Nature Canada Nature Canada Nature Canada
The 2017 Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award Recipient
News

The 2017 Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award Recipient

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Amanda Simard Amanda Simard, Guest Blogger[/caption] This blog was written by guest blogger Amanda Simard.  Jessica Bradford is the 2017 recipient of Nature Canada’s Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award. Jessica is currently pursuing a Master of Marine Management (MMM) degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We spoke to her briefly about her schooling and how it contributes to nature conservation.

Can you tell us a little about what you are studying?

The MMM degree is an interdisciplinary approach to marine management and conservation. By looking through the lens of both natural sciences and social sciences, we can approach conservation from a more balanced perspective and, hopefully, find better solutions. The courses are broad ranging from oceanography, marine science and technology, coastal zone management, and policy, as well as including more specific courses like one on marine protected areas. [caption id="attachment_34466" align="alignright" width="282"]Image of Jessica Bradford Jessica Bradford[/caption] During my time in the program, I’ve found one of the greatest challenges we face is looking at the issues from a variety of perspectives: political, environmental, social, technological… the list goes on. It can be difficult to keep all these different positions in mind, but it’s so important when it comes to finding solutions.

Can you describe your graduate project and how it contributes to sustainability?

Of course! Currently, I am looking into the concept of “underwater community gardens,” or, more specifically, community-based mariculture of shellfish and/or seaweeds. The research will look at what small-scale community-based mariculture of shellfish and seaweeds could do in terms of food security, sustainability, economic development and general well-being for the communities. Involving communities in the design and management of these marine gardens could possibly do more than provide them with an additional source a food or income. It may offer a means for the community to connect with the marine environment, for people to learn about marine life in their coastal waters and discover the issues it is currently facing. In a sense, it could also open up opportunities to expand ocean literacy and stewardship. This engagement, awareness and understanding is critical for environmental conservation efforts.

Can you elaborate about this need for increased ocean literacy?

Sure. I’m generalizing a little here but, when it comes to the ocean, there is a certain disconnect – and this may be especially true in regions with colder waters. It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of thing where, without much opportunity to engage with marine environments, it can be easy to forget about them. Whether you live on the coast or not, the health of our oceans has impacts elsewhere. I think it is really important to provide people with the opportunity to interact with these environments. By empowering people through education and stewardship, we can make a real difference.

Image of Jessica Bradford Can you describe where your love of nature and the ocean come from?

Like for so many others, it started when I was young. It was family camping trips, trips to the beach, countless hours spent in the woods… These moments have always been important to me. As I grew older, I was able to channel my love of nature into a job when I worked for a few years for the Nature Trust of New Brunswick before deciding to return to school. I think my love of the marine environment in particular probably comes from my parents – my dad worked as an oceanographer for the Navy for many years and my mom comes from rural coastal Newfoundland. I also grew up in Halifax surrounded by the ocean, so the ocean has always been part of my awareness. These days, I spend as much time in the water as I can – scuba diving, snorkelling, or working on my surfing skills. It’s my way of staying connected to our marine ecosystems, as well as supporting my own mental health. I also love to bring others along with me – it’s a great shared experience.

On a less serious note, do you have a favourite animal?

That’s a good question! You know, there are just so many that it is difficult to choose. I have to say I like sea turtles a lot. To this day, I spend time volunteering with the Canadian Sea Turtle Network and I’ve worked with nesting sea turtles in Costa Rica in the past. That said, I’m notorious in my classes for always bringing everything back to seabirds and shorebirds! I find them fascinating and the issues they face are without borders. So many different ecosystems impact their health and, with their amazing and lengthy migrations, seabird and shorebird conservation requires countries to work together. I also have a soft spot for marine invertebrates like sea urchins and sea stars. I volunteer with an organization called Back to the Sea Society, supporting their ocean education efforts as an interpreter for their ‘Touch Tank Days’.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I want Nature Canada and the Labatiuk Family to know how honoured and grateful I am for this opportunity afforded to me, thanks to the legacy of a great conservationist! To be recognized in this way means a great deal to me and I am definitely encouraged to continue my own conservation work. For that, I would like to say thank you! j-bradford-1
Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Join our 50,000 nature lovers raising their voices for nature!

