On June 14, 2016 TimberWest attended the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation (NLSF) scholarship event, where TimberWest handed over a $1000.00 scholarship to Kyra Egan, a Grade 12 student with a passion for the environment. TimberWest and Kyra have a lot in common, including a passion for the Vancouver Island Marmot Foundation.

TimberWest was honoured to have had the opportunity to meet Kyra and discover more about her passion for education, the environment and her plans for future, so we asked her if she would write us a blog, sharing her stories about who she is and what she plans to do with her scholarship from TimberWest.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I was born in Edmonton Alberta, and I moved to Prince George BC when I was 6 years old and lived there for three years. It was in Prince George that I really got a sense of the forestry industry and the environment. Little did I know then that I would end up wanting to pursue a career in forestry and environmental studies. A few years after living in Prince George I moved to Nanaimo where I have lived ever since.

I have always loved to volunteer. I enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that I have helped out someone, or a cause in need. My favourite place to volunteer is the Dover Bay Environment Club. Not only was I able to volunteer and make a noticeable difference, I also had the privilege of working with an amazing group of leaders.

Besides volunteering, I love do-it-yourself projects, hanging out with my friends and family, and enjoying a good book or two.

How did you get this scholarship?
I got this scholarship by applying through the NLSF, which is essentially a one-stop-shop for all the scholarships/bursaries offered by the community to secondary school students wishing to pursue a higher education. The TimberWest Forestry Scholarship is one I felt my skills and passion were well suited to.

What ultimately allowed me to get the scholarship was the environmental volunteer work I did. I have spent the past three years of my life dedicated to volunteering with the Dover Bay Environment Club on various projects. One of the projects that I started at Dover Bay Secondary was the Adopt a Marmot campaign. This campaign challenged students to raise money to help the Vancouver Island Marmot, which is an endangered species that is important in maintaining the ecosystems of Vancouver Island (more information can be found at marmots.org). Projects, like the Adopt a Marmot campaign has enabled me to show that I am serious about pursuing a career in the forestry sector in B.C.

What do you plan on doing after school/how will the scholarship help?
While I am unsure of exactly what is planned after I am done my education, I do know that I want to be working in a field where I am actively working towards the conservation of the British Columbia ecosystem and educating the public on the importance of maintaining local ecosystems.

The scholarship is already helping me by showing that other people outside my own circle trust that I will succeed in what I love doing. Knowing that I have received funding from TimberWest has helped secure my future, and taking post-secondary education is not only important to me, but also to the community around me. TimberWest has given me further motivation to pursue the forestry and environmental studies that I have grown to love.

Why do you think education is important?
I think education is important because it can open up your mind to many ideas that you may not have been aware of. You may never realize how amazing some subjects are until you have to learn about them. If it wasn’t for education, I may have never realized how important sustainability and the environment are.

Education can also open heights that you may have initially thought were out of reach. Whether you want to be an astronaut, mechanic, artist, or maybe you don’t know what you want to do yet, having an education can open doors up for you. By going to school, you can gain connections to opportunities otherwise unavailable to you. If it wasn’t for taking advantage of the opportunities presented to me through my education at Dover Bay, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am now, pursuing a career in the environmental studies and the forestry industry. Without education, there is not telling where I would be today.

What kind of advice do you have for other young people about education/school/plans for the future?
The biggest and the most important piece I can give to young people about the future is to seize the moment when it arises. There will be opportunities that come up in your life, whether it is for work, travel, education, or anything else that you will need to decide whether to act upon them or not.

One opportunity that came up for me was during a trip to Bamfield with the Dover Bay Environment Club. Our teacher chaperone knew that there were bioluminescent algae present in the waters at the dock near where we were staying. I either had the choice of not going and doing my own thing that night, or taking advantage of that opportunity. We headed down when the stars were in full view, took some PVC pipes to stir the water (which disturbed the bacteria into showing off their bioluminescence) and spent a good half hour/forty-five minutes being fascinated by the algae. Our teacher, who happens to be a biology teacher, was eager to teach us about the algae, which made the experience even better.

Whatever opportunity comes your way, I urge you to go for it. You never know where it will lead you; and while my opportunity lead to a fun filled night that I will cherish forever, yours may lead you down an entirely new path to a future more enriching than you could have imagined.

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