Fresh out of Lethbridge College, Marc Plamondon tingled with excitement when he was offered a six-month position as a seasonal conservation officer in B.C.
Working as a conservation officer (CO) was something he had thought about since Grade 10. A seasonal position in Terrace was the perfect opportunity to get a feel for the job.
“I was educating the public about how to prevent bears getting into their garbage, responding to various calls and doing basic angler checks,” said Plamondon about his time in Terrace. “There’s no better way to prepare for the job than to be a seasonal conservation officer. You are doing exactly what the regular officers are doing and learning how to do the job.”
At the end of six months, Plamondon was offered another seasonal position. This time it was for eight months in Vernon, where, in addition to his regular CO duties, he patrolled B.C.’s backcountry enforcing snowmobile regulations in protected caribou habitat. That experience led to a third seasonal position in Maple Ridge, where Plamondon was recently hired on full time.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s seasonal program dates back to 2005. The program puts additional conservation officers on the ground when necessary and assesses the potential of future conservation officers.
Seasonal officers are typically placed in locations where they can be mentored or where there is a need for an additional officer. They assist with high-priority issues, such as threatened species, protection of mountain caribou and public safety legislation. The officers are also involved with public outreach, education and building relationships with First Nations.
This year, six new seasonal officers were added to the service, along with two seasonal First Nations officers for Westbank and Haida Gwaii. The officers will work until Oct. 15, 2019, in the communities of Invermere, Kamloops, Cranbrook, Smithers, Squamish, Whistler and Vernon.
“It’s important to have that extra resource for our officers and it’s really good training for those looking for full-time work,” said Greg Kondas, acting deputy chief, noting two seasonal officers were hired last year.
“These are young, inspirational students who have just come out of college, so we want to give them that guidance and put them in an area where they are going to receive that from experienced officers. We get to assess them and they get to assess us.”
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has 164 full-time officers located in 45 communities throughout the province.
For more information about the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resource-law-enforcement/conservation-officer-service
Photos of the new seasonal officers are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos/shares/82539Q