The Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF) presents national awards to individuals and groups on an annual basis. On Monday, August 20th, 2007, the CIF held its Annual Awards Banquet in Toronto, Ontario in conjunction with the Forest in Settled Landscapes Conference. As co-hosts of the conference with the University of Toronto, we took the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our members during a gala awards ceremony and luncheon at the University’s historic Hart House in the magnificent Great Hall. The awards presented to individuals and organizations are intended to recognize their valuable contributions to the forestry sector and towards the practice of sustainable forest management.
Canadian Forestry Achievement Award
The Canadian Forestry Achievement Award was established in 1967. The intent of the award is to recognize unique and outstanding forestry achievement by individuals in Canada. It is the Canadian Institute of Forestry’s objective that it encourages excellence in the forestry profession. This year our recipient was Dr. Thom Erdle of the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick.
Dr. Erdle has been Professor of Forest Management at the University of New Brunswick since 1995. Prior to that time, he spent 15 years working in forestry in the private sector with J.D. Irving, Ltd. and as Partner and Senior Consultant for Vanguard Forest Management Services Ltd. He has also worked in the public sector as Director of Timber Management Planning for the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. Dr. Erdle has contributed extensively to furthering forestry excellence in academia, and both the public and private sectors. He epitomizes excellence in the forestry profession, specifically in three areas: Direct participation in the activities of the forest management community, shaping students who will enter forestry practice after graduation, and contributing to the body of literature and research on forest management planning and wood supply modeling.
Thom is revered and respected by his students. Many of those who find themselves struggling with his demanding assignments still find his class to be their favourite. Class work and assignments revolve around building capability and aptitude. In his classroom, knowledge is the result of understanding – which he cultures – with careful questions and thought-provoking discussion. His assignments emphasize the process of analysis, not the result. His students use several words to describe him as demanding, prepared, accessible, organized, enthusiastic, an effective communicator, a good listener to name just a few. Thomâs diverse experience within the forest sector and his wealth of knowledge, combined with enthusiasm, and powerful and effective communication skills have allowed him to achieve a tremendously positive impact and influence on forest professionals, both young and old. Our profession needs individuals like Thom, who have gained a broad range of forestry experience and also excel in communications.
Canadian Forestry Scientific Achievement award
The Canadian Forestry Scientific Achievement award was created in 1980 and recognizes unique and outstanding achievement in forestry research in Canada. Its objective is to encourage excellence in forest research. This year’s recipient was Dr. Shashi Kant of the University of Toronto.
Dr. Kant is a world-renowned forest economist who has introduced a new paradigm of economics, termed Post-Newtonian Economics; which incorporate the basic features of sustainable development and sustainable forest management. Dr. Kants greatest strength is his ability to seamlessly combine research and activism. He is recognized for his advocacy of sustainable societies, community work with local people, and his demonstration of the relevance of Gandhian philosophy and tools to sustainable societies.
Dr. Kant has had a direct and valuable impact through his research by transforming the value system of hundreds of students with respect to forest environmental conservation and cooperative behaviour. He has also transformed the research philosophy of many organizations such as the Lake Abitibi Model Forest, and numerous forestry professionals from around the world, from reductionism to an integrative approach.
Shashi has published three books, 16 individual book chapters, more than 50 refereed journal articles, over 20 papers in conference proceedings and 18 technical reports. He has attracted several million dollars in research grants to the University of Toronto. Shashis’ achievements in forest economic research and activism continue to have a significant and lasting impact on critical economic thought, on the students who go out into the world enriched by his teaching, and on the many groups and organizations around the world that benefit from his counsel.
Canadian Forest Management Group Achievement Award
The Canadian Institute of Forestry recognizes unique and outstanding achievement in forest management by a group or organization through the Canadian Forest Management Group Achievement Award. Established in 1998, this award exists to recognize outstanding achievement by teams or groups of natural resource managers, researchers, or non-government-organizations in the field for forest resource related activity in Canada. This year’s recipients were a courageous group of Hungarian-Canadians known as the SOPRON Foresters.
The SOPRON foresters, collectively, have made an outstanding contribution to both forest management and forest science in Canada. This year we announced that the group would receive the award so as to coincide with special ceremonies held at the University of British Columbia in June. Since the late 1950s, the SOPRON group has been employed in government, industry and academia, many achieving senior positions, and enriching Canada’s forestry landscape, expertise, culture and prominence. Many of the SOPRON Foresters have been active and engaged in the Canadian Institute of Forestry for 50 years now; one SOPRON alumnus – Stephen Tolnai was our Institutes President in 1995-1996.
