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.

Funding Bolsters Chinook Community Forest’s Vital Wildfire Risk Reduction Work

Burns Lake, B.C. – In a continuous effort to mitigate risk to communities and essential infrastructure from the threat of wildfires, the Chinook Community Forest (CCF) has embarked on a vital wildfire risk reduction project with funding from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC). Due to the large amounts of dead trees in the community forest caused by the mountain pine beetle pandemic, the initiative will have a far-reaching and positive impact on communities. These include areas on the south side of Francois Lake, including Eakin Settlement Road, Keefe’s Landing Road, and Tatalrose Road, as well as outlying communities such as Burns Lake, Danskin, Southbank, Tayksie, Southshore of Ootsa Lake, Sheraton, and Rose Lake.

Ken Nielsen, general manager of the CCF, explained that 80 per cent of the Lakes Timber Supply Area (LTSA) has pine-leading stands, which means that 80 per cent of the LTSA forest is comprised mainly of lodgepole pine, with the remaining 20 per cent comprised of spruce, balsam, and a little bit of fir.  This pine-leading stand has been impacted by the mountain pine beetle epidemic, with nearly all the lodgepole pine trees falling over the last two decades which have built up a layer of four to five feet on the forest floor of dead wood—creating a very high risk for extreme fires.

“With all this dead wood on the ground, there is the potential to have a very high degree of fire behaviour, which could transfer to crown fires, where the fire is able to move to the tops of the trees, jumping from one tree to another at a much faster speed, which firefighters from BC Wildfire Services can’t handle. This situation, if pushed by wind, drives fires into communities. There is a need to clean the forest floor of this dead wood, along with pruning and thinning of the forest stand structure, so in the event there is a fire, it remains on the forest floor at a low intensity, and BC Wildfire Services has a better chance to control it,” said Nielsen.

As part of the project, the community forest will be working on three different wildfire risk reduction areas that are prescribed for treatment which will cover roughly 200 hectares next to private property in the community. CCF is also developing prescriptions for Wildfire Risk Reduction treatments on roughly 900 hectares.

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC plays a huge role as the third-party administrator of funds to help carry out critical wildfire risk reduction work that needs to be done in and around communities. A lot of the work that needs to be done is either hand pruning or thinning, selective logging, and the raking of fine fuels. Because this type of work does not create a source of income to pay for these treatment areas, it is very costly and would not have been possible without FESBC’s support,” said Nielsen.

This project is unique in that the proposed area was identified in the Crown Land Wildfire Risk Reduction Tactical Plan for Burns Lake, Rose Lake, Sheraton, and Highway 16 and developed by the Nadina Natural Resource District. The area gained prominence following the 2018 wildfires, prompting the local Ministry staff to pioneer one of the first landscape tactical plan in British Columbia. A landscape tactical plan is a strategic document that assesses and addresses specific hazards and risks within a defined geographic area, such as wildfire threats, insect infestations, or flooding and outlines subsequent actions to manage and mitigate risks.

“Sustainable community forest management is critical to reducing wildfire risk in our province,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “The collaborative efforts of Chinook Community Forest and FESBC will not only help build forest health and resiliency but also better protect people in surrounding communities from wildfire risks.”

This past summer, during a period of active wildfires throughout the province of British Columbia, the importance of the Ministry of Forests’ landscape tactical plan became clear when a lightning strike occurred close to the project area. This incident highlighted the unpredictability of lightning strikes, and wildfires emphasizing that they can occur anywhere and at any time.

“This demonstrated that lightning is not biased to where and when it will strike,” said Nielsen. “It further demonstrated the need for more wildfire risk reduction work around communities and backed up the tactical plan developed by the Province in identifying areas of highest threat. While the tactical plan cannot prevent wildfires, it can significantly enhance the preparedness and response capabilities of Chinook First Responders Society, working in tandem with BC Wildfire Service, to effectively combat wildfires.”

Work on the FESBC-funded project, which started back in the spring of 2023 in Southbank around the Indian Bay area, has been progressing well despite occasional interruptions by Mother Nature, according to Nielsen. Through this project, important resources within the community, including the community of Danskin, a local pharmacy, several residences and businesses, the Cheslatta Carrier Nation’s new office, and a Mennonite church, will all benefit from the wildfire risk reduction work.

Gord Pratt, FESBC’s senior manager said, “FESBC is proud and feels lucky to support such a proactive initiative by the Chinook Community Forest to reduce the wildfire risk to many of the communities at a high risk of being impacted by future wildfires on the south side of Francois Lake and the Burns Lake area.”

Moreover, the treatment units not only address high-risk areas but also provide job opportunities for local contractors and First Nations. It also supports maintaining trail systems in and around the area so people can better access areas to recreate and connect with the land. The work will also help with cattle grazing where these areas overlap by providing better access for the cattle and promoting the growth of grass.

Village of Burns Lake Mayor Henry Wiebe appreciated the work being done by CCF and highlighted its significance. “The wildfire risk reduction treatments being carried out by Chinook Community Forest are an important part of forest management. The treated areas increase security against wildfires, create wildlife corridors, and enhance wildlife habitat,” he said.

