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.

Faces of Forestry: Aurora Lavendar

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 Aurora Lavender, representative of the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation (WCFC) on the BC Community Forest Association’s (BCCFA) Board of Directors.

Auroraholds a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Environmental Studies, from the University of Toronto, as well as a Masters in Forest Conservation.

“I was interested in a career in forestry because I spent a lot of time outdoors and have a strong affinity for nature, especially when it comes to wildlife and the maintenance of biodiversity values, as well as First Nations involvement in land use planning and decision-making,” she explained. “I always wanted to be involved in the natural resource sector because I believe that the strongest changes can come from within existing systems and that there need to be passionate individuals who are able to balance all values in these impactful roles.”

After a summer working on urban forestry with BioForest Technologies Inc. and finishing up her capstone project on gypsy moth and urban pest/forest health programs, Aurora made the decision to move to British Columbia to further develop her knowledge and skills in operational forestry.

Upon her arrival, she began working at Silvicon Services Inc. and quickly became a project manager in their timber development department. At Silvicon, Aurora worked closely with clients to ensure that safety and sustainability were at the forefront of block planning and development.

During her time at Silvicon, Aurora also began working as the General Manager for WCFC, taking direction from their Board of Directors and collaborating with diverse interest groups, First Nations, and the local community to manage a successful community forest tenure while simultaneously providing benefits such as wildfire risk reduction.

Today, Aurora continues to diligently represent WCFC on the BCCFA’s Board of Directors, enjoying the amount of engagement with interest groups and natural resource sector experts she gets to work with every day to make tangible changes in forestry management.

“The public has a strong affinity for their forests and everyone who spends time outdoors deserves a voice on what happens with their local forests, which is why the community forest model is so sustainable,” she explained. “Community forests support local people making decisions about their forests and most of them are formed through partnerships with First Nations. These are prime examples of where long-term planning and innovative practices can take place and help to build resilient ecosystems, as well as supporting informed public participation in community forest decision-making and meaningful representation in forest initiatives.”

Aurora’s dedication to community engagement and sustainable forestry practices is further exemplified by her active involvement in wildfire risk reduction initiatives. Collaborating with FESBC, she played a pivotal role in implementing several wildfire risk reduction prescriptions on Hudson Bay Mountain Road, creating a shaded fuel break to mitigate the threat of wildfires to the community and provide a defensible location for wildfire crews during emergencies.

In 2018, FESBC provided funding for the development of a Strategic Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Plan and later, for treatment implementation of this project in 2023.

“FESBC has always been a pleasure to work with, providing great resources and expertise to ensure that project completion was able to succeed. Their funding is critical to reducing wildfire risk province-wide,” she mentioned. “Support from FESBC helps make wildfire risk reduction programs economically feasible for community forests, which in turn helps better protect communities from the threat of wildfires.”

This project was also made possible through several community partnerships with the BC Wildfire Service, Hudson Bay Mountain Resort, the Skeena Stikine Natural Resource District, the Office of Wet’suwet’en, the Gitdumden Clan, Mountain Resorts Branch, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, local contractors, and local resource user groups.

Aurora strongly believes that forest policy and stewardship of British Columbia’s forests have come a long way and are on the right path, with a lot of passionate individuals who are striving to create an economically and environmentally sustainable future for the forest industry.

“The culture of forestry in the province has seen major shifts in the last several decades, and foresters, technicians, and operators have a crucial role in creating a healthy, wildfire-resilient landscape.”

Additionally, Aurora emphasizes the importance of public engagement and collaboration in forestry decision-making, urging both the public and forestry entities to foster open dialogue.

“Building relationships and working together to find solutions is the only path forward to ensure the success of the forest industry and to build resilient landscapes in this era of megafires and in the face of climate change,” she said.

Thank you, Aurora, for your passion and tireless efforts in sustainable resource management and wildfire risk reduction. Your dedication to community education, incorporation of First Nations perspectives and knowledge, and biodiversity and interest group values enrich all levels of planning processes, leaving a lasting impact on forestry in British Columbia.

