Fostering growth in our next generation of wildlife professionals is a crucial part of our work. Since 1992, the ACTWS has dispersed over 100 scholarships totalling close to $90,000 to Alberta students registered in post-secondary education. These scholarships are a central tenet of who we are, and it is with great pride and joy that we announce this year’s scholarship winners.
This year’s scholarships were presented via video, a recording of which is in our members area. The video is a fun celebration of our dedicated students, and a great opportunity for the winners to share some details about their work and what these awards mean to them.
Robert K Goddard Memorial Scholarship
Winner: Kelly Riehl from Lethbridge College
Bob Goddard was a wildlife biologist known for his outstanding skills in bird identification and his achievements are a legacy on the land. As a habitat technician for the province and a habitat specialist for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan he worked tirelessly to communicate and negotiate with irrigation farmers the value of wildlife habitat and wetlands. His unique talent was in helping people see both sides of a situation, and with much patience and persistence he was successful in conserving tracts of habitat.
Kelly Riehl has played a large role in the Lethbridge College student chapter of The Wildlife Society and was elected as president this past year. He also holds the interim vice president position for a chapter of Trout Unlimited, volunteers to clean up shorelines, and works with a variety of wildlife species. Like, Bob, he appreciates the humour in life, exhibits a welcoming personality, and has an insatiable curiosity to learn more about wildlife and conservation.
Ian Ross Scholarship
Winner: Dayce Rhodes from Lethbridge College
Ian Ross had an illustrious 20-year career and was known for his wildlife capture abilities and assisted many students with their research projects in that capacity. He also authored numerous peer reviewed and popular articles, re-wrote the grizzly bear status report for COSEWIC, voiced his cougar work on CBC Morningside and was featured on a discovery channel piece on grizzly bears. He was known for his professional approach for wildlife captures and empathy for the wildlife he was pursuing.
Dayce Rhodes has worked with wildlife in a variety of capacities in his personal, professional, and educational life. He has participated in remote camera projects, conducted wildlife surveys, participated in his student chapter, and worked with the Nature Conservancy doing habitat assessment and improvements projects. His ranching background has given Dayce a unique perspective into wildlife-agricultural interactions in Alberta.
Winner: Erin Low from the University of Calgary
Bill Wishart is regarded by many as a founding father of wildlife management in Alberta and was one of the founding members of the ACTWS. His long career with the Fish and Wildlife Division positioned him as a leading force during the emergence of wildlife science while he worked with a range of wildlife species. Although now retired, he continues to share his wisdom and experience with others and has mentored a great number of students and colleagues throughout his career.
Erin Low has played a significant role in bat conservation in Alberta. She is the Edmonton Regional Coordinator for the Alberta Community Bat program where she has organized, created, and delivered public outreach events as well as answering questions and reviewing bat guidance documents. Like Bill, she has imparted her wisdom on bats to others and has mentored students at a local bird observatory. She is currently completing her master’s degree looking at the effects of the Kenow Wildlfire on bats. Erin has attended ACTWS conferences regularly since 2015 and has received poster awards for some of her work with the Alberta Community Bat Program.