Patti Walker

What's your position title?

Human-Wildlife Conflict Officer

When did you first come to Jasper?

I first came to Jasper in 1995. I started working for Jasper National Park in June 1998 as a park warden.

What was your education/career path?

I studied at the University of Manitoba and received my Bachelor of Science degree (Zoology and Earth Sciences). Then I completed the Capilano University (North Vancouver), Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Diploma program (two years).

As part of this Capilano University program, I completed a three-month practicum as a winter ranger in Wells Gray Provincial Park. I ended up working for British Columbia Parks for eight years at various locations throughout the province, as a seasonal backcountry ranger, zone ranger and area manager. In 1998, I became a park warden in Jasper National Park, and have worked here ever since, with the exception of 13 months in the Western Arctic Field Unit in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, as the senior park warden for Ivvavik National Park.

What do you do for Parks Canada?

I’ve held a variety of positions in Jasper National Park, from Operations Warden, Environmental Management Specialist, Backcountry Warden and Resource Management Officer-Ecological Integrity Monitoring. I’ve spent 17 years criss-crossing the backcountry trails of Jasper National Park on horseback. Currently, I am working as a Human-Wildlife Conflict Officer. My current duties include:

  • Provide daily wildlife incident response services to maintain park visitor safety and ecological integrity, ie) wildlife presence in wildlife exclusion zones (Townsite, etc.), wildlife jams-encounters-harassment, wildlife entrapments or entanglements, distressed wildlife, wildlife injuries and mortalities
  • Wildlife management using a variety of techniques, including: hazing, aversive conditioning, wildlife capture, radio-collaring, posting warnings, closures and restrictions and use of wildlife deterrents
  • Wildlife monitoring using a variety of techniques, ie telemetry, remote cameras, daily observations
  • DNA sampling from wildlife mortalities and immobilized wildlife: blood serum, tissue, and hair samples
  • Complete necropsies on wildlife mortalities
  • Firearms proficiency and wildlife-attack response
  • Wildlife attractant management
  • Supervise and mentor junior human-wildlife conflict staff
  • Preparation of technical reports, protocols, presentations, web information, public information
  • Work with stakeholders and other JNP departments re: wildlife concerns
  • Environmental Protection Program toxic spill response
  • Fire Management Program incident response
  • Assist with data collection for various field research programs
  • Provide search and rescue incident response services as part of JNP’s Visitor Safety Type 2 Technical Call-out Team for Terrestrial and Water SAR
  • Provide assistance with the EI Monitoring program and support them in various manners as required:
    • Provide horsemanship support and mentorship
    • Manage horsemanship training records for Jasper
    • Backcountry liaison for all staff and programs re: planning, logistics, assets, horse use, training, permitting, communication, and more.

What would you tell a 10-year-old girl about science?

Choose science if you are the type of person who is generally curious about the world around you. There are many areas of science, you just need to find one that is right for you. Start by finding out what kinds of science related jobs are available in your own community or province. Talk to people working in those fields. Ask what they like about their jobs and what they don’t like. If you are interested in wildlife then start by learning about animals in your own backyard, and in Jasper National Park. Field guides and getting out in nature with others are good ways to learn. Ask questions and explore.