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.

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.

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.

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.