The Nature Trust of BC has been awarded a Biodiversity Research: Integrative Training & Education (BRITE) grant to help identify properties that are most likely to contribute positively to the persistence of ecologically significant species and communities. Through the UBC Biodiversity Research Centre BRITE internship program, we have been fortunate to offer Richard Schuster, a PhD candidate in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at UBC, an opportunity to apply his skills in the practical field of conservation planning.
During this three-month internship, funded through BRITE and The Nature Trust, Richard will develop a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tool that will help us to use the best available science and technology to refine our understanding of biodiversity conservation priorities and thus maximize the biodiversity value of our future conservation investments.
Richard’s dedication to conservation is readily apparent in his answers to three questions:
What is your favourite Nature Trust property and why?
Carroll Creek on the Crowsnest Highway. This property is coincidentally located next to one of the transects that I used for my master’s work where I tracked mammals in the snow. The property is located in a great area where I found tracks of bobcats, coyotes, foxes, deer, elk and moose. Every time I would walk the transect on my snowshoes, I enjoyed the forest setting around there and as the transect went uphill I was able to enjoy some nice views of the valley below.
What makes you passionate about conservation?
The thought that there is a myriad of species and populations out there, both known and unknown to us, is mind-boggling. We are only one of millions of species that inhabit this planet. Given our ability to shape our environment in unprecedented ways, I think it is crucial that we use these capabilities responsibly and act as stewards of our planet’s inhabitants. To make my small contribution to the goal of preserving our planet’s natural beauty I am working in the field of Conservation Biology.
What do you wish everyone would do, and how would that have a positive impact on the environment?
Be more mindful about our resource use and what impact we have on the environment. If we would all try a little harder to conserve energy and reduce waste, I think this could go a long way in helping to reduce the negative effects these things have on the environment. In my opinion it all comes down to the question: what world do we want our children to grow up in? For me the answer is clearly: in one where my son can safely play outside, walk through natural forests and meadows, enjoy the local plants and animals, and drink from a clear, refreshing mountain creek when he is thirsty.
The Nature Trust of BC is excited to be working with Richard on this important project.
Richard Schuster (BRITE Intern) and Leanna Warman (TNTBC Ecosystem Specialist)