Minister's Wildlife Advisory Council

The Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council was announced in August 2020 to support the implementation of the Together for Wildlife strategy. The Council held its first meeting in September 2020 and began to discuss priority work items.

Learn more about the council's ongoing work and direction by reading the Minister's Wildlife Advisory Council letter to Ministery Conroy (PDF 131KB) and the response from Minister Conroy to Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council (PDF 55KB)

Meet the Minister's Council

The Council's membership reflects the diversity of British Columbia, with Indigenous perspectives, genders, backgrounds and experiences from all parts of the province. Council members were selected based on their demonstrated history of working creatively and collaboratively for the advancement of wildlife and habitat.

Appointments to the Council are for two-year periods and are extendable for up to two additional terms to a maximum of six years per person. Over time it is intended that appointment times will be staggered so that all members terms do not end at the same time. 

 

Sim'oogit Sagaw’een (Chief Harry F. Nyce Sr.) – Co-Chair

As one of the principal negotiators of the Nisga'a treaty in 1988, Harry Nyce was given the name of Sim'oogit Sagaw’een — Sim'oogit meaning chief and Sagaw’een meaning sharp tooth. His historical family name that belonged to a great hunter and fisherman. For the past year he has been honoured to serve on the First Nations – BC Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum and is currently the Director of Fisheries and Wildlife for the Nisga’a Lisims Government. He brings to the table a wealth of traditional knowledge and hard work ethic which has led him to work with various teams over a wide range of interest over the years, including engagement with BC wildlife issues for the Nisga’a Lisims Government. He studied Political Science at the University of British Columbia and is familiar with BC governance processes, working with many treaty and non-treaty First Nations, and stakeholders such as the BC Wildlife Federation.

Sim’oogit Sagaw’een has served on the board of the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine for over 30 years and was the first Indigenous president of the Union of BC Municipalities. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his outstanding community service.

 

Nancy L. Wilkin – Co-Chair

As a foundation for her successful career within the Province’s public sector, Nancy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria in Geography and Biology (with Distinction) and completed further graduate work from the University of Victoria in Resource Management. She became an Assistant Deputy Minister of Fish & Wildlife, Ecosystems and BC Parks, and also served as a Chief Negotiator for Treaty negotiations.

After retiring from the Province, Nancy took on the role of Executive in Residence at Royal Roads University and eventually their Director of Sustainability, working with the university for ten years. Her leadership helped the university to become carbon neutral, obtain a gold rating in sustainability, and be highlighted in the Province’s report on climate change, which was profiled at the Paris climate change talks in 2015.

As a volunteer, Nancy has continued her service to the public by previously serving on the boards of the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (BC Board), and the Bateman Foundation. She currently sits as a Director on the Ducks Unlimited Board for Canada, a Director on the Elder’s Council for Parks in BC, and as a Treaty Commissioner on the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission.

Nancy is married to Barry and they have two children, Jennifer who is married to Stephen Bailey and who have two children, Dublin and Ollie; and Dexter who is engaged to Cordelia Thom.

 

Andrea Barnett

Creative and results-orientated thinking are just a few of the tools that Andrea relies on when she wears the many different hats she is positioned to wear at any given moment. One is as a sessional lecturer at Thompson Rivers University where she teaches Natural Resource Policy and Planning. Her academic background includes a Political Science and Philosophy degree from the University of Victoria and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser where she studied natural resource policy and economics and researched different approaches to habitat mitigation in BC and across Canada.

On the ranch near Savona, Andrea integrates her lifelong passion for wildlife and habitat conservation into their work. By drawing on her experience as a rancher and background in public policy, Andrea serves as Policy Advisor to the BC Cattlemen’s Association. She has also volunteered her time to multiple boards including serving on the Board of the Canadian Agriculture Policy Institute, the Board of the Kamloops Food Policy Council, the Young Cattlemen’s Council of Canada, and has sat on the ad-hoc committee comprised of representatives from Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and the Nature Conservancy of Canada to seek new conservation financing solutions to facilitate the provision of Ecological Goods and Services.