It is hard for us now to imagine or truly understand the courage exhibited by this group of forestry students during the 1956 Hungarian uprising against the old Soviet Union; courage that they continued to show by coming to a new country and continent in 1957. It is an incredible story with astounding facts and statistics:
– 14 faculty and 200 students came to study at UBC in September 1957
– 141 graduated from UBC between 1958 and 1961; 44 went on to earn post-graduate degrees including 20 PhDs
– They have had enormous collective positive impact on the forestry profession and forest research during the past 50 years
– SOPRON Masters and Phds combined have produced: 1200 refereed publications; 200 non-referred publications; 1000 conference presentations; 848 research reports, 64 book chapters and 46 books; 56 patents and over 110 individual awards and distinctions
Canada, Canadian forestry, and the Canadian Institute of Forestry have all been truly enriched and blessed as a result of the mass immigration of this wonderful and very courageous group of Hungarian Foresters 50 years ago. They have been directly involved in improving practice, advancing sustainability, promoting sound forest stewardship, and advancing forest science.
Dr. John Balatinecz of Toronto, Ontario accepted the Canadian Institute of Forestrys 2007 Canadian Forest Management Group Achievement Award, on behalf of his fellow SOPRON Foresters.
International Forestry Achievement
Established in 1988, the Institutes International Forestry Achievement Award is intended to recognize unique and outstanding contributions or achievements in international forestry. The award recognizes that Canada is a world leader in the practice of forestry and appreciates the actions of individuals who have shared this leadership with other nations. It can also recognize the actions of an individual to bring nations together to better forestry practices globally. This award has the objective of encouraging excellence and cooperation in international forestry. This years recipient was Ms. Denyse Rousseau of Gatineau, Québec.
Recently retired, Ms. Rousseau dedicated close to two decades of her professional life to the world stage by advancing sustainable forest management; much of this effort focused on the betterment of the human condition in some of the most disadvantaged parts of the globe. Ms. Rousseau was a member of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDAs) forestry team in the early 1990s. During that time, CIDAs forestry programs in countries of Francophone Africa were among the agencies largest and most complex. Ms. Rousseau was responsible for providing important technical guidance to numerous multi-million dollar technical assistance projects, particularly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) and in Cameroon. She also took on increasing responsibility with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations forestry department, and eventually returned to Canada to work in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Denyse is well-known amongst her fellow-foresters from around the world as being passionate and unwavering in her dedication to the principals and practices of sustainable forest management. Her contributions to progressive forest policies and practices have been significant. Both at home and abroad, Denyse has and continues to be a tremendous ambassador for well-managed forests.
James M. Kitz Award
The Canadian Institute of Forestry recognizes that there are many individuals involved in forestry across Canada who are making outstanding contributions early in their careers. The James M. Kitz Award honours the memory of such an individual. James Kitz was a member of the Institute and of the College of Alberta Registered Professional Foresters. He passed away at 36 years of age. This award recognizes individuals who make significant, unique and outstanding contributions in the field of forestry, early in their career. This year’s recipient was Ms. Valerie Courtois of Sheshatshiu, Nitassinan.
Ms. Courtois graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Forestry Science from the Université de Moncton – Edmundston Campus in 2002, and was the class valedictorian. Upon graduation she worked for the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Sustainable development Institute where she gained experience in policies relating to the First Nations and Innu Nation and their close association to the natural environment. In 2003 she accepted a position with the Innu Nation as the Planning Forester for the Innu Nation Environment Office in Sheshatshiu, Labrador. In addition to her responsibilities within the Forest Office, she also coordinates and helps mentor Innu Nations Environmental Guardians and the associated program. This program helps community members with a strong Innu-skills base train in both Western Science and Innu sciences.
