The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and HCTF Education are pleased to announce this year’s Al Martin Conservation Fellowship recipients: Alessandro Freeman, Oliver Holt, and Zachary Sherker.
The Al Martin Conservation Fellowship recognizes Graduate students wishing to pursue a career in fish or wildlife conservation and management in BC. The recipients receive a scholarship of $10,000 to help fund their graduate research.
Named for Al Martin, a titan in the conservation community. Al had a long and illustrious career starting back in 1977 as a biologist in Penticton BC. After a decade of working as a fisheries biologist, he moved to Victoria to take on several senior positions Manager of Fisheries, Director of the Watershed Restoration Program, Director of the Fish and Wildlife Branch, Executive Director, and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Al retired after a 30-year-long career in BC public service but continued to be a leader in the conservation community, becoming the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the BC Wildlife Federation and a board member for HCTF. Al sadly passed away in October of 2019 but his impact has lived on thanks to his integrity, humour, and passion for conserving fish and wildlife habitats for future generations.
Alessandro Freeman is a M.Sc. student of Ecological Restoration at Simon Fraser University and the British Columbia Institute of Technology under the supervision of Dr. Douglas Ransome. Alessandro’s research project titled “Determining the Accuracy of the BRAT Model for Identifying North American Beaver (Castor Canadensis) Habitat in Central Interior British Columbia” is assessing the Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) – a GIS-based model developed in Utah, and its ability to accurately determine watercourses of high and low quality for potential damming by beavers to create wetlands.
Oliver is pursuing a lifelong dream of achieving a Master’s of Science from the University of Northern British Columbia. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of British Columbia and has worked extensively in the forestry industry. Oliver’s research is focused on bringing to light the uncertain future of northern mountain caribou.
Zachary is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia working with Dr. Scott Hinch. His research focuses on the impacts of floodgates on juvenile Pacific salmon habitat access. This research will be used to improve passage by synchronizing automated floodgate operations with the timing of fish movements and will provide concrete evidence for the need to replace aging floodgates and reintroduce imperiled salmon populations to their historic habitat.
If you or someone you know may be interested in applying for the Al Martin HCTF Conservation Scholarship, check out the following links: