WCS Canada

W. Garfield Weston Fellowship Program


With generous support from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, WCS Canada is able to award annual fellowships to graduate students to support field research  relevant to WCS Canada’s conservation objectives at our two long-term conservation sites: the boreal region of northern Ontario and the northern boreal mountains of Yukon and British Columbia. 

2017 Fellowship Application Deadline is 23 February 2017

Long-term site descriptions and WCS Canada’s conservation agenda:

Ontario’s Northern Boreal (ONB)

This region contains the world’s largest intact boreal forest, the third largest wetland, and the second largest peatland complex. Its sheer size (450,000 sq. km), remoteness, low human population density, lack of a permanent transportation or energy infrastructure network, and, as-yet, small industrial footprint make it a stronghold for a number of species that have experienced range reductions in the rest of Canada, including caribou, wolverine, and lake sturgeon as well as the most southern sub-population of polar bears.  It is also a homeland to approximately 40,000 First Nations Peoples ( including Anishinabeg; and Mushkegowuk). In the last two decades, First Nations Peoples in this region have experienced a mineral boom in staking, exploration, and mining, intensifying in the past several years with the discovery of a world-class nickel-chromium deposit (the “Ring of Fire”).  In 2010, the Government of Ontario formally committed to protecting at least 50% of the landscape and creating a new relationship with First Nations to support sustainable development through community based land use planning processes. 

Our vision is that Ontario’s Northern Boreal Landscape remains the largest intact boreal landscape in the world with thriving populations of iconic fish and wildlife species within a dynamic landscape, supporting healthy and resilient communities of First Nations pursuing traditional resource use and limited industrial development.


  • To use conservation principles to inform regional and community planning and environmental assessment processes
  • To use scientific information to inform conservation of fish and wildlife 
  • To provide information to  First Nations communities to support planning 
  • To develop and encourage best practices in  industrial development that addresses conservation and traditional resource use 
  • To advance the science necessary to support climate change adaptation and mitigation in Ontario’s northern boreal, particularly with First Nations

Northern Boreal Mountains (NBM) 

This region encompasses approximately 855,000 sq. km in northwestern Canada, incorporating diverse boreal, taiga and tundra ecosystems.  Resident aboriginal peoples rely on their harvests of wildlife and fish, including the longest-distance migration of salmon in the world.  Much of the region is still wilderness, supporting robust populations of barren-ground and mountain caribou, grizzly bears, wolverine, and lynx, and significant breeding populations of many boreal bird species.  Much of the region was part of the Beringian refugium during the Wisconsian glaciation, and that geographic isolation led to significant speciation and endemic wildlife.  Lowland forest and riparian habitats support the majority of the region’s biodiversity but these habitats are poorly covered by existing conservation lands. WCS Canada is focusing on the NBM because of the mix of conservation opportunity and threat the region currently faces.  

Our vision is that the full suite of wildlife species continues to thrive, with robust populations conserved across the diversity of ecosystems, throughout the boreal mountains of northwest Canada.


  • To contribute to the identification and development of a full suite of ecological benchmarks or protected areas in the Northern Boreal Mountains
  • To contribute new science or scientific interpretations to enhance conservation of fish and wildlife in the Northern Boreal Mountains
  • To develop best management practices for the integration of wildlife and ecosystem conservation into natural resource management and human use of wild places
  • To strengthen the technical and scientific capacity of government agencies and other organizations which have a conservation mandate
  • To develop assessments of the risks to wildlife inherent in climate change and pursue suitable adaptation strategies in concert with various partners

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WCS Fellowships

The WCS Research Fellowship Program (RFP) is a small grants program designed to build capacity for the next generation of conservationists by supporting individual field research projects that have a clear application to the conservation of threatened wildlife and wild places. 

Key Staff

Biz Agnew
WCS Canada Associate Director
Gillian Woolmer
WCS Canada Assistant Director
Marilyn Katsabas
Office Manager
All Fellowship Program Staff >>

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WCS Canada
344 Bloor Street West, Suite 204 Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3A7
(416) 850-9038