The staff at EKISC are an enthusiastic team who strive to address the threats of invasive species with diligence, passion, and creativity. We are located through-out the East Kootenays in home-based offices; when necessary, joining forces at our office location in Cranbrook, BC. Together, we bring diverse expertise and experience in natural science, policy, economics, administration, communications, and education. 

EKISC also benefits from the talents of summer students who join the team during our busy summer months, and from contractors who join the EKISC operations team in managing established infestations. 


​Interested in joining our team? Check for job opportunities on our careers page.

Kendal Benesh

Program Director

After completing her BSc in Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, Kendal wandered away from coastal ecosystems and towards the boreal forests of Western Canada. Kendal spent four years coordinating and conducting biological monitoring in aquatic and riparian areas, before moving on to coordinate research efforts that support the recovery of woodland caribou. She has also worked in environmental education, public outreach and communications, regional land-use planning, administration, and is a keen facilitator of multi-stakeholder collaborations. With strong interests in conservation and community engagement, Kendal is excited to be working on invasive species initiatives in the region.


Katie Reid, A.Ag

Field Operations Manger (currently on leave)

Katie brings to EKISC a love of the outdoors, extensive knowledge of Invasive Species, and a degree in Natural Resource Management. She joined EKISC in 2013 as the Field Operations Coordinator. Originally from Kamloops, the East Kootenays is a perfect fit for Katie's career and home life.


Gabriela Halas

Interim Field Operations Manager ​

Gabriela grew up in northern Alberta and completed her BA in Human Geography at Simon Fraser University in 2006. She worked for many years in nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation centers, eventually moving to Alaska to work on wildlife research projects for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She completed her MSc in Natural Resource Management at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in 2015. She then worked as a Subsistence Resource Specialist at the Division of Subsistence for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, before returning to Canada in late 2019. She is thrilled to be in the East Kootenay's expanding her knowledge of plants; as well as learning about the region's economic, environmental, and social issues.


Jessie Paloposki

Education and Communications Manager

Jessie started her career as an Environmental Educator even before she knew what a career was. As a child, she would spent countless hours exploring the forests surrounding her rural BC home. As she grew up, she began to see these wild places disappear. In 2008 her urge to protect wild places led her to begin her professional life as a Park Ranger. Jessie worked for BC Parks for 8 years, committing to protecting our precious natural areas and helping others discover the beauty of the natural world. In 2016, she decided to move away from parks and join the East Kootenay Invasive Species Council.

Jessie earned her MA in Environmental Education through Royal Roads University and a Diploma in Natural Resource Management through Vancouver Island University. In her spare time, she can usually be found kayaking a river, skiing in the mountains, or travelling the world. 


Danny Smart

Field Operations Coordinator

Originally from England, Danny found a love for the outdoors when visiting Canada for the first time in 2006. Since then she has worked in a variety of fields such as outdoor education, adventure tourism and hospitality. After studying Natural Resource Management with a minor in First Nations Studies in Prince George, she started working with Invasive Species and found a passion in learning, treating and educating invasives to the public. Danny is often found exploring the province either hiking, biking or kayaking, and is very excited to now be based in the East Kootenay's!




For a detailed description of specific job duties and responsibilities, please click here. 

Current contractors:

Mountain View Resources Ltd.
Blacktail Resources Ltd.
BDK Resource Services Ltd.
West Fork Resource Management 

RMC Enterprises


Interested in becoming a contractor? Contact Katie Reid: katie@ekisc.com

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