Faces of Forestry: Ben Klassen

Faces of Forestry is an initiative of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to highlight people doing great work to enhance our forests throughout British Columbia. This month, we feature Ben Klassen, Chief Operating Officer of the Klassen Business Group.

Founded in 1963 by Ben’s grandfather, the Klassen Business Group has evolved from its humble beginnings in sawdust hauling to offering a wide variety of products and services with applications in the agricultural, landscaping, and industrial sectors.

“It was only natural for me to pursue a career in the family business. Over time, I’ve developed a keen interest in forestry residuals and the responsible stewardship of our resources,” said Ben. “I’m always excited to find the optimal value and applications for our residual products, especially given the dwindling fibre resources.”

Over the years, Ben has worked in various roles within the business, gathering invaluable experience and in-depth understanding of the company’s operations and the industries they serve. This practical experience has shaped his hands-on leadership style and provided him with the expertise needed to effectively strategize and tackle challenges head on.

In his role as Chief Operating Officer, Ben leads the teams and companies through their daily operations, managing business development and maintaining strong relationships with customers and timber harvesting companies.

“I really enjoy serving our customers and taking on complex challenges. With the ongoing pressures of diminishing forest fibre supply and escalating demand, there’s no shortage of complexities to navigate. But with each challenge comes an opportunity for innovation and growth, and that’s what keeps pushing me forward,” he expressed.

For the past 6 years, the Klassen Business Group has been FESBC’s recipient for multiple proposals, enabling them to acquire more fibre to bring to the market that would previously been left in the forest as waste.

“FESBC’s ongoing support has also been integral to the growth and sustainability of our operations in Merritt, B.C., where the market has been hit hard by timber supply reductions, magnifying the importance of managing forestry waste wood in the forest and turning it into biomass to make green energy and sustainable forest products,” he added.

As Ben expressed, the level of collaboration within the forestry industry is deeply inspiring, as he has witnessed first-hand how multiple groups have come together to design creative projects that solve problems and accomplish a common goal.

“The collaboration between our division of Valley Carriers, along with Stuwix Resource Joint Venture, the Innovation, Bioeconomy and Indigenous Opportunities branch, FESBC and BC Jobs Manufacturing, allowed us to launch the BioHub project in Merritt over the last year. This coordinated effort enabled us to utilize 35% more wood than would be traditionally harvested and projects like these are significant strides in sustainable forestry practices and responsible use of resources.”

Throughout his career, Ben has found a genuine sense of satisfaction in developing innovative solutions that meet their customers’ needs and exceeds their expectations. However, what truly fulfills him is the impact their work has on the lives and livelihoods of so many people across the province.

“Employing 200 individuals and supporting numerous careers and families is incredibly gratifying. It’s a privilege to contribute to something that not only drives economic growth but also nurtures and sustains communities and the people within them,” he expressed.

For Ben, forestry holds immense potential for the future as a multifaceted driver of employment and economic growth, reaching far beyond the confines of traditional activities.

“Beyond harvest and initial processing, there lies a wealth of untapped opportunities, particularly in forestry waste utilization. By fully optimizing and utilizing the resources, we can elevate sustainability, stimulate economic growth, and unlock the full potential of our forests.”

As the availability of timber supply dwindles, the Klassen Business Group’s role becomes increasingly crucial to effectively use more of the wood we do have and meet the growing need for wood fibre, especially in sectors like agriculture and energy.

“While there may be a traditional perception gap regarding these resources, by adopting a more open-minded approach, we can reimagine the potential of these resources and leverage them to address pressing market demands,” he remarked.

Thank you, Ben, for your leadership and dedication to responsible forestry stewardship and innovative resource utilization.

City of Kimberley Advances Wildfire Risk Reduction with Support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC

Kimberley, B.C. – The City of Kimberley, with funding support from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), is making significant strides in wildfire risk reduction through a targeted project in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) southwest of the community. This initiative, important to help better protect the community, the wildlife habitats and community infrastructure, including City and public assets such as power and water infrastructure, municipal buildings, schools, etc., began in the summer of 2023, and the City’s efforts on the project are ongoing.

“Protecting, people, communities and forests from the threat of worsening wildfires caused by climate change is something our government takes seriously,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “In partnership with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), we are funding wildfire risk reduction projects that reduce fuels in forests near communities. These projects not only help slow or stop the spread of fires, but greatly increase the success of fire suppression efforts by BC Wildfire Service crews on the ground.”

