Jacob Gendron: living the wild life

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Kate Aley

23 year-old Jacob Gendron was born and raised in Luskville and has always loved the outdoors. He took that love to the Cégep in St. Felicien near Lac St. Jean to study environment and wildlife management for three years. Now he is back to work for us.

“It was the only place with that kind of class in Quebec, in Lac St. Jean,” said Gendron. “The training was to identify plants and animals, [doing] a lot of field work. By the end you are like a biologist but at the technical level.”

After gaining his qualification, Gendron began to work with the Ministère des Forêts​, de la Faune et des Parcs (MFFP) in Gatineau. However, gaining regular work with the ministry is difficult. “The people I was working for suggested I start my own business, that way they could continue to subcontract me,” he explained. “I’m an environmental consultant; [that involves] everything that touches the land and the wildlife.”

And so Gesnat was created, a business unique in the Pontiac.

Jacob Gendron taking a water test near Wakefield. (Image courtesy Gesnat)

2017 marks the beginning of Gendron’s second year in business and Gesnat has already more than doubled the amount of work contracts.

Gendron is particularly interested in helping land owners plan to build or make changes to their land without contravening ministry or municipal laws.

“A lot of people in Pontiac, they still think they can do anything they want on their land without a permit,” he stated. “Some people call me because they are already in trouble, they did not do the right steps with the ministry or the municipality. Before they start, I can identify what is on their land, before there are fines to pay. The ministry can tell you to restore [your land] to what it was before. If you have made a big deck on the shoreline, you have to take it off. So it’s better to call me before. People start to think more about it after they have been in trouble.”

Gendron gives the example of being called in to restore a damaged wetland. “The owner had put earth on the wetlands; when I came it was half-way filled. The client was mad but he had to take it off and I [was able to] plant some other plants so it was like it was before. I’m trying to help between ministry and client to make it easier. After I give my report to [the client], I can still work with them if there is more work to do, I am happy to guide them a little bit.”

Gesnat offers many services including soil analysis, wetland profiling, water quality testing and river bank restoration.

Shoreline restoration in Waltham. (Image courtesy Gesnat)

Last year, Gesnat took on a large project in Otter Lake to clear a creek of some beaver dams. “The level each spring was really high, we spent one entire week to clean it,” Gendron recalled. “A lot of people call me to trap beaver and I can do that. But I always tell them I will come and see their land because it’s better if you can manage it, you can leave the beaver there and [install] a water leveling system instead and it works well.”

Working on removing a beaver dam near Otter Lake. (Image courtesy Gesnat)

This year Gesnat has signed a significant project with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for a two-year conservation oriented project on the Chorus Frog. “It’s an education project with a little bit of survey to project the future of the present population of the Chorus Frog,” said Gendron. “I’ll go and see farmers with some [frog population] on their land and ask what they will do with their land in the future, to explain how they can leave land for frog habitat.”

Counting frogs In Litchfield. (Image courtesy Gesnat)

Business is going so well, Gendron has started to hire part-time help. “Last year, I had to engage some people on contract to help: engineers, biologists to do some work as well as journey men,” he said. “I’ve gone across the Outaouais, as far as Val des Monts and Maniwaki, to see the municipalities and present myself and leave my card. Also I called some other contractors and construction firms. Everyone I can, I meet and talk to them. Now I have some clients that are referring me to other people. It’s starting to become bigger. I do the work and people around [that area] hear, and more people will call me when they know it’s possible to get help for their land planning.”

Contact Jacob Gendron at 819 271 9298 or email jacob.gendron@gesnat.ca

For more information go to www.gesnat.ca