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Local-born man named conservation officer of the year

A conservation officer (CO) who was born in Cranbrook has been recognized for his efforts.

B.C. Government officials said Drew Milne has been named as the conservation officer of the year for 2021.

Milne was born in Cranbrook and raised on Vancouver Island, where he gained an affinity for exploring the wilderness.

“Whether hiking, biking, camping or fishing, Milne often found himself in the backcountry and has fond memories of summers spent on trips exploring forests, lakes, rivers and the sea,” said B.C. government officials.

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Milne followed his family tradition and served in the Canadian Armed Forces right out of high school before moving on to become a CO.

“As a first-generation Canadian, serving his country was a way to pay tribute to his grandparents, with roots in the British Air Force,” said the provincial government. “Milne completed six years of military service, including a tour in Bosnia. He was honourably discharged in 2003.”

After leaving the military, Milne enrolled at Vancouver Island University to earn a natural resource management degree.

After graduation and three seasons in Alberta, he B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) seasonal program in 2008, where he was posted in Whistler-Squamish, followed by Williams Lake and then Atlin.

Milne then moved on to the B.C. Government Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and served as an Indigenous liaison compliance and enforcement officer for three years.

He later returned to his true calling in the COS.

“Returning as a sergeant in the Kootenays, Milne spent time overseeing officers in Invermere, Golden and Revelstoke before transitioning into the role of a training sergeant,” said B.C. government officials. “Helping recruits and field officers hone their skills is an area he’s still passionate about, with credentials as the COS and the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy’s use-of-force lead instructor.”

Milne was later promoted to inspector of the South Coast region, where he currently serves.

“The region includes the Lower Mainland and Sea-to-Sky corridor, which is a busy area for public engagement. It is not uncommon for Milne to spend time on the phone with animal-advocacy groups, field calls from the officers he oversees or get out in the field,” said B.C. government officials.

He thanked his family and friends for his success.

“My amazingly good-natured wife, dedicated mother and caring sister are more deserving of an award than I am. I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am if it wasn’t for those three strong, incredible and competent women. It’s also recognition of the people around me that have allowed me and helped me to do my job,” said Milne. “I have amazing officers and sergeants in my region. I am also incredibly lucky to have incredible mentors that have helped me and pushed me to never stop improving myself. This recognition is also a reflection of them.”

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