In the summer of 2023, the City began work on its wildfire risk reduction project on 102 hectares of land in the WUI—the area where houses and other buildings are close to, or mixed with, natural areas like forests or grasslands—southwest of Kimberley. This area, identified over 15 years ago as needing treatment, was deprioritized until it was established as Williamson’s sapsucker habitat. The forest area provides essential living conditions for the Williamson’s sapsucker, a species of woodpeckers important for biodiversity and forest ecosystem health. With FESBC’s support, the City could address this high-risk area, a known corridor for the flow of fire, and work toward effectively reducing the potential for more severe wildfires.

Bob Gray, an AFE-Certified Wildland Fire Ecologist and Fire Scientist with the City said, “The support of FESBC is significant in helping the City meet its wildfire risk reduction and maintenance objectives. Specifically, the FESBC funds, due to the scale of funding, have been instrumental in tackling an area of extreme hazard in what has been historically known as a dominant fire flow corridor. Without FESBC funding, the City would not be able to treat at the scale necessary to make a difference to fire size and severity.”

Given the difficult terrain, the treatments are being carried out manually (by people instead of machines), focused on thinning the forest to create gaps between the trees, cutting low-hanging branches, and reducing the amount of woody fuel through pile burning during appropriate burning conditions. The project is expected to be completed by the winter of 2024. This methodical approach will restore natural ecological health while effectively managing wildfire risks. Indeed, the two objectives go hand-in-hand with numerous other benefits.

Brian Watson, operations manager with FESBC said, “FESBC acknowledges the City of Kimberley as a leader in interface management. Funding this project aligns well with our purposes; by thinning the forests, we are creating a more fire-resilient stand while at the same time restoring favourable conditions for the Williamson’s sapsucker. FESBC’s investment will tie into the greater strategic WRR plan for the city and of the Rocky Mountain Resource District which is active, through their WRR program, in areas adjacent to the Municipal lands.”

Clearly, the City’s strategic and proactive approach also involves major ecological considerations for the wildfire risk reduction work as well as considering wildlife habitat. The City has already developed a guidebook through funding from the Columbia Basin Trust on how to balance wildfire risk reduction with wildlife habitat management. This guide was a joint effort between fire ecologists and wildlife biologists and this FESBC-funded project is one of the case studies referenced in the guidebook.

“The team of biologists we work with collaborates closely with fire management experts and foresters to carefully plan our actions. We begin by setting clear goals based on what we know about fire behaviour and its effects on the environment. Then, we repeatedly test and adjust our strategies to find the best solutions that not only reduce the risk of wildfires but also protect wildlife habitat. Throughout this project, we’ve successfully found ways to meet both fire safety and environmental conservation goals without compromising one for the other,” said Gray.

In Kimberley’s wildfire risk reduction efforts, the choice between chipping and mastication – the process of mechanically grinding or shredding vegetation to reduce fuel loads and manage forest undergrowth – or burning is influenced by several factors, and while the City has employed both methods in the past, this particular project is heavily favouring planned and prescribed burns over chipping. The significant biomass in the project, exceeding 80 metric tonnes per hectare, is challenging to manage through chipping and mastication alone due to the slow decomposition rates of the woody fibre left after the work and the predicted magnitude of the fuel that would be spread on the forest floor post-treatment. The buildup can become a fire hazard itself. Historically, local ecosystems have adapted to fire as the primary method of wood decomposition, making burning a natural fit. Burning mimics these natural processes, effectively reducing fuel loads and preventing the high-intensity fires that can result from chipped material smouldering during wildfires. This method, according to Gray, is not only supported by the scientific community but is also considered a success for the City in better protecting the community by reducing its future wildfire risk.

Don McCormick, Mayor of the City of Kimberley, explained how long the City has been involved in the wildfire risk reduction work and the importance of FESBC funding. “Kimberley has made wildfire mitigation a priority since 2006, maximizing grants to get as much work done as possible. Efforts intensified in 2018 after the community was on evacuation alert for three weeks. As wildfire risk has increased, getting enough money to make a difference has been more difficult. The funding from FESBC allowed us to get more done with economies of scale [more efficiently], employ more people longer, and build capacity for future efforts. We could not have done any of this without FESBC’s funding support. It has made our community a safer place.”

The City of Kimberley continues to build upon its wildfire risk reduction work and drafted a five-year landscape fire risk and impact reduction plan to identify logical treatment areas and required budgets to do the work. The plan will be forwarded to BC Wildfire Service shortly. The City will further benefit from a large-scale fire risk and impacts assessment being conducted by the First Nations Emergency Services Society of BC (an arm of the BC First Nations Forestry Council) and the local Ktunaxa Nation.

“Wildfire risk reduction is critical if we are going to have any hope of reducing the area burned and the negative consequences of fire,” noted Gray. “The best form of wildfire mitigation is taking steps to reduce wildfire risk. It works, but it has to be scaled up.”

