2015 Award Recipients

The Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada 2015 National Awards Banquet took place on Tuesday, September 15, 2015, in Kenora, Ontario during our annual general meeting and conference. Jonathan Lok, President of CIF/IFC, was the moderator of this long-running annual tradition.


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 Institute’s objective that it encourages excellence in the forestry profession. This year’s recipient was Dr. Bruce Larson of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Bruce has been working in academia for 28 years, where teaching forestry students to become thoughtful forestry professionals has been his greatest contribution to the field. He has a Master’s degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. During his career Bruce worked in a number of capacities at Yale University and the University of Washington. He is now the Department Head of the Department of Forest Resources Management in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry. Throughout this career, Bruce has continually motivated his students and colleagues to strive for excellence. He encourages former students to pursue Master’s degrees and Ph.D.s, and exhibits professionalism at every turn. Student testimonials show that he is a great communicator, able to explain complex subjects in an effective way that keeps students engaged. Bruce not only helps to shape the next generation of forestry professionals – he works to shape the industry as well. He has co-authored two very influential silviculture textbooks that have changed the way we view the growth of forests and our understanding of complex stands.  


James M. Kitz Award

The Institute recognizes that there are many individuals involved in forestry across Canada who are making outstanding contributions early in their careers. This award is in honour of James Kitz, a member of the Institute and the College of Alberta Professional Foresters, who passed away at the early age of 36. The award recognizes individuals who make significant, unique, and outstanding contributions in the field of forestry early in their career. It has the objective of encouraging excellence in the forestry profession. This year’s recipient was Ms. Anne LeBrun Ruff of Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Anne is a 1998 forestry graduate from the Université de Moncton, Campus Edmundston in New Brunswick, and a Registered Professional Forester in New Brunswick since 2003. Anne’s work experience began as a silviculture forester for J.D. Irving. She ten held several executive director positions with NGOs. In 2009, she started with FPInnovations, or what was then FERIC. Since 2012, she has held the position of ‘Provincial Leader for the Atlantic Region’. Anne was the President of the Canadian Institute of Forestry in 2009-2010 and remains an active member of the Maritimes Section.


Canadian Forest Management Group Achievement Award

The Institute recognizes unique and outstanding achievement in forest management by a group or organization through the Canadian Forest Management Group Achievement Award, which was established in 1998. This year’s recipient was FPInnovations. FPI is a truly multi-disciplinary group that includes scientists, researchers, foresters, and business developers that work together to encourage innovation and success in Canada’s forest sector. FPI is an industry and world leader that specializes in the creation of scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector’s global competitiveness by responding to the priority needs of its industry members and government partners. FPI is a major contributor to forest research, with a number of research centres and pilot facilities across Canada. Through its various programs, FPI works to ensure that Canada’s forestry sector is innovative, cutting-edge, and sustainable in all facets.


International Forestry Achievement Award

Established in 1988, the Institute’s 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 year’s recipient was Dr. John Innes. from Vancouver, British Columbia.

John is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. Prior to this, he worked as a Section Head in the Swiss Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research where he was involved in assessing the potential impact of acid rain on European forests, among other major projects. John’s diverse career has involved work in a number of countries, including Australia, China, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the United States. In addition, he is involved with many international organizations – he is very involved with the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, he is the Chair of the Commonwealth Forestry Association and the Standing Committee on Commonwealth Forestry, and participates on the Advisory Group on Forestry Education with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. John has brought this international influence to the UBC Faculty of Forestry, and encourages UBC to broaden its focus globally through his research and teaching.


Presidential Award

The 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 Ms. Candace Parsons of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Candace has been a member of the Institute for over 30 years. She has been very influential in both the Vancouver and Vancouver Island Sections, having been involved in Section Council in a number of capacities since 1985. Most recently, Candace served as Chair of the Vancouver Section from 2009 to 2014, and is now helping to prepare for the 2016 CIF AGM & Conference. As a Forestry Consultant, Candace has worked for the National Forest Week BC Coalition to help organize volunteers, events, and funds for National Forest Week in BC. She has also worked with the Association of BC Forest Professionals to promote the new professional designation of “Natural Resource Professional.” Throughout the years Candace has spent countless hours volunteering for the Institute and working to invigorate and enhance the Vancouver Section. Through her tireless efforts, Candace has helped make the Vancouver Section strong and resilient.


