The Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia (FESBC), recently added to its team a new Operations Manager, Brian Watson, who brings 28 years of forestry experience in Silviculture, Operations, Project Management, and Policy. His main motivation in coming to FESBC has been to combine all of his past experiences with his out-of-the-box thinking and his desire to bring about more connections between foresters and First Nations.
Before coming to FESBC, and early in his career Brian worked for MacMillan Bloedel, then Weyerhaeuser, and was most recently employed with the Office of the Chief Forester, working in the Forest Carbon and Climate Services Branch. Through that work, he was fortunate to collaborate with talented researchers, scientists, administrators, carbon modellers and other foresters, to breathe life into the Forest Carbon Initiative.
But Brian’s love for forestry can be traced all the way back to his childhood.
“When I was young, forestry was always in the news with lots of debates around forestry and logging. My dad actually had aspirations of being a forester when he was young. Although he never did become a forester, I was taken by his desire and became curious about the sector,” added Brian, who grew up in Ladner, B.C., a farming and fishing community.
Brian received his diploma from BCIT in Renewable Resources and a degree from UBC – a Bachelor of Science in Forestry.
“For me Forestry was, and is a great opportunity to work outdoors; it is a super relevant industry to B.C., and what we do really matters,” noted Brian. “It’s dynamic –where we are trying to create an economy for the province, we are trying to manage the forests sustainably with climate change related uncertainty, and we are trying to do this while thinking differently about the social implication of it all. Reconciliation with Indigenous people is bound to land management, and as we start to look at ourselves as caretakers more and more, as we work together as communities, forestry is becoming more and more of a compelling industry to be a part of.”
Brian has also worked with the Ktunaxa Nation, and that experience has provided him with some very important teaching moments he is looking to bring into his work with FESBC.
“I am hoping to apply my learnings from working with the Ktunaxa, to try and open up opportunities to enhance the exposure of other First Nations to forestry,” he noted.
With FESBC, Brian is looking forward to practicing forestry in an operational setting.
“It is an opportunity to be involved in implementing really cool forest management projects. And I’d like people to know that we are here to provide support and to do work that is complementary to what the government is already doing,” he said.
When not at work, Brian, who lives with his family on a farm outside of Cranbrook, ranches. In his free time, he is hoping to spend time lounging along Tribune Bay with family, and escape to Fruita, Colorado to ride PBR (Pumps Bumps Rollers), the famous mountain biking trail, with his buddies.
In addition to his love for forestry and ranching, Brian is passionate about playing hockey, coaching minor sports, mountain biking, sawmilling and walking the countryside with his Aussie Shepherd, Blue.
“With my work at FESBC, I am hoping to get out in the field more often, talk with more people, do good work that is meaningful and close to communities, and make a significant impact!”