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

FESBC Welcomes Applications for Wildfire Risk Reduction and Enhanced Fibre Utilization Project Funding

Kamloops, B.C. – The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) continues to accept applications to fund forest enhancement projects, year-round. In the Provincial Government’s Budget 2024, FESBC was entrusted with $60 million in funding; $20 million to be allocated each year over the next three years. Projects to receive funding are those whose primary goal is wildfire risk reduction, enhanced wood fibre utilization, or both, while also achieving additional benefits such as wildlife habitat enhancement, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from utilizing wood fibre, improving recreational opportunities, and rehabilitating forests.

“Forests are at the heart of our identity in B.C., and we are all responsible for ensuring their future,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) has played a pivotal role in our work to support a strong and sustainable forest sector. FESBC is supporting projects that focus on better fibre utilization and wildfire risk reduction, helping to slow or stop the spread of wildfires by removing fuel from forests and also getting more fibre into the hands of the forestry sector. This provides jobs, keeps businesses running, and builds thriving families and communities across B.C.”

The funding will help local people who are interested in doing thoughtful forest enhancement work in their local communities. These initiatives have been crucial and have led to significant economic, environmental, and social benefits in communities through the 300+ projects FESBC has funded since its inception in 2016.

“This new funding will allow us to support more forest enhancement projects in the coming years, reinforcing the critical importance of proactive efforts to mitigate wildfire risk and to enhance the utilization of waste wood fibre, which British Columbians are asking for,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC. “We are delighted to support First Nations, communities, workers, wildlife and the environment throughout British Columbia”.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, allowing FESBC to respond swiftly to emerging needs and opportunities. Applicants are encouraged to visit the FESBC website at www.fesbc.ca/applying-for-funding/ to view eligibility criteria and access application guides, the application portal, and register for an online information session hosted at 9am June 25, 2024. A recording of the session will be made available.

REGISTER HERE FOR THE WEBINAR

“We invite all eligible organizations to take advantage of this funding,” said Kozuki. “By investing today, we are giving the hard-working women and men in the forestry sector the opportunity to do good work in their communities for the benefit of us all. We especially want to encourage innovators, new businesses, and First Nations who want to do great forestry projects to apply.”

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC featured in the latest issue of the Canadian Forest Industries Magazine

Quite often, the creation of community fuel breaks to reduce wildfire risks also achieves multiple synergistic benefits such as improved wildlife habitat (more seed and berries that benefits the whole food chain), increased recreational opportunities, greenhouse gas reductions, economic activity, better aesthetic viewscapes, and healthier forests that are more resilient to disease, insects, extreme weather, and future climate change.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is delighted to have a number of FESBC-funded project partners featured in the latest issue of Canadian Forest Industries (CFI) Magazine profiling their work to reduce the risk of wildfires to communities across British Columbia.

FESBC has funded wildfire risk reduction projects in over 120 communities across British Columbia, including Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. and the Logan Lake Community Forest. Local people have been empowered to do good forest management work to help better protect their communities from wildfire. Similarly, learn how the Clinton Community Forest utilized funding from FESBC to salvage burnt wood, using the hog fuel to generate green energy while also creating a fuel break – a large area where woody fuels have been reduced – to slow down future fires and create defensible spaces for fire fighters.

To read the complete article about the exceptional projects FESBC has helped fund in collaboration with First Nations and local communities, visit this link: https://mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=853&i=823386&p=1&ver=html5

FESBC Celebrates Senior Manager’s Legacy in Forestry

Kamloops, B.C. –The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) congratulates Senior Manager Gord Pratt on his retirement after a distinguished career with the organization and within the forestry sector. His departure is a moment of both reflection and celebration, as his contributions have significantly helped to shape FESBC’s successes to date.

Pratt has been a cornerstone of FESBC, dedicating over seven years to carrying out the organization’s purposes to advance forest enhancement activities and to advocate for the environmental and resource stewardship of British Columbia’s forests.

Gord Pratt. Photo credit: Tiffany Christianson.

“When I first considered the opportunity to work at FESBC, I was excited about the possibility of working for a Society that had such strong purposes in its constitution,” shared Pratt. “Being able to continue the work to fund projects that reduce wildfire risk for the people of British Columbia was a big draw for me, as it allowed me to continue the work I started with the Kamloops Fire Centre as the Fuel Management Specialist.”

Joining FESBC in April 2017, Pratt quickly realized that he was not only part of an organization that could make a difference but was a part of an incredible team who were helping to build the new organization that would make that difference.

With the guidance of a strong and connected Board of Directors, the FESBC team began to develop processes to create funding programs that would result in local people in their communities doing good forest management work, ultimately benefitting communities throughout British Columbia.

