Peter and Sarien, both economics teachers in the Netherlands, like to learn about culture, nature and people in the countries they travel to. They chose Canada because of the beautiful nature and because they want to improve their English skills. During their summer break they will spend five weeks in total in Canada. Three weeks will be spent volunteering at the Iris Griffith Centre and two weeks traveling around on Vancouver Island. At the Iris Griffith Centre they will help with gardening and running the center. Both Peter and Sarien can't wait to come back and see PODS built!
Erika Evasiuk is in her third year at the University of Victoria in the combined Biology and Earth and Ocean Science program. She is passionate about art, insects, animals, chemistry, and cultures around the world. Erika has roots in Calgary, Alberta and Houston, Texas and has spent many summers enjoying the sunshine coast with her family. She is a lover of horseback riding, scuba diving, and kayaking. She hopes to soak in as much information as she can while she’s at the Iris Griffith Centre this summer in order to be a great advocate of nature and science.
Joana Carvalho recently completed her degree in biology at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Following her studies Joana has joined us for field work and experience, fulfilling a life long dream to visit Canada and maybe see a bear! While on the Sunshine Coast, Joana is participating in our PH Coastal Waters Monitoring Program. Joana has a keen interest in marine biology, wildlife and ecology. Joana has her eyes set on a Masters Program in Ecology and Environmental Management.
Danica Tardif is a student in her final year of Environmental Science at Simon Fraser University, and has completed a Diploma in Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation from BCIT. She grew up on the Sunshine Coast and enjoys hiking, kayaking, birdwatching, and playing music. Danica is excited to share her knowledge about the natural world at The Annual BioBlitz and to help establish The Pender Harbour Coastal Waters Monitoring Program.
Christina Gwilliam is entering her final year of Marine Biology and Coastal Conservation Studies at the University of Victoria. Christina traded in the cold Alberta winters five years ago for life on Vancouver Island, and is looking forward to exploring all the Sunshine Coast has to offer this summer. In her free time, Christina enjoys scuba diving, hiking, spending time on the ocean, and camping. She is very excited to be a part of The Pender Harbour Coastal Waters Monitoring Program, and for the opportunity to have The Jim Rossi School of Diving opening on the Sunshine Coast.
Ann Dickie is starting her second year at McGill University where she studies History. After her Bachelor’s Degree is complete she plans to study Environmental Law. She grew up in Halfmoon Bay, and attended Nature School as a child. Ann enjoys hiking, writing, and camping, and is excited about the opportunity to spend the summer working with nature. She is eager to be involved in The Pender Harbour Coastal Waters Monitoring Program and The Annual BioBlitz.
Oliver Gidora has completed a Music Diploma at Capilano University, and is currently a second year Geography student at McGill University. In his spare time, Oliver enjoys playing music, hiking, and gardening. Having grown up in Halfmoon Bay, he is excited to be able to return home and work with the other summer students at the Iris Griffith Centre.
Solveig van Wersch is a third year student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a Major in Evolutionary Biology. She is passionate about all aspects of biology, particularly ecology and botany. Having grown up in Garden Bay on the Sunshine Coast, she is especially interested in local flora and fauna and loves spending time outdoors immersed in nature. By working with the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society this summer, she hopes to be able to share her knowledge and interest with others.
Sage Randle is a second year student studying Recreation Leadership at Langara College. In her spare time, Sage is usually hiking, mountain biking, paddle boarding, or skiing. Having participated in Lagoonies as a child, she is very excited to work at the Iris Griffith Centre this year!
This is Laren Pudek's second year working with the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society. Having just finished her second year in the Natural Resources Conservation Program at the University of British Columbia, she is excited to share her new knowledge in conservation as well as botany with visitors at the Centre. Laren’s passion for conservation and her endless curiosity of nature has stemmed from her childhood growing up here on the Sunshine Coast. She is glad to be back for the summer and to be working at the Iris Griffith Center again.
Carson Anderson is a second year student pursing Sports and Recreation Management at Vancouver Island University. Carson moved to the Sunshine Coast as almost 10 years ago, and has become very attached to his new home. In his free time Carson can be found enjoying the lakes, trails, and all of the other “awesomeness” that the Sunshine Coast has to offer. He is excited to be working with his brother, Cameron, this summer at the Iris Griffith Centre.
Cameron Anderson is a second year student studying Sports and Recreation Management at Vancouver Island University. He has lived on the Sunshine Coast for almost 10 years, and has grown to love all of the plants and serenity that it provides. Cameron plans to apply his knowledge and hands-on experience with gained from school to programming such as Nature School and Lagoonies. This summer he hopes to have an enjoyable experience while working at the Iris Griffith Centre with the other summer students.
We had four wonderful students join us for the 2015 season. They all enjoyed their time on the Sunshine Coast working with us, and we are grateful to their individual flair that they brought to the Lagoon Society this summer. The Lagoon Society is thankful for the many Summer Interns who have shared their skills and gained excellent working experience with us.
Cameron Kerestztes Cameron finished up his Bachelor of Life Sciences at Queen’s University this spring, and is heading back next year to take some more courses. This is his third summer working with the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society. He is very excited to help out with Nature School and Lagoonies, and spend his summer at the Iris Griffith Centre again. He loves the outdoors, including hiking and water sports in his spare time.
Laren Pudek Laren has finished her first year at the University of British Columbia studying Natural Resources Conservation. Growing up on the Sunshine Coast has greatly influenced her passion for nature and its wellbeing. Laren hopes to eventually pursue a career in environmental policy and is particularly interested in subjects such as biogeography, conservation, and forest ecology. She enjoys hobbies such as photography, dancing, sailing, hiking, mountain biking, and just about any other outdoor sport. She loves to work with kids, and is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge with all the Iris Griffith centre visitors this summer.
