Wider Horizons

Some of the best times Lindsey Leko remembers from his days as a student in Lethbridge College’s Environmental Science program were the field trips – even if it meant prying himself out of bed at three in the morning in the middle of a blizzard to watch a sharptailed and sage grouse dancing ground while in the midst of a fisheries field trip to the Crowsnest Pass.

It was during these trips that Leko says he really grew up.

“My priorities became clearer,” he says, “and I realized that this education was going to be the foundation of my career.”

He was right. Leko, who received his Renewable Resource Management diploma in 1993 and his Bachelor of Applied Conservation Enforcement degree with honours in 2005, uses the lessons learned in the classrooms – and on fieldtrips – every day in his work as a conservation officer and editor of Western Canadian Game Warden magazine.

Leko works closely with another Lethbridge College alumnus, Jeremy Lindsay, in producing the magazine, which is distributed three times a year to 16,000 conservation officers, government officials and outdoor enthusiasts across Canada and the United States. Among their contributors are Lethbridge College instructor Allan Orr and, from time to time, current and former Lethbridge College students. Orr writes a column called “Violation Scene Investigation” in each issue, which addresses the latest topics in field forensics.

“I have been honoured with the opportunity to contribute to the success of this magazine since its inception,” says Orr. “It is a great way for me to stay current with the field and to provide both the public and the conservation law agencies with some information that they may not otherwise have access to. The college benefits through exposure to a targeted audience and the magazine benefits by having access to information not easily gained otherwise.

“It’s a great partnership.”

The mission of the magazine is to educate and inform the public and its supporters about the work that is done by game wardens and conservation officers in western Canada.

“Society has to understand and appreciate the valuable resources that we have,” explains Leko, “and just how vulnerable they are to outside influences and abuse.”

Leko, who has worked as a conservation officer since 1993 and has been editing game warden magazines since 2002, credits college courses such as forest fire management, evidence and court procedures, criminalistics, and more with helping to prepare him for what he would find in the field.

“I went to my first predation complaint and was able to identify characteristics of the predator that I had learned in class,” he explains. “I felt comfortable when I entered a court room for the first time as an officer because I had some courtroom experience in class.”

It was a technical writing class he was required to take that still helps him in his work as editor in the day-to-day running of the magazine.

“One of the major issues I see today with officers and graduates is their inability to write properly,” says Leko. “Sometimes I just want to tell them to tell the story – just like you would be telling it to a friend.”

Telling good stories is one of the best parts of their work. Working with a fellow Lethbridge College grad is also a pleasure, the partners agree.

To read Western Canadian Game Warden online, go to www.westerncanadiangamewarden.com.

Wider Horizons
Wider Horizons
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