“Working with FESBC has been an incredible journey. I am grateful to all the people I had the pleasure to work with over my 43 years in the sector, especially the last seven at FESBC,” shared Pratt. “Our delivery partners at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and all our project proponents have been crucial to our collective success. None of the work FESBC has funded could have been done without the strong commitment to good forest management and the willing partners doing the hard work on the ground. I also appreciate the guidance and trust from our Board, which allowed me to contribute significantly to FESBC’s success.”

Reflecting on his time with FESBC, one of his proudest accomplishments has been his growth as a forester, recognizing that good forest management balances complex objectives for the lasting benefit of the environment, wildlife, forest health, and communities.

“With direction from the Board, we delivered projects that met all five of our primary purposes, finding a balance between project costs and multiple outcomes,” Pratt explained. “Based on my own beliefs and by incorporating learnings from the many First Nations people I have had the privilege to meet and work with, I learned that good forest management includes taking care of our forests for the future. By doing so, we will be able to have astounding forests that are more fire resilient, better for wildlife, and optimize the use of fibre to support our forest sector across the province.”

Pratt proudly shared that he was honoured to be one of the founding members of the BC FireSmart Committee, established in 2017.

“I was first exposed to FireSmart in 2009 and at that time, it was considered a good idea but not high on anyone’s list of priorities. Today, FireSmart is a part of many people’s lives. I could not be more proud to have been part of the team that elevated this initiative, fostering a more wildfire-resilient province where everyone lives, works, and plays FireSmart.”

Steve Kozuki, Executive Director of FESBC, praised Pratt’s invaluable contributions, stating, “Gord’s impact on FESBC cannot be overstated. His vision and leadership have been instrumental in carrying out projects that have helped strengthen forest health and ecosystems amid climate change and worsening wildfire seasons. He has always been a guiding force, helping to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. His dedication to forest enhancement and community well-being has set a high standard for us all.”

Under Pratt’s leadership role, FESBC has helped leave a lasting, positive legacy for many communities.

“As I transition into retirement, I believe the future of FESBC is strong” shared Pratt. “It is crucial to see that continued support for FESBC to ensure good forest management continues for the benefits of generations, well into the future.”

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

FESBC Wins Gold Hermes Award for Communications

We are thrilled to announce that the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) recently won a Gold Hermes Creative Award in the Strategic Campaigns category for communications. This recognition celebrates the success of our communications for last year’s announcement on the 42 newly funded forest enhancement projects. The initiative effectively communicated to a wide audience that FESBC fulfilled Premier David Eby’s directive to assist B.C.’s forest sector.

“We are immensely honoured to receive this award, which recognizes the creative talent and capability of our team,” said Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC. “The award highlights our commitment to effective strategic communications to drive awareness, engagement, and support for forest enhancement initiatives.”

The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals that recognizes outstanding work in the industry of communication professionals. FESBC’s win in the Strategic Campaigns category highlights the organization’s innovative and impactful approach to effectively communicating.

The campaign was launched with a press event in Kamloops, B.C. back in September 2023. Project partners, local leaders, and government representatives were invited. The rollout of the communication campaign shared the news of the 42 newly funded projects in an easy-to-understand and impactful manner that promoted collaboration and showcased the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the projects, including the utilization of waste wood for green energy generation and the mitigation of wildfire risks.

The communications initiative was a success, with forestry associations, publications, and industry partners sharing news through their communications channels and networks, generating a total of 77 stories shared locally, provincially, and nationally.

“Our goal was to ensure local, provincial and national media would highlight funded partners and their projects, informing people how forestry and those within the sector were taking action on climate change, reducing the risks of catastrophic wildfires to communities, while emphasizing collaboration with First Nations, and informing people of the work being done to ensure low-value fibre was being utilized instead of burned,” explained Kozuki. “The FESBC approach to effective communications is to help real people tell their authentic stories in a compelling manner. This award validates our efforts and inspires us to continue advocating for sustainable forestry practices and community engagement.”

For more information on the projects FESBC supports, please visit: www.fesbc.ca 

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. Releases Video on Pressy Lake Pilot Project Featuring FESBC’s Executive Director

Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. has just released a video on their Pressy Lake pilot project featuring the Forest Enhancement Society of BC’s (FESBC) Executive Director, Steve Kozuki.

The video, titled “Trying Something New”, highlights the ongoing efforts of the pilot project, funded by FESBC, to rehabilitate areas severely affected by the 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire.

Steve Kozuki, executive director of FESBC is “thrilled that CCR adopted a fire-damaged uneconomic forest abandoned by the forest industry. CCR will help turn biomass into green energy and sustainable forest products and replant a new forest to accelerate ecological recovery and reduce greenhouse gases. It truly represents our commitment to sustainable forestry practices and showcases how we can turn challenges into opportunities.”

