L to R: First Nations Youth Trapper Trainees Marcellus Wilson, Jordan
Everson, Zachary Everson; Master Trapper Trainer, Ken Thulin; and
John Henderson, WSC President and Kwakiutl First Nations leader
The WSC had its origins on Vancouver Island about five years ago when a number of influential and forward-looking guide outfitters and First Nations leaders teamed their respective resources and pointed them to a higher calling: enhancing the wildlife of BC While today’s society is often a complicated playing field made up of differing views,political perspectives and special interests,the WSC focused on building relationships to achieve everyone’s ultimate goal, WILDLIFE,and thus was able to uniquely bring together representatives of local First Nations,professional BC outfitters, BC government staff and resident sportsmen. Not a simple matter or one that had been accomplished previously, but that’s what they determined had to be done in order to be truly impactful in today’s world. And it’s a model that has legs and transferability broadly across Canada.On March 8, 2019, GSCO board member Bruce Tatarchuk had the pleasure of attending the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the WSC in Nanaimo, BC, hosted by the Snuneymuxw First Nation. The meeting was chaired by John Henderson, President of the WSC and attended by numerous outfitters from across BC, representatives of various First Nations governing bodies,and BC wildlife biologists and game managers including Dr. Jennifer Psyllakis (BC Director of Fish & Wildlife). An active program was presented during the day-long meeting, including around table discussion of critical issues and reports from various wildlife biologists documenting the multi-decade increase in the population of cougars and wolves on Vancouver Island and the corresponding declines these predators have caused in Roosevelt elk and deer populations. While the WSC has led a cooperative and effective initiative to restore and transplant elk populations across Vancouver Island and onto the coastal mainland, these efforts are often limited in their efficacy in the face of burgeoning predator numbers. Faced with this challenge the WSC developed a trapping incentive program a number of years ago funded by outfitters, First Nations and resident hunters to promote ungulate enhancement. With still further WSC leadership, the BC government recently partnered with the WSC to develop and fund a youth trapper training program to teach young trappers their craft, recognizing how effective trappers can be toward enhancing ungulate game populations. A highlight for this portion of the program was recognizing the first three youth trappers to complete the program (see photo). Based on conversations between the WSC and the GSCO Board, GSCO presented a check at the recent WSC meeting for $10,000 to help fund the youth trapper initiative. The GSCO Board notes, “The WSC’s conservation leadership, inclusive vision and focus on partnership are both timely and forward looking. We wholeheartedly support and appreciate the WSC’s efforts and look forward to partnering with them more extensively in the future.”
For more information about the WSC’s conservation work or how to become a contributing member please contact their office at email@example.com.
After the meeting, GSCO received thefollowing note:
On behalf of the WSC Board of Directors, I want to thank you and your organization for your generous donation in support of our conservation project to revitalize First Nations youth trapping skills. Thanks also for making it possible for Bruce Tatarchuk to travel from Alabama to deliver the donation in person. We are enclosing a photo of the youth trappers with their trainer and WSC President. It was an honor to have Bruce attend our AGM and to speak about the important conservation work GSCO supports. I know that our membership was both surprised and delighted to hear from Bruce that news of the WSC’s existence and work is becoming
more widely known. The WSC looks forward to further discussions with your organization about ways in which GSCO can become a long-term partner in future conservation efforts.