As a community forest, CCF is diligently balancing various objectives, including addressing local needs, providing compensation, generating employment, enhancing the forest’s natural beauty, and mitigating the ever-present wildfire risk.

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

Reducing Wildfire Risk to Communities in Northwestern B.C.

Smithers, B.C. – Situated in the heart of the Bulkley Valley and surrounded by the Town of Smithers, the Village of Telkwa, and the Village of Witset, the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation (WCFC) has taken on two key roles: as a steward of the land and as a provider of outdoor recreational opportunities for surrounding communities. This significance is underscored by the recent allocation of funds from the Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC) toward a wildfire risk reduction project. With the funding, the WCFC aims to expand a crucial shaded fuel break (where some trees are removed to reduce fuel and some are left standing to create shade) along the Hudson Bay Mountain Road (which is used to access recreational areas). This treatment is a proactive measure against the ever-present risk of wildfire. The project also showcases the community forest’s commitment to integrating the management of natural spaces with the safety and enjoyment of the local residents in mind.

“B.C. has experienced a devastating wildfire season, and given the effects of climate change, mitigating wildfire risk is vital for keeping people, communities and First Nations in B.C. safe – now more than ever,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “FESBC has undertaken many wildfire risk reduction projects, bringing concrete benefits in areas throughout the province. It is encouraging to see this effort continue in the Bulkley Valley in partnership with the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation.”

For the past several years, WCFC has diligently focused on reducing the wildfire risk within the community forest, and a shaded fuel break supports this goal. Although there are unknowns when it comes to fire behaviour and severity (drought, temperature, wind, etc.), a shaded fuel break is expected to balance forestry and social values by reducing wildfire risk to the community and creating a defensible location for wildfire crews in the event of a major wildfire.

Hudson Bay Mountain Road is an essential transportation corridor for Bulkley Valley residents, connecting them to recreational skiing, snowboarding, hunting, and fishing spots. The road is also a gateway to Hudson Bay Mountain Resort and Bulkley Valley Nordic Centre. The area’s significance extends beyond its role in recreation as this area also supports diverse ecosystems, including grizzly bears and rare whitebark pine, and is an iconic location in the Bulkley Valley and Wetzin’kwa Community Forest. The shaded fuel break is expected to help mitigate risk to these key community resources as well as provide access for fire crews and safe egress (escape) routes for the public.  

Hudson Bay Mountain an iconic feature in the Bulkley Valley and the heart of the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest; Photo credit: Silvicon Services Inc.

Aurora Lavender, general manager of WCFC said, “We are very grateful to FESBC for providing funding for the creation of our 2018 Strategic Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Plan (SWHMP) and this new funding for the implementation of work we are doing to create the shaded fuel break on Hudson Bay Mountain Road.”

The work on the treatment areas is underway and will continue for the next several years. These areas planned for treatments with support from FESBC funding were identified as high-priority regions under the 2018 Strategic Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Plan (SWHMP), to conduct wildfire risk reduction work. These areas were targeted due to the hazardous stand types such as diseased and dead trees, and overcrowded trees in the area, the proximity to the Town of Smithers, and the protection of local assets and recreational spaces and business resources for the communities of Smithers, Telkwa, and Witset.

Village of Telkwa Mayor Leroy Dykens also expressed gratitude and said, “We are extremely grateful to the Forest Enhancement Society of BC for providing funding toward wildfire risk reduction planning and project implementation for the Hudson Bay Mountain Road project. This work is vital in helping better protect the forests, recreational areas, infrastructure, and the public. Given the tremendous increase in wildfires in the Northwest region, it is evident that we need to do whatever we can to help mitigate forest fire concerns.”

Execution of this project involves a combination of manual and mechanical treatments administered by local contractors, including a Wet’suwet’en contractor. The work includes the removal of dead trees and reducing the number of trees through a commercial thinning phase, followed by decreasing the ladder fuels (live and dead vegetation which would otherwise allow a fire to go from the ground to the tops of trees) to more manageable levels per the treatment plans. This isn’t a one-off wildfire risk reduction measure and the WCFC will be continuing to collaborate with the BC Wildfire Service for subsequent maintenance treatments to ensure sustained efficacy.

FESBC Senior Manager, Gord Pratt said, “FESBC is very excited to be able to provide the funding to assist the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation to reduce the wildfire risk to this very important area to the residents of the Bulkley Valley. Previously, as a longtime resident of Smithers and Telkwa, I am pleased that our organization is able to support this project to reduce the wildfire risk to the many forest and recreation values I personally know are so important to everyone who resides and plays here.”

Over the years, WCFC has actively championed social initiatives advocating for the adoption of wildfire risk reduction strategies and has worked closely with the Skeena-Stikine Natural Resource District and the local BC Wildfire Service staff to do so. WCFC’s development of the SWHMP was timely and crucial toward creating strategies for reducing wildfire risk to the surrounding communities.

