Eric Balke

MSc, 2017

"I chose Ecological Restoration because I wanted to focus my career by developing skills and knowledge that would make me capable of taking on real-world problems. In other words, I wanted to be more employable."

Investigation of the Receding Brackish Marsh at Sturgeon Bank

A series of experiments to test the hypothesis that high salinity has contributed to the loss of the brackish marsh off the west coast of Lulu Island at Sturgeon Bank. 

Research field site sunset

Research field site sunrise

Where they are now...

While in grad school Eric and several peers joined the board for the Western Canada chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-WC) for which they are currently organizing a conference in February 2018 at SFU. Upon finishing the ER MSc program Eric was given the opportunity to continue his graduate research as the Lead Biologist for the Sturgeon Bank Marsh Recession Project. At present, he works for Ducks Unlimited Canada as a Conservation Land Management Coordinator; he manages a portfolio of conservation lands throughout the BC South Coast that are managed/owned by the province, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Trust of British Columbia, and Canadian Wildlife Service.

Words of wisdom...

How did this program prepare you for your future/current career?

The program helped me to develop hands-on skills and a holistic landscape-perspective for the environment. I was fortunate to continue my masters research upon graduating, and that opportunity directly led me into my current position. Without the ER MSc program I would not be on my current career path.

What advice do you have for someone starting off in Ecological Restoration?

Never stop searching for new opportunities to learn and challenge yourself! And make sure you find a project partner capable of financially supporting your applied research project.

Are there any research opportunities for Ecological Restoration students that would be helpful?

I would recommend reaching out to other ER researchers and grad students to lend them a hand in the field for a day as a volunteer. There's nothing like learning about a new ecological challenge from an expert!

What was the most memorable part of your experience?

Getting the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft to help me out for a day of sediment sampling.

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I would not underestimate the rapacious appetite of resident Canada geese.