New Smiles at CVWMA!

We’re very happy to introduce two additions to our CVWMA staff who came on board in early May. Blaire Smith has been hired as Wildlife Technician and Brody Kunze is our new Operations and Wildlife Technician.  Here’s a little background and a photo of each of them so that when you meet them out on the land you can introduce yourself to them!

Blaire Smith  –  Wildlife Technician 

Blaire is from Nelson, BC and has been living in Cranbrook for the last few years. She is a self-proclaimed bird nerd and can usually be found with binoculars around her neck. In addition to birding, she enjoys learning about the natural world and hiking and exploring in the Kootenays.

 Blaire is a graduate of the Recreation, Fish, and Wildlife Program from Selkirk College and is currently working towards a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries from University of Northern BC. 

 Over the last few years Blaire worked as a field technician with FLNRORD, the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program, and the University of Northern BC. Highlights from these positions included collecting data for a hybridization study of Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Rainbow Trout in the East Kootenays, surveying for Northern Leopard Frog right here in Creston, and monitoring a nest box population of Mountain Chickadees in Kamloops.

 Blaire is excited to be working as a Wildlife Technician for the CVWMA and looks forward to getting to know the Creston area, learning about the many species that call the CVWMA home, and meeting the people that recreate here. Be sure to introduce yourself when you see her!

Brody Kunze  –  Operations and Wildlife Technician 

I grew up in the Creston Valley and have lived here off and on my whole life. All the amazing outdoor recreational opportunities and natural areas I’ve gotten to experience really inspired me to take an active role in managing and conserving the land base.

 I have a diverse background of work experiences that have led me to this point. In the past I have worked as a carpenter, a stone carver and even as a prop builder in a local fabrication shop. Before attending college, I traveled to the southern reaches of Chilean Patagonia and worked at a remote fishing lodge hosting and guiding clients on the fishing trip of a lifetime. This trip really sparking my interest in all things fish and led me to enrolling in a 2-year diploma program in Recreation, Fish and Wildlife at the Selkirk College in Castlegar, BC.  Between these two years of school I got hired on with the BC government as a wildlife and habitat technician. I worked with the Sturgeon and Burbot recovery team monitoring population trends and health factors through a variety of sampling techniques on Kootenay Lake and River. I also worked with the Kootenay Boundary American Bullfrog team to help capture and euthanize the invasive bullfrogs in the Creston Valley.

With the desire to stay in the Valley and continue to work in the environmental field, it seemed like a natural progression to work at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. I’ve been hired on as the Operations and Wildlife Habitat Technician, and work on a variety of projects. From maintaining dike roads and operating pumps and water controls, to monitoring and surveying for a variety of wildlife species throughout the wetlands. I’m excited about my new position here and thrilled to be a part of the team!

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