NCC Weston Family Conservation Science PhD Fellowship: Population viability of plant species at risk

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is Canada’s leading private land conservation organization. Since 1962, NCC has helped conserve 14 million hectares (35 million acres), coast to coast to coast. Research by Weston Family Conservation Science Fellows supports the conservation of important natural areas and biological diversity. Learn more at

Project summary

The objective of this project is to measure the viability of some of Canada’s most at-risk plant populations in the Carolinian Forest region. The student will collect demographic data for several plant species at risk, including natural and recently translocated populations. They will use these data to link population growth rates with microhabitat conditions, threats and habitat suitability. Fieldwork will occur from May through August each year and will involve travel throughout southern Ontario to visit and monitor plant populations. The student will be working with Dr. Jenny McCune from the University of Lethbridge ( and NCC’s Weston Family Senior Scientist. They will be based at the University of Lethbridge in the Biological Sciences Department. Collaborators on the project include Dr. Ryan Norris (University of Guelph), Kayanase and the Calgary Zoo Foundation.

Fellowship details

The Fellowship will begin in January 2022 and consist of up to four years of support, with a minimum $15,000 annual stipend. Fellows will also be allocated up to $5,000 annually to cover costs associated with professional development opportunities and periodic Fellows meetings. Fellowship funding is not intended to be used for research costs; these costs, including field accommodation, will be covered separately.

Fellowship requirements

A master’s degree in science or a related field is required. Successful applicants must have a strong, demonstrated interest in and knowledge of ecology and conservation. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in plant identification in the field and population matrix modelling. Fellowships are open to international students, but preference will be given to Canadian applicants. Applicants must meet the graduate admissions criteria for the University of Lethbridge and applicants with a minimum A- average are strongly preferred. A valid driver’s license is required.

How to apply

NCC welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. 

We value and incorporate diverse traditions, heritage, knowledge and experiences in our mission and in our workplaces. We celebrate the full participation of people from all walks of life as we work towards common goals. We strive for a conservation movement in which equity, diversity and inclusion are the norm. This is our continuous commitment: to promote healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet for everyone.

If you are interested in the Fellowship, please upload your CV, contact information for three references, unofficial transcripts and a detailed cover letter to by June 30, 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Questions can be directed to Sam Knight at

The Weston Family Conservation Science Fellowship Program is made possible through the generous support of the Weston Family Foundation.