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Conservation Officer of the Year awarded

CANADA, October 6 - Born in Cranbrook and growing up on Vancouver Island, Drew Milne explored the great outdoors whenever he got the chance.

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.

Despite his natural affinity for the job, Milne, the recipient of the 2021 Conservation Officer of the Year award, did not become a conservation officer (CO) right away. Instead, he followed his family tradition into military service, joining the Canadian Armed Forces right out of high school.

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

Reflecting on his passion for the outdoors, a natural resource management degree at Vancouver Island University soon followed. After university and three seasons in Alberta, he joined the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) seasonal program in 2008. His first posting was in Whistler-Squamish, followed by Williams Lake and then Atlin.

Wanting to expand his skill set, Milne then joined the B.C. Government Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), where he spent three years as a compliance and enforcement officer – Indigenous liaison. But he always felt the COS was his true calling. 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. 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, which is his current position. 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. He credits his family and the people around him for the success he’s been able to achieve.

“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, who strives to promote the image of the COS through his work. “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.” 

Since 1992, the Conservation Officer of the Year designation has been awarded annually to conservation officers who go above and beyond the call of duty and exemplify the values of the COS: integrity, public service and protection of the environment.


George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“Drew models the qualities and skills that dedicated conservation officers aspire to and he is deeply deserving of this recognition. Being a conservation officer can be very challenging and complex at times, but Drew inspires his officers to be the best they can be. I want to thank Drew, and all conservation officers, for their hard work and dedication to ensuring our environment, fish and wildlife are protected for generations to come.”

Chris Doyle, acting chief conservation officer –

“Insp. Milne is well-deserving of this recognition. He is hard worker, trusted mentor and always eager to learn and take on the next challenge. His leadership experience and well-rounded background have helped shape the role he is in today. Insp. Milne can always be counted on to step up and get the job done, whether it’s in the field or at a press conference. He is a true asset to the Conservation Officer Service, and we congratulate him on this award.”

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To learn more about the Conservation Officer Service, visit: