Meet ERSA

All students enrolled in the MSc ER are ERSA members! Meet all current students here.

Our executive positions can be held jointly, and include Chair, First and Second Year Representatives, Secretary/GSS Representative, Ecological Director, and Web and Media Director.

ERSA EXECUTIVE TEAM (Summer 2019)

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CHAIR: Alex Holmes

ABOUT ALEX:

I was born and raised in British Columbia. Growing up in such a diverse place from oceans to mountains and temperate rainforests to deserts, I think really helped to develop my love of the environment. I love exploring the outdoors, going for an exploratory run or hike in new places I travel to and taking the trails less traveled. If i’m hitting the water, you will most likely find on a paddle board drifting along. The best way to see these amazing ecosystems, in my opinion, is by horseback and I try to explore as much as I can with my equine friend!

I have my Ecology Degree from the University of the Fraser Valley, where I was able to develop my passion and learn more about the amazing ecosystems that are in British Columbia. While obtaining my degree, I had the opportunity to go to Australia for a semester as well as field school, where I gained knowledge and experience of the ecological field. I am really excited to delve into this program to keep learning some of the fascinating systems that we have world wide and hopefully keep parts of it that way through the challenges that are currently facing our ecosystems today.

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FIRST YEAR REPS: Jan Lee & Lucy Quayle

ABOUT JAN:

I’m Jan, I’m from Vancouver and I love the outdoors and seeing all the cool things that most people miss (and then pointing them out to my friends who don’t care). I have a biology degree from SFU with a research background in carpenter ants and fire ants, but the majority of my background is in recreation and group fitness. My original interest that kicked me off on this path was marine biology which landed me volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium and working a summer at the Ucluelet Aquarium which helped me build a love for teaching. I’m excited to be learning about ER so I can give back to the ecosystems that fostered my curiosity.

ABOUT LUCY:

I grew up in the little island state of Tasmania, Australia, and studied Zoology and Marine Biology at the University of Tasmania. After graduating, I volunteered in a bunch of cool places like Papua New Guinea, a seal colony off the coast of Melbourne, and Antarctica. I moved to Vancouver 5 years ago, and have spent the last 4 years working on Calvert Island on the BC coast as an oceanography field technician. Pretty stoked that I got to spend so much time ripping around on boats in such a beautiful, hard to reach part of the world!

I love being outdoors, and feel at home being on the water, whether it by boat, surfboard or kayak. Can’t wait to get stuck in to this course, to learn all about BC ecosystems, and start making a difference!

SECOND YEAR REP: Kate O’ Neill

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ABOUT KATE:

Hey fellow ER students! My name is Kate and I’m from Northwestern Ontario (Thunder Bay to be exact). I have an Environmental Science degree from the University of Guelph and my background is in aquatic ecology…I love streams and fish! After I graduated, I worked for an environmental NGO in Australia for a year, followed by a consulting company in Winnipeg for 3.5 years before moving out to beautiful BC.

I love the outdoors and am excited about all of the hiking, camping, and kayaking I can do out here! I’m also learning how to kiteboard so am hoping that soon I am good enough to brave the Squamish spit! I am looking forward to learning about ER and spending my days restoring the land that I love!

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SECRETARY/TREASURER: Lynn Pinnell

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ABOUT LYNN:

I grew up in Ontario but fell in love with the mountains of BC so I took the opportunity to move to Vancouver for my undergraduate degree. I attended UBC for my B.Sc, majoring in Plant and Soil Science. I love being outside canoeing, kayaking, and hiking with my dog. I am passionate about dirt, loving to garden, grow food and play in the soil.

I am a second-year student in the ER MSc program. I am in the program as I am a strong believer in restoration, and want to do my part to help restore ecosystems that have been degraded. I am very interested in linking farmers with restoration activities as they are strong stewards of the land. As secretary and treasurer, I hope to assist in the planning and financial side of running educational opportunities for students in the program and connecting with professionals in our field. 

