Wetlands Manager at BC Wildlife Federation

Neil Fletcher

What does good stewardship look like? Well, for many, it’s what’s embodied by the North American Wildlife Management model: a belief that fish and wildlife are for the use of citizens and that hunting is one of the best available tools to connect people to the land, raise funds to protect it and manage population levels for both hunters and the environment. In Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Federation represents 12 provincial organizations, including the BC Wildlife Federation, and, collectively, they work to give wildlife a voice by advocating for anglers, hunters, outdoor recreationalists, firearms owners and recreational shooters. And their voice is strong. For hunting and conservation. Neil Fletcher’s a passionate believer that people and nature should not be separated and this vegetarian – yes, you heard that right – leads BCWF’s work on wetlands, working to empower communities to protect, conserve and restore them for the benefit of people and nature. He sits on the board for the Wetland Stewardship Partnership and liaises with the Ministry of Environment, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited and BC Naturalists to protect help protect biodiversity. With a bachelor of science and a masters in resource management, Neil can often be found speaking to students or wearing a pair of hip-waiters, navigating the muck of a wetland to collect data for his latest restoration project.

Listen to his interview with Nature Labs

Critical Thinking Questions

  • If science is clear, should that be the answer alone? Is it wrong to bring economics and social and cultural values into an equation?
  • Is it possible not bring these factors into account when science moves from a lab or research process and into the policy realm that impacts lives of people and animals, environments and economies?
  • If some people connect to nature through consumption, through hunting, is it wrong to make areas off-limits to people?
  • Will we ultimately shrink the number of people who will advocate for nature; who will support spending money conserving or restoring nature?
  • Is the impact on animals, on individuals, a problem we can’t afford to worry about? Or are ethics changing, is our research basis changing?
  • Is our current model of wildlife management curbing extinction or speeding it up? Is the answer as simple as yes or no? Or are do we need to be more creative, carving our spaces for both compassionate conservation and the traditional North American Wildlife Management Model – for the sake of politics and for the sake of scientific testing?