be up against, but that’s what makes it so rewarding. The pride you feel when you get a customer’s power back on, it’s a rush!”
Tyler is currently working to obtain enough hours for his third block, which will involve more classroom training and testing, followed by his application for a Red Seal Certificate. He attributes the success of his first year at NB Power to his mentors and colleagues.
“The folks I get to work with are out of this world,” said Tyler. “They have been so welcoming and helpful and are always willing to answer my questions and coach me. They’re instilling in me the habits and values to have a long and safe career. Being such a close-knit group, they’re also very supportive beyond work matters, with advice on things like buying my first house. It’s a good feeling knowing they’ve got my back and are rooting for me to succeed.”
The kindness and appreciation customers show Tyler and his team inspire him to be the best he can be.
“I love chatting with people when we’re working around their home or business. Understanding the impact our work can have on their lives is what keeps me going. The icing on the cake is seeing my little niece jump up and down with pride to see ‘Uncle Tyler’ in the big truck,” he said. “There’s no better feeling than driving through my hometown, knowing I’m there to help my friends and neighbours.”
Be smart and safe this long weekend!
May 19 2021, 10:00 AM
For many New Brunswickers, the Victoria Day weekend means it’s time to enjoy the outdoors and finally tackle the long checklist of things to do around the house, yard or cottage. Whether you are just headed out to do a little work in the garden or are off to take on more ambitious outdoor projects, it’s important to keep safety top of mind. Most of us think that we know enough about electricity to stay safe. After all, we are surrounded by it and use it everyday. However, each year people are injured and millions of dollars in property damage are caused by electrical hazards that could have been avoided.
This weekend, follow the tips below to help protect you, your family and your home from harm;
Working around power lines:
Look up! Check the surrounding area to ensure that you will not accidentally come in contact with overhead power lines. Remember minimum safe distances of approach:
- Up to 750 volts - 0.9 metres (3 feet)
- 750 to 100 kilovolts - 3.6 metres (12 feet)
- 101 to 250 kv - 5.2 metres (17 feet)
- 251 to 345 kv - 6.1 metres (20 feet)
Look down! Some power lines are buried as little as one foot underground. Don't take a chance. Be sure you know where power lines are located before digging to install a fence, plant a tree or dig holes.
To ensure you have all the information you need before starting your project, call NB Power at 1 800 663-6272. We can:
- Mark underground lines
- De-energize and insulate overhead lines
- Raise overhead lines
- Provide warning signs for hazardous areas
Planning on using some tools this weekend? Make sure you do it safely.
- If you haven’t used your electric tools all winter, inspect them for damage to cords, plugs and wiring. If required, take the tool to a qualified professional for repair.
- Protect yourself from injury. Turn the electric tool off, unplug it and put it in the “lock” position when carrying or connecting attachments such as mower baskets or saw blades.
- When working outdoors, use only weather-resistant heavy gauge extension cords marked “for outdoor use.” These weather resistant cords have added safeguards designed to withstand the outdoor environment.
- Never leave electric tools unattended where children or other unqualified adults can misuse them.
NB Power always advises leaving tree trimming to the professionals, particularly when the tree and its limbs are anywhere near a power line.
But if you do plan to do some trimming, here are some safety reminders:
- Make sure your ladder or pole doesn’t come within the safe minimum distance to a power line – it doesn’t even have to touch the line, if electrical arcing occurs, you could still be in danger.
- Use fiberglass ladders outdoors; metal or wooden ladders can conduct electricity.
- Do not climb with tools in your hands and be sure to wear safety equipment at all times.
- Do not trim trees in dangerous weather conditions.
Be smart, be safe, stay out of danger!