ECOLOGICAL DIRECTOR: Emma Cummings and Zane Zondervan

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ABOUT EMMA:

I am one half of the ecological director team for this year! Throughout the first year of the ER masters I was continually impressed with the connections to local restoration groups that are built in to the course work at both institutions. I am really looking forward to trying to connect ER students to outreach opportunities this year, to extend that engagement beyond the classroom.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the Lower Mainland and consider myself a marine life enthusiast. I moved to Halifax to study marine biology at Dalhousie University but couldn’t stay away from the skiing and the west coast whales and moved back home to work as a naturalist on a whale watching boat in the Salish Sea. After spending a summer educating the public on the many challenges to our local marine ecology, I was excited to find this program that gives us the tools to work towards resolving some of those challenges by reducing the human impact on the nearshore landscapes. I look forward to taking any and all suggestions on what events you would like to see happen this year!

ABOUT ZANE:

I am the other half of the ecological director team!  I grew up in the small community of Gooderham, Ontario where I spent a lot of time roaming the forests and fields of my parents property. As I grew older I explored more of the surrounding area while doing activities such as canoeing, fishing, trapping and hunting. I greatly enjoy any time spent outdoors but many of the most enjoyable experiences for me have been in the duck blind while hunting waterfowl. My enjoyment of outdoor activities helped to deepen my interest in the natural world and led me to begin working with natural resources and conservation while still in high school. I spent 3 summers working for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1 as a Stewardship Ranger and 2 as a Resource Management Assistant, while also acting as the Youth Representative on my local Fish and Wildlife Committee. 

My passion for the natural world continued to drive my steps moving forwards in life as I went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the University of Guelph. During the summers between university school years, adventured to many remote natural areas while working as Forest Firefighter for the Ontario government. Working in wildfire management and suppression has gotten me interested in wildfire ecology and the effects of wildfire on wildlife. This interest is still secondary to my primary passion though, which is waterfowl. My obsession with waterfowl drove me to return to school for this program, Master of Science in Ecological Restoration, so that I could learn how to create and restore wetlands and work in waterfowl research. My Applied Research Project for this program does just that as I have been privileged enough to partner with Ducks Unlimited Canada to work with them in assessing how previously restored wetlands are being used by waterfowl. I aim to continue to work in wetland restoration and waterfowl management in future. During this program and after I graduate, I wish to help educate public and policy makers about the importance of these and other wonderful ecosystems while actively working to restore and maintain them for the wildlife and humans that exist in them!

WEB & MEDIA DIRECTORS: Maddie Edmonds and Macus Ong

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Maddie making friends with a new sort of maple!

ABOUT MADDIE:

I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, and studied Wildlife Biology and Conservation at the University of Guelph. I love nature and being outdoors. I’m curious about everything I see there, and want to know all the players in the web of life around me, and how they fit together.  Having recently moved out to BC, I’m very excited to explore all of the beautiful ecosystems that surround me here.

I’m in this program because I want to work to repair the damage humans have had on our planet and find ways to live sustainably. While my past field experience has mostly involved working with birds, my interest in restoration has expanded to include the use of native plants to create wildlife habitat and how best to restore areas with invasive species.

I have always been a voracious reader of both fiction (especially sci-fi/fantasy) and nonfiction, and I want to develop my writing voice. I want to be able to tell great stories that help communicate science to the rest of the world. As Web & Media director I want to promote our program and the cool projects we work on, as well as bring together resources to help us get the most out of their studies and go on to find jobs doing what we’re passionate about.

ABOUT MACUS:

Growing in Malaysia always makes me hunger for four seasons and how I could use my visions to craft with a camera. I finally made it! And now what I’m doing is documenting with either a phone out of the pocket or sometimes with my camera. I graduated from a degree of marine science and have a weakness for marine life and the ocean – however, every good thing in Canada just makes me fall in love more each day. Coming into this program after a break makes you think harder about what is going on in natural system and how a handful of people are making efforts to make nature whole again. It is a collective effort where documents in various types of presentation can make a difference in changing the environment towards a more sustainable world. Photography is certainly one way to speak for ecology especially in this age of digital and social media bloom. Out there are more people who are willing to help the environment but not all are of scientific intellectuals, therefore imageries are one way to make people see the picture. A photo speaks a thousand words.