Skip to content

Squamish resident is BC Parks’ top volunteer

Rachel Shephard earns distinction for her work on Alice Lake Western Toad Monitoring Project.

A humble Squamish resident has been named the top volunteer for BC Parks.

Rachel Shephard was recently recognized as volunteer of the year for 2019 to 2020.

Shephard won the distinction for her work as project co-ordinator for the Alice Lake Western Toad Monitoring Project, an citizen science initiative to monitor the amphibians being spearheaded by the Squamish Environment Society.

“It’s a huge honour to be recognized in this way, however, I feel like the award really belongs to Squamish Environment Society and all of our toad monitoring volunteers,” she told The Chief via email.

“Everyone has put in many dedicated hours and it’s our combined efforts that make the project so successful! I also need to mention Joanna Hirner, our BC Parks liaison, who took the time to submit a nomination. I think that speaks volumes about the way she supports us as individuals and the project as a whole. It’s a super fun and interesting project and I feel lucky to be part of it.”

Shephard’s work included, among other things: working closely with BC Parks to plan and implement the project; recruiting, training and co-ordinating volunteers; conducting field surveys; maintaining ongoing project communications with volunteers, media and the public; and writing detailed and informative reports for BC Parks about the project and its results.

“Rachel is a joy to work with. She is amazingly organized, doing the complicated and demanding jobs of co-ordinating volunteers and managing data incredibly well. She is a great communicator, professional and compassionate, and is skilled at working as part of a team. She is not trained as a biologist but through her curiosity and research has become incredibly knowledgeable, asks smart questions and has great insights that have made the scientific aspects of this project better,” reads a statement from BC Parks.

The provincial organization said that while Shephard is co-ordinating the project on behalf of the Squamish Environment Society, without her leadership, the initiative would not be possible.