As recommended in the SWHMP, WCFC purchased the Wetzin’kwa Fire Trailer in 2019. This year, a small fire broke out within the community forest boundary. The Power’s Creek Fire was 34 hectares in size, and several residential evacuations resulted due to the fire’s proximity to private properties. The Wetzin’kwa Fire Trailer was deployed to the fire and assisted the Smithers Volunteer Firefighters in defending private properties and infrastructure.

FESBC’s executive director, Steve Kozuki said, “Community forests in British Columbia are owned by the communities themselves. As such, they manage their forests with the best interests of people in mind. Local forests managed by local people result in prioritization of what’s important to them—wildfire risk reduction, wildlife habitat, green energy from forest biomass, jobs for workers, and so on. When they do make a profit, that money goes back into the community for the benefit of their citizens”.

WCFC’s commitment to reducing wildfire risk extends beyond the immediate project. The community forest will continue exploring avenues to curtail wildfire risk in other sections, particularly within the Wildland-Urban Interface, and is dedicated to supporting community resiliency and fostering public education specific to wildfires.

“WCFC continues to invest in community safety and hopes to foster public education by creating linkages between wildfire risk reduction and FireSmart practices,” said Lavender.

Additional Quotes:


“The Hudson Bay Mountain Road Fuel Break was identified as an area in our planning requiring treatments outside the scope of our regular operations. 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.”

“The Wetzin’kwa Community Forest is a well-loved and heavily-used area of the Bulkley Valley. Many different user groups take advantage of its cultural, ecological, recreational, community, and economic values. Everyone benefits from the Community Forest, so protecting these values is something the Village of Telkwa is proud to support.”


“The 2023 wildfire between Telkwa and Smithers, in the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest, demonstrated that fire poses a significant risk to our communities. Mitigating that risk with projects such as the fuel break work on Hudson Bay Mountain Road, will definitely help to better protect our forests and communities from wildfire.”

DAVID DE WIT (Office of Wet’suwet’en representative on the WCFC Board):

“We are proud of the Wetzin’kwa Community Forest general management team at Silvicon, and their collaboration with the Forest Enhancement Society to mitigate wildfire risk for communities. Understanding community values is a part of Yintah (land) stewardship; however, when projects are actioned that protect and promote the eco-cultural, recreation and economic values, meaningful Yintah management is achieved.”

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

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.

Faces of Forestry: Percy Guichon

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 Percy Guichon, Executive Director of Central Chilcotin Rehabilitation Ltd. (CCR) and elected Councillor of Tŝideldel First Nation.

From a young age, Percy enjoyed being an active member of his community and learning about forestry. After raising a family, Percy attended the College of New Caledonia in Prince George and received a Forest Technician Diploma. He was able to merge both of his passions to build a meaningful career that has brought new opportunities to his community.

“I first became interested in forestry when I participated in a work experience program in grade 12th. Also, I was involved in the creation and operations of Tsideldel Enterprises Ltd. These experiences motivated me to learn more about forestry academically. My education was sponsored by Tsideldel Education Trust Fund, an initiative developed by Tsideldel Enterprises Ltd,” said Percy.

Today, Percy is active on numerous boards, including the Eniyud Community Forests, Tsi Del Del Enterprises Ltd., Dandzen Development Corporation and Tl’etinqox Economic Development Corporation.

As the Executive Director of CCR and a Councillor of Tŝideldel First Nation, Percy has played a pivotal role in the company’s growth and success. Reflecting on the journey, Percy acknowledges the challenges faced and attributes the company’s achievements to perseverance, hard work, and the unwavering support of the community. His commitment to making a positive impact on the land and people is evident in CCR’s recognized leadership in the forestry industry.

CCR is a First Nation-owned company located in Williams Lake, B.C. The company is a joint venture between Tsideldel First Nation and Tl’etinqox Government, both Tsilhqotin Nation communities. CCR is set on coordinating and implementing large-scale forestry programs and forest rehabilitation activities within the traditional territories, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the land through traditional Indigenous practices.

“As an Indigenous business partnership, we are proud to represent the successes of Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs,” noted Percy. “Our success demonstrates that First Nations can take the lead in forest management and make significant contributions to the economy, while also being thoughtful stewards of the land.”

Through the continuation of CCR, over time, the local communities can boost economic growth and sustainability by investing in and training a skilled workforce, which results in the creation of new jobs.

“I’m proud to represent my community,” Percy said, adding, “It’s rewarding to collaborate with my community, other First Nation bands, industry leaders, and government; to create meaningful employment and build capacity in the forestry sector. Together, we can build stronger, healthier, and safer First Nation communities.”

Thank you, Percy, for paving the way and inspiring present and future generations to get involved in forestry.  

Faces of Forestry: Kelsey Winter

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 Kelsey Winter, Wildfire Operations Manager with FPInnovations and former FireSmart Program Lead for the BC Wildfire Service and the former Chair of the BC FireSmart Committee (BCFSC).

After working as a Sales Account Manager for an international shipping company in Belgium, Kelsey returned to Canada to make it her forever home. Later, she found the inspiration to join the forestry sector; after spending her summers working with the Kamloops Fire Centre.

