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Natural enthusiasm

Science students recognized for commitment to environment

Student Life

By Kelly Foss

A provincial conservation organization has recognized two Memorial University science students for their volunteer efforts.

NatureNL presented scholarships valued at $1,000 each to Alexandra Hayward and Kelly Young at a recent event on the St. John’s campus.

Alexandra Hayward and Kelly Young
From left are Alexandra Hayward and Kelly Young.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

‘Amazing amount of time and energy’

The Wild Things Scholarship recognizes the enthusiasm and efforts of students whose volunteer activities have helped conserve or enhance nature in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We were pleased to note by the scholarship applications we received that volunteering on behalf of the environment and nature is alive and well in this province, as many applicants had volunteered an amazing amount of time and energy on behalf of our provincial nature,” said Douglas Ballam, president, NatureNL.

The scholarship is funded by Wildland Tours and St. John’s businessman Dave Snow, a well-known local conservationist and Memorial alumnus. When he passed away in 2017, the group decided to award an extra scholarship this year in his memory.

From left are Dr. Mark Abrahams, dean of science, with the family and friends of the late Dave Snow.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

“Mr. Snow (B.Ed.’85, B.Sc.(Hons.)’85) was one of the first in Newfoundland and Labrador to embrace nature-based tourism when he established Wildland Tours in the 1980s,” said Mr. Ballam. “In the 1990s, he approached NatureNL with the idea of establishing a scholarship for young adults who are commitment to the environment. To date, the scholarship has awarded more than $25,000 to students.”

This year’s recipients both have a long history of volunteering and a deep desire to leave the province in better shape than they found it.

Alexandra Hayward

Ms. Hayward is from Mount Pearl, and will complete a B.Sc. in biology (ecology and conservation) with a geography minor in spring 2019. She hopes to pursue studies in environmental law.

In high school, Ms. Hayward volunteered with the Environment Club — leading discussions about the environment and organizing fundraisers, cleanups, planting days and a waste-free lunch day initiative. She also helped form a student newspaper club, to which she contributed articles about environmental concerns, and started an outdoors club to get students and staff out in nature.

As environmental representative for Memorial’s undergraduate Biology Society, she organized a cleanup of Burton’s Pond and created a recycling program. She’s also volunteered at fundraisers for the Kelligrews Ecological Enhancement Program and was centrally involved in bringing the Blue Dot Movement, a grassroots movement for environmental rights, to the province. A regional Blue Dot Movement ambassador, she participates in online meetings and training and engages with local politicians, newspapers and organizations on environmental rights and issues.

Kelly Young

Ms. Young is from Stephenville. In 2016 she completed a B.Sc. in biology with a minor in geography and is currently working on a master of environmental science degree at Memorial.

A member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band, Ms. Young has a deep respect for the environment and understands the necessity of conserving the province’s natural resources and biosphere. As a former Girl Guide, she learned to “leave no trace” and believes participating in cleanups allows average citizens to improve their community and local green spaces.

Ms. Young currently volunteers on a climate change project led by Memorial University’s Dr. Joseph Wroblewski and Dr. Robert Davis to reduce methane emissions produced by oil extraction and storage processes.

She recognizes the value of communicating environmental issues across different platforms to reach a wide variety of audiences, which she does by writing articles in NatureNL’s journal, The Osprey, and sharing scientific news and environmental issues on her Facebook page, Pursuit of Science. Ms. Young is a member of national and international environmental groups and reaches out to provincial and federal governments on environmental issues she believes require action.

NatureNL is a non-profit organization promoting the enjoyment and protection of wildlife and natural resources in the province. It is the oldest conservation organization in the province. For more information on NatureNL events, please visit online.

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