Faces of FESBC: Trish Dohan, Board Treasurer

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 Trish Dohan, FESBC’s Board Treasurer and a key player in creating long-term benefits for our province’s forests.

Born and raised in British Columbia, Trish graduated from the BCIT Financial Management program with additional studies at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and executive development programs through Royal Roads University.

Trish’s career began in Vancouver before she moved to Victoria to begin a fulfilling career with the BC Public Service, primarily in the Natural Resource sector. In late 2021, she retired from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, having served as an Assistant Deputy Ministry and Executive Financial Officer since 2013.

“It was in this role that I became involved in a wide range of activities including wildlife species, wildfires, and tree planting, to name just a very few,” she explained. “The creation of FESBC was one of these activities, and I have watched it evolve from a brand-new organization in 2016, to an efficient structure that successfully meets its goals.”

Joining the FESBC Board of Directors in November 2022, Trish brought her wealth of experience and understanding of British Columbia’s diverse geography, communities, and people.

“I joined the Board primarily as a way to stay connected to the Natural Resource communities that are so important to the province’s wellbeing. It’s a very special place to live, and we want to keep it that way.”

Initially, she joined as a Board Director and then became Board Treasurer in November of last year.

Optimistically focused on securing steady funding for the Board in 2024 and beyond, she envisions stability for funding recipients and FESBC’s dedicated team. This funding should generate more investment in equipment and innovation and allow FESBC to retain and recruit excellent staff, ultimately enabling them to continue to make a positive difference in British Columbia’s forests.

Given the impacts of climate change and diminished fibre supply in the province, Trish is particularly enthusiastic about FESBC’s projects focused on wildfire risk reduction while also utilizing wood fibre that would otherwise be considered waste.

“As recently seen in the Williams Lake area devastated by the 2017 fires, these projects are also enhancing the forests for wildlife habitat and Indigenous values,” she explains.

With a deep appreciation for forests and their critical role in influencing climate, water and air quality, Trish, as a new grandparent, emphasizes the importance of collective efforts to ensure these thrive for future generations.

Beyond her involvement with FESBC, Trish is an active community member, becoming involved on various boards, committees, and teams over the last 30 years. Since her retirement, she has been spending more time outdoors, enjoying the natural beauty of British Columbia and far beyond.

Thank you, Trish, for your passion and dedication to FESBC and your invaluable contributions to the well-being of our forests and communities.

Faces of Forestry: Dave Gill

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 Dave Gill, general manager of Ntityix Resources LP.

Dave’s interest and passion for forestry began when he was hired as a summer student by the Pacific Forestry Research Center in Victoria, where he worked on a Spruce Bark Beetle Research project near Hixon, BC.

“I was in the woods just about every day that summer. I loved learning about the forests I was working in, the industry, and the profession itself,” he explained.

This month, we feature Dave Gill, general manager of Ntityix Resources LP.

That same summer, Dave enrolled in the University of British Columbia’s Forestry program, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry a few years later.

Currently, Dave works as the general manager of Ntityix Resources LP, a company owned by Westbank First Nation (WFN).

“Ntityix Resources has been given the privilege and the responsibility of managing the forest tenures held by WFN with the best interests of the WFN and West Kelowna/Peachland communities in mind,” he said.  

Additionally, within this role, he guides a dedicated and diverse team focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the lands they manage, with an emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the values provided by these forests.

Dave and his team have been actively collaborating with FESBC since its inception, undertaking vital wildfire mitigation projects within the Community Forest around the City of West Kelowna and the District of Peachland.

“Our partnership with FESBC has been crucial in treating hundreds of hectares around communities and building our in-house capacity to complete this work,” he explained. “Some of this work has been tested by recent wildfires and proven effective. Now we have a full-time forestry crew who completes this work in addition to pre-commercial thinning, pruning, and wildfire suppression.”

Over the past two decades, the importance of the work carried out to protect these communities and the broader landscape from the devastating wildfires has become evident.

