North Coast Ecology Centre Society: Who are we? 


Caitlin Birdsall 


Caitlin is a biologist and an educator focused on marine conservation in British Columbia. She grew up on the South Coast and moved to Prince Rupert in 2014, where she fell in love with the wild spaces of the North Coast.  Caitlin is passionate about connecting people to the environment around them and has previously worked as an interpreter and naturalist with the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, the Whale Interpretive Centre in Telegraph Cove, and the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. She currently works with the Ocean Wise Conservation Association as the manager of the North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative.  She holds a BSc in Wildlife Biology from the University of Northern B.C. and is a certified Heritage Interpreter. Caitlin is and founding member and the current Chair of the North Coast Ecology Centre Society.


Karina Dracott


Karina is passionate about contributing to science-based decision-making in conservation biology. She sees great value in fostering diverse, engaged, and informed communities, and aims to work with people to help conserve and sustain coastal resources. Karina moved to Prince Rupert in 2017 after studying and conducting research in Iceland, Uruguay, Norway, and South Africa. Despite her tendency to move countries, she has grown very fond of calling Northern B.C. home. Karina holds a Masters in Coastal and Marine Management and a BA in geography from the University of Victoria. She has worked on a variety of marine conservation issues ranging from plastics to sustainable fisheries to marine mammal conservation and has experience leading community engagement initiatives. Karina also volunteers for the Prince Rupert Royal Marine Search and Rescue Society and the Prince Rupert Back Country Society. She is a founding member and current Vice-Chair of the North Coast Ecology Centre.


Amanda Beckett

Founding Member

Amanda came to Prince Rupert in 2013 where she started school, Amanda went back to school later in life at 28. She finished her diploma in Applied Coastal Ecology at Northwest Community College 2015, then completed her B.Sc. in environmental science at Royal Roads University in Victoria in 2016. Amanda is now working to complete her training for the Environmental Professional designation.

Amanda loves going fishing; however, never catches anything. She loves camping with her two dogs, Tank and Abba. She enjoys plants, having a collection of houseplants and playing with flowers in the summer. She is also passionate about anything with fins, dogs of all shapes and sizes, and Roughriders Football. Amanda is also terrified of bugs, not so much spiders but more beetles and grasshoppers.

Currently Amanda works at Coastal Shellfish, volunteers and is a founding member of the NCECS and looks forward to seeing the society grow, and helping others explore the local ecology through education.

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Darla Farrington

Founding Member

Darla is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to adventure and explore everything this world has to offer.  She was born and raised on Vancouver Island where she fell in love with the west coast. She has a Bachelor of Natural Resource Protection from Vancouver Island University and spent many of her early years working as a Park Ranger in both Manitoba and Northern BC. She moved to Prince Rupert in 2007 for a employment with the Ministry of Forests and one of her primary roles was to assess impacts on Cultural Heritage Resources throughout the North Coast. Two years later she reached her final destination with Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Prince Rupert where she spends countless hours on the ocean patrolling and protecting the uniqueness of the North Coast. She is mother of two young children who inspire her to make this world a better place and is very excited to bring the North Coast Ecology Centre to life.  

Cherry Blossoms



Founding Member

Coming Soon!


Jessica Hawryshyn

Founding Member

Jessica is a biologist whose career has focused on marine biology, natural resource monitoring and management. Jessica grew up on Vancouver Island and then spent time in Quebec and  Ontario earning a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science, and a Master's degree in Biology.  She came to Prince Rupert in 2011 and quickly became inspired and fascinated by the North Coast wilderness and unique ecology. Jessica currently runs her own consulting business. She is passionate about coastal ecology and conservation and loves to help instill scientific curiosity in young people. She loves to spend time outside with her young family, beach combing and berry picking. 

Cherry Blossoms

Jennifer Paton

Founding Member 

Jen found herself of the west coast in 2004 after completing a BA in Environmental Studies at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB. Finding herself on the west coast, she explored wild caught seafood as an Observer onboard commercial fishing vessels, while also teaching SCUBA diving in Victoria, BC. After a couple of years of dedicated sea time, she moved through a variety of roles within the At-Sea Observer program at Archipelago. She spent nine years working with the monitoring and biological sampling on a variety of commercial fisheries. Recently relocated to Prince Rupert, BC, she works for Ecotrust Canada on the fisheries team. Primary responsibilities include the management of an electronic monitoring program with commercial crab harvesters who fish around Haida Gwaii. Additionally, she participates in thoughtfully designed Observer programs that aim to employ local residents in the monitoring and data collection of regional fisheries, to ensure the economic benefits of resources feed the communities adjacent to them. Her ongoing work connecting people to their environment through education found a natural place being a board member of the NCECS.

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Caitlin is a biologist with a passion for wildlife conservation and environmentally-sustainable living. She was born and raised in Prince Rupert and is of Haida ancestry. Caitlin received a BSc in Biology in 2016 from Vancouver Island University and completed her undergrad research on climate change and genomics, looking at the impacts of ocean acidification on blue mussel health. She has experience in genetics, shellfish aquaculture, bird banding and entomological collections. Caitlin returned to Prince Rupert in 2016 where she worked at Coastal Shellfish before becoming the Environmental Technician at the Prince Rupert Port Authority where she is involved in many environmental research initiatives and community outreach. Caitlin is also a pianist, and initially started a degree in classical music at VIU before switching to biology. Caitlin is the current Treasurer of the North Coast Ecology Centre Society.


The North Coast Ecology Centre Society aims to create a permanent education centre in Prince Rupert that highlights the region’s ecological richness.

Website photos by Megan Baker, Brandon Broderick, Caitlin Birdsall.

North Coast Ecology Centre Society. 2103 Seal Cove Circle, Prince Rupert, BC. www,