Summer Students

In addition to the eleven students hired since 2016, the Gorge Waterway Action Society (GWAS) was able to hire six more students for the summer of 2021 thanks to funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Michelle Wood- Ecological Restoration Technician, 2021

Michelle has been involved with the Gorge Waterway Action Society since 2018 when she was hired as a Nature House Interpreter Summer Student. She continued to serve GWAS as volunteer Webmaster while completing her Bachelor degree in Statistics and Environmental Studies, then left the island for a season of remote field work in the Alaskan Arctic. After returning to the island and GWAS, Michelle assisted in leading the winter 2021 YCP Program as Education & Outreach Advisor. She is excited to return to field work for the 2021 summer and to help restore ecosystems in a park she loves!

Vanessa Brownlee- Ecological Restoration Technician, 2021

Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Sociology from the University of Victoria (UVic). She is currently completing a Diploma in Restoration of Natural Systems at UVic while working with GWAS. She started with GWAS in January of 2021 as a participant in their YCP program, and is continuing her work as a restoration technician this summer. Vanessa enjoys gardening and learning about native plants, so she is excited to be working on GWAS’s Pollinator Meadow this summer!


Liam Baron-Preston- Environmental Biologist, 2021

Liam holds a B.Sc. in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria where he focused on forest biology and restoration ecology. He is interested in community ecology, conservation biology and nutrient cycling and exchange between terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Liam is excited to join the GWAS team and more closely examine urban-adjacent ecosystem dynamics this summer. He will be focused on expanding on existing biodiversity monitoring projects and developing field guides for future research.

Ernest Wu- Environmental Biologist, 2021

Ernest holds a Masters of Sciences from the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He is interested in plant ecology and biogeography, such as the importance of plant biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem resilience. He is also interested in the conservation of rare moss species. In his spare time he likes to take pictures, hike, and beachcomb. He is assisting with many of the ongoing environmental monitoring projects and also developing new protocols for biodiversity inventories.

Erin Hogan- Nature Interpreter, 2021

Erin holds a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration from the University of Waterloo and an Adventure Tourism certificate from Westcoast Adventure College. During her time with the Gorge Waterway Action Society, she hopes to combine her interests in science communication, youth outdoor education, and collaborative design. This summer, Erin will be running environmental education programs in the nature house, assisting with grant writing, and joining the other summer students on their biology and restoration projects.

Kate Assenheimer- Nature Interpreter, 2021

Kate is currently in her final year at the University of Victoria, studying geography and environmental studies. Her key interests lie in ethnoecology and exploring the relationships present between people and nature. Kate hopes to bring her studies to the Nature House as a Nature Interpreter where she will be working on a variety of projects to support the Gorge Waterway Action Society. Kate has recently found some new interests in identifying birds, learning how to rollerblade, and canoeing. Whether it be through a cultural, scientific, or explorative lens; Kate is eager to continue learning and sharing with the public at the Nature House this summer!