Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) is pleased to welcome Megan Jamison to the team, who is stepping into the role of Communications Coordinator.

“I look forward to meeting and working with KCP’s partner organizations, who are all doing such important work throughout the Kootenays,” says Jamison.

Megan is passionate about nature and conserving wild places. She also enjoys writing and highly values collaboration, so she feels that her new role is a great opportunity to do work that is aligned with her core values and passions. 

Megan was born in the Yukon and grew up in the boreal forest of northern Alberta. Her early years growing up on a homestead in the wilderness with very adventurous parents influenced her values and future choices, of course. In between exploring and traveling, she completed a B.Sc. in Geography at the University of Victoria, and later, a B.Ed. through UBC’s West Kootenay Rural Teacher Education Program (WKTEP) in Castlegar. In the summer of 2010, Megan wanted to explore her northern roots, and she worked as a project researcher for the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin First Nation government in Dawson City. She interviewed elders and gathered information in the form of traditional knowledge as well as scientific data, as part of a long-term project assessing the impacts of climate change on the traditional foods and culture of the Trʼondëk Hwëchʼin along the Yukon River. When reflecting on her previous experiences including travel, employment, and volunteer contributions, Megan says that the common thread that ties many of them together is her love for nature. 

In addition to her new role with KCP, Megan is a teacher and outdoor educator who is passionate about connecting people with nature. When teaching elementary students over the past 9 years, she has endeavoured to weave in opportunities for outdoor learning, nature connection, and projects involving environmental stewardship. One highlight from her teaching career so far is a year-long project she did with her class in Crawford Bay. Throughout the fall, winter, and spring seasons, the class walked to the wetlands where they explored and looked for signs of the animals and birds whose habitats they were in. Students chose two species to research and learn more about, gathering relevant information, creating art, and learning the Ktunaxa names. All of this eventually culminated in the creation of a field guidebook to the wild animals and birds of the Crawford Bay Wetlands, and a community launch of the guidebook at the school. 

Another experience that she will always treasure is her time working as a bear viewing guide at a remote lodge in Knight Inlet, BC, where she toured guests around the estuary in small boats and kayaks to observe grizzly bears, and sometimes saw whales or dolphins in the cove and inlet as well. Megan is also grateful for other opportunities that she has had including an internship with the Silva Forest Foundation, which involved working with the Harrop-Procter Community Forest Cooperative in its early years, and working with the Quechua people of Ecuador on agricultural and conservation projects. These experiences had a profound impact on her understanding of the importance of community to the conservation and stewardship of the natural environment.

Megan loves a good adventure, and for many years she moved around seasonally doing guiding work in the Rocky Mountains and on the coast, and mountain pine beetle surveying in the winters in the boreal forest. Eventually, the Kootenays drew her in with ample opportunities for exploring and being immersed in nature. In her free time, Megan can often be found on a hiking trail in the mountains, paddling the local lakes or rivers, skiing, camping, or relaxing at the hot springs.  

Fast forward to the spring of 2021, when Megan realized her dream of owning and stewarding her own land. She now has a much better understanding of landowner issues such as how to deal with invasive plants and how to protect riparian areas. Megan and her partner are in the process of planning and implementing an ongoing hands-on restoration project on their land. To this end, Megan says she has found the KCP Stewardship Solutions Toolkit very helpful, and she has connected with some of KCP’s local partner organizations including the Kootenay Native Plant Society, Slocan River Streamkeepers, and Elk Root Conservation Farm Society. 

“We feel very grateful for these organizations and the many others who have so much local knowledge of native plants, environmental restoration practices, and conservation. Being able to learn from them and collaborate makes a large project like this feel much more manageable and enjoyable,” says Jamison. 

You can reach Megan at megan@kootenayconservation.ca. She looks forward to connecting with the KCP community. 

Photos by Erika Momeyer (Slocan Lake); Leslie Jamison (Gwillim Lakes trail); Megan Jamison (Russell Creek Old Growth Forest, Slocan Valley & View from Empire Peak); Agathe Bernard (Qat’muk / Jumbo Pass)