Fish have always been a part of Janna Wale’s life. They are central to her family traditions, are an important food source and have a special place in many childhood memories.
This deep connection fostered an interest in studying the natural world and how to protect it. To support her on this journey, Wale has received a $1,500 scholarship from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC to support her studies at Thompson Rivers University.
Growing up in Hazelton, Wale and her sister were taught to respect fish and appreciate what the resource means to her family. As a child she watched her father and uncles traditionally harvest fish that would provide food through the year. Later, Wale participated in the annual salmon harvest – part of the Gitxsan cultural system for thousands of years.
She and her sister also joined her grandfather to fish on weekends when he patiently taught them how to cast and how to properly handle and release the fish they caught. These experiences and memories have translated into her lifelong love and appreciation of fish and fishing.
“With the understanding of how fishing shaped the culture and lifestyle of my ancestors and many other fishing nations, I became interested in recreational fisheries,” said Wale.
“Being selected as a recipient of this scholarship is a great honour for me as well as for my family. I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity, or tell you how much it means to have the Society support my education as well as my future. It will help me to achieve both my personal and academic goals, which will benefit British Columbia’s future fisheries management.”
When Wale was deciding on what to study for a post-secondary degree, her background in fishing and connection to the environment led her to Natural Resource Science. Already, partway through the degree, Wale has developed a greater appreciation and understanding of the factors that will help to preserve fish resources for generations to come.
“I want to be a part of the generation of resource managers who make an impact on ecosystem health through the practice of sustainably,” she said.
Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC scholarships are available to students enrolled in fish culture or natural resource management programs within a recognized post-secondary education institution in British Columbia.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC was created in 2003 as a private, not-for-profit organization, funded mainly through freshwater fishing licence revenues. In partnership with the Province, the Society annually stocks eight million trout, char and kokanee salmon in 800 B.C. lakes. It also manages special hatchery programs for endangered species including white sturgeon, conducts fisheries research, education and conservation programs.