Matt Watts Matt has just finished his first year at Capilano University in North Vancouver studying Human Kinetics. Born and raised in Pender Harbour, Matt is often involved with the local community from anything to lifeguarding at the local pool to preforming his musicianship at fundraisers. He has ambitions for the future to travel the world and pursue his love of new experiences and friendships. With excitement and glee Matt is happy to be working at the Iris Griffith Center for the summer.
Charlotte Gray Charlotte is a third year student at the University of Victoria studying in the areas of English, Creative Writing and Education. This is her second time working with the Ruby Lake Lagoon society and she is enthusiastic about the summer ahead. This year she took some art education classes and hopes to use those skills with Lagoonies. Living in the Pender Harbour area her whole life has made her at home with the surrounding plants and wildlife. Charlotte is also looking forward to familiarizing herself with all the great books the EarthFair store has to offer.
Our Summer Student Program Alumni
Charlotte Gray Charlotte is a second year student at the University of Victoria. She is interested in the areas of education, art and creative writing. Give her a handful of art supplies paired with vibrant scenery and she’ll be busy for hours! At a young age, Charlotte became fascinated with the amphibians in her backyard, and now recognizes the importance of preserving habitats for all wetland creatures. Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast, she is no stranger to our beautiful surrounding nature, and is looking forward to sharing it with others this summer.
Cameron Kerestztes Cameron is a fourth year student studying Life Sciences at Queen’s University. This is his second summer working with the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society. Having learnt many new things last summer, he plans to apply this knowledge this year while further increasing it. In his free time, Cameron enjoys exploring the outdoors, especially by means of his hiking boots and canoe.
Heather Scott Heather is a fourth year student studying Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Her studies have instilled in her a desire to see more nature-based curriculum in Canadian education, so she is very excited to be working at the Iris Griffith Centre this summer. A native to Victoria, she’s inspired by the overwhelming biodiversity of the Pender Harbour area, and is looking forward to honing her new found birding skills while she’s here.
We would like to thank our 4 summer interns who spent their summer sharing their skills and gaining some excellent work experience to contribute to their post-secondary studies in biology and environmental sciences:
Cameron Kerestztes Cameron is a third year student studying Life Sciences at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Having spent many summers on the Coast, he is very excited expand his knowledge of the wildlife and work with the community. He loves camping, canoeing, scuba diving, and all water sports. He has experience working with kids as a swim instructor and hopes to apply these skills to Nature School and Lagoonies. Cameron is very excited to be working at the Centre all summer, and hopes to learn a lot!
Kelly Kamo McHugh Kelly is in her last year of school at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. She is studying Environmental Sciences and majoring in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. This is her first time in British Columbia and she is extremely excited to be here! Kelly looks forward to sharing her knowledge about the earth, sustainability and aquatic insects as well as learning from everyone here about B.C. wildlife and plants. After graduation, she wants to travel to the Arctic and then find a job that helps her to do her part to conserve and protect the environment.
Kevin Leask Kevin is a second year student at the University of Victoria and is working towards a major in biology. He has a tremendous appreciation and respect for the natural world around him. His summers are spent at Sakinaw Lake and on various hiking, camping and fishing trips throughout B.C. This has helped to harbour his passion for nature and wildlife from a young age. He plans to pursue a career in wildlife biology after university, hopefully studying the large carnivores of North America which have always fascinated him the most of all Canada’s native species.
Stephanie Schweighardt Stephanie is really excited for her first year in Sciences at University of British Columbia. Having lived here for 8 years, she has become very familiar with the plants and wildlife on the Sunshine Coast. Stephanie adores the being outside. She loves kayaking, swimming, and camping. She has worked with kids volunteering at Halfmoon Bay Elementary School and in the music community; she would like to further develop and apply these skills this summer in Lagoonies. Stephanie is enthusiastic about learning as much as possible before returning to school.
Rachel Clark Rachel grew up on beaches of White Rock, and is excited to spend the summer living and working up on the Sunshine Coast. She is a second year student at the University of British Columbia, studying Natural Resource Conservation, and is very involved with a sustainability group on campus, Common Energy UBC. Through this group, she helps organize programs on campus to encourage eco-friendly living habits, such as this year’s sustainable workshop series. She is thoroughly excited to learn more about ecology, conservation practices, environmental education, and the workings of charitable environmental organizations during her time here.
Kirsten Frayne Kirsten is a 4th year student at the University of Victoria studying conservation ecology. She is very interested in all things relating to conservation and has experience working with wildlife of all shapes and sizes. Kirsten is a member of the UVic outdoors club, enjoys outdoor sports and is an avid rock climber. She hopes to pursue a career in the field of wildlife conservation.
Elizabeth Haines Elizabeth grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Pender Harbour. She is a student in her 4th year at Trinity Western University studying Education. With her major in Education she hopes to be a primary teacher specializing in Special Ed. and Art. Elizabeth has grown up to appreciate nature and art. In July and August her art work will be in Gibson Art gallery in the “homecoming” exhibit. After graduation her dream is to travel overseas to teach.
Quinn McLellan Quinn is a 4th year student at the University of Victoria and is working towards a Combined Major in Biology and Psychology. He has spent the majority of his life on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Quinn is active and enjoys the outdoors. He loves to play rugby and is involved in the UVic Touch Rugby Club and mens club rugby in Victoria. Quinn would like to travel and then pursue further education following the completion of his undergraduate studies.