Roy Thomson has been a volunteer at the Little Campbell River hatchery for 22 years. (Contributed)

Roy Thomson has been a volunteer at the Little Campbell River hatchery for 22 years. (Contributed)

Our People, Our Peninsula: Volunteer work ‘is extremely rewarding’

Roy Thomson is a vital part of the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club’s hatchery operation

Volunteers are the backbone of a community. In the May 19 edition of the Peace Arch News, we published our second annual Our People, Our Peninsula section, in which we profiled 11 individuals whose volunteer efforts help shape White Rock-South Surrey into the strong and vibrant community we call home. Below is the profile of one such volunteer.

Roy Thomson has been a member of the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club and a volunteer with us since he joined in 2000.

He is a vital part of the hatchery operation – and there is hardly a day goes by that one doesn’t see Roy busy taking care of the hatchery and fish fence.

He is a retired engineer and the club benefits greatly from his expertise and experience.

He is also a lover of wildlife – owls in particular and is know asthe club’s “owl” expert.

Q: How long have you been a volunteer with Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club and why did you choose them specifically?

I have been a volunteer at the Little Campbell Hatchery for about 22 Years.

I have had a life-long passion for river fishing, for salmon in particular, and would frequently drop into the Little Campbell Hatchery in the fall to see the salmon being counted at the fish fence.

I helped to bale fish from the trap on a casual basis before becoming a member of the Semiahmoo Fish and Game Club and a regular volunteer at the hatchery.

Q: How has volunteering with SFGC benefited you personally?

It has given me an opportunity to make new friends and socialize with many like-minded anglers, hunters, outdoorsmen from all walks of life and professions while being active outdoors, walking the forested trails along the river and engaging in physical work provides enjoyable exercise and reduces stress.

I have had the opportunity to meet and talk to many visitors to the hatchery and it got me involved with birding enthusiasts who walk the trails.

It has helped develop an interest in photography of the wildlife in the 30 acres of forest and varied habitat on the SFGC property and I’ve learned new skills in the rearing of salmonids.

Finally, it has enabled my involvement on behalf of the club in several rehabilitation projects on the Little Campbell River and its tributaries

Q: Why is it important to you to volunteer your time?

My volunteer work is extremely rewarding and I derive a great deal of satisfaction and pride from contributing to the rehabilitation of the natural environment in the community.

Being a retired senior it provides me with a purpose in my daily life and the various activities and interaction with people helps me maintain my physical and mental health as I age.

My participation in the DFO’s “Salmonids in the Classroom” program and associated hatchery tours to the roughly 80 or so tours provided every spring to schools in White Rock, Surrey, Delta and Richmond gives many children an introduction to salmon and stewardship of their environment for the first time.

Q: What advice to you have for people who are thinking about becoming a volunteer for the first time?

For those who are interested in volunteering for the first time, some things I suggest they consider the skills they have to offer, what their interests are.