BC Conservation Foundation is committed to lifelong education and fostering opportunities for youth to learn and appreciate environmental conservation in the outdoors. Besides supporting various youth initiatives, we often employ and train young professionals to gain experience in the environmental field.

We promote scholarship opportunities to ensure the next generation of conservationists have access to higher education opportunities in BC.

The following opportunities are available for eligible BC post-secondary students:

1)  JB Holdstock Scholarship Fund

2) Ian & Joyce McTaggart – Cowan Scholarship Fund

“The world is run by those who show up”


John B. Holdstock Scholarship Fund

Born in Weyburn Saskatchewan, John Holdstock passed away unexpectedly at his home in Kelowna on December 25th, 2010 at the age of 74. John is survived by his wife Morag and three children.

John obtained an engineering degree from a university and then spent over five years in the early 1960s working on radio relays in northern BC. John then became a chartered accountant, biding time with a number of companies until moving permanently to BC in 1978. John was the Secretary-Treasurer for BC Tree Fruits for 21 years. John was an explorer. Not only was he an avid reader with a wide-ranging area of interest, but he also loved to write. John enjoyed hunting, bird watching and delighted in the deer browsing through his yard.

John’s commitment to conservation and outdoor lifestyle was legendary. He was a member of the Kelowna District Fish and Game Club and President of the BC Wildlife Federation from 1996 – 1998. He twice received the President’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Achievement and the Barsby Award for Conservationist of the Year. He was also a Director of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. John was a Director at the British Columbia Conservation Foundation in 2002 and Chair from 2003-2010.

With John’s passing we lost an avid outdoor recreationalist, conservationist, advocate and a friend. In honor of John we set up a scholarship fund with our partners: Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Nature Trust of BC, and Okanagan Region Wildlife Heritage Society. If you wish to donate to future ecologists, click on Giving. Tax recipes will be issued on donations over $25.

2023 recipient: Hayden MacDonald

Information and Criteria

Scholarship Information

Successful scholarship applicants must be a resident of British Columbia and current undergraduate or graduate students attending university or college in the environmental sciences or a related field.

One scholarship of $1,000 is awarded annually.

All application criteria must be met in order to qualify. See the criteria prior to submitting an online application.

The application deadline for each year is April 30 (end of day).

The successful recipient will be announced by June 30 each year.

Application Criteria

We recommend that interested students review the criteria, gather/create all electronic files and then return to the website to fill out and submit their application. Make sure you have acquired copies of all mandatory items listed below before beginning your submission.

You will not be able to save your online application until you enter submit.


1) A resident of British Columbia.
2) A full-time student attending a BC university or college in the upcoming fall semester.
3) Enrolled in the sciences or a related field (applicants will be asked to list courses they intend to study in the upcoming term).
4) Currently hold a GPA of 3.50 or ‘B’ average or better (relevant transcripts for proof of grades must be included with application).
5) One Letter of Reference stating the applicant’s participation in outdoor conservation work involving fish, wildlife and/or habitat conservation in British Columbia.

6) A brief essay (maximum 500 words) describing your interests in pursuing fish, wildlife and/or habitat conservation as a part of your academic studies (e.g. you may want to include information about relevant personal interests and activities, academic goals, academic achievements, career plans and how BC’s conservation movement might benefit from your contribution).

7) Enrolled in a minimum 80% course load (NOTE a full course load may not be available to some Masters students. Where a full course load is not offered, this criterion does not apply).

8) Proof of enrollment at the University/College will be requested prior to issuing the award.
9) The Selections Committee provides weighted scoring to applicants with a proven record of interest in the outdoors (including hunting and fishing) and/or your intentions in using your education towards the conservation and enhancement of BC’s fish and wildlife and habitat.

We thank the following partners for their generous support.


Dr. Ian & Joyce McTaggart – Cowan Scholarship Fund

University of Victoria’s School of Environmental Studies:

1) Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship Fund

2) Ian McTaggart-Cowan Professorship in Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Restoration

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1910, Ian McTaggart immigrated to Canada at the age of 3. Ian claims that his mother encouraged him to immerse himself in Natural History at a young age. Indeed, his interest in Natural History involved more than that of the average boy’s bug collection: when he was 12, he had already documented all of the birds he had seen around North Vancouver.

During his early university years, Ian met Joyce. Joyce was born in Barnet B.C. in 1912 and was the daughter of Kenneth Racey, a leading member of the Vancouver Natural Historic Society who Ian met during his first year at UBC. Ian and Joyce co-created, “The Mammals of the Alta Lake Region of Southwestern BC,” in 1935.

Both Joyce and Ian shared a passion for all living things, especially birds. While Joyce kept diaries of the birds she saw on her various trips and at her home in Victoria, Ian busied himself with the construction of what many people agree is the “bird bible” of British Columbia. 171 Birds of British Columbia is the accumulation of Ian’s talents and the work of four other authors, spanning four volumes.

After graduating from UBC in 1932 in Vertebrate Zoology, Ian went on to do his doctorate at the University of Berkeley. Soon after graduating from Berkeley in 1935, Ian accepted a Biology job at the provincial museum in Victoria. In 1940, he became an assistant professor of Zoology at UBC, which led to a full-fledged professorship.

In 1955, Ian started Fur and Feathers, a wildlife show aimed at children. “The great thing about this show,” Ian claims, “is that it was completely unscripted! Yes, things could get rather hairy at times, especially when I had a bright young pupil asking me daunting questions about life, like why a dove sings or why it is white.” The success of Fur and Feathers was so great that soon after Ian went on to do the adult-oriented shows, The Living Sea and Web of Life. The world-wide success of these shows earned Ian critical acclaim and paved the way for The Nature of Things, whose host, David Suzuki, was a pupil Ian had picked to teach the newly emerging field of genetics.

2023 recipients: Alina Fisher

                           Micah May