Dr. Jenn Burt receives Governor's Gold Medal

June 10, 2019
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As one of SFU's most outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of the Environment, Dr. Jenn Burt is being recognized with the Governor General Gold Medal. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Dr. Burt on her outstanding achievements.

Dr. Jenn Burt spent nearly 300 hours underwater and countless hours doing interviews with people in coastal Indigenous communities for her doctoral research on interconnected ecological and social systems in the Faculty of the Environment. Dr. Burt's research illuminates the drivers of ecosystem transformations occurring as sea otters recover and expand their range on BC’s coasts. Her collaborative work also reveals how coastal Indigenous communities are adapting to these profound changes; providing a critical foundation to improve human-sea otter coexistence.

Dr. Burt's research has been published in high impact academic journals and has also started a larger conversation outside the academy challenging current established ecological research paradigms. She has over 12 years of experience working in marine conservation and natural resource management in British Columbia. 

Jenn's academic supervisor, Dr. Anne Salomon believes Dr. Burt’s work is of the highest calibre, sharing, "Jenn Burt is an outstanding scholar and engaged conservation scientist who produced an exceptional thesis. Her thesis is exceptional because it simultaneously advances the frontiers of theory and has demonstrable societal impact.” 

Members of Dr. Burt’s supervisory committee agree with Dr. Salomon’s assessment of Burt’s work. Dr. Natalie Ban from the University of Victoria states, "Burt's thesis is an impressive academic endeavour that showcases the strength that multi- and trans-disciplinary research brings to ecology, conservation, and adaptation questions. Furthermore, the relationships Dr. Burt built with collaborators, especially First Nations knowledge-holders, are exemplary, and made her research not only academically exciting, but also useful for partners."

"This work is important because it highlights critical marine species interactions, as well as the human interactions and adaptations that need to be considered for improving both the resilience and management of linked social-ecological systems," echoes Burt.

Dr. Jenn Burt is currently the BC Marine Program Lead for Nature United, the Canadian affiliate of one of the world’s largest conservation organizations, where she is tasked to find innovative solutions to the social-ecological challenges that face Canada’s Pacific coast. 

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