Women Shaping Conservation
Women Shaping Conservation (WSC) is a platform for women whose passions centre around outdoor pursuits and endeavour to participate in conservation efforts.
To inspire and nurture women providing an inclusive community where all can come together to enjoy the outdoors, including hunting, and conserve wild sheep, wildlife and the landscapes they inhabit.
To bring women together, to support, inspire and create a global community that enjoys outdoor pursuits, gives back and supports the wildlife and wild places they roam.
Our goal is to bring more women together through conservation, an all-encompassing women’s platform, and building connections through the community. Our women’s platform offers many areas of interest such as learning about conservation at our fundraising events, becoming a volunteer, assisting ‘new’ women hunters or for women who just love the outdoors and want to give back.
Women Shaping Conservation isn’t just about women though. Our goal is to create awareness and in doing so we invite everyone to join in. This means that men and youth are welcome to participate. We have an amazing volunteer committee including Melanie Stelter, Cory Mitton, Rebecca Peters and Kyle Stelter along with our event volunteer members, Colin Peters and James Mitton.
The Women Shaping Conservation team is here to help in any way possible particularly when it comes to conservation. For example, our team volunteered at the Jurassic Classic this summer by hosting a wine and cheese party on registration day.
We also hosted a great evening of laughter, empowerment, and conservation at Krause Berry Farms on June 17th, 2022. We had a great turnout with special guests Dr. Helen Schwantje and Renée Thornton. The event was packed with excitement, music, food, silent auction items, prizes, and a private screening of the new WSSBC film ‘Transmission’. The committee had so much fun organizing the event which took place in the lower mainland and we are proud to say it was a successful evening. WSC is an organization to connect easily and develop strong relationships while working together to raise awareness and funds for wild sheep and their habitat.
Upcoming events: Women Shaping Conservation April 22, 2023 – Lower Mainland, BC
For more details contact our Chairperson Rebecca Peters at email@example.com
Kamloops Convention Women Shaping Conservation Panel
The Wild Sheep Society of BC, Women Shaping Conservation is proud to present six exceptional females joining our ‘Women in Industry’ panel seminar March 10, 2023 at the Kamloops Convention. Please join us in welcoming Tiffany Bader, Laura Balyx, Jenna Mcrae, Joyce Sword, Dr. Caeley Thacker and Renée Thornton.
Tiffany is an avid outdoors women, chef, and mom of two who loves nothing more than exploring the great outdoors with her family. After working as a professionally trained chef, Tiffany made the transition to the high-paced office life to assist her husband with the rapidly growing outdoors safety training business, Silvercore. Silvercore has become the largest business of its kind in Canada, offering in-person and online training as well as government and corporate services with clients in every province and territory.
When not at Silvercore, Tiffany can be found hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening and cooking with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She is deeply committed to sustainable living and incorporates locally-sourced and wild ingredients into her cooking as often as possible. Tiffany is full of energy and enthusiasm and loves to share her love of nature with others through her outdoor adventures and cooking.
Laura was born and raised in Kamloops, BC, where she grew up exploring the outdoors with her family on foot and on skis. She always had a love for the outdoors and a fascination with wildlife, which led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Science at Thompson Rivers University. During her undergraduate studies she was introduced to the world of mountain ungulate management and ecology through student work terms with the Provincial government. During these work terms she supported regional biologists on several fish and wildlife projects, including Psoroptes ovis disease testing on Okanagan bighorn sheep.
After completing her undergraduate degree, Laura decided to further her education by earning a Master of Science in Biology under the supervision of Dr. Adam Ford at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Here, she studied the effects of helicopters and recreation on mountain goats in Cathedral Provincial Park. She enjoyed learning about the impacts of human activities on wildlife, and how policy can shape on-the-ground management – topics that she hopes to study throughout her career. As a graduate student Laura also became involved with several conservation organizations, including the Wild Sheep Society of BC, which reshaped her outlook on conservation and goals for the future.
After completing her graduate degree, Laura moved to Penticton, BC, where she is now works as a self-contracted wildlife biologist. She has completed contracts for multiple organizations on a variety of projects, including habitat selection analysis of mountain goats, bighorn sheep and white-tail deer, and was most recently involved in research on chronic wasting disease. Laura is excited to continue to collaborate with numerous organizations and build her career in wildlife management and policy! She enjoys consulting as it allows her to make time for the other activities that bring her joy, such as travelling with her partner and dog, instructing spin classes, and tending to her garden.
Jenna McRae is the Owner/operator of McRae Taxidermy which operates out of Mission BC.
