Passion for Preserving: Meet Matthew Fraser

With his feet in the water and his hands in the mud, Matthew Fraser found his passion for the environment through hands-on experience. Matthew is from Sydney River and is a student in the Bachelor of Arts and Science in Environment (BASE) program at CBU. 

This program’s uniqueness and multidisciplinary approach to environmental learning is what initially attracted Matthew. “The BASE program lacks the rigidity of similar programs I’ve looked into,” says Matthew. “It allows students to explore their personal interests.” The BASE program allows students to immerse themselves in three streams of study simultaneously: a science concentration, an arts/social sciences concentration and a core set of environmental courses. 

Now in his fourth year, Matthew reflects upon his professors who have kept him on the right path. “Dana Mount is forever the kindest, most supportive faculty member who has always been there and helped me through any challenges that arose throughout my degree,” he shares. “Tracey Harris is full of compassion for all beings and instils that passion in all of her students.” Matthew also notes his appreciation for Student Placement Officer, Peggy Gordon, who assisted and motivated Matthew throughout his co-op placements. 

Matthew says the co-op placements he took part in have had countless benefits to his undergraduate experience. “I’ve been able to make a name for myself as an environmental professional before even graduating,” says Matthew. “The greatest benefit has been the networking opportunities which have changed me from being a stranger with a degree, to a familiar face among my colleagues working in the environmental field.” 

Matthew has spent three summers in co-op placements with the Cheticamp River Salmon Association. “I held the positions of crew supervisor and field technician,” he shares. “​​I was responsible for the safety of my crew, maintaining timelines, planning and coordinating  activities and organizing day to day operations of the association.”

Matthew encourages all students to consider co-op placements during their time at university. “It will be the greatest learning experience of your university career,” says Matthew. “A successful co-op placement is the difference between graduating and beginning the job hunt, and graduating into a career with confidence, experience and competitive skills that will set you above the rest.”

In the future, Matthew hopes to continue on his path. “My plans are to carry on my life’s work with our natural environments; preserving, protecting, rehabilitating and educating wherever possible.” he shares. “I carry with me an unshakeable confidence in the skills I’ve acquired throughout my time at CBU.” 

To learn more about Cape Breton University’s BASE program, visit

To learn more about CBU’s co-op program, visit