GUELPH, Ont. Feb. 1, 2017
Brantford native Rachael Derbyshire has been selected as “Canada’s New Noah” for 2017 by Wildlife Preservation Canada, a national charity which works to save endangered species.
The prestigious scholarship has been bestowed annually to one promising young Canadian wildlife biologist every year since 1988. Winners spend six months in the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius, home of the fabled but ill-fated dodo, where they are enrolled in a post-graduate diploma program in Endangered Species Recovery run by the Durrell Conservation Academy.
The course includes six weeks of intensive taught modules combined with field placements in any of several endangered species recovery projects ongoing around Mauritius. Graduates emerge with the experience and skills needed to run wildlife conservation projects of their own.
To win the scholarship for 2017, Derbyshire had to beat out more than 30 applicants from all over Canada. Past New Noahs have eventually gone on to conservation leadership positions at the United Nations, Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada, the Calgary and Bronx zoos, and other notable organizations.
Currently working as a research manager at the University of Guelph, Derbyshire holds an MSc in Ecology from the University of Guelph. In her undergraduate years, also at Guelph, she studied Wildlife Biology. She has worked at Algonquin Provincial Park, Royal Botanical Gardens, and the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. She has studied insects in Arizona, the gray jay on the Canadian Shield, and the tallgrass prairie ecosystem in southern Ontario. She has also done extensive research work with monarch butterflies – an interest which at one point saw her driving from Ontario to Alberta in a van full of butterflies in order to test their orientation ability.
“The Canada’s New Noah program will be an experience unlike any other I have embarked on,” says Derbyshire. “I hope to hone my skills as a biologist, as well as expand my knowledge about working in different communities to implement on-the-ground conservation initiatives.”
“We’re thrilled to have Rachael as this year’s Canada’s New Noah,” says Jessica Steiner, Conservation Programs Director for Wildlife Preservation Canada and herself a past New Noah. “The purpose of the program is to build Canada’s conservation capacity in hands-on species recovery, and we’re confident Rachael will use the experience to make many important contributions to wildlife conservation throughout her career.”
About Wildlife Preservation Canada
Established in 1985, Wildlife Preservation Canada is a national charity devoted to saving endangered animal species facing imminent extinction in Canada – species whose numbers in the wild are so low that habitat protection alone is not enough. It is currently working with over twenty mammal, reptile, amphibian, bird, and insect species in projects ranging from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island, making it the only organization in Canada to provide hands-on care to multiple species in multiple recovery efforts across the country. For more information, please visit https://wildlifepreservation.ca
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