Abbigale Virens


Monsignor Clair Catholic School

St. Joseph's Catholic High School

Graduated 2009

Abbigale Virens is an avid volunteer who has spent time in Costa Rica, Denmark and Australia researching the migration patterns of turtles and birds. She is currently a PhD student at New Zealand, working closely with the Maori people to discover what resources they use for food, medicine and more.

Sometimes life takes us on many different paths, and Abbi’s journey after graduating from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Barrie certainly reflects that.

After graduating from St. Joseph’s, Abbi pursued an undergraduate degree in anthropology at Laurentian University where she travelled to Costa Rica to participate in a field course at Cano Palma Biological Station. From this experience, her passion for environmental social science was born.

After graduation, Abbi volunteered at Long Point Bird Observatory in southern Ontario helping to track the patterns of migratory birds. She also traveled to Denmark and Australia to do similar research, and came back to Canada to study the nesting habits of the common nighthawks.

Abbi is currently a PhD student at Otago University in Dunedin, New Zealand. Her research involves the urban foraging practices of people in the local area, and how it connects those people to the environment. Her work has earned praise in academic circles, and Abbi received the David Burch Prize at the most recent Agri-Food Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Abbi has an undeniable passion for our earth’s people and animals, and is doing her part to make our world a better place. She is currently expecting her first child with her partner Jo, and is excited to share her values and experiences with her new family.