By: Gordon Wilson
SILT is part of the coalition of non-profits involved in awarding the John Holdstock Scholarship annually, and this year’s recipient is Gillian Steele.
Angling and a love for British Columbia’s fish species has always been a passion for Gillian. Since birth, Gillian learned to appreciate and respect the natural resources of British Columbia. “My father introduced me to angling,” she explains, “and I have followed him along riverbanks since I could walk.
“Having now worked in the recreational sport fishing industry for many years, I have witnessed first-hand the changes, [the] mismanagement of fish and wildlife, and the toll our ever-expanding urban footprint is having on the environment. Angling and my experiences in the outdoors have shaped who I am as a person thus I will do everything in my power to solidify their continued existence in the future.”
Gillian is currently a Director of the Steelhead Society of British Columbia (SSBC), whose mandate is conserving wild steelhead and wild rivers in BC. The SSBC raises money to assist in funding projects directly related to wild steelhead management as well as to raise awareness of the continuing issues surrounding wild steelhead throughout the province. Says Gillian about the work, “I have been on the board of directors since 2014 and joined as a means to give back to a particular fishery that means so much to [me].” She goes on to explain, “one of the SSBC’s main focuses is the Thompson River and their remarkably unique population of summer run steelhead.
“It is situations and ongoing fights for the protection of species just like these that keep me involved but longing to do more. As an angler engulfed in the recreational angling industry, I feel it to be my own responsibility to make sure these opportunities are around for my children’s children.” With this, it seems elementary that Gillian would seek formal education in Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation discipline. “The intense and comprehensive program has been challenging but has opened my eyes to the complexity of natural resource management. My main goal after the completion of my education and into the professional world is to work toward preserving wild steelhead in British Columbia. Steelhead are my passion, have a special place in my heart, and are the fundamental driving force in my future aspirations.”
Well, thank you for your dedication to make British Columbia’s natural environment a rich and thriving one for generations to come, Gillian. Congratulations and good luck in your studies!