Congratulations to this year's successful applicant, Alexandra Francis!
Throughout Alexandra’s career so far, her most fulfilling work has been “when I am working collaboratively with other passionate individuals on projects aimed at understanding how to maintain healthy and abundant wildlife populations.” These experiences helped her decide to pursue a graduate level degree in wildlife ecology. Currently, Alexandra is working toward her MSc.
“I am working on a collaborative project with the B. C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, which is aimed at understanding how landscape-change from the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation and resulting salvage logging, impacts moose behaviour, in light of recent large scale moose population declines.”
Alexandra has been the recipient of numerous scholarships. Her project has also received generous funding through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. “I have presented my research at the Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference as well as at “Bridging the Gap”, the annual UVic Geography Annual Student Conference. Additionally, I have presented twice at the annual B.C. Moose Management Team meeting and to the stewardship committee of the B.C. Association of Professional Foresters.”
Once she completes her thesis, Alexandra intends to pursue a career with the provincial government or a non-governmental organization. She intends to stay engaged in research throughout her career and to continue to educate youth about conservation. Alexandra claims that her past volunteer and educational-outreach and teaching-assistant work experience have solidified in her the importance of working with youth to foster a love for wildlife and conservation. “For me, growing up in a family who prioritized spending time outdoors, enjoying nature, truly shaped my passion for my career and my hobbies. In the winter, I enjoy skiing and snowboarding. When the snow melts, I spend most of my time hiking, mountain biking, and fly fishing with my dad.”
Continuously trying to learn and expand her knowledge of conservation and wildlife biology, Alexandra believes that volunteering can provide an excellent means to acquire the information and skills she craves. “I am a volunteer member of the Herpetofauna and Roads Working Group of B. C., where I assist with amphibian road mortality surveys. During National Forest Week, I’ve volunteered to speak to elementary school classes about wildlife biology and management. I have also volunteered with various academic researchers. These opportunities have taken me to South Africa to study Chacma Baboons, Alberta to study Grizzly Bears, and this summer I will be travelling to Banff to study Rocky Mountain Elk calf survival.”
Given her education, past work and volunteer experience, and her career aspirations, Alexandra is confident that she will contribute notably to wildlife conservation in B.C. “I believe that I have a responsibility to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy and experience wildlife and nature that I have had. Ultimately, my appreciation, passion, and curiosity of nature, as well as my demonstrated commitment to this field will benefit wildlife resources.”
Congratulations to you, Alexandra, and good luck in reaching your goals!