Kayla Williams, a young KDFN citizen, is pursuing a career in Conservation Services in BC. Writer Aurora Hardy caught up with Kayla to find out what she’s been up to.

Aurora Hardy: What was your inspiration to pursue a career in Conservation Services? 

Kayla Williams: The Conservation Officer Services allows for many different opportunities to work towards conserving for the future in many different ways. I have been lucky enough to work in a couple different areas in this department to gain experience in outreach and education, enforcement, and working alongside biologists that work towards the same goal.

My parents, Rolly and Colleen, and my brothers, James and David, have been my biggest supporters. They’ve supported and encouraged me through my education and career. They told me to never give up on my passion and continue to work towards my goals. My community has supported me through my academic career and I am very proud to be from the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.

My grandmother is Violet Lebarge Storer, and anyone that had the pleasure of knowing her knows she cares passionately about the environment. I spent a lot of time with her and that passion for conserving the environment transferred to me. I have always wanted to make her proud by pursuing a career in conserving our environment and wildlife for future generations.

AH: Tell me about your university experience?

KW: I completed my Bachelor of Science and a Major in Zoology from UBC in 2015. I was able to attend a wide range of courses that relate to the environment, animals, and people. This helped me gain a well rounded knowledge of how we can co-exist with the land.

AH: Tell me about your placement in Cranbrook?

Working out of Cranbrook has given me a wide range of areas to connect with as there are offices throughout BC. The area is full of wildlife and I have been able to experience so many diverse activities that involve so many different species. I have been very lucky to be able to live in a place that has so many outdoor activities living among the forest and the mountains.

AH: What are your plans for the future? Where does your career take you from here? 

KW: I have been working steadily in different positions that give me many diverse experiences when it comes to wildlife human interaction. I hope to continue and strive to work towards mitigating any risks to wildlife while working alongside organizations to aid in co-existing on our land together. I am currently working towards a full time career that will help me achieve my goals.

I hope to be able to encourage more people to aid in conserving the environment as my grandmother has done for me. I hope younger people will attend university and college to promote environmental conservation. If we all can take care of the land together, then it will continue to take care of us.