University of British Columbia, 1987, BSc, Agriculture (Animal Science)
Judy Steves was born in 1962 in Steveston, BC, a village named after her Great-Great Grandfather Manoah Steves. She obtained a BSc (Agr) with a Major in Animal Science (Range) in 1987. While attending University she spent time off-campus to enrol in the Livestock Production program at Olds College, Alberta.
Judy began her professional career as a Range Planner for the Kamloops Forest District, a position she held until 1997. In that position she implemented an integrated Noxious Weed program that included the release of various biological agents for control of Knapweed and other weeds. During this time Judy took part for six consecutive years in the ‘Cattledrive of the 90’s’ tourist event. The event lasted for a week each year in July, with 150 to 300 riders on horseback driving cattle 100 miles into Kamloops by a different route each year. Judy’s role was to provide information about the range management, ecology and wildlife along each route. “It was a lot of fun and the people I met were awesome!”, recalls Judy.
She wrote a poem: ‘The Long and Winding Trail’ which she used to communicate range management issues and concerns to the public and first introduced it on the ‘Cattledrive of the 90’s’ – out on the sagebrush flats with a guitarist friend plucking a tune in the background! The poem was printed in the Society for Range Management journal ‘Rangelands’ and was read over the Kamloops radio station during the ‘Spirit of the West’ program. Judy can be contacted for a copy of the poem.
From 1992-1996 Judy was Range Technical Advisor to the Kamloops Land and Resource Management Plan (KLRMP). Also, she was Chair of the Grazing Subcommittee that developed the ‘Domestic Livestock Grazing in Protected Areas’ policy of the KLRMP. This policy was precedent-setting for the Province and the Park Act was amended to allow livestock grazing to occur in the newly developed Parks. In 1997 she became District Planner and Aboriginal Liaison for the Kamloops Forest District. A highlight of the position for Judy was working with First Nations people, whom she found as a “warm, loving people with a very good sense of humour!”
“As a result of my career (and one of my life’s highlights)”, writes Judy, “my home is 20 km from Kamloops. On its 20 acres of natural grassland ecosystem I range my two quarter-horses (and my dogs) and enjoy the ‘mariposa lilies’, ‘sage brush buttercups’, songs of the meadow-larks, coyote howls, clear starlit skies, and much, much more!” Judy partner in life is Shane Chesley and they have a daughter Shaelyn Robyn.
Ms Steves received an Award of Excellence from the Pacific Northwest Section of the Society for Range Management in 1996 for her work with the Kamloops LRMP and the poem that she wrote. (Editor: this was a fitting award for a young woman with an obvious zest and dedication for living and working in the rangeland.)
Judy has many memorable recollections of student life at UBC. “My brother, Jerry Steves, and I are third generation Aggies”, recalls Judy, “following in the footsteps of my grandfather, Harold Steves senior, and my dad, Harold Steves junior, (who met my mother, Kathy Steves, while at UBC.) My father had been very active in the Aggies (e.g. as a member of the ‘Sexy Six’!) and I had heard lots of his stories and been shown his old Aggie sweater. So I wanted to enjoy my years there in a social way as much as he did! Funny thing-he wrote ‘Put on your old Aggie sweater’ that all us Aggies sang as our theme song, without knowing where it originated from twenty years previous! When I was at UBC the ‘Sexy Six’ had been replaced by ‘The Ravers’. For the most part this was an all-male group of Aggies whose role was to keep the Aggie spirit alive (including pulling pranks on the engineers; pulling moons in classes during Aggie week; and providing ‘Lord Godiva’ in competition with the engineers ‘Lady Godiva’.) In my second year I became an honorary Raver (the ‘first female’ I think) and was unofficially given the Raver ‘badge’ by one of the members Percy Bacha: this was a major highlight for me! (I think I had to give it back though). But the Ravers later gave me an award for Aggie spirit! In my first month as an Aggie (as a First Year student) I jumped right into the spirit of things with both feet so to speak. It was Forestry week and they were having ‘Log Burling’ in the UBC outdoor pool. I entered the contest as an Aggie in my newly bought Aggie T-shirt! And I won First Place for the women (through no skill of mine!). I ended up on the front page of the Ubyssey newspaper! I won because I landed on the log and therefore landed in the water a second or so after the Forester – and that was the picture in the paper!). Suddenly I was a true blue Aggie and was recognized in the halls and walkways of campus and became a very active member of the Aggie undergrads from that point on.
Aggies were very social at that time. There was a lot of Aggie spirit going around and I loved it! My first three years at UBC were more social than academic I’m afraid! In my last year I really got into the knowledge of the subject I loved – Range Management, including involvement in the Range Club and trips to the Society for Range Management conferences. “Pa Pitt” was a highlight too and a great Professor! But prior to that, my time involved Aggie week; Boat Races; The Great Race; GROG (Great Roaring Organized Games); burning and painting the engineers stone; Aggie dances; hanging out in the Aggie lounge; competing in Storm the Wall; Aggie cheerleader for the chariot races! I was the Aggie women’s sports rep for several years, as well as the Aggie annual editor. Another highlight was my favorite mare ‘Aroura’. This was the horse that Mikey rode on as Lord Godiva! I led her down campus trying to keep my eyes on the road since my good friend Mikey was in the Pink on my Mare’s saddle-less back! Beer drinking and singing Aggie songs with my Aggie friends are favorite memories- with personalities such as Percy Bacha; Stinson Sotas; The Spaz; Tom Reich (Stinky); Mikey; Elaine Anderson; Sherry Duncan; and many others. I’ve lost contact with many of my Aggie friends over the years but the memories of the time I spent with them remain strong, and I miss their camaraderie. “Put on your old Aggie sweater, the dirtier the better and we’ll all have another round of beer. MORE Beer! For it’s not for the knowledge that we go to the college but to raise h*** all the year!””.