The Nature Trust of British Columbia is pleased to congratulate Katherine Carbeck and Kephra Beckett on receiving the Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship in Forest Wildlife. Carbeck and Beckett will be awarded a total of $5,500 to fund their post-graduate research.

“I am extremely grateful to be a recipient of the Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship this year,” says Carbeck. “It’s a great honour to join the list of previous recipients who have made outstanding contributions to conservation science in BC.”

“I am grateful for awards like the Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship in Forest Wildlife that support and encourage students to research subjects they are passionate about,” says Beckett.

Katherine Carbeck has devoted her research to wildlife conservation. Her Ph.D work focuses on species’ capacity to adapt to ongoing environmental challenges resulting from climate change. Carbeck uses genomic data from the North American Song Sparrow to understand how local environments have shaped their physiology, behaviour and life history. She hopes that the results of her research will directly impact conservation of at-risk species, and that it will offer a model for how to better predict species’ long-term responses to environmental change. She hopes to pursue a career in applied environmental research and conservation.

“I think my initial fascination with wildlife grew from simple childhood curiosity. I remember always wanting to identify organisms and understand their behavior,” she says. “One of the things I love most about wildlife research is that I can foster my childhood curiosity in a way that aims to positively impact the environment.”

Kephra Beckett is pursuing her Master’s Degree in conservation. She is studying the impacts of Black-tailed Deer browsing on plant and bumblebee communities in the Southern Gulf Islands. Beckett has specifically focused on how an over-abundance of deer affects Garry Oak populations. So far her research shows that deer have negatively impacted plant and pollinator populations to a significant degree. She will be using the next part of her degree to develop an active deer management plan for the region as part of Dr. Tara Martin’s Conservation Decisions Lab at the University of British Columbia. Having grown up on Salt Spring Island, island biodiversity is very near and dear to Beckett.

“As a child I always enjoyed spending my time getting lost in the worlds of caterpillars, frogs, and deer, and continue to be fascinated by the different scales and interconnections of all the players and parts of a forest.”

Kephra is very proud to be doing this work and hopes to continue conservation-related research on BC’s west coast for the foreseeable future.

The Bert Hoffmeister Scholarship in Forest Wildlife is named for The Nature Trust’s founding board chair. It is one of several scholarships awarded to young leaders in the field of conservation, co-funded by The Nature Trust, Wildlife Habitat Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment, and administered by the University of British Columbia.