The Kootenay Conservation Program’s annual Conservation Leadership Award recognizes individuals who are proven leaders and contribute to the field of conservation.  Their work is primarily based in the Kootenays and they must show a demonstrated commitment towards KCP’s vision of “landscapes in the Kootenays that sustain naturally functioning ecosystems that can in turn support economic and social well-being.”  This year the KCP recognized Wayne McCrory and Hillary Page for their outstanding contributions to conservation across the region.

Wayne McCrory’s track record of success in protecting wilderness habitat for bears and other species is nothing short of astounding.  He was front-and-centre in the campaign for the creation of Valhalla Provincial Park and the Goat Range Park (both in the West Kootenay), the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary on the north coast, and the Spirit Bear Conservancy on the mid-coast.  Wayne and his colleagues in the Valhalla Wilderness Society have worked tirelessly on many campaigns for parks and protected areas and in total can claim victory in protecting 1.5 million acres.

McCrory is perhaps best known for his efforts to protect the home of the Spirit Bear, a rare white subspecies of bear found only on BC’s mid-coast.  McCrory campaigned for 18 years to have the habitat of this beautiful and unique animal protected, an effort that came to fruition in 2006 with the creation of the Spirit Bear Conservancy.  In part due to the attention McCrory brought to this rare animal, the Spirit Bear was the inspiration for Miga, one of the mascots for the 2010 Olympics, and the Spirit Bear is now the provincial mammal emblem for British Columbia.

Hillary Page is the Conservation Operations Coordinator for the Canadian Rocky Mountains Program for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  Page has served as an active member of the KCP Stewardship Team for over 6 years and has contributed greatly to advancing both science and stewardship in the Kootenays.   Page’s in-depth knowledge, coupled with her passion for conservation and her collaborative approach combine to allow her truly contribute to KCP’s vision of “landscapes in the Kootenays that sustain naturally functioning ecosystems that can in turn support economic and social well being.”

Page is primarily responsible for delivering sub-regional stewardship programs, sourcing regional funds, pre-securement biological assessments and conservation planning within the sub-region.  The Canadian Rockies Program is currently responsible for managing 167,000 acres split across 12 projects. Several of these projects are of national importance including: Darkwoods, the Elk Valley Heritage Conservation Area and the Mount Broadwood Conservation Area.  Page earned a M.Sc. for her research on grassland ecosystem restoration and has worked to implement this research on several of NCC’s properties including Kootenay River Ranch, ThunderHill Ranch, and Pine Butte Ranch.  The implementation of these Ecosystem Restoration projects provide benefits not only to wildlife, but also to ranching, and to communities by increasing the quality of grasslands and reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfire.

The Kootenay Conservation Program would like to commend both McCrory and Page on their outstanding contributions to conservation across the Kootenays.

If you know of someone deserving of this recognition, please send us their name and a brief summary of why they are a suitable candidate (250 words maximum) to info@kootenayconservation.ca by September 1, 2014.