She is currently coordinating the Target One Funders Collaborative, which works to support Canada reaching its terrestrial habitat conservation targets under the international Convention on Biological Diversity, and works in the environmental sector with Ducks Unlimited Canada. As a mother and avid outdoorswoman, Andrea has a passion to see her children continue to enjoy the outdoors just as she does.

 

John Bergenske

John has a long history of being actively involved in wildlife and habitat issues in the province. As a representative of Wildsight for over 30 years, he has developed strong partnerships with many environmental NGOs from across the province and is a trusted member of BC’s environmental community. John held the position of Executive Director of Wildsight for a decade and is presently Wildsight’s Conservation Director.

While his focus has largely been on the Kootenays, John has engaged broadly with multiple sectors and provincial representatives on wildlife and land use issues. He has participated in field research including projects such as the Purcell Mountain caribou, Purcell grizzly bear, East Kootenay moose, Flathead grizzly and the West Slope wolverine studies. John has extensive experience with forest planning and in consulting with planners and field staff on best management practices for wildlife. His insight working with industry, ministry staff, wildlife professionals, a broad range of stakeholders, as well as First Nations on multiple land use and wildlife initiatives is a welcomed asset to the advisory council.

Mike is a lifelong resident of British Columbia and holds a BSc degree in Marine Biology from the University of Victoria and a MSc degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management from the University of BC. He is currently a senior wildlife ecologist and Vice-President of LGL Limited – an international, employee-owned environmental research and consulting firm he joined in 1994. With 28 years as a wildlife ecologist (including 24 years as a Registered Professional Biologist) Mike has a solid, first-hand understanding of wildlife uses, inventory, research, management, and conservation here in BC. During his career, he has worked in marine and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the province and has served as a manager and senior biologist on high-profile projects for clients at all levels of government, First Nations, Crown corporations, military, small private firms, and multi-national companies. Beyond his scientific work, Mike has hunted and fished since his youth, toured much of BC on bicycle, and volunteered his time with groups ranging from local schoolkids to national conservation organizations. He is a critical thinker and accomplished writer with numerous publications, reports, and reviews to his name.

For the last eight years, Luke has sat as the manager of the Stewardship Department for the Tŝilhqot’in National Government (TNG). He is from the Oneida Nation on the Thames (Ontario) and has lived in various regions of the province before working with the TNG. Leading a team of foresters and biologists, the majority of responsibilities have involved wildlife and habitat issues through the Tŝilhqot’in Stewardship Agreement and the Nenqay Deni Accord. He has been an active observer of the First Nations – BC Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum that helped to develop the Together for Wildlife strategy and now looks forward to the hard work of implementing it.

Luke has experience working with various panels and boards including currently co-chairs the Fish & Wildlife Panel between the TNG and the Province. This provides him with the opportunity to learn how the Province works with stakeholders and offers him the opportunity to integrate Indigenous Knowledge into Provincial decision-making as they work on the Annual Allowable Harvest process for the Limited Entry Hunts within their territory. He also sits on a roundtable that is seeking solutions with many stakeholders under the TNG and Province’s Moose Co-Management Agreement to find solutions for moose conservation.

Adam holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia and is currently an Assistant Professor and the Canadian Research Chair in Wildlife Restoration Ecology at UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna. His research group, the Wildlife Restoration Ecology Lab, works to restore important relationships in nature’s food webs, including those between people and wildlife. Some of his group’s research includes studies involving mule deer, caribou, moose, Roosevelt elk, mountain goats, wolf, bighorn sheep, bison, cougars, boreal caribou, and wolves, as well as studies on bear and human interactions, chronic wasting disease modelling, and policy analysis and numerous other studies with the Provincial government.

Adam has won many awards throughout his career as a biologist and his work has been published in numerous journals. Formerly, he has worked as a fishing guide, resource and field technician working on projects across western Canada, and in various positions with environmental groups, governments, consultants for resource extraction companies, and First Nations. Adam’s desire is to ensure future generations are given the opportunity to continue to thrive off the privileged access to nature that we all currently enjoy.