“I loved being an initial attack crew member and then leader, and rapidly fell in love with the science behind wildfire, everything from grass curing to Kestrel tuning,” said Kelsey.

Kelsey has a Master’s in Fire Ecology, and a Master’s in Natural Resources, and she is currently pursuing her PhD in Public Administration, focusing on wildfire resiliency for Indigenous communities.

“I stayed in the field long enough to start my first Master’s degree and then moved into a strategic communications role in the office while I finished my second degree. I’ve been with wildfire ever since.”

Recently, Kelsey moved to her new role as the Wildfire Operations Manager with FPInnovations.

“It has been a big change, but one that I’m incredibly excited about. FPInnovations is an R&D organization that specializes in the creation of solutions that accelerate the growth of the Canadian forest sector and its affiliated industries to enhance their global competitiveness. I’m about to get even more forest-y!” said Kelsey.

Before moving to this role, Kelsey was the FireSmart Program Lead for the BC Wildfire Service and the Chair of the BCFSC for seven years. In her role, Kelsey led the development and implementation of the FireSmart strategic goals across the Province.

FireSmart BC is the first point of contact for residents and stakeholders in all things wildfire, from risk mitigation to resident education, to working in collaboration with industry leaders and communities to building community wildfire resiliency.

Kelsey and her team collaborated with BCFSC members, and together they ensured the adequate delivery of FireSmart programs; aimed at enhancing wildfire preparedness, prevention, and mitigation in communities.

“Leading the incredibly talented and dedicated group that makes up the FireSmart BC team was one of the most rewarding parts of my career. They are caring and passionate about their jobs, and they believe in the difference that they’re making,” noted Kelsey.

As the Chair of the BCFSC, Kelsey collaborated with other BCFSC members to ensure that the committee worked in alignment as one governing organization, coordinating resources for the betterment of British Columbians.

Throughout her career in forestry, Kelsey is most proud to work alongside dedicated foresters who share similar values. She encourages young people to take an interest in the forestry industry, as she believes it is essential to B.C.

“I’d encourage all the women out there, that maybe feel like forestry is a male-dominated industry, to push that aside and pursue a career here if that is where their heart is at. In the 15 years that I’ve been in the forest industry, I have had the immense honour of working with some of the most talented and bright women around,” remarked Kelsey.

Thank you, Kelsey, for contributing to the forestry sector and helping communities across B.C. build wildfire resiliency, one step at a time.

A Community Effort to Reduce Wildfire Risk

Whistler, B.C. – The forests surrounding Whistler, B.C. offer a picturesque backdrop for the town’s world-class recreational opportunities. However, the managers of these forests face the dual challenge of preserving their natural beauty while also addressing the risk of wildfires that these forests present.

The Cheakamus Community Forest (CCF), governed by a non-profit society of representatives from the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and the Líl̓wat and Squamish First Nations, realized the potential impact of a wildfire to the tourists and the critical importance of wildfire risk mitigation. One spark from an ignition source had the potential to start a fire that could spread and put the ski hill recreation area, walking and biking trails, and other important infrastructure like homes and transportation corridors at risk.

Winter operations undertaken by the crew. Credit: David Conly.

To mitigate this risk and to do so in a sustainable way, foresters from the Líl̓wat Forestry Ventures LP, an arm of the Líl̓wat First Nation, with funding from FESBC, set out to create a wildfire risk reduction plan which included consultation with the community and other stakeholders. One of the concerns identified by the community was around smoke from the burning of the debris from the treatments. The wildfire risk reduction treatments were completed by the Lil’wat Nation forestry crews resulting in a reduction of the forest fuels, minimizing smoke emissions and maintaining the forest recreation values. Moreover, the treated stands now have lower levels of fuel. Today, the successes of their efforts serve as a demonstration of the benefits that a tourist town can reap from implementing wildfire risk reduction measures.

“The Forest Enhancement Society of BC is a proven partner in delivering projects on the ground that benefit communities, workers, and the health of our forests,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests. “We are building on this foundation with an additional investment of $50 million for the Society to expand funding for projects that increase access to fibre, reduce emissions from slash pile burning and reduce the risk to people from wildfire.”

Dean Nelson, the Chief of the Líl̓wat First Nation, spoke about the forests where the work was conducted. He explained that the initiative was in response to the province-wide call for municipal preparedness and was prompted by the threat of wildfires and the impacts of climate change on communities and forests throughout B.C.

“For the residents of Whistler, this work was crucial to help prevent and raise awareness of the potential dangers of forest fires,” Nelson said. “For the people living in Whistler, this work is very important for the prevention and cautionary awareness of potential forest fire danger. The number of trees remaining after the treatment varied from site to site, from a density of 250 stems per hectare, up to 400 stems per hectare. Fibre utilization from the treatments was undertaken, sawlogs were marketed for timber, the lower-valued residue was used for firewood and compost, and burning was minimized.”

The wildfire risk reduction work carried out by Líl̓wat Forestry Ventures LP was focused on larger landscape-level fuel breaks that aimed to prevent fires from spreading from the south of Whistler, according to Klay Tindall, the General Manager of Forest Operations for the Líl̓wat Forestry Ventures LP.