Section of the Year Award

The Canadian Institute of Forestry is very a much a grass-roots organization; but with a national network and focus. There are currently 18 sections that span the country, and they are truly the foundation and strength of our organization. Our Section of the Year award recognizes outstanding involvement of a specific Section in the affairs of the Institute. It was a very difficult decision as to which Section was most deserving of this award in 2011. This year’s recipient has been very active with events, initiatives, activities and in providing member value that addresses our strategic directions. The Sections of British Columbia were this year’s Section of the Year!


Schlich Medal

Sir William Schlich, who was born in 1840, was a German forester who became Inspector General of Forests to the Government of India. He also founded the School of Forestry at Oxford in 1905, and was knighted in 1909 for his many achievements. He passed-away in 1925 and the Oxford Forestry School sponsored a campaign to create a fitting memorial – the Schlich Memorial Fund. The trust itself was established in 1929, initiating the recognition of outstanding contributions to forestry in a number of countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and Canada. One of the first recipients was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who went on to become the 32nd President of the U.S. Another was Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the US Forest Service. With the reintroduction of the Schlich Award in Canada, the Institute plans to recognize an outstanding forestry student annually. The recipient of the 2015 Schlich Medal was Ryan Gleeson of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Ryan is a student at Lakehead University, studying Forestry within the faculty of Natural Resource Management with a specialization in wood science. Born and raised in Thunder Bay, the outdoors has been a large part of his life, which eventually led him to the Forestry program at Lakehead. Ryan has been very involved and successful both in and outside of school. He volunteered as a science camp group leader for elementary students, spent time with the boys and girls club through hockey and volunteered for the Rick Heinz hockey school for goalies. He was also a part of the leadership program at St. Patrick high school that focused on integrating and encouraging developmentally challenged students into mainstream school activities.  He was the recipient of the BFL Jim Sterling Memorial award that recognizes one hockey player in Northwestern Ontario for academic, athletic and leadership qualities. Ryan also achieved an entry-level scholarship from Lakehead for obtaining an overall average above 85%. Throughout his first two years at Lakehead, Ryan has continued his academic success, earning a spot on the Dean’s List both years, all while continuing his passion for hockey – playing for the Junior B Northern Hawks and making two trips to the Keystone Cup in western Canada. Ryan has an open mind, accompanied by an inquisitive nature, and is always eager to further his knowledge. He’s constantly expanding his comfort zone and is  excited to see what his passion for the environment will bring him in the future. He hopes to be exposed to a variety of aspects in the environmental field to help establish his career path.


Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has recently sanctioned that the Institute will annually present The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry. The purpose of this new award is to recognize the achievements of an outstanding young forest professional in Canada, and to encourage involvement in and dedication to the principles of sustainable forest management, sound forest science, and effective public outreach. To be eligible for the award, candidates must either be a student or recent graduate (within five years) from a Canadian forestry, natural resources or environmental science university or college program, and must have made outstanding contributions to the their school and program, and to forest professionalism in general, within their community. Eligible recipients must also be members in good standing of the Institute, thus demonstrating their personal commitment to lifelong continuing education and professional development, and their support of forest professionalism. This year’s recipient of The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry was Christine Leduc.


Tree of Life Recipients

The Tree of Life Awards are nationally recognized, but are selected by the Sections of the Institute. They are awarded 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 four members received Tree of Life Awards this year.

  • Ronald J. Hall, Rocky Mountain Section
  • Philip Comeau, Rocky Mountain Section
  • Gerald Fleming, Newfoundland and Labrador Section
  • A. Murray Anderson, Maritimes Section
  • Stan Chester, Vancouver Section

