Scholarship benefits city parks

BCIT students in the Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation program donate their time to map and study two parks in Maple Ridge.

  • Mar. 31, 2015 5:00 p.m.
Joel Nixon (left) and Brian Har

Joel Nixon (left) and Brian Har

The memory of Zoe Longeway-Lewis will not be forgotten thanks to some BCIT students in the Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation program.

The students recently donated their time to map and study two parks in the City of Maple Ridge on Friday, March 20 to raise funds to create a scholarship in honour of a former classmate.

In return, Stewardship Centre for BC will contribute $2,500 to a scholarship award fund created by the class.

Zoe Longeway-Lewis was a student in the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation program until she tragically passed away last May at the age of 24.

The award will carry her name and support future students in the program indefinitely if the class reaches its $10,000 goal.

The students conducted a biophysical inventory and mapped trails within Reiboldt and Horseman parks, in an effort to establish a better knowledge base of the local plant and animal communities in them.

The information will be passed onto city officials, who plan to use the information for future development, conservation, and restoration projects in Maple Ridge.

“This project is a win-win for both BCIT and Maple Ridge,” said Tyler Farley, of the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Program. “Maple Ridge will receive a professionally completed report on these parks at a fraction of the cost, and the FWR students will get to practice their data collection techniques while benefitting our goal of creating a long-lasting scholarship in Zoe’s name.”

The data collected from the project will consist of counting plant species and abundance, and surveying for wildlife and fish use in the park and adjacent waterways.

City managers will then have a better idea of how to manage the lands to restore their habitats to more beneficial states. The project has the potential to bring further research and restoration funding, including future jobs, into Maple Ridge parks for future considerations.

The parks are used by urban wildlife such as owls, migrating song-birds, black bears, and black-tailed deer.