UFV’s Wildlife Protection Club was founded in 2019 by a group of dedicated university students who wanted to make a difference in the lives of Fraser Valley’s endangered wildlife. The club is still going strong today and even hosted an art auction in September (an event eight months in the making) that raised over $4000 for the Fraser Valley Conservancy!


As the Program Coordinator of Step to It, I’m always interested in finding out how and why local community members are giving their time and energy to protect our wildlife and their beautiful habitats! I got the chance to talk with some of the club executives and members to find out their inspiration behind the work they do, how they find the time in their busy student schedules to organize these large events, and their advice for anyone who wants to get involved in wildlife protection!

Each of them had different reasons for wanting to join the Wildlife Protection Club, amongst the dozens of other clubs that are created by UFV students.


Molly Tilden, club President, said she joined the club three years ago after a wave of eco-anxiety pushed her into action. She found that putting her time and effort towards causes she cares about helped alleviate a lot of the stress and worry she felt about the environment. The club’s work and the positive engagement her work got from other students gives her hope for the future.

The same could be said about the club’s Vice President, Cameron Palmer, who joined the club over a year ago after feeling climate stress. Like Molly, she found once she put her energy and free time towards a worthy cause, she felt refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to take on even more.

Ben Ghertner is a brand-new member who just joined at the beginning of this semester. He was inspired by doing outdoor sports like white water rafting and snowboarding; seeing all these beautiful places inspired him to go back to school to learn how to protect these areas and the animals that called these places home.

Heera Gill became the club Secretary over a year ago after she discovered the club through an outreach event. All of Heera’s previous volunteer work was for people-focused causes, but she always loved wildlife and wanted to do her part to help them. The best part of being so involved in this club for her is being able to meet people who have similar interests and passions as her and working towards making a difference in the lives of endangered wildlife species.

The same goes for the Club’s Sustainability Coordinator, Hallie Gilles, who, after eight years of working in an office environment, wanted to connect with other people who had the same feelings as her about the environment. She sees the work she does for the club as a form of self-care because it’s a way for her to step outside the bubble of schoolwork and meet cool people.

Now, you may be asking yourself, ‘how do university students, who are already juggling multiple classes, part-time jobs, and other commitments, find the time to volunteer this much?’ I know I was, so I asked them what their advice was for busy people who don’t think they have the time needed to give back to their community.

“It’s [about] using the time you already have and putting it towards something that you care about,” said Cameron. “If you have 10 minutes to spare once a day, you have time to do some good.”


They all said that the work they did for the Club doesn’t feel like work at all, which is why it is so easy to find time to organize events and reach out to more students. Once you find a cause that you are passionate about, finding the time and energy to put towards it becomes so much easier. For these group members, helping the environment and the wildlife of the Fraser Valley were at the top of their priority list, so it became easy to dedicate so much time towards something they are passionate about.

Molly also pointed out that delegating efficiently is the key to the club’s success. Events and projects that seem insurmountable in terms of the money and time that needs to go towards them become manageable when you have a group of dedicated people who can work well together and use each of their strengths. Getting students involved in any kind of task for the club right after they join is also a key to how they have such an engaged membership.


It’s important to be honest with yourself as well, said Heera. Don’t overestimate how much time you have and overextend yourself to the point where it gets overwhelming, and you don’t do anything at all. Be honest with how much time you can give, whether it be 10 minutes a day, or one day a month, and commit to volunteering at a rate you can manage.

What if you just don’t know where to start? If you want to help in some way with conservation, or wildlife protection, but you’re not a biologist or an environmental scientist, how can your skills be utilized for these causes?

Just ask,” said Cameron. “Reach out to Molly or the Fraser Valley Conservancy and say ‘look, this is what I have to bring to the table. I want to help, but I don’t know how. Can you show me what I can do?’”

The environment really impacts every niche of life that exists,” said Molly, “so whatever [your] thing is or whatever [you’re] studying, I guarantee there is an element of environmentalism that could tie into that.”

Vote,” said Cameron. “So many people our age are not voting, especially in smaller scale elections, and then they are upset about the decisions our [politicians] make.”

Follow the Wildlife Protection Club on Instagram @ufvwildlifeprotectionclub to stay tuned for more opportunities about how you can get involved in protecting our precious wildlife, such as attending their free film screening of Toad People on November 30 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, register online to attend.


Looking for more ways you can help nature in the Fraser Valley no matter who you are or what you do? Check out our new Step to It program for tips, tricks, and information to get you started!