August 29, 2018

Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC Scholarship Winners

Since 2008, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC has awarded over $56,000 in scholarships to 35 students. The scholarships recognize outstanding commitment to academic pursuits in the field of freshwater fisheries. Here are this year’s scholarship winners:

Torry Hoffos

I was born and raised just outside Williams Lake. I was lucky enough to spend significant time learning and exploring in the outdoors. I have always been an active camper, fisherman, boater, and hiker, which nurtured a passion for natural history and conservation. In recent years, I have become an avid fly fisherman, and have also taken up hunting. 

Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to apply my interests to fisheries projects while working for the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF). This has included two summers working as a River Guardian on the Dean River, as well as on many smaller lake projects around the Cariboo region.

Entering my final year of a Fish and Wildlife degree at the University of Northern British Columbia, I look forward to being able to move into a full-time career, and contribute to the conservation of British Columbia’s valuable fish and wildlife species.

Luc Turcotte

Originally from Vancouver, I relocated to Prince George where I am in the second year of a Master of Science program in Natural Resource Science supervised by Dr. Mark Shrimpton at the University of Northern British Columbia. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in the same field from Thompson Rivers University in 2012.

I enjoy the northern lifestyle and its easy access to the outdoors. I can regularly be found fly-fishing, canoeing, biking, and skiing.

My research interests are in fish and fish habitat. For my graduate degree, I am investigating the incubation environment of coho salmon embryos in the Coldwater River, south of Merritt, B.C. This field research started in the fall of 2017 and is currently ongoing, with plans for a second field season this fall (2018), along with a paired lab study. The lab component will look at the effect of different levels of dissolved oxygen on incubation development of coho embryos. 

Previous work experience allowed me to travel throughout B.C. This work was focussed on the collection of environmental data in the areas of fish and fish habitat, hydrology, surface water quality, and hydrogeology. This work, along with the time I have spent spent outdoors fly-fishing on B.C. lakes and rivers, has instilled an appreciation and interest in aquatic environments.

Lauren Elviss

Growing up beside the Pacific Ocean and the Fraser River, my love and fascination with the natural world began early. As a kid, my summers and breaks were spent exploring the beaches and forests on Gabriola Island, climbing trees, turning over rocks, picking up insects, and finding birds’ nests and deer skeletons in the bushes. After watching a pod of Orcas swim past me on the beach when I was five years old, I knew that I wanted to be a biologist.

In high school, I began volunteering at OWL Rehab, which spurred me on the path to studying wildlife management. I also began volunteering at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum as an interpreter, where I became interested in biodiversity and conservation education. Having always enjoyed hands-on work with animals, I received my Veterinary Office and Animal Care certificate from Douglas College in 2016. I then attended Langara College’s Environmental Science program before transferring to UNBC’s Wildlife and Fisheries Management program in 2018.

This summer, I got my first real experience in fisheries management, working for the Clearwater Trout Hatchery as a fish culture technician. It was an amazing learning experience for me, and has made me seriously consider a career in fish culture or fisheries science after I graduate.

I am very grateful to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC for this scholarship. It will help me to achieve my educational and career goals. I am looking forward to graduating with my BSc. in Resource Management in the next year or two. My hope is that my future work will help to benefit and improve British Columbia’s environments and ecosystems.

Janna Wale

Growing up, my sister and I were taught to respect fish and appreciate what this resource meant to our family. As children, we ran along the riverbanks of the Babine and Skeena rivers while our father and his brothers traditionally harvested the salmon that would feed us for the year. As we got older, we began to participate more in the annual harvest of salmon – part of the Gitxsan cultural system for thousands of years. With the understanding of how fishing shaped the culture and lifestyle of my ancestors and many other fishing nations, I became interested in recreational fisheries.

In addition to my experience traditionally harvesting salmon, I have many memories of my grandfather who brought us fishing with him on weekends, patiently teaching us how to cast, and how to properly handle and release the fish we caught. These experiences and memories have translated into my lifelong love and appreciation of fish and fishing.

When I was deciding on what I wanted to study for my post-secondary degree, my background in fishing and my connection to the environment led me to pursue a degree in Natural Resource Science. Now, partway through my degree, I have both a greater appreciation and understanding of the factors that will help to preserve fish resources for generations to come. I want to be a part of the generation of resource managers who make an impact on ecosystem health through the practice of sustainability.

Being selected as a recipient of this scholarship is a great honour for me as well as for my family. I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity, or tell you how much it means to have the Society support my education as well as my future. It will help me to achieve both my personal and academic goals, which will benefit British Columbia’s future fisheries management.

Author: Torry Hoffos, Luc Turcotte, Lauren Elviss & Janna Wale
Photo Credits: Torry Hoffos, Luc Turcotte, Lauren Elviss & Janna Wale