Voices for Salmon: PSF Scholarship and Bursary Recipients

The Pacific Salmon Foundation supports a variety of scholarships and bursaries to ensure a new generation of stewards will be ready to champion wild salmon and navigate new challenges to their future.
This year we are delighted to announce the Dr. Brian Riddell – PSF Fisheries Endowment Fund at Vancouver Island University in honour of our departing CEO.

In 2018, Fourteen post-secondary students in British Columbia received a total of $29,000 – the most ever awarded in the history of the program. The program provides cash awards to post-secondary students that volunteer in the aquatic community and are pursuing an education that benefits salmon.

Support young scientists today who are donating their time and dedicating their future to wild salmon!  Donate online todayor contact Margaret Buttner at mbuttner@psf.ca or 604-664-7664 x 128. Read on to meet some of 2018’s recipients.


Dr. Brian Riddell – PSF Fisheries Endowment Fund at Vancouver Island University

In late March, Dr. Brian Riddell received a special retirement gift – an endowed scholarship in his name at Vancouver Island University. PSF staff and board could think of no better way to honour his 30 years of service at Fisheries and Oceans Canada followed by 10 years at the helm of the Pacific Salmon Foundation. This scholarship will be awarded annually to an outstanding upper-level student studying wild salmon conservation and management at Vancouver Island University.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled with this new award. The majority of our students are studying wild salmon conservation and management yet we always fall short on the number of awards we are able to give in this area each year.  The award speaks to the great legacies of Brian and the Pacific Salmon Foundation in support of wild salmon.” Dr. Chris Foote, Professor, Vancouver Island University


Who: Brian Timmer, PSF Stewardship Community Bursary Recipient
Volunteer:  Nanaimo/Nanoose Bay/Victoria
School: Vancouver Island University
Pursuing: Bachelor of Science, Biology

Brian’s interest and career in scuba diving has taken him around the world, but his move to Nanaimo introduced him to the Salish Sea and the challenges it is facing. He was inspired to return to school to pursue his bachelor’s degree, including studies in fisheries and aquaculture. These programs opened his eyes to the plight of wild Pacific salmon, and when he graduates next year, he plans to pursue his master’s degree to further his knowledge of the Salish Sea and programs to protect BC waters.

His father is from the Chawathil First Nation of the Coast Salish Nation, and in Brian’s words: “I am by no means a spiritual person, but I feel that the connection that I have with the Salish Sea goes deeper than just a fascination of the life within it. It is a connection that links me to thousands of years of ancestry and stewardship in the area.”


Who: Haley Crozier, PSF Stewardship Community Bursary Recipient
Volunteer: Prince Rupert/North Shore
School: British Columbia Institute of Technology
Pursuing: Bachelor of Science in Ecological Restoration

Haley began her post-secondary education in Prince Rupert where she attended Northwest Community College for its Applied Coastal Ecology diploma program. In addition to her studies she volunteered at the Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery in Prince Rupert, a grantee of PSF’s Community Salmon Program, where she learned about salmon tagging, the Stream to Sea program, and fish culture. Upon returning to North Vancouver, she took a position as a natural resource field technician with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, overseeing the Indian River Watershed, participating in fish counts, habitat assessments, biological sampling and restoration work. She also began volunteering with North Shore Streamkeepers and became a coordinator for Hastings Creek.

“The restoration work that I saw in the Watershed spurred me to return to BCIT for ecological restoration studies. My final courses, including wetland/estuary restoration as well as stream limnology (study of inland waters) will help me pursue salmon habitat restoration work – my goal is to establish my own restoration company in the future.”


Who: Heather Hewitt, first recipient of the Alexander “Sandy” Miller PSF Fisheries Endowment Award
Volunteer: Nanaimo/Bowser
School: Vancouver Island University
Pursuing: Post-degree studies in Fisheries and Aquaculture

Sandy Miller was completing post-degree studies in fisheries and aquaculture at Vancouver Island University when he passed away in 2017. Donations to the Pacific Salmon Foundation in Sandy’s memory, along with funds from PSF, his family and the Vancouver Island University Foundation created an endowment for this award. Heather Hewitt became the first award recipient in 2018.

Heather is a long-time resident of Nanaimo. She grew up fishing with her dad on the Big Qualicum River and credits him for sharing his love of salmon but also learned the importance of salmon conservation. In addition to pursuing her career in fisheries, she has volunteered for the Nanaimo Watershed Monitoring Program and the Nile Creek Enhancement Society.

Heather graduates shortly and she’s thinking about her future plans: “working with Pacific salmon has always been the goal of my schooling whether that means working with stock assessment, hatchery work, or stream rehabilitation. My goal is to work in some capacity with Pacific salmon that will help continue their survival and growth.”


Who: Jennifer Papineau, PSF Stewardship Community Bursary Recipient
Volunteer: Nanoose Bay/Port Hardy
School: Vancouver Island University
Pursuing: Resource Management Officer Technology program

Jennifer began her studies in 2016, focusing on fisheries and aquaculture but made the switch to the Resource Management program the following year. In addition to her studies, she has volunteered with the Nanoose Bay streamkeepers, assisting with habitat restoration and removal of invasive species.  More recently, her practicum took her to Port Hardy where she did stock assessment for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and volunteered at the Quatse River Hatchery.

Jennifer is already thinking about her career: “I am extremely passionate about salmon stewardship and wildlife rehabilitation. I have chosen my area of study so I can pursue a career working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to maintain salmon populations and habitat, or work on salmon preservation programs like those supported by the Pacific Salmon Foundation.”


Who: Scotti-Lynn Griffin, PSF Stewardship Community Bursary Recipient
Volunteer:Maple Ridge
School: British Columbia Institute of Technology,
Pursuing: Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Diploma
Prior to pursuing her studies at BCIT, Scotti-Lynn began volunteering with the Alouette River Management Society in Maple Ridge in 2015. She took water samples, tested water levels and quality, and did stock assessments. She obtained her Streamkeepers Certificate in 2016 to improve her knowledge of protecting and restoring local salmon habitats. While completing her diploma she has continued to volunteer at Coho Creek in Maple Ridge.When she finishes her two-year program in the spring of 2019 she’s very clear about her career goals: “I am an active angler who cares deeply about the health of our rivers. My ultimate goal is to help foster healthy and abundant wild salmonid populations in British Columbia.”

Who: Soraya Olszewski, PSF Stewardship Community Bursary Recipient
Volunteer: Prince Rupert
School: Coast Mountain College
Program: Post-degree diploma in Applied Coastal Ecology

As a youngster growing up in Ontario, Soraya was fascinated with the outdoors and collected tadpoles and caterpillars, recognizing their interactions within the greater environment. After completing her undergraduate degree in Geography in Ontario she moved to the West Coast for its ecosystems and to further her studies. She also volunteers with the Oldfield Hatchery Salmonid Enhancement Program in Prince Rupert and is involved with salmon education programs for local students.

“The ecological intricacy of the coast has always captivated me. As I have learned more about the endless connections between the ocean, rainforest soil, otters and orcas, it always comes back to the salmon and the vital ecological role they play.”