Wayne Stetski is currently our Member of Parliament for the Kootenay-Columbia riding, was Mayor of Cranbrook from 2011 to 2014, and was Regional Manager for the Kootenays responsible for BC Parks, Fish and Wildlife and Ecosystems from 2002 to 2009 but says his real claim to fame is being the Manager of the East Kootenay Conservation Program (EKCP) from 2009 to 2011!

“Working for EKCP with its many partners, coordinating the purchases of private land for conservation and helping to secure funding for conservation projects on private land was very rewarding. Some of the highlights include delivering projects on behalf of the Regional District of East Kootenay’s Conservation Fund, organizing a workshop on The Future of Agriculture in the East Kootenay, and implementing a new program to recognize Leaders in Private Land Conservation on an annual basis. I also organized the first two meetings with interested groups from the West Kootenay to explore transitioning from EKCP to the “new” Kootenay Conservation Program.”

Wayne’s interest in “saving the environment” began when he was attending the University of Manitoba and was employed in the summers as a Park Naturalist in Pacific Rim National Park. After graduating with a BSc and before taking his Teaching Certificate, Wayne worked one fall as a Park Naturalist in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks. After completing university, Mr. Stetski was hired by Manitoba Parks as their Assistant Chief of Interpretive Resources but it wasn’t long before the ocean and mountains of BC called out to him and he won a competition working with BC Parks out of their Vancouver office, eventually becoming the Manager of Visitor Services for the provincial parks from Manning to Peace Arch to Cape Scott to Garibaldi. After 10 years of commuting in traffic, he and his family moved the good life in Cranbrook in 1990, managing the provincial parks in the East Kootenay and later the West Kootenay as well.

“I have been so fortunate to be able to spend virtually all of my adult life working for both the environment and the public. I encourage everyone to find their passion around the environment and make it their career and/or the focus of their talents. There are many ways to help – becoming a professional in the field, an educator, a lobbyist, a writer, a financial contributor, an artist, to name just a few. I have been many of these in my lifetime but I want to finish with a special plea. We need more people with a heart and a mind for the earth to become politicians. If you haven’t thought about it, please do, and if I can help you along the way, let me know. Becoming a politician may be the very best way you can help to “save the environment” and I would be pleased to be part of your journey!”