“The plan was to remove approximately 45 per cent of the original stand of second-growth Douglas fir, totalling around 18,000 cubic metres. Where possible the residual fibre was utilized with lowered carbon emissions in mind. For instance, some fibre was chipped and mixed off-site with solid human waste to produce compost material. By avoiding burning the residual material, a reduction in the release of PM2.5 smoke particulate was achieved. ” said Tindall. “This would not have been possible without the funding and support from FESBC as these are rather smaller areas, and the cost of working on these is rather high. The treated area is now being used for new mountain bike trails by the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association and is giving them a great spot to build some more beginner and intermediate trails.

The project also had a significant impact on the Lilwat community members employed by Líl̓wat Forestry Ventures LP, according to Reno Joe, the contract manager. The work provided a unique opportunity for the Nation to empower its youth and enhance their training. Reno stated, “Everything was locally sourced, and we aimed to bring in experienced professionals from neighbouring Nations. The project helped us build our First Nations’ capacity and gain valuable work experience. We are proud to say that we have engaged more young people in the community, and had six Lil’wat and four additional youths who participated in the project. Of these, one Lil’wat youth is already studying Fire Management at the Vancouver Island University, and one other Lil’wat youth is getting his bachelor’s degree in Forest Ecology and Management from UNBC.”

The project also faced several challenges. Chief Nelson acknowledged that the first obstacle was gaining recognition as competent forestry professionals. Despite this difficulty, the First Nations company was able to demonstrate its expertise and completed the project.

Jordon Gabriel, the Cultural and Community Forestry Manager, who works for Lil’wat Forestry Ventures, spoke about additional challenges such as residents’ concerns about declining property values, complaints about smoke from prescribed burns, and difficulties with the public entering active work sites. “Managing public access during the work and gaining support from local residents were challenges at the time, but now, even they can see the positive outcomes of this work,” Gabriel said.

Heather Beresford, CCF’s Executive Director noted that one of the project’s main challenges was helping local residents understand the importance of this forest thinning work in the long term.

“Some Whistler residents think that the thinning work makes the forests look ‘ugly’ and may even increase the risk of wildfire since they believe the forests dry out earlier in the spring. In response, the RMOW and CCF are implementing a monitoring program to measure certain characteristics pre- and post-treatment to see what is actually happening in the forests. This will give us valuable insight and ensure that our actions are having a positive impact,” said Beresford.

Brian Watson, RPF, Operations Manager with FESBC said, “The work that Lil’wat Forestry Ventures LP completed on behalf of the Cheakamus Community Forest is important in that it occurred in a part of the province that has a high profile and where wildfire risk reduction work is just starting to be implemented. It’s important that people see this work so that they can be part of the conversation around wildfires and the risks they pose to our communities. What people will not see is that the project phased out most of the burning of low-value fibre that is usually associated with this work. When you consider the proximity of this work to homes and businesses, the benefits to human health are meaningful, not to mention the positive impact on the atmosphere.”

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

Faces of Forestry: Dr. Caren Dymond, PhD, P.Ag, Forest Carbon and Climate Change Researcher, Province of British Columbia

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. Caren Dymond, PhD, P.Ag, Forest Carbon and Climate Change Researcher with the Province of British Columbia.

Caren grew up in the Canadian Rockies hiking and cross-country skiing which led to a love of nature and the outdoors. Besides her passion for “green and growing things” that she attributes to her mother, Caren had two mentors in university who worked on forests and forest management which led her to pursue a career in forestry.

Currently, Caren is a Forest Carbon and Climate Change Researcher with the Ministry of Forests in BC and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary and the University of Northern BC. In her role, Caren conducts field research, modelling, and collaborates with economists, silviculture specialists, and other forestry professionals to assess forestry management practices for climate action – this includes studying everything from how forests are growing and what their natural disturbances are, to reducing harvest residues.

“When forests are green and growing, they can play a vital role in mitigation and adaptation to climate change,” said Caren. “We have found that the diversification of species provides the best outcomes for tree productivity and for capturing carbon – essentially we are hedging our bets,” explains Caren.

Caren was one of the first to study integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation actions into the management of our forests.  Her research program has led to several papers assessing planting seedlings to enhance diversity and aiding assisted migration projects. She also co-leads projects related to assessing partial harvesting and the conservation of old-growth forests.

“Partial harvesting is key to reducing harvest residues and to ensuring that healthy trees remain carbon sinks in the right ecosystems. Also, changing our planting to reduce risks and take advantage of different growing conditions can also help to make our forests more resilient for future climate conditions,” said Caren.

Through sustainable forest management practices, forests can be an integral part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and Caren is proud to collaborate with researchers and forestry professionals to enhance the resilience of BC’s forests.

Faces of Forestry: Stephan Martineau

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 Stephan Martineau, the Founding Director and Manager of Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative (SIFCo).

Stephan’s passion for ecosystems and community development inspired him to pursue a career in forestry, dedicating his life to creating systems that bring communities and forests together through education and collaboration.