“It’s been said so many times that we can’t control the weather, we can’t control the terrain, but we can control the forest fuels. Not only do we have to address the high priority areas near communities, we also need to take a more proactive role in managing fuels at the landscape level,” Dave added.

Throughout his career, Dave has found a deep appreciation for the multifaceted aspects of his work. He finds joy in being outdoors, acknowledging the unique connection with nature that comes with walking through a forest. Additionally, he values the people he gets to work with every day, his community, and the passion they all share for the land, which has provided him with continuous learning opportunities.

As Dave explained, the dynamic and progressive nature of forestry represents an exciting moment in the industry, regardless of the role one plays in it.

“Forestry continues to be a profession in transition. We are adopting a longer-term approach, with an Indigenous lens, to making decisions on the land. We are removing the silos and beginning to understand the inter-connectedness of all values on the land and the long-term consequences of our decisions.”

Thank you, Dave, for your commitment to wildfire mitigation and the crucial role you play in protecting our environment and communities.

Faces of Forestry: Dave Peterson, Board Chair

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 Dave Peterson, FESBC’s Board Chair and a veteran with over 50 years of experience in the forestry sector. Growing up in a small logging community on Vancouver Island, he quickly developed a strong connection to forestry that has since shaped his life’s work.

With a robust career serving as President of the Cariboo Lumber Manufacturers Association and holding senior positions such as the Chief Forester for BC, Dave’s strong presence and strategic orientation have allowed him to become a leader in the forestry industry.

Dave was an Assistant Deputy Minister within the Ministry of Forests when the idea of FESBC was first raised within the government. His commitment and leadership were instrumental in the development of the concept, leading to the formation and funding of FESBC in 2016. Since then, Dave has remained an integral part of the Board of Directors, helping steer the organization toward its mission to create healthier and more productive forests for the future.

In his role as Board Chair, Dave’s primary responsibility is to ensure the effective operation of the Board of Directors as a cohesive unit. His dedication to his fellow Board members reflects a profound sense of loyalty and commitment to FESBC and the entire team.

“I have been with FESBC since its inception and I am extremely proud of the work we have performed since then,” he said. “I am really excited about the innovations FESBC is supporting where our proponents are delivering projects focused on wildfire risk reduction while also addressing complimentary objectives such as wildlife habitat enhancement and utilization of wood fibre that would normally go to waste.”

Dave also emphasized the global significance of forests in British Columbia, both in the quality of sustainable wood products that can come from them and in the multiple values they support, including wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and Indigenous values.

“We have a global responsibility to work together to ensure our forests can deliver all of those values for future generations,” he added.

Looking ahead, Dave envisions forests in the province gaining an even greater importance, and underscores the need for continued innovation in forest management and enhancement. As he explained, FESBC remains dedicated to supporting such advancements to ensure the long-term health and vitality of forests.

Beyond his involvement with FESBC, Dave is especially passionate about his role on the Board of Directors of the Caravan Farm Theatre Society, a unique outdoor-based theatre production with over 40 years of operating in the North Okanagan.

Without a doubt, Dave’s journey is one of leadership, commitment, and a deep passion for the forest sector. His involvement with FESBC for so many years has been pivotal in shaping it into an organization that is now at the forefront of environmental stewardship.

Thank you, Dave, for your invaluable contributions to FESBC and your continuous efforts to safeguard British Columbia’s environment, wildlife, forest health, and communities for years to come.

Faces of Forestry: Greg Kilba

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 Greg Kilba, Division Manager, Portable Wood Processing and Log Buyer at Arrow Transportation Systems Ltd.

Guided by conversations with his grandad during his youth, Greg found his passion for forestry rooted in the numerous opportunities the field offered.

“There were a lot of pros, such as being able to work outside, learning about the diversity of our forests, understanding how our ecosystems work,” said Greg. “That seed that was planted in my brain at a young age grew and branched out. Over my career, I have luckily been able to learn many of the different aspects of Forestry.”

