An East Kootenay-based Professional Agrologist and Registered Professional Biologist, Gary Tipper grew up hunting and fishing in a family that cherished the outdoors and wildlife.

Though his parents passed their passion for natural values onto him, Gary opted to study psychology and sociology when he first went to university. Quickly realizing upon graduation this was not the field he wanted to work in, he lucked into a job with B.C.’s Fish and Wildlife Branch on a post and rail cutting/fence building operation, followed by a pheasant management project in Creston (“with no credentials,” adds Gary).

These experiences sent him back to university to study biology with a focus on plant ecology (“and as much emphasis on wildlife as was offered at UVic in those days”), a move that eventually vaulted Gary into a 30-year career with the Fish and Wildlife Branch and a 13-year career as a natural resource consultant with Phase II Ventures Ltd., which he has operated since 2004.

Much of his career has been spent assessing and restoring wildlife and their habitat, with an emphasis on mule deer, and to a lesser degree, elk and bighorn sheep. He has collaborated on and written strategies, restoration prescription and burn plans for wildlife habitat restoration, and considers one of his most lasting achievements to be, as part of a team of resource professionals, the development of the Fire Maintained Ecosystems Guidelines.

Another recurring theme in Gary’s career has been conservation lands, which he began working on early in his career with Fish and Wildlife, and which he has continued to work on with the various East Kootenay conservation organizations. In fact, Gary was part of the team that initiated the East Kootenay Conservation Program, that expanded to become the Kootenay Conservation Program. He also served as the Rocky Mountain Trench Project Manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada and wrote management plans for selected properties owned by The Nature Trust of BC and the Province of BC.

A third theme prominent throughout Gary’s career is that of range management. He has sat on numerous integrated resource management committees, written range management plans and applications for range vacancies for a number of livestock producers, and jointly proposed the establishment and form of the Columbia Basin Trust/Kootenay Livestock Association’s Grassland and Rangeland Enhancement Program (GREP). This particular compartment of his career led him to sit on the Council for the BC Institute of Agrologists for 10 years, serving as Councillor, President Elect, President and Past President.

“The most valuable and rewarding component of my career is the network of friends and colleagues that I have developed,” says Gary, “and I greatly enjoy discussions and collaboration with these fine people.”