Valerie is well-known as a generous person; she always makes time for friends and colleagues. She is also very proud of her Innu heritage which is reflected in her work ethic and community and family values. She is known for her sense of fairness, humility and motivation, all the makings of a true leader. With her current position in Labrador, she has shown a great dedication to the field of forestry and to the management of forests with a greater emphasis on the ecological and social pillars of sustainability. She is helping the Innu People work toward better forest management in a place where forestry, as we know it, remains quite novel. She travels extensively to learn about best management practices, tools and techniques in jurisdictions that have already gone through the process she is initiating in Labrador. During her travels, she is often invited to deliver talks on Native values as they pertain to forest management and lessons she has learned through her work. At a very young age, Valerie is leaving her mark and making positive waves in forestry in Canada.
Our Presidential Award is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding service and commitment to the Canadian Institute of Forestry, and who exemplify a devotion to, and passion for the profession. This year’s recipient was Mr. Mack Williams of Toronto Ontario.
Mr. Williams has been a member of the Institute for 58 years; since 1949, when we were actually called the Canadian Society of Forest Engineers. He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and received his Master of Science, also at Toronto, in 1958. Mack’s career spanned many decades with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and its predecessor, the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. He retired in 1983. During his career, Mack taught soil science to foresters and other field staff involved in reforestation and forest management, worked in land inventory, and finished off in the land use planning section of the Ministry.
He joined the CIF’s Southern Ontario Section Council in 1984; and in 1985 became the Section Historian; with a history published in 1991. One of Mack’s main contributions to the CIF, and to forestry has been as editor of the Southern Ontario Section’s newsletter since 1987. He is now starting his 21st year as editor and working on his 89th newsletter! The newsletter has been instrumental at portraying Southern Ontario’s forest in context of the landscape and the people of Ontario, Canada and the world.
One of Mack’s great forestry interests has been his property in the Oro Hills north of Barrie, which he has owned since 1946, and whose open areas he reforested in the late 40s and 50s. His plantations have now been thinned, some for the fourth time, and Mack has taken great pleasure in seeing 50 foot hydro poles and other products come from trees planted by himself, his siblings and his parents. An equally important forest product is the peace and quiet he feels, going out of the city and past the hectic highway 400, and just being there for the day.
Over the years Mack has received many awards, including Section Member of the Year in 1989, a special award from the section in 1993, the Institutes Tree of Life Award around 1998. Other awards include the White Pine Award of the Huronia Woodland Owners Association, a stewardship award from the Couchiching Conservancy, and the Community Woodland Steward Award from Ontario Forestry Association, mainly related to the forest.
As a grandparent, and over a period of about six years, Mack did some classroom volunteering, which led to his dream for Canada’s approximately 16,000 elementary and high schools to each have a school forest, and actually use it in the learning process resulting in future generations having a strong awareness that we are a forest nation, and of the importance of the Canadian forest to each Canadian, and to the entire world.
Section of the Year award
The Canadian Institute of Forestry is very a much a grass-roots level organization; but with a national network and focus. We currently have 18 sections that span the country, and they are truly the foundation and strength or our organization. Our Section of the Year award recognizes outstanding involvement of members in the affairs of the Institute that can result in increased awareness of the importance of forestry in Canada. This year’s recipient was the Maritime Section, garnering this recognition through events, initiatives, activities and member recruitment that addressed our strategic directions.
The Maritime Section has effectively and successfully promoted forest practitioner partnerships, encouraged future forest practitioners, worked to maintain professional competency, contributed to the health of the Canadian Institute of Forestry and facilitated communications and outreach.
Marie-Paule McNutt of the University of New Brunswicks Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, and Director of our Maritime Section accepted the award.
Tree of Life Recipients
The Tree of Life Awards are nationally recognized, but are selected by the Sections of the Institute. They are presented to individuals who have made superior, dedicated or particularly effective contributions to sustainable forest resource management, forest renewal or sustained yield, and integrated management of the forest and its intrinsic resources. The following individuals received Tree of Life Awards in 2007 from their Sections.
Glenwood Jordan, Maritime Section
Hugh Ross, Nova Scotia Section
Allan Willcocks, formerly Saskatchewan Section, now Northwestern Ontario Section.
Golden Year Club
Individuals who celebrated 50 years of membership in the Canadian Institute of Forestry in 2007 were honoured and listed by President Doug Stables, who inducted these members into the Golden Year Club. In total, 11 members reached this impressive milestone in 2007:
Douglas E. Rickson
Edmund W. Howard
J. Victor Stewart
James E. Marshall
Mel P. Lawson
Peter M. Paul
Ronald K. Sawatzky
Roy F. Sutton