“In B.C., forest ecosystems represent most of the land base we interact with as humans. Finding and implementing a more balanced relationship between humans and ecosystems is a lifelong passion of mine, and forestry is the field that gets me closest to working on that,” noted Stephan.

For Stephan, the future brings rapid changes in the landscape; where developing balanced systems centred on climate change adaptation and community resiliency is critical to ensuring long-term economic, social, and environmental stability.

He believes community forests are a great platform to promote community integrity, where residents share knowledge and values that are part of the decisions made to manage local resources.

In 2003, Stephan and various sectors of the Slocan Valley community came together to bring to life their vision to develop a community forest plan to care for and protect the land and resources. The collective then became Slocan Integral Forestry Cooperative (SIFCo) and met with local woodlot owners, First Nations, and other interested parties to gather community input and support letters.

In 2007, SIFCo’s application was approved, and a 25-year Community Forest Agreement (CFA) was signed with the Province of British Columbia.

“A lot of people truly care in the field, and a lot of changes are happening,” said Stephan, adding, “What I enjoy most in my career is the process of going from concept to implementation, in other words, the experience of looking back after something is completed and going, ‘Wow, this was just a thought a few years back!’”

SIFCo is located at the heart of the Slocan Valley, consisting of approximately 840,000 acres of land and water. As a non-profit, SIFCo aims to be a leader in climate change adaptation, community resiliency, ecosystem-based management, and economic diversification by providing the opportunity for the community to manage, sustain, and enjoy the benefits of the local forest.

“At SIFCo, we have been proactive in approaching a holistic response to rapidly changing climate conditions in our bioregion. I try to foresee where we will need to be 10-20 years from now — both as an organization and in our relationship with the land base we steward — and implement actions now that will prepare the ground for a resilient future,” explained Stephan.

Thank you, Stephan, and the team at SIFCo, for your commendable efforts toward community resiliency and climate change action, both integral components to ensuring future healthy forests.

Faces of Forestry: Norah White

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 Norah White, RPF, MBA, Director of the Forest Carbon, and Climate Services Branch, Province of British Columbia.

Norah has always been drawn to the diversity of BC’s ecosystems and it was her love of nature that pulled her into working with natural resources. She has spent nearly 20 years in the forestry sector working on traditional forestry topics such as monitoring, planning, and stewardship and what she considers the “new frontier” of forestry, which is the role of forestry practices in mitigating and adapting to climate change risks.

Norah is a Registered Professional Forester and the Director of the Forest Carbon and Climate Services Branch (FCCSB) in the Office of the Chief Forester with the Ministry of Forests. “We are the climate change engine of our Ministry, and it is exciting to be a part of a team of innovative thought leaders who are contributing to work that has a global impact,” said Norah.

In the FCCSB, Norah’s team researches the vital role that forests play in absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere and how sustainable forestry practices can ensure our forests are climate resilient. From modifying planting and harvesting practices, to tracking carbon through wood products, rethinking the utilization of slash piles, implementing carbon off-set projects, and more, Norah’s branch is responding to the urgent priority that climate change poses to our natural resource sector and how forests and foresters can be part of the solution. 

“In a landscape as dynamic and diverse as BC, active management gives us the best chance of keeping our forests healthy and doing our part in a changing climate to reduce atmospheric carbon,” said Norah. “Climate change can be daunting to learn about, but as a forester, I believe there is a unique duty to face this learning challenge. If I could share one realization, it is that forest management is climate action.”

Norah’s team collaborates with forestry professionals, Indigenous nations, scientists, and climatologists to facilitate and support the extension of knowledge. “Our research is pushing the bounds of lifecycle analysis to help us see what the optimal carbon and economic management options are,” said Norah. “We are learning more every day about what ecosystems are capable of and how forestry practices can be synonymous with reconciliation.”

Faces of Forestry: Kim Haworth, 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 Kim Haworth, a Registered Professional Forester and General Manager of Terrace Community Forest (TCF), which operates in the areas of Shames/Amesbury, Deep Creek, and Kitimat.

For Kim, forestry runs in the family, and at an early age, he became interested in different tree species. He decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science, majoring in forestry, at the University of Alberta.

“I had American relatives who worked in the forest industry, so I thought that would be a good option. My uncle had a woodlot which contained black walnut tree species which I found of interest because of its value. After I became the Silviculturist in Terrace, I established an outplant trial which included black walnut trees,” explained Kim.  

As a Silviculturist and the General Manager of the TCF, Kim provides high-level direction to the governance and management of the community forest, with the overall goals of securing long-term jobs while improving timber, wildlife, and biodiversity values. 

“I specialized in silviculture, which has been very rewarding. Since the beginning of my career, I have been involved in tree incremental programs for the industry, government, and now TCF,” said Kim. 

Kim and his team at TCF strive to involve the public in every decision of the community forest. A key aspect of this is ensuring relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members remain strong and serve as a way to advocate for forest innovation and community development.

The TCF strives for multiple outcomes that provide social and economic benefits to the City of Terrace while advocating for forest innovation and environmental stewardship. In 2021, the TCF presented a $1 million cheque to the City of Terrace after a significant upswing in profits through its sale of logs. 

