Co-op graduate "gets his hands dirty" preserving BC's natural world

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Growing up in some of BC's most beautiful landscapes—from the snow-covered peaks in Whistler to the shores of the Salish Sea in Victoria—inspired Keegan Meyers to develop a deep appreciation for the natural world.

After he spent the year after high school working and snowboarding the mountains of Vancouver Island, he realized he wanted a degree that would allow him to work and play in the great outdoors.

That goal has now become a reality. Although the biology student formally graduates this June, he began working full-time as a wildlife biologist with LGL Limited Environmental Research Associates in Sidney just two days after his final exam in May. “It’s been a bit of a blur,” he says. “I’ve had to pinch myself that I’m already working.”

Meyer’s rapid transition from school to career was no accident. He’s a strong advocate of UVic’s co-op program, through which he completed work terms as a species-at-risk data management assistant at the Ministry of Environment’s B.C. Conservation Data Centre, as a research assistant in the Bark Beetle Ecology Lab at the Pacific Forestry Centre, and most recently as a field technician with LGL.

This last experience found him surveying how western painted turtles use habitat in the Revelstoke Reach wetlands. “I was really able to get my hands dirty—I spent my work days in a canoe—that’s pretty hard to beat.”

Each of Meyers’ co-op experiences further cemented his love of biology, so when his former co-op supervisor at LGL recommended that he apply for a permanent position at the company, he didn’t hesitate.

“I wouldn’t be where I am right now without the co-op program,” he says. “It has been fundamental to securing a job with a great company.”

Meyers recently returned from the Kinbasket Reservoir near Golden, where he spent two weeks surveying western toad and Columbia spotted frog breeding habits. At the end of the May, he’ll head up to Fort McMurray to conduct a study of small mammals that are carving out habitats in areas formerly leased for oil sand use.

“I’m so excited to travel throughout this amazing province applying the skills I’ve learned at UVic—everything from herpetology to ichthyology—and contributing to meaningful research. At the end of the day I’d like to try and leave the world a better place, and UVic has helped me do that.”

Read more at The Ring