The environment has a new champion and her name is Andrea Dykstra. Fresh from completing her Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University in the spring of 2004, Ms. Dykstra is currently putting her skills to work as the Aboriginal Affairs Advisor for Environment Canada – Atlantic Region.
While her future holds immense promise, her academic career deserves equal praise. The recipient of numerous scholarships, the newly minted scientist also won the 2001/02 James A. Martin Award, the 2002 Commendation for Excellence in Research from the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and the 2004 Celebrating Women Award for outstanding community service.
In tandem to her academic pursuits, Ms. Dykstra spearheaded the Pictou Landing Thermal Disturbance Study which looks at the effects industrial thermal disturbance on the organisms living in and around freshwater streams; a project she secured funding for independently making her the first student at St. Francis Xavier University to direct and fund her own research project. This research was accepted for publication in August 2005 and is currently in international circulation in the aquatic biology journal Hydrobiologia.
Her extracurricular activities exemplify her commitment to maintaining and preserving natural habitats and ensuring that Aboriginal concerns are incorporated into these conservation exercises. In 2002 Ms. Dykstra was selected to represent Aboriginal Canadians on the Aboriginal Liaison Committee of the Canadian Environmental Network. She has also participated in many boards and committees working in the areas of Aboriginal forestry and traditional knowledge. Ms. Dykstra has worked with the Canadian Wildlife Service on a project that articulates the importance of Aboriginal traditional knowledge in the conservation of species at risk.
If that’s not enough, in 2003 this youth leader was elected to the position of President of the Aboriginal People’s Commission (APC) of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party and Co-President of the Aboriginal People’s Commission of the Liberal Party of Canada to become the youngest APC President in Canadian history.