J. Michael Waldram Memorial Model Forest Fellowship

In 2006, the Canadian Model Forest Network announced the establishment of the J. Michael Waldram Memorial Model Forest Fellowship, to be offered as part of the suite of awards bestowed annually by the Canadian Institute of Forestry. The Fellowship is open to all Canadian Aboriginal youth enrolled in at least their second year in either a degree or diploma program in natural resource management at a Canadian University or College. This year’s recipient of J. Michael Waldram Memorial Model Forest Fellowships was Paul Robitaille of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Paul is a graduate of the Forest Ecosystem Management Technician Program at Confederation college, where he concurrently earned a certificate in Aboriginal-Canadian Relations. During his studies, Paul received many awards, including the Governor General’s Academic Medal, President’s Award, Award of Academic Excellence, Derek and Joan Burney Award, SUCCI/OASA Student Leadership Award, and the CIF Gold Medal. Paul is an active member of the Northwestern Ontario CIF Council and has helped to organize a variety of community events and enthusiastically promotes the CIF at Confederation College. Paul is also a proud ambassador of the Metis Nation of Ontario, filling a variety of roles including the Youth Representative on the Thunder Bay Metis Council, member of the Region 2 Consultation Committee, and facilitator for the Infinite Reach Student Solidarity Network. Now transitioning into a Master’s of Forest Science Degree at Lakehead University, Paul intends to continue promoting the use of responsible forest management to foster community well-being and hopes to continue working with Aboriginal communities to study ways of using local forest resources to derive community-based socioeconomic benefits.


The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award

The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award recognizes young forestry professionals who demonstrate dedication to sustainable forestry along with the skills and aptitude to become our future forest leaders. Recipients participate in an international exchange and receive a $12,000 bursary. The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award is sponsored by TD Bank Group, and delivered in partnership by the Canadian Institute of Forestry, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and the Duchy of Cornwall.

This year, four top students – two from Canada and two from the United Kingdom – were selected as the first recipients of this award.

Jacqueline Hamilton of the University of Toronto and Ross Hobbs of the University of Alberta were selected as the two Canadian winners amongst talented competition.

Jacqueline recently completed a Master of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto, with a previous Honours degree from the University of Ottawa in Environmental Sciences. Jacqueline’s extensive experience in forest ecology management, environmental monitoring, geographic information systems, and international forest conservation has enabled her to develop a strong reputation amongst colleagues and peers, and top-honours in her graduating class, including the T. W. Dwight Prize for exemplary performance in one of the field camp courses during the program.

Ross will be graduating from the University of Alberta (UofA) this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management, plus holds a previous Forest Technologist Honours diploma from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Ross is actively engaged in the academic community as the President of the Forest Society at UofA, as well as the professional forestry community, particularly within forest fire management. Ross’s steadfast dedication to sustainable forestry has earned him other prestigious awards, including the CIF-IFC Gold Medal in Forestry, the Jim Beck Prize in Forest Management, the CIF-IFC Rocky Mountain Section Award, amongst many others.

Keira Tedd and David Johnes from the University of Cumbria were selected among top UK applicants.

With a passion for the outdoors and iconic landscapes, Keira was driven to the forestry profession, and is now in her final year of study at the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria, studying Forest and Woodland Management. With varying experience, including a year with Forestry Commission Scotland and time spent as a volunteer tree planter, in addition to research on light intensity and levels of regeneration under the canopy as a part of her dissertation, Keira is well versed in a diverse suite of interdisciplinary forestry topics. David is in his final year at the National School of Forestry, University of Cumbria, studying Forest and Woodland Management.

In addition to academic experience, David has gained a wealth of work experience in the forest industry, including a position as an assistant forest manager, completing a variety of long-term forest plans for a diverse range of estates across Scotland. Moreover, with experience as a trainee instructor with an organization providing outdoor pursuits, David recognizes the strong social benefits that forests and woodlands can provide when managed sustainably. Through this international exchange, David is particularly keen to expand upon his knowledge of sustainable forest management in Canada.


Golden Year Club

During every annual Awards Banquet, the Institute recognizes those individuals who are celebrating 50 years of membership in the Institute. It is a privilege for me to induct these members into the Golden Year Club. We have eight members who have proudly reached this impressive milestone in 2014, and who were sent special certificates and gifts earlier this year. I will ask them to come up if they are present today, but first I will read out all the names and ask everyone here to please help me to acknowledge their engagement with and dedication to the Institute:

  • James T. Arnott – Vancouver Island Section
  • John Goodman – Ottawa Valley Section
  • Richard Dean Fry - Northwestern Ontario Section
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