Announcing the 2016 Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award Winner
News

Announcing the 2016 Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award Winner

This blog was written by Erin Low, the 2016 Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award Winner. Erin Low is the 2016 recipient of Nature Canada’s Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award. Erin graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with a diploma in Biological Sciences Technology, Renewable Resources and is returning this fall to post secondary to complete her Bachelor of Science degree at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. Erin has been working for an environmental consulting company since 2012 on a variety of projects including bird, amphibian and vegetation surveys, pre- and post disturbance wildlife surveys, setting up and monitoring bird and bat houses, raptor banding, deploying autonomous recording units and wildlife cameras, public outreach, as well as being introduced to what she is now actively pursuing in both work and personal time: bat research. [caption id="attachment_29401" align="alignleft" width="364"]Image of Erin Low Erin holding a Myotis lucifugus (little brown bat) outside a cave in northern Manitoba.[/caption] Erin is excited to return to school and looks forward to being able to combine her field experience with her post-secondary education to be able to further her endeavors with bat research and outreach. She has also been talking with potential graduate supervisors about a project addressing migratory bat mortality at wind turbine facilities for after she completes her undergraduate degree. “Receiving this scholarship means that I can continue to pursue the volunteer bat initiatives that I am setting up and I am thus very grateful to Nature Canada for their support,” said Erin. Erin is currently working on setting up public bat outreach nights at both national and provincial parks in Alberta. “Having worked with bats in different provinces as well as in Australia, I have been able to see firsthand the reputation that bats have not just in Alberta, but across Canada and the world. I hope that by organizing public bat outreach events that I can start to show people that bats are an irreplaceable part of the ecosystem whose true value cannot be imagined unless we were to lose these cryptic creatures,” said Erin. Erin is an avid traveller having visited Turkey, Cuba, Mexico, United States, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand, with a bat research station in Malawi being the likely next stop for her. She spends as much time as she can outdoors, camping, hiking, caving and snowshoeing. [four_fifth][separator headline="h2" title="About the award"] The Charles Scholarship Award was established through the legacy gift of the late Charles Labatiuk through the Charles Labatiuk Nature Endowment Fund. Charles Labatiuk was an avid nature conservationist, mountaineer and world traveler who enjoyed and excelled as a photographer, writer, and gardener. The scholarship award was introduced to honour his life and his passion for nature.[/four_fifth][one_fifth_last]Nature Canada Labatiuk Scholarship Crest[/one_fifth_last]

Email Signup

Want more nature news?

Subscribe to Nature Canada's online community!

Announcing this Year’s Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award
News

Announcing this Year’s Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award

By: Marie du Plessis, Executive Assistant Laura Paskevics is the 2015 recipient of Nature Canada’s Charles Labatiuk Scholarship Award. An avid outdoor enthusiast with extensive experience independently exploring wild lands throughout Ontario and western Canada, she is a recent graduate of York University and holds a Bachelors Degree in Geography. [caption id="attachment_22097" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Laura hard at work in Killarney Provincial Park[/caption] She is keen on relocating from Etobicoke to Sault Ste. Marie to pursue forest conservation and sustainable resource management related studies at Sault College in September. Laura is enrolled in Sault College’s Forest Conservation Technician program and will be pursuing future studies in Fish and Wildlife and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). She is looking forward to combining her current theoretical knowledge in the fields of human and physical geography with extended field studies in Algoma district’s interior. She is particularly excited to pursue applied research projects that combine computer mapping, methods of environmental data collection and digital aerial photography. Ultimately, she hopes to work in the Ontario Parks system. Laura is currently living and working in Killarney Provincial Park where she has the remarkable opportunity of exploring the park’s extensive cultural heritage, scenic landscape of the La Cloche Range and over 50 inland lakes. Working at Killarney Park has provided her with the unique opportunity of not only being immersed in the richly diverse and thriving wilderness, but also develop and experience backcountry work.  We congratulate Laura Paskevics for her commitment to nature studies and wish her well in her academic endeavours. [four_fifth][separator headline="h2" title="About the award"] The Charles Scholarship Award was established through the legacy gift of the late Charles Labatiuk through the Charles Labatiuk Nature Endowment Fund. Charles Labatiuk was an avid nature conservationist, mountaineer and world traveler who enjoyed and excelled as a photographer, writer, and gardener. The scholarship award was introduced to honour his life and his passion for nature.[/four_fifth][one_fifth_last]Nature Canada Labatiuk Scholarship Crest[/one_fifth_last]   Email Signup

Want to Help?

Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.

Donate