Staff feature: It’s never really goodbye to BMSC


Anyone who has visited BMSC knows that this place becomes a part of you, and even as we said farewell to some staff members this spring, we always hope it isn’t really ‘goodbye’ so much as ‘see you later’.

In April we said farewell to Dr. Chris Neufeld, who like many here, has traced a winding path through different roles here at BMSC. Chris leaves us after two years as our first Associate Director, Education, a role created to support a new operational structure at the BMSC – one geared to promote stronger communication and cooperation on higher order initiatives within and between the branches of the organization. Chris fondly reflects that this has been the highlight of his career so far: “Working with such a fun and supportive team in the education unit made me realize just how much we could get done when we focused on what we wanted to do and figured out how to make it happen.”


The accomplishments of the education team during these past two years are numerous and speak to this new period of enhanced innovation and teamwork. They led the way with the development of systems for better communication, and laid the foundation for station-wide changes. We also saw banner years for summer student enrollments, an expansion in course offerings to include Science Journalism and Environmental Law, and a stronger integration of the education and research departments to support high-calibre course-based undergraduate research experiences, including the regular publication of student-led peer-reviewed research papers. In these last two years citizen science initiatives like iNaturalist and DNA barcoding also flourished after integration into both our field trips and university course offerings. In one year alone BMSC students, staff, and faculty made over 8000 observations of over 950 species!

The most recent Education Unit achievements include the BMSC Live! education webcasts, and BMSC’s inaugural online field courses, which premiere in late June of this year. “Remoteness is part of the magic of BMSC and part of its value as a natural laboratory, but it is also our Achilles’ heel,” says Chris. “The challenge is finding ways to connect people with this remote environment.” These field courses – the first of which, Research in Marine Ecology, will be co-taught by Chris and BMSC alumnus Dr. Sam Starko, University of Victoria – present a novel way to overcome this challenge. Conceived of initially as an adaptive response to our new reality during a global pandemic, these virtual experiences will connect people from all over the world with the Barkley Sound environment. Says Chris of his final project with the education team: “It’s really gratifying to be involved in seeing this come to fruition.”

So, it’s not really even ‘see you later’, Chris – it’s ‘see you again soon.’

We’d also like to acknowledge some familiar faces from the BMSC team who have recently taken on new roles here.

Congratulations Business Manager, Lee Weber, on her new position as Operations Manager/Deputy Director. Tao Eastham is moving into the position of Research Coordinator (Acting).
Both Lee and Tao have long histories with this special place, and we look forward to their contributions in these new roles as we move forward into an exciting new era of innovation with BMSC.

Em Lim, the voice of #BMSCLive, is beginning graduate research with Dr. Isabelle Côté’s lab.Dr. Kaitlin Gallagher, our first BMSC Post Doc will be joining the faculty at Christian Brothers University this fall.

Watch Kaitlin’s recent online seminar here!