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North Coast Ecology Centre Society: Meet the Board  

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Caitlin
Birdsall 

Co-Chair

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 worked for many years with the Ocean Wise Conservation Association and established 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 a founding member of the North Coast Ecology Centre Society.

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Karina
Dracott

Vice-Chair

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.

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Amanda
Beckett

Founding Member

Amanda came to Prince Rupert in 2013, where she 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.

Amanda looks forward to seeing the society grow, and helping others explore the local ecology through education.

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Darla

Farrington

Treasurer

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 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.  

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Anita
Bhatt

Board Member

Anita hails from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. The sun, sand, and sea have always been an innate part of her being. She is passionate about nature and water. She loves exploring the outdoors and going on new adventures to discover all nature offers. Anita has a master’s in Environmental Engineering and another in Sustainable Environmental Management. She has participated in and organized several beach cleanup, turtle conservation, and coastal protection initiatives, during her time in Trinidad, Mumbai, and Los Angeles. Her master’s research publication was on the “Persistence of fecal indicator bacteria in Santa Monica Bay beach sediments,” which combined her interest in environmental and coastal protection. Becoming a PADI-certified open-water diver in 2017 opened a new beautiful underwater world to discover and explore. The ecological impacts of anthropogenic activity on the aquatic ecosystems, coral reefs, and the invasion of lionfish in the Caribbean regions are some of the areas of interest to her. She moved to Prince Rupert in 2020 and is excited to be involved in the community. She looks forward to exploring the local north coast ecology and working with the NCECS to promote and educate others about their initiatives.

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Jason Scherr

Board Member

Coming Soon!

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Sandra Penner

Co-Chair

Sandra grew up down the road in Terrace exploring the bush and the creatures of the north coast that live here. After a few years away obtaining her Professional Engineer designation, she returned to the area, moving to Prince Rupert in 2016. Sandra still enjoys spending time exploring the world around her with her Newfie dog, Jake, and seeing children light up when learning about sun dews and sea stars and bears. She hopes her work with the North Coast Ecology Centre Society will help to bring more opportunities for people to interact with the living things and systems unique to the north coast.

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Colin Masson

Board Member

Colin retired from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, where he had worked as the North Coast Area Director. Much of his career focused on championing collaborative processes and fostering positive relationships with Indigenous communities throughout BC. As a resident of Prince Rupert for the past decade, Colin and his partner spend a great deal of time enjoying and appreciating the outdoors. They can be found in remote coastal anchorage’s in their sailboat or possibly hiking or camping somewhere between the Yukon and Baja. 

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Elizabeth Herbert

Secretary

Elizabeth completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2013, and received a Master’s of Zoology in 2019 from the University of British Columbia. Her thesis research investigated the potential relationship between marine protists and the Sea Star Wasting Disease in Ocre Sea Stars on the Northwest Coast. She has a background primarily focused in the marine intertidal zone, and has recently transitioned out of environmental consulting and into salmon restoration work with the North Coast Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society.

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Jessica Griffeth

Board Member

Jessica grew up and completed her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology in Saskatchewan, before moving west and settling down in Port Edward. She is a biologist who works on projects with marine and freshwater impacts. Currently, she is working on her masters degree in Fisheries Resource Management. Jessica loves to work and play outdoors in the PNW with her partner and GSP. She enjoys salt and freshwater fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, and snowboarding. She is very excited to grow with the NCECS and to promote and educate on conservation locally.

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Farley Stewart

Board Member

Born and raised in Port Edward / Prince Rupert, his parents are the late James and Simone Stewart of Kincolith, Nisga’a Nation. He has two daughters, Grace recently graduated with a degree in Biology and a Minor in Chemistry and Molecular Science, and she just completed a Marine Internship in Greece. Hannah is close to obtaining a degree from Emily Carr University and is a certified kayak guide, employed last summer giving tours around Salt Spring Islands. Farley is completing his certification at SFU in Community Economic Development and enjoys practicing his guitar and learning about his culture. He is constantly looking for advice on how to have a better relationship with his two cats Sisko and Scout. 

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