Jenna has an extensive background with farming, fishing and hunting and growing up was raised in a Farm to plate type of lifestyle. Her experience with raising animals developed her a keen eye for the structure and mechanics of the animal body. Her creativity and attention to detail lead her to passionately pursue taxidermy where she, after many years of looking, landed a spot as an apprentice under a seasoned taxidermist. She spent a year and a half learning the skills of animal artistry and has since taken off with great speed in the taxidermy world.
Growing up she spent a lot of time at her family cabin located in Loon Lake just outside of Cache Creek. There she spent the spring and summers hiking with her belly boat on her back into remote fly-fishing lakes targeting Pennask and Gerard trout. In the fall and winter, she spent much time hunting deer and moose with her dad.
Her passion for fishing eventually expanded to chasing salmon on the river and ocean in Haida Gwaii as well as fly fishing for bonefish and barracuda on the Mexican warm water flats. Her passion for hunting turned into an obsession for chasing blacktails with her bow. After much time spent chasing the elusive blacktail she managed to drop a few, one of them scoring into the pope and young record book. Jenna’s love for the outdoor world has made her very passionate about animal conservation and feels if you take, you must give back double. That’s why she is very proud to be a member of the Wild Sheep Society of BC and will continue to be a proud supporter for many years to come.
Joyce lives in Canal Flats, BC Co-Owner/Operator of Whiteswan Lake Outfitters with her Husband Darryl Sword, son Cody Sword, his wife Shelby and their two children. She has worked in the Outfitting Industry for 12 years as a booking agent, cook, maid, bookkeeper, and therapist (LOL). Joyce enjoys hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking and playing with her grandkids. She has served on the GOABC board of directors for a 1- year-term and is active within the Southern Guides for the entire time she has been in the industry. As a resident hunter, member of the BCWF, member of Wild Sheep Foundation, DSC and SCI, she is excited to see women taking their place in Conservation, Stewardship, and Hunting.
The things Joyce values most in Conservation: her Faith (stewarding the land and animals that God gave us with respect and value), her Family (encouraging the next generation to value and enjoy the natural resources we have and not take them for granted) and her Community (those I work with and for, to foster relationships that build up and grow the vision for wildlife and stewardship on the land).
Dr. Caeley Thacker
Caeley Thacker is the BC Wildlife Veterinarian. She leads the BC Wildlife Health Program in the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the BC Ministry of Forests. Caeley grew up on Vancouver Island and has had a love for wildlife and wild places from a young age. After a brief stint in wildlife biology in BC, she moved to New Zealand for vet school and then to work in mixed animal clinical practice. She’s never really been able (or willing) to stay away from wildlife in BC and has worked with the BC Wildlife Health Program in various capacities since 2008. Her role as BC wildlife veterinarian began in 2020. When not working, Caeley spends her time trail running or out on the ocean around the gulf islands.
Born and raised in rural Alberta to a large farming family, Renée Thornton serves as Chair of the Wild Sheep Foundation’s (WSF) Women Hunt® Program and Committee.
Although not raised in a hunting family or with a hunting background, in 2016 Renée embarked on a personal journey to become a hunter. This decision was driven by a decade-long pursuit of sourcing her meat more ethically and organically from small local producers and farmer’s markets. To Renée, the logical progression was to obtain her protein from animals that lived freely in nature, until harvested quickly and humanely, by her own hand.
As a result of her experiences as a solo, adult-onset hunter, Renée is passionate about engaging with and helping more women cross barriers on their journey into fields and the mountains. She is particularly dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and the wild places they inhabit and ensuring others understand the role hunters and hunting play in conservation.
Renée believes in giving back of her time, talent and treasure. She is a Summit Life Member of WSF, a Chadwick Ram Society Member, a WSF Legacy Society Member, and a Life Member of WSF Alberta, Wild Sheep Society of BC, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, Washington WSF, Eastern Chapter WSF, Oregon WSF and Alaska WSF. She is also a Life Member of SCI and holds memberships in multiple partner organizations. She is a member of the WSF Ladies Luncheon Committee and volunteers at various WSF events.
In addition to hunting Renée enjoys fly fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, and adventure travel. As a hunter she has taken black bear, feral hog, whitetail, mule deer, Axis deer, pronghorn, Miquihuanensis mountain whitetail, and Estate aoudad. She aspires to hunt wild sheep and join the ranks of accomplished mountain hunters.
An avid reader, accomplished writer, business leader and mentor, Renée recently retired from a 30-year career as a professional manager for the Canadian Federal Government. She resides in Manhattan, Montana.