For her groundbreaking rattlesnake research, TRU Master of Science in Environmental Science student Dana Eye has been awarded a $3,000 scholarship and recognition from the Fraser Basin Council.
The scholarship, the Elizabeth Henry Scholarship for Communities and Environmental Health, is awarded by the Council to graduate students working on research partnered with one or more B.C. communities, including indigenous communities, addressing air quality, environmental health issues and/or promoting environmental sustainability through co-operative initiatives.
Working in collaboration with the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Nk’Mip Cultural Centre, and under the supervision of Dr. Karl Larsen, Eye launched the first research project on pregnant Western Rattlesnakes. Tracking the movements of 25 pregnant snakes, the team located 18 gestation sites. The data was then delivered to land users and managers to aid in conservation efforts.
Eye spent much of her time engaged in community outreach, creating resources for land users to understand rattlesnake movement patterns, how they give birth, and how to walk and work safely in rattlesnake territory.
The award and recognition comes at a critical time for Eye as she is set to defend her thesis. Eye says her work has been incredibly rewarding, even being the difficult time it is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think everyone has felt this has been a very weird year. There has been progress, but then there have been delays,” says Eye, who admits it has been tough to focus now that she is working from home rather than from the lab, where she would normally be surrounded by her grad school peers.
“There is so much going on in the world that it is easy to get distracted,” she stated. “This award could not have come at a better time.”
As for her research, Eye believes in its value as a usable, accessible resource. “It is so important to ensure this information is conveyed properly, and that it is usable and useful,” she said.