His early exposure to chainsaw operation and equipment handling in high school further helped set the foundation for essential skills and a profound appreciation for the dynamics of the forestry industry.

After graduating, Greg immersed himself in the industry, saving money by working on a logging show. His passion for forestry eventually led him to enroll in the Natural Resource Science Program in Kamloops, allowing him to continue his job as a young manager in silviculture while simultaneously studying.

At the age of 25, Greg’s curiosity and innovative nature led him to work as a forestry consultant for Weyerhaeuser and the Ministry of Forests, where one of his contracts was burning slash piles.

“I often thought that there had to be a way to harness the energy that was released when lighting a waste pile. It was therefore, a natural fit for me when I heard that they were grinding piles to generate hog fuel that could produce electricity,” he explained.

Currently, Greg manages Arrow’s grinding program in Kamloops and Fort St. James and purchases biomass logs for the grinder and chip plants. Within this role, he actively meets with many forest licensees to collectively work on agreements to utilize fibre that historically was burnt, striving to find the most economical ways of getting the low-value fibre to end users such as Kruger, BioNorth and Drax.

Over the years, he has developed numerous proposals with FESBC, collaborating on projects that have created new well-paying jobs to support the local economy, promoted renewable energy, and minimized environmental impacts.

“FESBC is like no other forestry program that I have been involved in as the funding is incrementally based and a very high percentage of the biomass fibre is paid for by industry. This assistance has allowed us to utilize fibre that was just outside of industries’ economic reach,” noted Greg.

Throughout his career, Greg has appreciated the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals who strive to turn challenges into opportunities.

“I have enjoyed working with people that share similar interests and understanding about how diverse forests are and the importance of caring for this renewable resource.”

In the face of media attention that often focuses on challenges in forestry, Greg underscores the industry’s dedication to sustainable practices. He emphasizes how, since the mountain pine beetle epidemic, the industry has found ways to utilize fibre that would have otherwise been burnt, contributing to the production of lumber, pulp and paper products, and biomass energy.

Thank you, Greg, for your dedication to environmental stewardship and innovative solutions for waste pile energy. Your tireless efforts are undoubtedly shaping a sustainable future of our forests.

Faces of Forestry: Klay Tindall

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 Klay Tindall, general manager of forest operations for Lil’wat Forestry Ventures LP. 

Klay’s journey in forestry began with a strong educational foundation. After obtaining a Bachelor of Forestry in Forest Management/Forest Resource Management from The University of British Columbia (UBC), his commitment to personal growth led him to get an additional Certificate in Advanced Leadership from UBC Sauder School of Business.

“In the early days of my career, the adventurous spirit that forestry offered, as well as the excitement of being outdoors every day laid the foundation for this lifelong passion,” said Klay.

Currently, Klay works as the general manager of Forest Operations for Lil’wat Forestry Ventures (LFV) in Mount Currie, British Columbia, which supports the Lil’wat Nation by creating profits, employment, and training.

In this role, he ensures the operation’s contract safety and environmental leadership, leading and coordinating a team responsible for planning and implementing forestry activities. In addition, he is in charge of developing and implementing annual budgets, as well as coordinating the forestry activities with the Indigenous Affairs/Referrals department of Lil’wat Nation to ensure Rights and Titles are strengthened.

“An important part of my role is creating jobs in the community and developing employee skills,” added Klay. “LFV averages 35 employees and does contract forest firefighting, fuels management, silviculture, and road maintenance work for other licensees and clients. I deal directly with our clients that the contracting department works for.”

Additionally, he manages the harvesting, engineering, and silviculture contractors over Lil’wat Nations’ five forest tenures, with LFV harvesting approximately 100,000 cubic metres of timber annually.

Klay’s commitment to enhancing British Columbia’s forests is evident through his engagement with the FESBC. Since 2019, he has led many fuels management projects through his work with the Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF) utilizing FESBC funds.

“Currently, we are working with FESBC on fuels management projects in the CCF and Spel’kúmtn Community Forest, hoping to extend that project to 2024. We are also receiving support from them to harvest low-value stands in Lil’wat Traditional Territory,” he explained.