Cailyn’s career as a senior wildlife biologist, resource manager, and liaison began with a Certificate in Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Environmental Management from the University of Toronto. She later got her Bachelor of General Studies with Arts and Science Designation from Athabasca University with an Honours Thesis in Environmental Science and continued studying by obtaining a Master’s in Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University in Victoria.

Currently Cailyn is working within the syilx Okanagan Territory as a Natural Resources Operations Biologist for the Okanagan Nation Alliance. She has been partnering with the Provincial and Federal government to develop projects and initiatives that support strategic approaches for implementation of UNDRIP and DRIPA as it relates to natural resource management in syilx Okanagan Territory. She also oversees the development and implementation of programs and projects, as well as the policies, and legislative or regulatory initiatives that have bearing on natural resource management. Her role also involves liaising with syilx Okanagan leadership on strategic natural resource management objectives.

Prior to her role with the Okanagan Nation Alliance, she worked as a Senior Ecologist & GIS Specialist with the Lands and Natural Resource Department of the Penticton Indian Band. 

Megan is a registered professional forester (RPF) and professional biologist (RPBio) and is the present CEO of the Private Forest Landowners Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the responsible stewardship of BC’s private forest lands whose members strive to balance environmental values, community interests, and economic realities.

Megan’s involvement in wildlife and ecosystem management decisions spans 25 years throughout North America working for sectors that include environmental non-profits, the BC provincial government, Canadian federal government and private consulting for First Nations, industry forest licensees, mining and the wind power industry. Currently she is a provincial appointee with the North Island-Coast Development Initiative Trust and an elected member on the College of Applied Biology Council.

Raised on Vancouver Island as the daughter of a biologist, she grew up immersed in the BC wilderness which embedded her passion for healthy wildlife and ecosystems far before she even started her post secondary studies. She has been recognized with special honours including the Premier’s Award for contribution towards the 2010 Winter Olympics Forestry Pavilion and the President’s Award from the Association of Professional Biology.

Doug has a lifetime of experience as a biologist in data collection in various capacities. Starting out his career working with the Government of the NWT for 16 years, Doug worked with Aboriginal groups to establish co-management programs as a biologist specializing in barren ground caribou and wolf conservation. He would later become a regional biologist for 23 years in Prince George before working as a consultant and adjunct professor at UNBC.

Doug knows firsthand the tension that can arise over conservation issues when getting different stakeholders to meet but always emphasised the goal of putting wildlife conservation first while mediating a respectful discussion. Besides working with the various stakeholders, Doug’s data collecting experience has helped him to know how to use the data to cut down on political tension and solve problems such as when he and a colleague developed a method to determine grizzly bear density from habitat attributes for the entire province, which then helped to focus the conversation on societal values. For the past 6 years Doug has worked with the Tse'Khene Nation (McLeod Lake Indian Band) on a joint project to deliver the Kennedy Siding Caribou Herd Supplementary Feeding Project.

Doug’s experience in many aspects of wildlife ecology, management, stewardship and governance was recognized by being awarded the 2015 Ian McTaggart Cowan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Section of the Wildlife Society.

For the past 13 years, Shaun has been the president of Steel Ram Consulting, a nationally accredited and internationally recognized program that provides a comprehensive study of electrical principles and practices. His work is influenced by his long-standing involvement in conservation and sustainability initiatives.

The long list of the initiatives and organizations that Shaun has been either a staff member, board member, or panel member includes the Pacific Salmon Commission, the Seymour Salmonid Society, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the British Columbia Wildlife Federation, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, the Cheakamus Ecosystem Restoration, the North Shore Streamkeepers, the Coho Society, North Shore Fish and Game, the Lower Mainland Elk Recovery Program, the Salmon Enhancement Habitat Advisory Board, the Sport Fishing Advisory Board, and the Family Fishing Society of BC.

Shaun’s outstanding contribution as an ‘unsung hero’ by volunteering his time to improving outdoors activities was recognized when he was awarded the 2016 Tim Jones Community Achievement Award by the North Shore community.

