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Posted: November 16, 2021

Rick Hoar receives Conservation Leadership Award

By Nicole Trigg

Kootenay Conservation Program

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) announced the recipients of its annual Conservation Leadership Awards last month as part of the 2021 KCP Virtual Fall Gathering, and for the East Kootenay the 2021 recipient was Rick Hoar who was recognized for his leadership with the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club, the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners and the East Kootenay Wildlife Association.

After more than 30 years as a BC Conservation Officer specializing in habitat protection throughout the province, Rick chose to retire to Invermere in 2006. Upon retirement, he began a second career as a conservationist, starting with the Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club, the Columbia Valley’s oldest conservation organization, established in 1919.

As a conservation minded club, the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club has been a driving source of habitat conservation in the Columbia Valley region and in British Columbia.

As President, Rick’s environmental knowledge and understanding of government procedures has been invaluable in the successful delivery of many of the club’s habitat enhancement projects, which have included ungulate range improvement, wildlife relocation, nesting boxes for many species including those at risk, water conservation and fish enhancement.

The club has partnered with the Shuswap Indian Band and the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners (CWSP) to enhance and restore Westslope Cutthroat streams in the Upper Columbia River, and investigate the possible reintroduction of white sturgeon and Westslope cutthroat. The club is also a partner of KCP’s Kootenay Connect, the four-year project on Species at Risk and Riparian Wildlife Corridors in the Columbia Wetlands, and actively assists the Kootenay Community Bat Project and wildlife research and relocation projects.

As President, Rick represents the club on other committees and boards outside of the club. These include his role as Vice President of the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners; and his active participation in the East Kootenay Wildlife Association (EKWA) and in the regional arm of the BC Wildlife Association. On behalf of the EKWA, Rick also sits as a board member for the Rocky Mountain Trench Society and the Kootenay Conservation Program.

One day you will find Rick working on the phone or at meetings with government officials. Another day you might find him wrestling basking logs into ponds for painted turtles, restoring spawning habitat on local creeks, pounding in nest boxes for Wood Ducks or thinning ingrowth on ungulate winter range.

Along with a strong personal conservation ethic, Rick has brought a lifetime of knowledge of the wild to his volunteer conservation work. Through the sheer force of his knowledge, energy and determination, he has had a huge influence on conservation in the Columbia Valley region.

Learn more about the Lake Windermere District Rod and Gun Club.

Visit the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners website.

For the award, Rick received a framed Pat Morrow photograph of the Columbia Wetlands.

For the West Kootenay, the 2021 recipient was Valerie Huff with the Kootenay Native Plant Society who received a framed photograph of a pygmy bee fly on a fern-leaved desert-parsley by Tyson Ehlers.

The Kootenay Conservation Program (KCP) is a partnership of 80 organizations that work together to protect clean water, conserve important wildlife habitat, and steward the land to allow for healthy, functioning ecosystems in the East and West Kootenays. Learn more at

Photo submitted

Kootenay Conservation Program

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