Kim is passionate about forestry and plans to continue highlighting the many benefits it brings. “Forestry has provided many things for communities besides employment and revenue for the Crown. It has also provided road infrastructure which allows access to remote areas for excellent recreational opportunities.”

Thank you, Kim, for your education work with local community members to create understanding while also encouraging the community’s participation in the forestry sector in providing input and helping to make decisions that benefit communities, forests, and society as a whole.

Faces of Forestry: Rebecca Werner, RFT

Rebecca Werner; FESBC's Faces of Forestry Feature

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 Rebecca Werner, RFT, Project Manager with Pro-Tech Forest Resources Ltd. (Pro-Tech).

Rebecca’s passion for the outdoors and nature motivated her to start a career in forestry. As a Registered Forest Technologist (RFT), Rebecca has a strong background in layout, planning, silviculture, cutting permit acquisition, harvesting, and fuel mitigation.

“Forestry offers an opportunity for me to work outdoors and explore new territories. I have always liked trees and nature, so it seemed like a ‘natural’ fit,” explained Rebecca.

Rebecca’s forestry career has included many management roles with the Government, Canadian Forest Products, and currently as a Project Manager for Pro-Tech where, she oversees a wide range of forest management projects throughout northern B.C.  For 30 years, Pro-Tech has been delivering high-value consulting services to a diverse spectrum of clients. Rebecca and the Pro-Tech team specialize in resource management planning, operational development, forest health, silviculture, GIS services, and wildfire risk reduction planning.

Just recently, Rebecca managed a wildfire fuel mitigation project funded by FESBC on behalf of the District of Houston, B.C. The project involved the cooperation of multiple parties with the overall goal of getting value for what was logged and reducing forest fuels that posed a hazard to the District of Houston.

“Without my co-workers, this project would not have been successful as it was. Without everyone believing in the project and assisting us in various ways, we would never have been able to complete the program. Fuel reduction is a team effort!” added Rebecca.

Whether she is assisting clients with their project needs, collaborating with industry colleagues on strategic planning, or out in the field conducting research, Rebecca’s passion for the outdoors and nature keeps her looking out for opportunities to enhance our forests and support our communities.

“Forestry is not an exact science, and there are many things that people have no control over in forestry as nature plays a major role. You will be far more successful and less frustrated if you accept that you can’t control everything and instead work with nature rather than trying to control it,” noted Rebecca.

Faces of Forestry: Dan Macmaster

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 Dan Macmaster, RPF, Fibre Manager of Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen).

Since the beginning of his career, Dan has been passionate about the natural environment. As a former high-school teacher, he taught students about outdoor education subjects like biology and ecology.

Dan has a Master’s degree in Sustainable Forest Management from the University of British Columbia. He is active on numerous boards, including the BC First Nations Forestry Council, BC Community Forest Association, Interior Lumber Manufacturing Association, and the Okanagan Nation Alliance’s forestry working group. Just recently, Dan was appointed to the Province of B.C.’s Forestry Worker Supports and Community Resiliency Council, chaired by Doug Routley, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests.

“Working in forestry, I have the opportunity to engage with people, share ideas, learn about community values, and make key decisions that so many people depend on,” noted Dan.

In 2013, he joined Vaagen, a small, family-run mill, located in the rural community of Midway, in the Boundary region of B.C. As the Fibre Manager for Vaagen, Dan and his team process small-diameter logs into high-quality dimensional lumber. Using innovation, technology, and collaboration, the team focuses on safety, utilization, and building strong partnerships with other licenses.

Currently, Vaagen holds a management agreement with the West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF) and the Osoyoos Indian Band’s (OIB) forestry licences. As the Forest Manager for the WBCF, Dan, along with his team carries out all forest management projects in collaboration with OIB.

“As a forestry company, it is important for us to understand the values and traditions of the land. The expertise the surrounding communities bring to the table is critical to our work,” Dan added.

Dan’s involvement in the community is an essential part of Vaagen’s commitment to sustainable forestry, developing new and strong relationships with First Nations, and stabilizing local rural communities with employment and sustainable economic opportunities. Not only does Dan believe in the power of community and educating people in all things forestry, but he believes in inspiring other foresters to take similar actions.

“I like the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a visit to the forest is worth a thousand pictures. I encourage my fellow foresters to reach out to their community members to help build awareness for all that happens within our forests,” said Dan.

In his role, Dan manages multiple objectives within the forest, including recreation, wildlife and timber values. Dan is also passionate about providing educational outreach opportunities to young students. He is rooted in the belief that these learning opportunities are critical to the future well-being of community forests and the forest industry.

“As forest professionals, we often manage many different responsibilities and competing demands that leave little room for educational outreach,” noted Dan. I believe if we can reorganize some of our priorities and enlist the help of other forest professionals and educators, then communication and collaboration specific to forestry education will better inform our communities and our next generation.”

Faces of Forestry: Ken Nielsen

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 Ken Nielsen, General Manager of the Chinook Community Forest (CCF), the 90,670 hectares of community forest located near the Village of Burns Lake.