David has been living the dream 40 miles outside of Smithers since 1979, as a guide outfitter till 2009, and as a current assistant guide. After thirty years in the industry, David and his wife turned their business over to their two sons to continue.

David has been an active member of many conservation and environmental initiatives over the years in partnership with the province. These past endeavours include serving as a long-standing board member of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia in different capacities, as a member on the Morrison Technical Committee, member of the Bulkley Land and Resource Management Plan and as a board member of the Society for Ecosystem Restoration. David also sits on the Skeena Wildlife Harvest Advisory, along with organizing many meetings and workshops focusing on wildlife for a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Currently David is co-chairing the Wildlife Committee and is the President of the Bulkley Valley Rod and Gun Club.

David’s passion to hunt, fish, and watch wildlife, ocean mammals and birds flows over into wanting others unable to easily do so by making fishing accessible to those physically hindered, through BC Wildlife Federation’s Fishing Forever Program. David also is looking forward to seeing how the common goal of wildlife conservation can bridge divisions between Indigenous nations and other stakeholders in an effort to see common heritage, culture and concerns addressed together.

After working over 32 years in the Vancouver Island Region for the Ministry of Environment, Doug has been active with several NGOs in a volunteer capacity. Currently Doug is chair of the Forestry Committee and the Wildlife-Human Conflicts Committee at the regional and provincial levels of the BC Wildlife Federation, a director with The Nature Trust of BC, and currently chairs the BC Conservation Foundation board of directors.

For over twenty years before he retired, Doug was the Regional Wildlife Biologist and Section Head. He was responsible for directing all activities associated with delivery of the regional component of the provincial wildlife program. His work focused on wildlife biology and management in the coastal ecosystem and the integration of wildlife requirements in forest development plans. He participated on the long term multidisciplinary Integrated Wildlife Intensive Forestry Research program, as well as on numerous provincial species management plans. His work also included land use planning involving protected areas, special management zones and areas of high intensity use. Balancing stakeholder demands called for consultative and cooperative management processes and Doug was able to build working relationships with a diverse stakeholder community throughout these processes.

In 2003, Doug was presented with the prestigious Ian McTaggart-Cowan Award for Excellence in Biology which is awarded by the Association of Professional Biology to recognize a member’s outstanding contribution to biology.

As CEO of the Nature Trust of BC, Jasper brings over two decades of biology, conservation, and nonprofit experience to the Council. After completing his Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biology and Geography at Queen’s University, Jasper attended the University of Miami (Florida) and earned a Ph.D in Biology.

The Nature Trust of BC works with partners, donors and landowners to acquire and manage ecologically significant private land for conservation. Partnerships are a vital part of the Nature Trust of BC’s work. For example, the West Coast Conservation Land Management Program brings together the Province, the Government of Canada, and three NGOs. Together they are working to build effective conservation partnerships with Indigenous Nations from Vancouver Island to Haida Gwaii.

Prior to joining the Nature Trust of BC, Jasper was Senior Environmental Coordinator at BC Hydro and Conservation Programs Manager at Ducks Unlimited’s national headquarters in Tennessee. He has also managed coastal wetland restoration projects in California and served for five years on the staff of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council.

Jasper was born and raised in the Vancouver area and enjoys fishing and exploring BC’s amazing outdoors.

Richard is the Chief of the Tahltan Band Council for the last 12 years. This role in the Tahltan leadership (Iskut Band & Tahltan Central Government) has provided many opportunities to work with stakeholders on wildlife issues while working with his Tahltan Negotiating Team (TNT) including industry, various levels of government, and both provincial and national Indigenous organizations such as the Assembly of First Nations or Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Richard has shown himself to be consistently involved in establishing new organizations while serving as the Wildlife Manager for the Tahltan Central Government when he held the position for six years beginning in 2001. He was a founding member of multiple programs and working groups with long term conservation and sustainability in mind, including the Tahltan Heritage Environmental Assessment Team (THREAT), Government to Government Wildlife Working Group with the Province, a 3 Nations Wildlife Working Group with the Kaska and Tlingkit nations, and the Tahltan Wildlife Guardian Program working in collaboration with the provincial regional biologists on game surveys, habitat mapping, and collaring projects. While in that role, he also gained experience negotiating wildlife regulation changes and presenting many wildlife forums on Tahltan wildlife and habitat management issues, values, and practices.

