2020: This year we received 18 applications. The Board of Directors decided to award two scholarships and also pay $100 each to all other applicants.
Christopher Stinson is a Master’s of Science student in the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. He is studying the taxonomy and evolutionary relationship between the two species of marten found in British Columbia. Specifically the contact zone between the ranges and the differences genetically and morphometrically between Pacific Marten and the American Marten in BC. While working on graduate school Christopher is also the Curatorial Assistant of Mammals, Reptiles, and Amphibians at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum also at UBC. Although his research is mostly based on museum specimens he spends as much time as possbile out in nature volunteering with various research programs studying frogs to whales. Christopher is originally from Northwestern Ontario but has been living in Vancouver for the past 23 years attempting to sight every vertebrate found in the province.
Sky is a fourth-year undergrad student at the University of British Columbia in the Natural Resource Conservation program. Throughout her undergrad she has completed several courses in both natural and social sciences. These courses have given her the ability to see resource use, restoration, and conservation through a socio-ecological lens. Upon her graduation in Dec. 2020, she plans to pursue a dual professional designation as a Registered Professional Biologist and Registered Professional Forester.
Sky hopes to gain work experience in Canada and later contribute towards the sustainable use of resources, especially freshwater, wildlife, and forests, because she understands the historical impacts which anthropogenic activities continue to have on biodiversity and ecosystem structure and functions. This summer, Sky is working with the Lil’wat First Nations in Pemberton, BC as a Forestry Technician. She is keen to learn more about non-timber forest products including animal habitat, ecosystem services, and wild foods.
2019: No applications were received.
2018: Lori Schlechtleitner
Lori was a student at BCIT, completing her BSc in Ecological Restoration when she was awarded the Nature Vancouver Scholarship.
She now works in invasive species management in the lower mainland – helping to battle noxious weeds from spreading. She also volunteers regularly for wildlife and bird surveys.
2017: Fiona Beaty
In 2017 Fiona entered M.Sc. program in Dept of Zoology, UBC. Now she is a PhD student interested in marine conservation, socio-ecological resilience and proactive solutions to protect nature.
2016: Lee Beavington
2020 Update: Lee Beavington is an award-winning author, educator and Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy of Education at Simon Fraser University. Lee’s doctoral research aims to enliven both individuals and communities towards new ways of perceiving and relating to natural environments.
Lee was recently announced as one of the top 25 finalists in this year’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Storytellers competition. Watch three minute SSHRC Storytellers research video – Bringing Biology Back to Life
Lee has taught a wide range of courses and labs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, including Ecology, Expressive Arts, and the Amazon Field School. He also served as co-curator for the Wild Things: The Power of Nature in Our Lives exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver. His interdisciplinary research explores wonder in science education, environmental ethics, and arts-based learning across the curriculum. He teaches with a place-based, holistic approach that is experiential, embodied, and reciprocative. More about Lee at www.leebeavington.com.
2015: Ines Moran
Ines joined Nature Vancouver in 2008. She was an M.Sc student at the University of Windsor in 2015 when she was awarded the Nature Vancouver Scholarship. Ines worked on song evolution in Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis), a species wide spread throughout Canada, which is known to have several populations with different dialects. 2019 Update: Ines is now a Ph.D. Student at University of Auckland, NZ.
2014: Deborah Simpson
Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication program at Royal Roads University (RRU). Deborah’s thesis is titled “Gathering Stakeholders: Education about the Salish Sea Ecosystem for Vancouver’s Adult Residents”. The objective of the thesis is to gain insight into the kinds of learning experiences that will open up possibilities for adults to develop a deeper connection with the local marine environment.
Since 2016, Deborah has been coordinating environmental education programs for adults in Vancouver. The “Wonders of the Salish Sea” is offered every spring at a local community centre. For more information about this program, go to www.wondersofthesalishsea.com
2013: Maggie Stewart
Fisheries, Wildlife, and Recreation Diploma Program at BCIT.
2012: Jay Brogan
M.Sc. of Biological Sciences at the Centre for Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University. Jay’s research is focused on the effects persistent organic pollutants may have on a terrestrial top predator, the Cooper’s hawk (Accipiter cooperii), inhabiting the Lower Mainland.
2011: Denis Boko
Sustainable Resource Management (SRM) Diploma program of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Denis is very interested in ecological restoration, watershed management and environmental monitoring and assessment.
2010: Christine Rock
Christine is working for her Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University. Christine’s research involves studying Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism rates and impacts on nesting songbirds, with a focus on the Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia).
2019 Update – After receiving the scholarship from Nature Vancouver, Christine graduated with a Masters of Science (MSc.) degree from Simon Fraser University. In 2010, she co-founded, WildResearch, a citizen science focused naturalist group and volunteered on the Executive Board for five years. Christine was nominated for the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in 2016 for her contributions to WildResearch and was awarded the BC Nature Club Service Award in 2017. Christine has worked as a Wildlife Biologist in the Species at Risk Unit at Canadian Wildlife Service. She has conducted work in BC, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories while employed at a large consulting company, Environmental Resource Management Ltd. for five years. Christine is currently the Wildlife Advisor at a diamond mine in Northwest Territories, the Ekati Diamond Mine. In her spare time, Christine studies the nesting habitats of Black Swifts and enjoys birding in general.
