member profiles

Interested in learning more about a career in forestry?

In an effort to connect students with forestry careers, we have featured a number of CIF-IFC members, through online profiles, in order to provide students with an insight into the dynamic and diverse career opportunities that exist within Canada’s forest sector. Explore our member profiles below!

Glen Prevost

Glen Prevost

CIF-IFC Algonquin Section / Ontario Woodlot Association

Glen's Profile

Position:

Program Coordinator, Ontario Woodlot Association
Forestry Consultant, Self-Employed
Director, CIF Algonquin Section

Qualifications:

Professional Engineer
Registered Professional Forester
Managed Forest Plan Approver
Certified Energy Manager

Academic background:

B.Eng &Scty, MASc, McMaster University

Master of Forest Conservation, University of Toronto

How did you get into forestry?

I worked as an Engineer but that career was a poor fit and at 30, I quit my engineering job and took on some part-time urban forest research work. I wanted to do something with the natural environment and investigated different natural resource career paths such as arboriculture, forestry technician, and ecological restoration. I realized I wanted to work with forests and trees and then had a fortuitous conversation with a forester who convinced me to look closely at forestry. I decided to attend Forestry at U of T and couldn’t be happier with my career change. I had a dim view of forestry when I started out, but that changed after I learned more.

Provide a short overview of your job

My core job is with the Ontario Woodlot Association where I manage their Forest Certification Program and Forest Carbon Offset Program. My main responsibilities are to ensure that forests certified under our FSC Certificate comply with FSC standards. This includes field visits, document development and management, and understanding best practices for forest management. The carbon offset program allows landowners to sell carbon offsets from their sustainably managed forests and I administer that program. As a consultant, I work with landowners to enroll them Ontario’s Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP). This program provides private woodlot owners with a tax break for being good stewards of their land. I work with landowners and develop a management plan based on their values and then enroll them in the program.

Describe a typical work day

I review forestry documents and synthesize the information for others to use or develop templates for use in forest management. I also visit landowners who have certified woodlots and talk about best practices and review what they have been doing on their land. Moreover, I write forest management plans and learn about forestry and forest management through reading, informal discussions and field tours. 

What is the best part of your job?

Being paid to be in the forest and to take care of the forest

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

When I was in school I had the opportunity to work for the City of Cambridge and inventory their woodlots. After the fieldwork was completed, I was asked to write a woodlot management plan for a prominent city woodlot. I presented the plan to city council and they adopted the plan as their official plan for that woodlot. That was a cool project for a student and my first forest management plan too.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Take more risks and move outside your comfort zone. Especially now. Try things that are not “safe” and see where it goes. You don’t need to find a career right away.

 

Margaret Anne (Peggy) Smith

Margaret Anne (Peggy) Smith

CIF-IFC Northwestern Ontario Section / Lakehead University

Peggy's Profile

Position:

Professor Emerita, Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lakehead University

Qualifications:

Registered Professional Forester, Ontario

Academic background:

  • Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Lakehead University, 1991
  • PhD, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, 2007
  • Graduate of International Forest Resources & Institutions program, Indiana University, 1999

How did you get into forestry?

I think it was a mid-life crisis. I had worked as a secretary for 17 years and was tired of living on the edge of poverty, unable to afford a house or even a car. I tried through unions to get improved pay for women, but still ended up making much less than men for what I considered “work of equal value”.  I weighed my options for a year before deciding to return to my hometown of Thunder Bay and undertake a forestry degree at Lakehead University. I had to take night school courses in calculus and chemistry to fulfil the enrolment requirements. I was the daughter of a logger, of Cree/Métis ancestry and an environmentalist. Forestry seemed the perfect profession in which to apply my background and interests. It was also a male-dominated field, so I knew I would earn more than I had in the “pink ghetto”.

Provide a short overview of your job

I began my career with KBM Forestry Consultants in Thunder Bay. KBM hired me to develop their Indigenous portfolio. It was through KBM that I began working with the National Aboriginal Forestry Association (NAFA). I became a Senior Advisor at NAFA in 1994 and have remained in that position ever since. In 1997, I decided to pursue a graduate degree and enrolled in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry. In 2000, I was hired by the Lakehead University’s Faculty of Natural Resources Management as a tenure-track lecturer, contingent on finishing my PhD. The Faculty hired me to develop Indigenous content for their undergraduate programs. I taught the course Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resources from 2001-2016, along with Environmental Assessment and Natural Resources Policy and Legislation. In 2016, the year before I retired, I served as Lakehead’s Interim Vice Provost of Aboriginal Initiatives.