Reflecting on the journey, one of the aspects Klay cherishes the most is the ability to create long-term financial benefits and meaningful careers for the Lil’wat community.

As he explains, “forestry is an exciting, tricky and ever-changing industry,” adding that “it involves complex and sometimes undiscovered science, historical and traditional knowledge, as well as intrinsic values. It provides meaningful employment producing sustainable products, as well as places to gather food and enjoy the beauties of nature.”

Outside his work, Klay finds solace in the mountains around Whistler, spending quality time with his loved ones. His passion for forestry extends beyond professional boundaries and into his family, as both of his oldest sons have followed in his footsteps, pursuing careers in forestry across British Columbia.

Thank you, Klay, for your dedication to sustainable forestry, and unwavering commitment to supporting the Lil’wat community.

Meet FESBC Operations Manager: Chris McGourlick

The Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia (FESBC) recently added a new operations manager to its team. Meet Chris McGourlick, a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) and licensed interior and coastal scaler with over 25 years of dedicated work in the forestry industry.

As a second-generation forester, Chris’s interest in forestry was a product of his upbringing.

“My dad worked in forestry for 40 years, and I grew up in logging communities on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii. I grew up with the woods as my backyard in several remote corners of the coast and finding a career in forestry was a natural fit. I love the outdoors and problem-solving which sums up forestry in a nutshell,” he explained.

After graduating from the University of British Columbia’s Forestry Program, Chris spent most of his career working on the coast of British Columbia, spending some time near the Southern and Central Interior of the province.

“My career has been focused on the harvesting side of the industry,” he said. “I started in harvest planning and operations, which I did for about 15 years before moving into the fibre supply side of the business. I have spent the last 10 years working in a variety of roles starting with log quality to log procurement and then finally logistics.”

These experiences have equipped him with a broad background in operations, ultimately leading Chris to FESBC, and making him the perfect person for the job.

As FESBC’s operations manager, Chris is responsible for overseeing the management of projects for its two main intakes – fibre utilization and wildfire risk reduction.

“This usually involves working with our project proponents and our partners at PwC to address changes in plans, finalizing submissions, problem-solving, and generally keeping things moving forward,” explained Chris.

Within this new role, Chris is looking forward to seeing the benefits that FESBC can bring to different parts of BC and its potential growth as forest management in British Columbia evolves with a renewed focus on managing the many values found across the landscape.

“Working with FESBC provides me an opportunity to work across a diverse geographic area and to become involved in projects that wouldn’t have been options in my past stops,” he said.

Over the years, he has found the most rewarding part of his career to be the opportunity to work alongside exceptional individuals. As he begins his journey with FESBC, he is confident that this experience will offer a similar enriching environment.

When not at work, Chris finds solace and adventure in nature, spending most of his time flying fish, mountain biking, paddle boarding, and skiing.

With his wealth of experience, passion, and dedication to responsible forestry practices, Chris is set to make a positive impact on FESBC and contribute to the continued well-being of British Columbia’s forests.

Faces of Forestry: Brittany Dewar, RPF

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 Brittany Dewar, a Registered Professional Forester and Forestry Project Manager at Westland Resources Ltd.

After getting her Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Victoria, Brittany began working in environmental consulting around Victoria and Calgary. After a few years, she decided to move back to British Columbia, settling in Terrace as she started her job at Westland Resources Ltd. in 2015.

At Westland Resources Ltd., a company specializing in natural resource consulting and management services for fish, forests and wildlife, Brittany had the opportunity to pursue a designation as a registered forester. Last December, she was able to complete her designation, becoming a Registered Professional Forester after a number of years spent gaining the necessary work experience and training.

“When I finally became a forester, it felt like a wonderful accomplishment,” said Brittany. “Had I known more about forestry when I was in school, I think I would’ve seriously considered that as my degree. I thoroughly enjoy the work I get to do every day and I am grateful for all the support I have received from my team.”

