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Bioscience MSc student Shayla Jackson talks about her time at the 13th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference

Mon. Mar. 27, 2023

A side-profile view of MSc student Shayla Jackson sitting in a hilly field with blue skies. Shayla is peering through a thick black telescope. One leg is extended and she is wearing a red toque.Shayla Jackson is a graduate student in the Bioscience, Technology and Public Policy program. Her research focuses on how diet may affect the ranging and social behaviour of coyotes in southwestern Saskatchewan. Shayla recently travelled to Calgary, AB to present a poster at the 13th Prairie Conservation and Endangered Species Conference (PCESC).The Faculty of Graduate Studies checked in with Shayla to learn more about her time there and her research.

Congratulations on being selected to participate in the conference! Can you tell us about what made you decide to apply?

The PCES conference gathers prairie professionals from a variety of fields (pun intended) and locations into one place to share findings, ideas and philosophies regarding prairie conservation. This conference was highly relevant to my work but was also very costly. Funding available through UWinnipeg makes networking experiences such as the PCES conference accessible to students such as myself.

Were there any connections between your research and discussions or panels at the conference?

My research directly relates to species at risk conservation in the grasslands, as many of these species may be predated by coyotes, but how frequently this occurs remains unclear. My research also took place on cattle pastures, which were a central topic at the conference.

Did you have a chance to connect with or socialize with any other students there?

The PCES conference was primarily a professional's conference so there were not many students in attendance. I did meet some young professionals who had entered the industry so it was interesting to discuss different career paths. I also met a student who researched owls. She had performed field work in the same location as myself, but we were never able to cross paths while in the field.

What was the highlight of the conference for you and what are you going to take away from your experience there?

Learning more about the importance and practicality of prairie burning was highly interesting to me. I attended talks on the benefits it can provide to certain endangered species, as well as the plant community of grasslands. I also learned about how it is done and training resources that are available to learn from. This conference really drove home for me the importance and benefit of networking and collaboration, and has encouraged me to become more engaged with professionals in my field of study.

Thanks, Shayla, for that prairie interesting update!