Watch the full video here:

This video is followed by a second one, titled “What We Learned”, that speaks to the successes and learnings from the project and what the next steps would look like.

According to CCR, the release of a third video in early June will document tree planting with funding support from Natural Resources Canada, giving viewers an inside look into the efforts to reforest the area and showcasing the practical steps being taken to ensure the rehabilitation of the land.

‘Namgis Chief Victor Isaac Acknowledges Important Forestry Achievements for Communities on Northern Vancouver Island

Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Surrounding Communities, B.C. – Atli Resources LP, a ‘Namgis First Nation-owned company, in collaboration with the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), is celebrating an important milestone in sustainable forestry practices with the successful recovery of 35,000 cubic meters of fibre—equivalent to approximately 700 truck loads. This achievement has been made possible through the crucial support and funding provided by FESBC, highlighting the impactful role FESBC plays in supporting projects that lead to substantial environmental benefits and community development.

As a part of the projects funded by FESBC, waste fibre is being collected and chipped at the Atli Chip facility at Beaver Cove.  The fibre comes from areas outside the economic radius of the plant, including areas near Holberg, Port Alice, Woss, and Port McNeill. The chipped fibre is then transported to support the operations of Paper Excellence’s pulp mills in Howe Sound and Crofton.

Chief Victor Isaac of the ‘Namgis First Nation reflected on the projects’ profound cultural and environmental impact and said, “For generations, our connection to the forest has been fundamental, from the cedar bark used in our traditions and day-to-day life to the trees that support our existence. These forests are not just resources—they are vital to our cultural identity and way of life. FESBC’s funding has been crucial in maintaining this. It’s allowed us to integrate sustainable management practices that respect our heritage while ensuring the forests remain vibrant and productive for future generations. This project doesn’t just benefit us economically through job creation—it helps maintain the health of our lands, which is priceless.”

The two projects on North Vancouver Island, supported through FESBC funding, are confronting the logistical and operational challenges in salvaging and transporting fibre, particularly from remote or hard-to-reach areas and are successfully managing to transport the waste fibre instead of piling and burning it.

“Forests are at the heart of our identity in B.C., and we are all responsible for ensuring their future,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “As we work to support a strong and sustainable forest sector, FESBC has played a pivotal role in helping get more fibre that would have previously gone to waste into the hands of mills across B.C. to be processed into usable products. These initiatives help get more value out of every tree and lower greenhouse gas emissions, all while supporting the hard-working people and businesses that make up our forestry sector.”

Confirming Minister Ralston’s remarks, the project is already showcasing the tangible outcomes of such initiatives. This project effectively recovered 35,000 cubic meters of waste fibre (equivalent to 15,493 CO2 emissions if burned, further equivalent to 3,300 cars off the road for a year), including low-value logs and short pieces of wood typically left to pile and burn or rot. This reduces potential wildfire fuel and significantly cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions, plus smoke and ash.

Doug Mosher, CEO of Atli Resources, said, “The involvement, advice, assistance, and funding from FESBC has made an incredible contribution to the fibre supply for the chip plant. With FESBC funding, Atli Resources and its contractor have been able to salvage fibre that otherwise would be well beyond the chip plant’s economic range to transport it economically. This also has enhanced primary and secondary employment and other benefits to the environment and local economy.”

The benefits, as Mosher notes, extend beyond the immediate environmental impact. The operation of the chip plant and related salvaging activities has created 25 to 30 full-time ongoing jobs, providing stable employment and boosting the local economy. The influx of workers has led to increased demand for local services such as housing, food, and retail and has prompted contractors to invest in new equipment to handle the increased workload. Moreover, the project has helped more efficient forest regeneration by clearing the way for new seedlings, thus enhancing the sustainability of forest management practices.

Kurt Leroy, operations manager with Estero Peak Contracting Ltd., explained, “The help and the funding from the FESBC program has made it financially viable for Estero Peak Contracting Ltd. to salvage and haul logs from outside the usual Fibre Recovery Zone (distance wise). They have, therefore, been able to provide more jobs for members of the local communities at the north end of Vancouver Island.”

Beyond the multiple benefits this project has provided the ‘Namgis and the community, it has brought together several local companies, creating strong partnerships that boost both the economy and the environment. A critical contributor to the success of the project is Atli Chip LP. Atli Chip is jointly owned by Atli Resources, along with the local logging company Wahkash Contracting Ltd, and Paper Excellence, a pulp and paper company. Estero Peak Contracting Ltd, a local contractor, takes care of fibre salvaging, loading, and hauling the waste wood, and supporters like Western Forest Products and Mosaic Forest Management provide access to cutblocks for salvaging fibre. Paper Excellence purchases the pulp logs for the chip plant from forest licensees and various landowners and then purchases the residual chips and hog fuel (bark and small pieces of wood) from Atli Chip LP. This teamwork shows how working together can lead to major achievements in sustainable forestry.