Another asset that Richard brings to the Council is his extensive experience working in the Guide industry dating back into the mid-1980s. He has worked in various capacities through his career in the guide outfitting industry including creating the Tahltan Guides Association in 2005.

Muq’vas Glaw works for the Kitasoo/Xaixais Nation in Klemtu. Working with the Coastal First Nations, an alliance of nine First Nations along the north coast in the Great Bear Rainforest, Muq’vas Glaw has been personally involved in the Together for Wildlife strategy and is excited to about the government’s commitment to improving wildlife management and habitat. As a sustenance hunter and one who has worked extensively with key knowledge holders in his community, he brings a wealth of knowledge of Indigenous values and laws or practices that were passed down from generation to generation.

Currently Muq’vas Glaw is the Stewardship Director where he is tasked with implementing land and marine plans. He is also currently the Executive Director of the Spirit Bear Research Foundation which is a collaboration between the Kitasoo/Xaixais Nation and conservation scientists addressing pressing conservation concerns in the Great Bear Rainforest. Prior to his current positions, Muq’vas Glaw was the elected Chief for the Kitasoo/Xaixais for six years until 2019 and on council for eight years. Before he took that role up, he had been helping develop and market an eco-tourism operation in his community from 1999-2011 as a guide and manager. This experience has helped him contribute to the broader tourism industry in his role as a Destination BC board member

Kari is a professional wildlife biologist currently working with Canfor. She brings 25 years of experience in the forestry industry in Western Canada, and has a PhD from Oregon State University.

Kari has an extensive history of successful collaboration and project leadership with Federal and Provincial Government, First Nations, industry, academics, and stakeholders throughout BC in the development of evidence-based legislation and forest management strategies that conserve wildlife habitat. Some of these collaborative projects include developing a migratory bird strategy for the forest industry in the interior of BC, the Pyramid Benches Fuel Reduction Project in partnership with Parks Canada in Jasper National Park, and the High Conservation Value Areas Project in the East Kootenay with First Nations, local environmental groups, and government, just to name a few. She has authored numerous scientific publications on wildlife, including moose, mountain goat, caribou, northern goshawk, and songbirds.

Kari’s approach centres on the use of evidence-based results to inform effective policy and practices while considering the cultural, social, and economic factors involved, in order to create positive habitat outcomes for wildlife and practical, cost-effective strategies for forestry. 

Malii, Glen Williams, is the Head Chief of one of eight historic Wilp (Houses) of Gitanyow, Wilp Malii. Malii has served as the President and Chief Negotiator of the Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs for the last twenty years. He was privileged to receive a traditional education on Gitxsan histories, Ayookxw (Gitxsan law), Wilp territories and social organization from both his grandfathers, who were both chiefs. His deep knowledge provided him the opportunity to be the youngest witness to testify for the Gitxsan in the Delgamuukxw case.

Since the mid-seventies, Malii has protected and advanced the recognition of the existence and right to exercise Gitxsan Aboriginal title and rights, with an emphasis on developing mechanisms that would allow these rights to be respected by, and co-exist with non-Indigenous society. Over the past three decades these efforts have included protests such as the Marshmallow War to protect Gitxsan fishing rights, negotiations under the BC Treaty Process, development of an internal constitution based on Gitanyow traditional governance, various court actions to protect Gitanyow Constitutional Rights, negotiation and implementation of the 2012 Gitanyow Recognition and Reconciliation Agreement (RRA). The RRA included the Gitanyow Lax’yip Land Use Plan which covers the whole of the Gitanyow Lax’yip and provided for the establishment of the Hanna-Tintina Conservancy.

Malii’s work was recognized in 2014 through the highly esteemed Andrew Thompson award, a highly recognized award for environmental advocacy and sustainability.