For the first time in several years, a full-time conservation officer is now stationed in the Bella Coola Valley.
“My dream was always to be a conservation officer,” said Conservation Officer (C.O.) Hana Anderson, who is just coming off her first two-year stint as a C.O. in Chilliwack.
“I’ve always loved the coast and the outdoors and have always seen the value in our resources.”
Anderson’s love for the coast was born during her time at Dodge Cove, near Prince Rupert where she lived until she was eight years old followed by Vancouver Island.
Anderson went to university and worked seasonal jobs with natural resources and metro Vancouver parks to chase her dream of becoming a conservation officer.
“It was a lot of hard work to become a full-time, year-round officer,” she said. “But it’s still my dream job.”
Anderson started her new COS position the valley in July, and said she was attracted to the post for the abundance of fish and wildlife in the area and challenging, varied work.
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She said she is happy to be providing a visual COS presence, with one of her goals being to further educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflict. Anderson believes humans and wildlife can co-exist “where we’re tolerant, but it’s also not accepting them within our space. We can’t have habituation through toleration.”
Anderson said she believes valley residents are doing a good job over all of co-existing with wildlife.
“You can tell the community as a whole really respects the wildlife.”
The valley, she said, is a great place to work and also to live.
“Before I moved here, people told me how nice it was. When I drove and saw all the beautiful mountains (in the valley) I thought, ‘wow, people weren’t exaggerating.’ It’s absolutely beautiful.”
When she isn’t working, Anderson enjoys hiking, running and snowshoeing and has also taken up mountain biking.