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Don Peden

Don writes:

Short Bio for Don Peden

It is hard to pack half a century into less than one page, but let me try.

After graduating from OBHS, Don completed his BSc (Biology) in 1967 at UVIC. While at UVIC he spent one summer as volunteer teaching swimming and volley ball in Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza and took his first of many trips into Africa.

He continued with MSc studies at Aberdeen University in Scotland and then completed his PhD in Range Management at Colorado State University in Fort Collins in 1972. In Colorado he raised a herd of bison as part of his thesis studies. After returning to Canada, he did a short "post-doc" at the University of Calgary and then took full time employment with the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) in Saskatoon.

While in Saskatoon, Don met and married Beverley who came with an energetic young son, Luke. Two more boys (Derek and Alexander) arrived adding to the family.

In 1978, the CWS offered Don the chance to transfer to a CIDA project in Kenya to establish a national program for inventorying wildlife and livestock and for mapping ecosystems and the resources they sustain. The Kenyan chapter of their lives together was very enriching - an eight-year safari allowing them to see virtually every square corner of the country from the snows of Kirinyaga on the equator to the beaches of the Indian Ocean. Beverley also took the opportunity to cultivate her artistic talents - a lifelong process that continues today.

After Kenya, they moved to Salt Spring Island for three enjoyable years, but restlessness led them to accept a position in 1989 where Don coordinated research in Uganda for the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF). For most of the seven years in the "pearl of Africa", they resided in the mountainous town of Kabale within eyesight of the Bwinde Impenetrable Forest mountain gorilla reserve.

In 1996, Don accepted an offer from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to serve as a project manager based at its Ottawa headquarters. In 2001, he could not resist an offer to take up a post as Senior Scientist at the International Livestock Research Centre (ILRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During his time in Addis Ababa, Don led a research program that focused on agricultural use of water in the countries of the Nile River Basin.

In 2007, Don and Bev returned to Canada and settled on North Pender Island where Don still continues to serve ILRI part time on a consultancy basis.

Beverley's artistic career shifted from potter in Kenya to painting in Uganda to print-making in Ethiopia and on Pender. They now have four grandchildren and feel blessed for a very rich life filled with diversity of people, cultures, and nature.

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