The Nature Trust of British Columbia is proud to announce that the 2022 Jim Walker Conservation Field Crew Member Award has been awarded to Katelyn Michaud. Katelyn is a member of the Okanagan Conservation Field Crew, where she has been working since November 2021. Her work has been exemplary, and we are more than happy to present her with this award!

Katelyn was drawn to this crew position to learn more about the various Okanagan ecosystems. Katelyn said in an interview that she has “always admired the unique natural environment in the Okanagan, and [she] wanted to find a job that allowed [her] to restore and protect the sensitive ecosystems that are essential for many threatened species.”

Katelyn is an excellent leader. Her supervisor has described her as having one of the most interesting leadership styles that we have seen so far. She commands respect without ever raising her voice, always making sure that everyone is prepared for each task. She is an incredibly caring person, to the point that her crew painted a mug with wildflowers and wrote on it “Best Crew Lead Ever”.

During our recent Antelope Brush Restoration Project, she was able to create an incredible and unanticipated moment for participating schoolchildren after the Crew lost a presenter. Katelyn took it upon herself to transform the day into a new form of education, which the children later described as one of their most memorable experiences. While in the field, she taught the children how to restore the sensitive ecosystem by showing them how to plant Antelope Brush. By connecting with the land outside in a hands-on way, the children fostered an interest in stewardship, diversity, and conservation.

In another display of leadership, she helped another crew member stay calm after falling and puncturing their wrist. The crew member was initially startled by the injury but Katelyn took control of the situation by getting them comfortable and reassuring them not to worry. She then performed first aid and got the crew member to safety.

The Jim Walker Conservation Field Crew Member Award honours the legacy of Jim Walker, a friend and past director of The Nature Trust of BC who passed away in 2017. Known for his expertise in wildlife management and land-use management, Jim was a leader in helping to develop a number of provincial initiatives, such as the Forest Practices Code, the Muskwa Kechika Management Area, the Clayoquot Land Use Plan and the Grizzly Bear Strategy. Jim was committed to educating the next generation of conservationists, and The Nature Trust of BC named this award in his memory in 2018.

This prize is awarded to a crew member that shows exceptional leadership, service to conservation and skill with safety procedures. Katelyn has been the epitome of these qualities during her work with The Nature Trust, and her future is bright.