Currently, Brittany works as a Forestry Project Manager, helping manage small licensees in the district and performing operational and strategic planning as well as other advisory forestry work. Additionally, she also spends some of her time out on the field, performing ecosystem mapping and silviculture work.

“Even though I don’t get to do it that often, reconnecting with the trees and ecosystems is one of the best parts of my job. That is where it all starts for many foresters,” noted Brittany.

Westland Resources Ltd. has been working with FESBC since 2017, collaborating on diverse projects around carbon emission reduction and fibre utilization.

“The first project I helped with was a research-based project on what could be done at the site level to manage carbon. The research work was important to understand how operations and policy that guide operations can change to provide carbon benefits,” said Brittany.

For the past three years, Brittany has been the main administrator of various fibre utilization projects with FESBC, helping put together applications and reporting on behalf of the licensees.

“Fibre utilization has been extremely important for our region in general, as well as for the forest licensees we work with. We have really high percentages of pulp fibre in our stands but it’s hard to find a place where that can easily go,” she noted. “FESBC has been crucial in preventing this fibre from getting wasted and burned, overall making better utilization of our forests which is important for the sustainability of our local logging industry, as well as for the benefits it has for emission reductions.”

Throughout her career, Brittany has appreciated the diversity within her role and encourages young people to take an interest in the forestry industry, as she believes it is a career that can make a real difference in the community and on the landbase.

“Forestry is great because it’s a diverse career path. We need to carefully consider the potential impacts of forestry operations on everything within the landscape, from wildlife to fish to cultural values,” she expressed. “There are numerous job opportunities in B.C., and a career in forestry allows you to make a tangible difference in managing our resources.”

Thank you, Brittany, for your dedication to managing our forests, promoting sustainability and enhancing resource utilization, all contributing to the betterment of our forests and communities.

Faces of Forestry: Dr. Robbie Hember, PhD, P.Ag, Forest Carbon Modeler

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 Dr. Robbie Hember, PhD, P.Ag, Forest Carbon Modeller with the Province of British Columbia.

Robbie was drawn to forests as a carbon modeller because he saw a lot of opportunity to have an impact and work on challenging but rewarding problems at the nexus of climate change and resource management. He is particularly interested in the balance between enhancing our use of wood and bioproducts to displace the use of non-renewable resources, while also reducing the degradation of sensitive ecosystems and conserving forests to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

“Managing for climate change mitigation within the forest sector is a nut we haven’t cracked yet and there is a lot of interesting work and collaboration that needs to be done to achieve these goals,” said Robbie.

Dr. Robbie Hember is a professional forest carbon modeller with the Office of the Chief Forester in the Ministry of Forests. He has been part of the Forest Carbon Initiative team since 2017 and has worked on forest carbon research in British Columbia since 2007. He received training in physical geography and plant biology at Trent University before studying the carbon cycle of forest ecosystems at the University of British Columbia.

“Forest carbon monitoring systems estimate how much carbon is out there on the landscape. We achieve that using computer simulation models that take in all the amazing information that’s collected out in the forest, combine all that data to piece together the flow of carbon through living ecosystems, and spit out a prediction of how management decisions influence the abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” explains Robbie.

As a research associate at the University of British Columbia, Robbie led collaborative efforts by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and the Canadian Forest Service to account for impacts of environmental change on forest productivity in British Columbia.

Robbie’s role at the Office of the Chief Forester builds on this work, to understand the effects of land use, forest management policies, and harvested wood products on the fluctuating amount of carbon in the atmosphere. As Robbie explains, “our work is really about promoting the natural ability of our forests to sequester carbon and making wood products that can help us move away from a fossil fuel-driven society.”

Faces of Forestry: Peter Flett, RPF, Operations Manager with Nk’Mip Forestry and West Boundary Community Forest

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 Peter Flett, Operations Manager with Nk’Mip Forestry and West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF).

Peter’s journey toward forestry had some detours before he found exactly what he was looking for. He started his education by obtaining a Bachelor of Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia (UBC), hoping to have a career as a physiotherapist. However, Peter realized he was meant to work outdoors and be surrounded by nature.