Chris McGourlick, operations manager with FESBC, said, “Atli Chip LP is an excellent example of a First Nations-led partnership achieving multiple environmental, social and economic benefits. Removingresidual fibre and the corresponding reduction in burning activities contributes to a healthier local environment and additional economic activities. As we see harvest levels decrease across the province, partnerships like this are critical to providing stability to communities and local economies. The leadership that the Namgis are showing through Atli Resources and Atli Chip is highlighting ways to move forward as forest stewardship evolves in the province. FESBC is proud to partner with them as they work to improve the utilization of our forest resources.”

Looking ahead, Atli Resources remains committed to expanding its environmental and economic impacts through sustainable forestry practices. The company continuously seeks available fibre for chipping and plans to increase the operational capacity of the chip plant to double shifts whenever sufficient fibre is available. This will maximize productivity and the project’s environmental benefits.

According to Mosher, the waste wood salvaging projects are also set to continue, especially for the long-distance areas outside of the Ministry of Forests-derived Fibre Recovery Zones, relying on the ongoing support from FESBC funding. This sustained effort will ensure that less fibre goes to waste, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better protect communities from wildfire risk.

These comprehensive efforts further showcase the critical role of FESBC-funded projects in preserving the environment and strengthening the economic fabric of communities throughout B.C.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

Career Opportunity: Executive Director

The Candidate

You are an experienced natural resource management leader with a flair for working with others. Your operational background includes overseeing multiple organizational functions including finance, administration, strategy, communications, and operations. You are passionate about enhancing forests to achieve environmental, economic, and social benefits.

The Context

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is a semi-autonomous agency of the BC government.  The purposes of the Society are:

  • to advance environmental and resource stewardship of British Columbia’s forests by:
  • preventing and mitigating the impact of wildfires;
  • improving damaged or low value forests;
  • improving habitat for wildlife;
  • supporting the use of fibre from damaged and low value forests; and
  • treating forests to improve the management of greenhouse gases; and
  • to advocate for the environmental and resource stewardship of British Columbia’s forests.

FESBC is seeking an Executive Director who will deliver cost-effective and impactful programs to improve BC communities’ resilience to wildfire, forest conditions, wildlife habitat, fibre utilization, and management of forest carbon.

The Responsibilities

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) is responsible for:

  • Board of Directors support;
  • Community and Stakeholder Relations;
  • Strategic and Operational Planning;
  • Corporate Organization;
  • Corporate Policy;
  • Financial Management;
  • Fund Raising;
  • Leadership of Human Resources;
  • Resource Acquisition, Allocation and Utilization;
  • Operations;
  • Business and Economic Environment; and
  • Communications and Engagement.

The Qualifications and Experience Required

The ideal candidate for this position will likely have experience inside and outside government and a proven track record of delivering cost-effective and efficient operational programs in a natural resource setting. The successful candidate must also have:

  • A degree or diploma in natural resource management or related studies and registration as a member of Forest Professionals BC (FPBC) would be considered an asset, and a minimum of seven years of experience in resource management or an equivalent combination;
  • Demonstrated experience in stakeholder engagement and relationship building across many sectors including provincial government agencies, local and First Nations governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Preferably, expert knowledge in one or more areas of wildfire planning, silviculture, terrestrial wildlife habitat, forest fibre utilization, or forest carbon.
  • Knowledge of effective public communications.
  • Knowledge and understanding of British Columbia First Nations interests, rights and title.

The Terms of Employment

Compensation for this position will be competitive with BC public sector salary levels. The base annual salary currently ranges from $119,600 to $153,000. For interested BC provincial government employees, a secondment opportunity may be considered.

Regular travel within BC will be expected. The successful candidate will be based primarily in the FESBC office in Kamloops in combination with a home office elsewhere.

The Application Process

Send an email in confidence to office@fesbc.ca in a single document (which includes your last name in the file name) that includes the following three items:

  1. Cover letter explaining your interest in the position and highlighting your suitability.
  2. Detailed resume.
  3. Statement (one to two pages) describing how you meet the following qualifications:
  4. Senior forest industry experience, including knowledge of fibre transactions;
  5. Senior government experience – understanding how government works; How the Ministry of Forests functions (budgeting, staffing, organizationally, decision-making, trade risk, tenures, stewardship, climate change, etc); Treasury Board vis a vis Cabinet and Legislature.
  6. Role of local governments, source of grass roots support for FESBC.
  7. First Nations (governments, organizations, businesses, etc). TRC, UNDRIP, rights, title, accommodation, reconciliation.
  8. Knowledge and understanding of First Nations interests, rights and title.;
  9. Media relations and communications strategy; and
  10. Financial management.

