Courtesy of the Dr. M. Wosk Environmental Leadership Award, this year we were able to award TWO $1,000 scholarships!
This scholarship was established by the Pacific Parklands Foundation for the development of youth leadership in 2006. The leadership fund is used to engage, train and empower today’s youth with the skills necessary for the future sustainability of our spectacular regional parks.
This year we had the privilege of awarding two amazing young women.
Rachel Dong, a dedicated and motivated science student, caught our eye by designing a wheelchair prototype for paraplegics in the Vancouver District Science Fair. An advocate for equitable education, she also initiated a free, STEM-based summer camp for underprivileged children. From being President of the Eric Hamber Compassion Club, to serving as Chair on the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference, it is clear that Rachel’s heart and soul has had an amazing impact on her community.
Upon graduating high school, Rachel’s goal is to obtain a Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia. With this, she hopes to come up with innovative solutions to combat the negative effects of climate change that have become visible in our communities, such as rising sea levels and food waste.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science, she plans to attend medical school to obtain her Doctor of Medicine at UBC. Rachel hopes to spearhead medical research to discover treatments for cancers that develop in children. She will also prioritize creating programs that provide youth with the opportunity to understand the reality of climate change and take care of the environment. An inspiration to us all, Rachel aspires to build a career in which she can address climate justice in her community as a doctor.
Catherine Pryer, currently enrolled in the Environmental Science program at UBC, has focussed her studies on Ecology and Conservation. With the goal to complete a Master’s degree in order to become a research scientist, Catherine recognizes the unprecedented global challenges that humanity is facing with climate change, and the loss of species and entire ecosystems.
As the hands-on problem solver that she has proven to be, Catherine has been involved with Pacific Spirit Park Society as an Eco Team Volunteer, putting in the work to restore forest habitats and monitoring bog habitat chemistry. She has monitored salmon populations, participated in beach clean ups, and inspired her peers to join school-wide sustainability initiatives (such as reducing waste packaging from their lunches!)
Catherine also mentioned in her essay that a Cree elder recently gave her the spirit name “Mother Earth Woman” to help her on her life path. “It is not only a great honour, but a huge responsibility, requiring a lifelong commitment to learn from, care for and advocate for Mother Earth,” she explained. “After being included in many Indigenous ceremonies, I now view community differently, understanding that it encompasses diversity and inclusivity in both the natural and human worlds.”
These two incredible humans were among many strong, qualified applicants. The passion and commitment to the environment among the applicants was inspiring. Empowered youth make the future bright.
Congratulations to our winners! It is a privilege to contribute to your future success and your academic journey.