The Dan MacPhail Memorial Bursary

Past Recipients of the Dan MacPhail Bursary

Memorial Bursary 2015

Bailey Silver receiving the Memorial Bursary, 2016

Congratulations to all our Dan MacPhail Memorial Bursary recipients!

  • Bailey Silver, Bridgewater Jr./Sr. High School, 2016
  • Laura McGinnis, Bridgewater Jr./Sr. High School, 2015
  • Brittany Lantz, Park View Education Centre, 2014
  • Rebecca Fancy, New Germany Rural High School, 2013
  • Naomi Hughes, Park View Education Centre, 2012
  • Lucas Mader, New Germany Rural High School, 2011
  • Kirk Herman, Park View Education Centre, 2010
  • Shane Sabean, Lunenburg High School, 2009
  • Melissa Deal, Park View Education Centre, 2008
  • Kent Mader, New Germany Rural High School, 2007
  • Graeme Fraser, Forest Heights Community School, 2006
  • Brittnee Zwicker, New Germany Rural High School, 2005
  • Alicia Fancey, New Germany Rural High School, 2004
  • Julia Beresford, Lunenburg High School, 2003
  • Cheryl Nauss, Park View Education Centre, 2002

Coastal Action is now accepting applications for 2017 grade 12 graduates: 2017 Bursary Application 


The Dan MacPhail Memorial Bursary is awarded each year to a graduating high school student to support and encourage their further studies in science and the environment.

The bursary was established in honour of a man who was a friend to the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation and a friend of the environment.

Dan MacPhail was keenly interested in the natural world and the wise use of its resources. He also loved woodworking and boats. Born and raised in Cape Breton, Dan farmed and fished lobster and raised a family. He also served in the Second World War, then worked for many years as a ferry operator at Seal Island. With the construction of the bridge and the discontinuing of that ferry service, Dan took the opportunity to change the direction of his career and pursue his interest in natural resource management.

Dan was in his early 40's when he was accepted to the New Brunswick Forest Ranger Program, where he earned a degree in forestry. However, instead of becoming a forester as he’s intended, he was quickly scooped up by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. He was a respected and capable fisheries technician for nearly 30 years, involved in the salmon hatchery program across the Maritimes, as well as field assessment work, particularly in the St. Mary’s River. He was considered “THE” expert at deciphering information from salmon and trout scales, and made significant contributions to understanding the life histories of fish on many rivers in the region.

After retiring from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Dan and his long-time partner, Polly Greene, bought property on Caribou Lake in the Mushamush watershed, and moved there in 1995. Dan continued messing around with boats, and when the black flies were bad he could be found in the basement peering through his microscope, reading fish scales sent to him by various agencies that knew his reputation.

Soon after moving to the area, Dan offered his expertise to assist Coastal Action in its water quality and fish habitat projects. Dan joined the Board of Directors in 1996 and was as involved as a hands on volunteer until his death in July of 2000.

Dan was generous with his time, skills, knowledge, and wisdom. His tremendous interest in nature inspired many. It is Coastal Action’s hope that the recipient of this bursary will also find interests and life work that are personally rewarding and beneficial to society at large.

Bursary 2014

Brittany Lantz receiving her bursary in 2014


Board member Amy Weston presenting the 2015 Dan MacPhail Memorial Bursary to Laura McGinnis