Applications are welcome until the position is filled, however, applications will be reviewed on Friday, May 31st 2024. Applicants invited for interviews will be contacted shortly thereafter.

To learn more about the scope and responsibilities of the Executive Director position, click here:

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

The Forest Enhancement Society of BC Seeks New Executive Director

Kamloops, B.C. – With Executive Director Steve Kozuki retiring from Public Service to enjoy new adventures in life, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is seeking a dynamic individual to become its new Executive Director.

“This role has been very fulfilling,” shared Kozuki. “After leading the organization for almost seven years, it’s time for someone else to experience the profound satisfaction of driving great forestry projects to generate durable social, economic, and environmental benefits. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a catalyst that empowers local people to create deep transformational shifts.”

Steve Kozuki; Photo credit: Tiffany Christianson.

Kozuki was initially attracted to FESBC because he saw it as an opportunity to use forestry to create significant benefits for people and the environment. The work has not disappointed.

“Like many late-career professionals, I wanted to do impactful things with a higher social purpose. The Forest Enhancement Society of BC was a once-in-career opportunity to couple private-sector business acumen with noble public-sector values.”

Kozuki shared that his favourite FESBC projects are ones that have resulted in multiple win-win benefits, including when:

  • The Taan people in Haida Gwaii who harvested middle-aged trees to make room for commercially and culturally valuable cedar. The project resulted in the opportunity to create more light for seeds and berries to grow to support the whole ecological food chain, while accelerating the achievement of old-growth attributes.
  • The Williams Lake First Nation which decided that, while it was good to thin out and fertilize a middle-aged forest to increase wood supply, it was equally important to make space for increased berry production for food.
  • Tŝilhqot’in people who applied their cultural philosophy of not wasting any part of a precious resource which drove them to use waste wood from the forest to create sustainable forest products and green energy.
  • The Okanagan Nation Alliance that thinned over-grown forests to restore sheep habitat, make communities safer from the risk of wildfire, create healthier forests that would be more resilient to climate change, reduce greenhouse gasses, and improve recreational opportunities.
  • The many Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities who have used FESBC funded projects to create jobs for people with numerous positive social and economic outcomes.

Kozuki is also very proud of how FESBC has assisted communities channel their concerns about climate change into real action. Many are now using forestry solutions to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from slash-burning. In terms of emissions, forest workers working on FESBC-funded projects have taken the equivalent of over a million cars off the road for a year.

“I believe all the crucial pieces are now in place for FESBC to achieve even greater success in the years to come, which is a great opportunity for our next Executive Director,” noted Kozuki. “We have reliable long-term funding, a sound strategy guided by our astute Board of Directors, top-tier staff, a strong reputation as the preferred funding agency, powerful brand recognition, and deep alliances with an array of other organizations. I look forward to helping with the transition for our new Executive Director. The future of FESBC and its role in the forestry sector is bright.”

To apply for the Executive Director’s position, read the full details here:

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.

John Massier, FESBC Board Director

Faces of Forestry is an initiative of the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) to highlight people doing great work to enhance our forests throughout British Columbia. In this month’s Faces of Forestry, we are featuring a Face of FESBC to highlight one of the exceptional individuals on our Board of Directors who helps guide our organization toward impactful change.

This month, we feature John Massier, one of FESBC’s Board Directors and a leader in the industry with five decades of operational forestry experience.

John’s journey began fifty years ago when he was employed as a tree planter by the Ministry of Forests, setting the stage for a lifelong commitment to sustainable forestry practices.

“Since then, I have worked at a variety of jobs in the forest industry, including tree planter, mill worker, cone picker, faller/bucker and machine operator,” he explained.

In 1978, he founded Cottonwood Reforestation, a small business that contracted a range of bush work, from tree planting to juvenile spacing and other land-based work. Under his leadership, he employed hundreds of people and completed reforestation projects totalling over 40 million trees on more than 300 square kilometres of land in the Cariboo/Chilcotin region of British Columbia. Later, in 1993, John and his wife Hazel were awarded Woodlot 1406 that surrounds their rural home along the Cottonwood River.

Currently, he is the Director for Electoral Area C in the Cariboo Regional District (CRD), as well as the CRD Treaty representative to the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council Treaty Main Table.

Additionally, John’s deep engagement in local governance has solidified his commitment to community and environmental stewardship, leading him to serve on numerous boards over the years, including the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations, the Wells-Barkerville Community Forest, the Woodlot Product Development Council, and the Fraser Basin Council Board.

In 2022, John joined FESBC as a board director and brought his wealth of operational forestry experience and governance expertise.

