Winning a scholarship provides a student not just financial security, but encouragement as well. Sonia Voicescu was a winner of the Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship in Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. She recently wrote a note of appreciation and said, “I feel humbled to be receiving this award, as I am aware of the great contributions the McTaggart-Cowans made to the field of ecology, particularly here in BC.”

Sonia is currently in her 2nd year of a PhD program at the School of Environmental Studies. Her interests in nature and environmental issues developed many years ago, through cross-country hiking trips with her family and involvement with conservation groups and NGOs.

Her current research is evaluating landscape change in mountain ecosystems, and how ecological restoration practices may help to inform natural management decisions within a changing climate context.

Her previous research focused on habitat restoration for the Vancouver Island Ringlet, a critically imperiled butterfly species on southern Vancouver Island associated with Garry Oak meadows.


 “As a student but also as a citizen, I find it important to engage in practices which help to maintain our local habitats, and foster strong and adaptive relationships between humans and natural systems,” Sonia said. “ I am looking forward to continuing my research in this field, and hope that my findings will one day fill in a small part of the McTaggart-Cowan’s important legacy.”

Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan was a scientist, researcher and director of The Nature Trust of BC. The Dr. Ian and Joyce McTaggart-Cowan Scholarship is one of two scholarships established by The Nature Trust to recognize and support rising stars in ecological and environmental sciences.