“I have always loved the outdoors and being active, so it is not surprising that I ended up working in the forest industry. I started researching education programs in natural resources and was admitted to the Natural Resource Science program at Thompson Rivers University, where I completed courses in soils, hydrology, dendrology, and forest ecology, among others – all of which I found incredibly engaging and enjoyable led by exceptional professors and instructors,” noted Peter.

He then joined UBC’s Master’s program in Sustainable Forest Management. After graduation, Peter was offered the opportunity to join the team at Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen) in Midway. With Vaagen, Peter was able to dive into a wide array of forestry roles, from project management, planning, operational supervision and silviculture to building relationships and partnerships with the local community.

Today, Peter is Operations Manager for the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) forestry department, Nk’Mip Forestry and West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF). Peter’s involvement goes beyond the typical forestry field and office work. In this role, he works with First Nation Band members and local citizens before and during project planning to incorporate the values of the area and address potential concerns up front.

“What I like the most about being connected to the community is building relationships with our Indigenous partners and groups such as BC Wildfire Service, stewardship and wildlife organizations, recreationists, hunters, ranchers, the general public, government, funding agencies, forestry companies, among others,” said Peter.

As part of the forest management team for the OIB and WBCF, he makes sure forest practices adhere to a foundation of sustainable forest management by balancing ecological, social, cultural and economic values.

“Each day at ’work’ brings new challenges, successes, and frustrations. After a project has wrapped up, I re-visit the site periodically for years, and it brings a sense of accomplishment and an opportunity to learn from what worked or didn’t work in the past,” explained Peter.

After joining the industry, Peter realized that today’s youth need to be informed of the many career opportunities in forestry. Working with OIB and WBCF, Peter shares his forestry knowledge with the local youth through educational tours.

“I think it is important to educate young people about the career opportunities in forestry. Forestry is not solely cutting down trees or using chainsaws, which is what many people see, but there are so many unique opportunities within the industry. There are an amazing variety of roles available today in fields like wildfire, biology, remote sensing, engineering, mapping, community engagement, silviculture, operations, planning, and project administration,” said Peter.

Thank you, Peter, for involving community members to be part of forestry projects, inviting diverse points of view to every decision, and inspiring youth to take an interest in careers in forestry.

Faces of Forestry: Garrett McLaughlin, RPF, MSc, Technical Advisor, Province of B.C.

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 (BC). This month, we feature Garrett McLaughlin, RPF, MSc, Technical Advisor, with the Province of British Columbia.

Garrett started his career in forestry almost 20 years ago when he took a summer job with the United States Forest Service in northern Pennsylvania. By the end of that summer, Garrett had found his path toward a career in forestry that has led him to working as a timber cruiser in California, a carbon offset project developer in the Great Bear Rain Forest, and as a carbon modeler and technical advisor with the province of BC.

“I have always been drawn to outdoor sports and activities, and I wanted a career where I could go outside and run around in the woods,” said Garrett. “Being a forest carbon advisor and modeler has combined my interests in computer science with my passion for forest ecosystems.”

Garrett has worked in connection with FESBC on research related to the costs and climate benefits of utilizing slash piles instead of burning them. Garrett developed a decision support tool to determine the lifecycle carbon impact associated with producing different types of products from residual fiber.

“It is important to try to get an estimate of the carbon impacts of avoided slash pile burning to better understand the potential climate benefits of improved fiber utilization,” said Garrett. “While there is always more to consider, having an idea of how much carbon is being stored or emitted to the atmosphere is an important piece of the puzzle to understanding how forest practices can impact and mitigate climate change.”

In his role as Technical Advisor with the Office of the Chief Forester, Garrett continues to work on research and policy related to promoting further utilization of harvest residuals in the province. He is also working with other forestry professionals and scientists to develop guidance for incorporating carbon mitigation strategies into forest management, as well as policy to set up and enable the development of carbon offset projects across BC.