2022 Hugh Hamilton Memorial Scholarships

2022 Hugh Hamilton Memorial Scholarships

Graduate Scholarship – Keila Stark

Keila at Iona Island Banding Station

Keila Stark is a PhD Candidate of Zoology at the University of British Columbia on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Territory. Her research aims to understand the effect of climate warming on biodiversity, with a focus on coastal ecosystems. Her work takes her to eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows along the BC coast, and to coastal areas around Baffin Island, Nunavut. She frequently visits the eelgrass meadow at Roberts Bank near the proposed Terminal 2 expansion site, and is a witness to the rich diversity of plants, invertebrates, fish, and birds that could be affected by the port expansion.

Outside her thesis research, she has authored several academic and policy publications on topics including implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, achieving social equity in conservation, and environmentally harmful subsidy reform.  She has worked as an educator for several nature organizations including the BC Wildlife Federation, Parks Canada, and Ocean Wise, and founded an ecology mentorship program- BioBuddies– for elementary-aged students. She has also coordinated youth delegations to the UN Climate Conference, and is an advocate for youth involvement in political decision-making. The overarching theme that motivates Keila’s work is a desire to find solutions that simultaneously achieve nature conservation, climate resilience, and human well-being.

Graduate Scholarship – Ira Sutherland

Ira Sutherland is a PhD student in Forestry at the University of British Columbia. In particular, he is expanding on his earlier research in the ecology and social values of old-growth forests. He has given many talks to local natural history groups on “The Great Vancouver Rainforest” as well as creating the website and big-tree hiking guide: VancouversBigTrees.com. He has extensive volunteer experience since his undergraduate days of leading group hikes in old growth forests for groups such as the Stanley Park Ecology Society, Ancient Forest Alliance, Western Canada Wilderness Committee, and several local First Nations groups. 

He has expanded that early hands-on volunteering with an organizational approach. As chair of the BC BigTree Committee, in Ira’s words “he is interacting with government during the development of legislation to protect big trees, interfacing with forestry industry groups who are trying to better steward large trees and with local community groups who are trying to get their own tree registries started.” 

Ira’s commitment to sharing his knowledge and passion for the natural world with others is evident. This echoes the qualities of sharing and giving in Hugh Hamilton’s life.  Ira’s focus and energy in this field is impressive and we are happy to present this scholarship to him.

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