Outdoorsy From the Get-Go: Envirothon revealed Christine Leduc’s career path
Posted: September 1, 2020
By Augusta Lipscombe
Ontario Envirothon helps prepare students for post-secondary education and careers in the environmental sciences, in addition to refining interpersonal and teamwork skills. Christine Leduc became an Envirothon regional champion in 2005, representing Elmwood School in Ottawa. Fifteen years later, she’s part of a leading Canadian forest products company.
What is your current job?
I joined EACOM almost five years ago. At first, I worked out of the corporate office on government, community and stakeholder relations. Now, based in Val d’Or more than 500 kilometres northwest of Montreal, I support the Quebec forestry team by harmonising with other forest users and maintaining our (ISO/FSC/SFI) certification program. I am also particularly proud of my involvement with EACOM’s Progressive Aboriginal Relations program. And I sit on the board of Forests Ontario.
Forestry is a science, but it is also about reaching a balance between different human interests. It’s about relationship-building and collaborating with many different stakeholders, and it’s not always easy but that’s what makes it so stimulating. Canada is a forest nation but not necessarily a forest culture, so we have to work extra hard to raise awareness of the resource.
How did you become interested in the environment?
Growing up in Ottawa, I had access to wonderful nature like Gatineau Park. My family often went camping, so I have great memories of portaging, building fires, and fishing with my dad. I spent my summers in outdoor camps, from mountain biking to out-tripping. One summer I went on a 26-day canoe trip. I thought I was very tanned, but when I got home and showered, I realized I was just dirty!
Can you tell me about your Envirothon experience?
In 2005, my team from Elmwood won the Regional Championship. It was held outdoors, and I had so much fun racing through the different Envirothon stations with my group, as well as getting to know other groups.
What Envirothon skills do you still use today?
Teamwork! Envirothon really teaches the lesson that one individual cannot do as well as a team. It encourages constructive feedback and support both within and between teams.
When did you serve as an Envirothon judge?
I’m always happy to volunteer with Forests Ontario initiatives, such as Forestry in the Classroom and Forestry Connects. In 2014 and 2015, I had the opportunity to judge Envirothon. You could really see how much the students had prepared for the event, and how deeply they cared.
What do you think students gain from participating in Envirothon?
Students become inspired to further pursue the study of science in the natural environment. The exposure and collaboration facilitated by Envirothon is becoming more and more valuable as the environmental sector becomes increasingly interdisciplinary.
Can you describe your career journey?
After graduating from the University of Toronto with a Master of Forest Conservation, I worked at Queen’s Park as a Policy Advisor for the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. In 2014, I moved to the private sector to work in a policy and communications role for a forestry trade association. A year later, I joined EACOM. I moved to our head office in Montreal in a public affairs function. It has been a pleasure to work with the team covering our nine manufacturing facilities in Quebec and Ontario.
Now I have transitioned into a forestry role at EACOM. It’s good sometimes to close a door and open a new one. Envirothon teaches kids to be open-minded, curious and passionate about the natural world, all of which have served me well as a professional.