It’s a typical Sunday workday at Mossom Creek Hatchery and Kyle Pilon (Past President) is working with an assortment of pliers and wires, trying to recreate an important tool lost in the fire (an egg picker for pulling dead eggs out of the Heath tray baskets).
In a way this epitomizes Kyle’s involvement with the hatchery – leadership and attention to the myriad details required to ensure the hatchery’s success. Hatchery co-founder Ruth Foster thinks highly of Kyle’s work through the years, “One of Kyle’s many talents is his calm, firm, fair and respectful way of chairing meetings.”
Kyle first became interested in the hatchery while a grade 11 student at Centennial High School and then his interest became a passion when he took Rod MacVicar and Ruth Foster’s “Fisheries Ecology Class” in grade 12. Like so many graduates of the Centennial programs, Kyle’s interest persisted and he became the hatchery’s President in 2003, serving as such for the next 12 years. Rod MacVicar notes, “Kyle’s journey from high school biology student to college student and now a young man involved in the community has been amazing to watch. Over the years, Kyle’s environmental stewardship has evolved into a leadership role; ultimately becoming a leader of the very forces that shaped him.”
When asked about his 17 years at Mossom, Kyle quickly responded… “The thing that captures me year after year is the return of the chum. And it’s not just the chum; it’s the whole environment – bears, other animals, plants, even the temperature changes with the season. It’s not a single event, but rather this annual event that captures the essence of life ongoing, in our creek by the city.”
This year, the seasonal return of the fish is especially noteworthy. Pinks have been found in Mossom Creek; exciting news for the Hatchery as this indicates some of the other fish enhancement projects in the area are showing results. Kyle reports that the Hatchery hopes to begin raising Pinks here in Mossom.
When asked about his long service as President, Kyle noted some of the differences pre-fire and post-fire. “In the earlier years, the hatchery was really a fairly small, focused operation tightly tied to Centennial School (Salmon Club and biology classes) and BIMES. A few years ago, we developed a stronger connection with Anmore as a result of some water quality issues from new construction, but still we were pretty localized. Then the fire occurred. There was an outpouring of support from all over the region and as a result there is now a much broader interest and involvement from the surrounding communities.” As Kyle sums it up, “From the total loss and despair of the fire, there are great new opportunities.”
As Past President, Kyle continues to serve on the Board of Directors, helping shape the Hatchery’s new directions. And every Sunday, he can be found at the site continuing the legacy of extraordinary volunteerism that typifies Mossom Creek Hatchery.