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Research Grants

2004 Research Grant Recipient - Findlay MacDermid

A good investment
In September 2003, Findlay MacDermid was a third-year environmental science and geography student at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., on the verge of abandoning his studies.

He wasn't daunted by the 475,000 hectares of rugged terrain in northwest Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park, where he hoped to spend months completing his undergraduate thesis on prairie tall grasses. Rather, what made MacDermid consider dropping out was the lack of funding for his research.

"He was ready to quit," says Will Wilson, his geography professor.

The grant he received nearly six months later from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, says MacDermid, made all the difference. "I had no other funding to do this research, and without the RCGS grant, I wouldn't have done it."

He spent the following summer paddling through Quetico probing soil conditions, examining historic logging sites and collecting prairie grass samples. "That's the great thing about the grant program," says Wilson, "it offers students the chance to get out and do geography."

MacDermid graduated in 2005 and now lives in Calgary. In August, he returned from a four-month trip on behalf of the Nature Conservancy of Canada compiling an inventory of natural resources and mapping invasive species in Waterton Lakes National Park, on Alberta's southern border.

— Melanie Bidiuk


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