Three Area Students to Benefit from 2012 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursaries

Three Area Students to Benefit from 2012 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursaries

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) are pleased to announce that three winners have been awarded the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary for students intending to pursue a college or university education in studies related to the environment. The deserving recipients of the $500 bursaries are Sarah Bird of West Carleton Secondary School, Laura Symon of Perth and District Collegiate Institute and Ryley Steele of Almonte and District High School.









L-R:  Laura Symon, Cliff Bennett, Ryley Steele and Sarah Bird

Sarah Bird has been accepted at the University of British Columbia’s Okanogan Valley campus and is planning on obtaining a major in zoology. She already has travelled to the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon to gain a better understanding of these two significant ecological areas of the world. After completing her education Sarah hopes to work for an organization like the World Wildlife Fund. Overall she “would like her work to help raise global awareness about some of the harmful impacts our human activity has on the habitats of many species and use that awareness to drive global change.”

Laura Symon will be attending Dalhousie University in the fall and will be enrolled in marine biology. This summer Laura will be working on the Water Monitoring Program for the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. She has been very active in school and has maintained a part time job during her years at PDCI. For Laura “hearing things about decreasing biodiversity in certain ecosystems, habitats home to amazing wildlife being destroyed, the state of our lakes, rivers, streams and oceans, and the melting of yet another glacier, make me very sure about what I want to focus my life on in the future.”

Ryley Steele will be attending St. Lawrence College in Kingston where he will be enrolled in the Biotechnology Technologist Program. Ryley is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and has recently participated in a project in Norfolk Virginia. He is also an active member of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of Canada(CCFC). His involvement with CCFC has given direction to his choice of post -secondary education “My focus as a graduate is to work on research projects that are undertaken to determine what role the environment has played on the increase of this disease.”

The Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Award was established in 2007 by MVFN members and friends and family of naturalists and retired educator Cliff Bennett on the occasion of his 75th birthday. The annual bursary program is supported by MVFN and applications and other details may be found on MVFN’s website at .

Congratulations to the three award winners and best wishes for your studies.


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