“I was familiar with FESBC through my forestry work and given my varied experience in the industry and connections to local government, I thought I might offer some value to the organization,” he recalled.

Recognizing the importance of sustainable funding models for forestry initiatives, John advocates for the long-term viability of FESBC’s projects, striving to support the rural and remote communities that serve as the backbone of the industry.

“In my decades in the industry, I have witnessed and been involved in various Provincial and Federal funding programs aimed at enhancing the forest land base, yet the common theme across them was the lack of sustained funding and loss of momentum once each program ran its course,” he said. “I have always believed that any industry as important as forestry is to British Columbia needs a sustainable funding model to enhance the land base that both industry and communities rely on.”

With the recent announcement in the 2024 budget of sixty million dollars for FESBC over the next three years, John is looking forward to continuing supporting communities through wildfire risk reduction work, low-value fiber recovery, habitat enhancement, and Indigenous peoples’ participation in the forest economy.

“Being a rural resident and having lived through the devastating wildfires of the past several years I see and especially value the work FESBC has done and continues to do on community wildfire protection,” he added. “The work is costly to do, and the amount left to be done is enormous, but we are already seeing the positive results.”

Beyond his professional endeavours, John’s love for wildlife drives his volunteerism with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society as one of their capture/transport teams spread around the province.

“Those who have met me know of my love for the wildlife that we get to share our remote rural property and woodlot with. I never miss an opportunity to show the most recent fruits of my motion-sensing wildlife cameras to anyone that’s interested,” he shared.

Thank you, John, for your dedication to environmental conservation and community well-being that deeply exemplifies FESBC’s mission.

FESBC’s Executive Director to Address Forestry’s Role in Rural Development at “Keeping it Rural” Conference

Kamloops, B.C. – The Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) is pleased to have its executive director, Steve Kozuki be a featured speaker at the Keeping it Rural conference. Hosted at the Four Points by Sheraton in Kelowna from May 21-23, this year’s conference will explore the theme “Sowing Seeds of Success: Cultivating Rural Economies.”

Kozuki has been involved with forestry in British Columbia since 1984 with roles such as Timber Valuation Coordinator for Weldwood, General Manager of Forestry at the Council of Forest Industries, and key positions within BC Timber Sales and Timber Pricing Branch and has led FESBC since 2017. This year, at the conference, Kozuki will share insights as a panellist on the Emergency Preparedness panel.

Photo: Steve Kozuki; photo credit: FESBC

“Forestry has been an unsung hero, often overlooked in its extensive capabilities to address environmental, economic, and social challenges, including challenges faced by rural communities,” Kozuki shared. “When it comes to wildfires, we work closely with partners like the BC Wildfire Service, Fire Chiefs, FireSmart BC and local communities and First Nations to help bolster community defences against the ever-growing threat of wildfire through thoughtful planning and collaboration. While a focus of our funded projects may be on wildfire risk reduction, our projects yield significant secondary benefits which include creating jobs, enhancing wildlife habitats, reducing greenhouse gases and creating recreational trails—all of which naturally contribute to strengthen local economies. I’m excited to share how integral forestry is to both rural sustainability and emergency preparedness on this year’s panel.”

The Keeping it Rural conference started first in 2015, is an essential gathering for economic development professionals and community leaders dedicated to encouraging sustainable development in rural communities. This year’s sessions will cover a range of topics including sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and innovative environmental conservation methods tailored for rural applications.

Sarah Sinclair, executive director of BC Rural Centre, explained what prompted them to approach Kozuki, and said, “FESBC was brought to our attention through board members in the Peace region of the province. After some brief research, it was clear to us that having Steve speak to our audience on the importance of forest enhancement and share FESBC’s success stories would bring great value. Our organization was founded as the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC), so any collaboration with organizations that are in the forestry sector, be it community forests, those who work in wildfire risk mitigation, or Indigenous forest stewardship, is a natural fit.”

This year’s conference will explore various critical topics, including an introduction to the BC Rural Centre Society, innovation in rural areas, advances in agricultural practices promoting food sovereignty, and essential discussions on water stewardship concerning riverscapes and watershed health.

“The conference is two half days and a full day with keynotes from Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band and Doug Griffiths author of ‘13 Ways to Kill your Community’ and more,” said Sinclair. “With panels on rural innovation, rural agriculture, water stewardship, and more there is something for everyone. The conference is geared for rural, remote, and First Nation communities, regional districts, non-profits, and other key stakeholders. But the content really lends itself to anyone who has a passion for living rurally and keeping it rural in BC.”

People can sign up for the conference at https://ticketstripe.com/keeping-it-rural-2024.

“It is a great opportunity for anyone interested in rural challenges, to hear rural success stories and share space with some amazing people,” concluded Sinclair.

FESBC would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Forests.