Ken started his career in forestry in the early 80s when the forest industry in British Columbia continued to experience noticeable changes. At the time, several mills began to automate many of their intensive labour activities, and many rural communities depended greatly on forestry as their primary source of employment.

“When I entered the forest sector, it was mostly about prioritizing financial objectives. Now, we focus on properly managing our land for future generations, promoting community unity, and increasing wildfire awareness,” Ken noted.

As the General Manager of CCF, Ken oversees forestry and logging operations, wildfire salvage projects, and wildfire mitigation efforts. The work Ken and his team carries out in the community forest ensures environmental sustainability and employment opportunities for economic and social growth.

The community forest agreement includes eight partnerships consisting of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Village of Burns Lake, Lake Babine Nation, Skin Tyee First Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn Indian Band, Burns Lake Indian Band (Ts’il Kaz Koh), Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Wet’suwet’en First Nation. The collaboration between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities ensures an equal voice and equity in all forest stewardship operations.

Nielsen believes that managing the forest requires a particular set of qualities. “I am an example that to take good care of a community forest, you need an awareness of the best land management practices, a hands-on approach, a strong work ethic, and a big heart.”

Faces of Forestry: Kirsteen Laing

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 Kirsteen Laing, RPF (Registered Professional Forester), Administrator at Seaton Forest Products Ltd.

Born in England, Kirsteen originally moved to Vancouver with her family at the age of 10. Where she later decided to pursue higher education at the University of British Columbia, and after two years of pre-med school, she discovered that her true passion was in the outdoors.

“I decided medicine wasn’t for me, so I went to talk to one of the forestry professors. He was enthusiastic and told me of all the possibilities found in forestry. I entered the program thinking I would do Forest Recreation, but I ended up in Forest Silviculture,” remarked Kirsteen.

In the early stages of her career, Kirsteen joined CUSO International and worked as a forester in Mozambique. During her stay, she first worked for a national logging company and then for a plantation, where she gained experience revitalizing a nursery.

“It was a forester’s dream to have our own little forest to work with. The project was fascinating because it covered beekeeping, fishkeeping, planting orchards, and vegetable gardening,” said Kirsteen.

In 1986, Kirsteen decided to relocate to Smithers, British Columbia, where she started a forestry consulting firm. After many career changes, in 2015, Kirsteen met her partner Andy Thompson and joined Seaton Forest Products Ltd.; as an Administrator in charge of payroll, payables and receivables, log deliveries, product shipping, reporting and various hands-on tasks.

Seaton Forest Products Ltd. is nestled among coastal mountains in the beautiful Bulkley Valley, where the mill sits at the foot of Seaton Mountain. The company has been in business since 2016, employing approximately 25 people, the majority being from local Indigenous communities. The primary business is processing dry balsam, pine, and spruce that cannot be used by traditional mills and historically has been left in the bush or burned, ensuring the 100% utilization of fibre.

During her career, Kirsteen has done it all. From working for industry, volunteering overseas, consulting, working for not-for-profits, and now working at a sawmill. She describes her career as a rewarding journey. In every role Kirsteen excels at, she puts other people and the environment first.

“Forestry is a very diverse field with many different career paths to choose from after graduation,” remarked Kirsteen.

Faces of Forestry: Frances Swan

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 Frances Swan, RPF, Operations Forester for Nakusp and Area Community Forest.

Frances has deep roots in the Kootenay region and has called Nakusp her home since 1997. Her appreciation for forestry and love for the community have always been fundamental parts of her life.

“Looking back, I can appreciate that my dad was a forester and inherently understood the concept of sustainable management long before it became practice, so it was easy to follow in his footsteps,” said Frances.

Frances then completed a Diploma of Forest Technology from Selkirk College, a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from the University of Northern British Columbia and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management from Royal Roads University.

Frances is the Operations Manager of Nakusp and Area Community Forest (NACFOR). In her role, she manages a broad range of strategic and operational projects and supports PR and communications strategies.

Since 2008, NACFOR has operated successfully as a BC corporation owned by the Village of Nakusp and is part of the BC Community Forest Association (BCCFA). Its operations are contracted, primarily with local contractors, and have delivered numerous benefits to the local community.

As an RFP with more than 20 years of project management experience in the natural resource sector, Frances has worked with FESBC as the recipient lead on several projects in Nakusp. Frances and the team at NACFOR have been able to deliver projects focused on wildfire risk reduction treatments and fibre utilization.

“Working with FESBC has been a very positive experience. Through direct and leveraged funding, FESBC has supported NACFOR to take a collaborative approach to reduce the threat of wildfires, while building local capacity to carry out fuel treatments,” said Frances.

During her career in forestry, Frances has volunteered with many local and regional organizations, from ski coaching to economic development. As the community forest manager, she combines resource stewardship with local land-use decision-making that reflects community priorities and values. Frances currently sits on the BCCFA Board of Directors.

“Forest management is a complex process, with many moving parts. It requires a thoughtful, balanced approach to land and resource use, as decisions made today will have enduring outcomes,” said Frances.