A local conservation volunteer has become the first civilian in the Hope area to receive the Conservation Officer Service’s Chief’s Special Recognition Award.
Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee Lydia Koot was honoured during a brief ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 18.
“Lydia Koot has been an invaluable support to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service for her work with the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee and its role in the relocation of orphaned bear cubs,” said Chief Conservation Officer Doug Forsdick in a brief statement. The local black bear committee marks 10 years in operation this year and organizes community events, school outreach programs and youth hunter and First Nations education programs to promote bear safety and conservation.
Koot purchased cub traps with her own funds to help capture the orphans, monitoring the cubs overnight and providing updates to officers. In the last two years alone, Koot helped capture and relocate 14 orphaned bear cubs.
“Lydia’s dedication has built up a strong level of trust in the Fraser communities that allows the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee to act as an intermediary for the public and the Conservation Officer Service,” Forsdick said.
About 15 people excluding four conservation officers were in attendance, most masked and at a safe distance. Sgt. Don Stahl presented Koot with the award.
Koot founded the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee in July 2011. To learn more about everything the Black Bear Committee does and to find out ways you can help, visit them online at hopemountain.org/conservation/hmbbc or on Facebook.