2009: Sofi Hindmarch
Sofi Hindmarch is one of the two recipients of 2009 Nature Vancouver Scholarship. Sofi is enrolled in the M.Sc. Program of Biology Department at Simon Fraser University. Sofi’s research project focuses on the barn owl (Tyto alba) in the Lower Mainland and how changes in land use has influenced their distribution and fledging success. The results from Sofi’s research are showing that loss of old barns and trees are the major causes for the decline in the barn owl population in the Lower Mainland over the last 16 years. However, the increase in traffic volume on highways is the main factor explaining why some barns which one would expect to be inhabited by barn owls remain unoccupied.
The results from Sofi’s research have been incorporated into environmental assessments for the South Fraser Perimeter road project. This has contributed to the consideration of mitigation measures for barn owls along the proposed highway.
Sofi has given illustrated talks about barn owls and her research to various natural history groups, such as the Nature Vancouver, Langley Field Naturalist Society, Chilliwack Field Naturalists and the Campbell Valley volunteer group. In 2008 she co-hosted a public evening program on barn owls for children five and up on behalf of Campbell Valley Park. Sofi has also given presentations to classes in elementary and middle schools in the Lower Mainland.
Sofi has, with generous help from OWL (Orphaned Wildlife Society) in Delta, handed out nest boxes and helped install them in barns and trees for owners that want to encourage barn owl activity on their property.
2009: Jennifer Kennedy
The Second recipient of the 2009 Nature Vancouver Scholarship is Jennifer Kennedy. Jennifer completed an undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia in 2005, with a major in Conservation Biology, and a minor in English Literature. Her current program at the University of British Columbia is a Master of Arts in Education, specifically Curriculum Studies. For her thesis research, Jennifer is interested in looking at the impacts of experiential environmental education on students’ learning, and environmental awareness. She wants to highlight the importance of experiential learning, and present ecological connections as the important ‘learning,’ rather than scientific names and facts. Jennifer has undertaken this challenge because she wants to help foster a commitment to marine conservation in the students of tomorrow. She began her studies in January 2009 and hopes to complete her degree in December 2010.
Jennifer works at the Vancouver Aquarium as the Wet Lab Coordinator. In this capacity she coordinates conservation based programs and care for 16 tanks of invertebrates. She is also the volunteer co-chair of the Green Team at the Vancouver Aquarium. As the Green Team co-chair she leads monthly meetings, and organize events that raise awareness (within aquarium staff) about sustainable living, energy conservation, and other environmental issues. After completing her studies, Jennifer hopes to continue working in the field of environmental education. She would like to reach as many people as possible, and create programs that engage them with the ecosystem, and connect them to their environment.
No applications were received for Nature Vancouver Scholarship for the years 2004 to 2008
2003: Emma Harrower
A $500 VNHS Education Scholarship for 2003 was awarded to Emma Harrower. Emma was attending the University of British Columbia and was in her first year in the Faculty of Science. She was studying for a degree in biology with the intention of specializing in ecology and environmental restoration. During her school years she was heavily involved in environmental activities and helped to set up a naturalist club at her school.
Emma’s primary interest is environmental restoration and in the summer of 2001 worked in Skagit Valley Provincial Park and North Cascades National Park restoring trails and damaged areas. In the summer of 2002 she did similar work in Idaho’s Payette National Forest. For the last two years Emma has been actively involved in the Camosun Bog Restoration project participating in a large number of weekly work parties. She has a good knowledge of plants enabling her to work unsupervised on sensitive restoration work, and assists others in learning restoration techniques.
2002: Christina Struik
This year, a $500 VNHS Education Scholarship was awarded to Christina L. Struik. Christina was attending the University of British Columbia and completing her second year in the Faculty of Science. She was working towards an honours degree in Animal Biology. Upon graduation she intends to take an intensive outdoor recreation certificate course with the objective of becoming a naturalist for a Canadian Park. In her own words she says “I would like to be able to encourage others to enjoy our natural world by showing them the ways we can appreciate its beauty and its necessity without causing it harm”.
2001: Rosemary Taylor
The recipient of the $500 VNHS Education Scholarship for 2001 was Rosemary Taylor. Rosemary has been a member of the Society since 1967. Over the years she has contributed significantly to the Society by leading field trips as well as her long standing participation in the Nature Tours Committee. However, these types of volunteer contribution are generally recognized in other ways. More importantly for the purpose of this award Rosemary was registered in the Faculty of Education at the University of BC. She holds firmly to the view that the need for education is paramount if members of the VNHS and the public are to study nature and appreciate it. In her application she emphasized the relevance of her studies to the first and second VNHS objectives which are “To promote the enjoyment of nature” and “To foster public interest and education in the appreciation and study of nature”. In espousing the cause of education Rosemary reminded us of how important it is for VNHS to maintain its role in education.
2000: Michelle Roberge
The $500 VNHS Education Scholarship for 2000 was awarded to Michelle Roberge. Michelle was taking a Master of Science degree in Zoology at the University of BC. The subject of her Masters studies was the coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki) and the reasons for its decline in numbers over the last 20 years. The decline is thought to be due to over fishing and habitat loss. Her thesis focused mostly on how logging practices alter stream habitat and how that in turn affects the behaviour and survival of cutthroat trout. She found that during periods of heavy flooding in severely altered streams the cutthroat were forced out their home location in the stream. They can be washed hundreds of meters downstream or lost from the stream system completely. This may be the reason why the numbers of Cutthroat are low in these altered streams. The rehabilitation of stream habitat so that the fish are protected from the effects of major floods may be one way to reduce the decline of the cutthroat trout.