Describe a typical work day

Never a dull moment! I never had a “typical” work day. Lots of problem solving, research, writing, travelling across Canada and around the world to meetings and conferences, participating in policy discussions for issues like criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management, Indigenous engagement in natural resources, Indigenous content in university curricula, community forestry, forest certification and much more. For academics to progress in a tenure track position, one must demonstrate excellence in teaching, research with resulting publications, and administrative service. These activities marked my days at Lakehead University. In my later career, mentoring young foresters became very important, both through NAFA and academic teaching, research and thesis supervision. Through NAFA we promoted careers in forestry with Indigenous youth.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is being independent and able to determine my own course of action. There’s a lot of freedom in academia, unlike the pink ghetto where you’re always following and supporting someone else’s path. Mind you, even in academia, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, high expectations, and pressures to bring in research funding. I would also have to say that another good part of my job was the money I earned. As a single woman, I knew at one point in my life that I needed to pay more attention to things like having enough money to have a decent lifestyle and a pension. That was one of my driving forces for pursuing both undergraduate and graduate studies. As a working class girl, I’m proud of the fact that I was able reach my goals and maintain my independence.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

The coolest project I worked on was developing and implementing a requirement for Indigenous content in Lakehead University’s curriculum. In the era of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2005), and in my experience with teaching students in the Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resources course, it was obvious to me that students were not being taught about Indigenous Peoples’ history, world view or experiences in Canada. Through Lakehead’s Senate and strategic planning process, we brought forward a proposal that every undergraduate student who graduated from Lakehead University would have to demonstrate that they had taken at least a half course (18 hours) of Indigenous content. It took some convincing, but in 2016, the requirement came into effect. It generated debate both within Lakehead and across Canada. 

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Although I did well academically in high school, I was struggling to survive in a family in chaos. All I can think now about my high school experience is that I’m glad I survived. I couldn’t wait to get away from home and jumped at the chance to attend Brock University where they had a summer program that allowed successful candidates to enter first year university without Grade 13. I made it through the program and started at Brock in 1969. Perhaps at this point, I might have given myself some advice to settle down and complete my studies, but the world and adventures called. I travelled Europe, became politically active, and experimented with alternative living (commune). All of those experiences led me to where I am today. I wouldn’t do anything differently. I was always where I was meant to be. There’s little point in looking back with regret.

 

Sally Krigstin

Sally Krigstin

CIF-IFC Southern Ontario/ Institute of Forest Conservation

Sally's Profile

Position:

Assistant Professor, John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and

Design, Institute of Forest Conservation

Qualifications:

B.Sc.F, M.Sc.F. Ph.D.

Academic background:

My three degrees in Forestry were all from the University of Toronto. I graduated with a B.Sc.F. in 1982, M.Sc.F 1986 and Ph.D. in 2008

How did you get into forestry?

In high school I was very interested in the Environment, but at this time (1980’s) career paths in the environment were not very well established. While I grew up in Toronto, I always enjoyed spending time in the forest and was interested in flowers and plants. I actually didn’t find forestry until my first year at the U of T. I was taking a calculus class in which there was a large number of forestry students. I became friendly with some of them and learned about the program from them. The subjects sounded so interesting and the inclusion of so much experiential learning was really appealing. In my 2nd year I transferred to the Faculty of Forestry and never looked back.

Provide a short overview of your job

There are many facets to the job of University Professor. The position involves teaching, research and administration. Teaching involves delivering course material and developing curricula. Research involves fieldwork, lab work, analysis, mentoring students, and research assistants and composing scientific manuscripts for publication. In addition, writing proposals for funding, presenting research findings at conferences or other universities and networking with others in the field. Administratively, participation in graduate committees, and various departmental, university committees and membership on boards of relevant organizations.

Describe a typical work day

A typical day consists of preparing and delivering a lecture (2 hrs) or a lab (3 hrs). A visit to the lab to chat with graduate students about their research. Reading and commenting on a manuscript written by a graduate student that will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Approving research expenses and designating the funds for payment. Meeting with collaborators on a research project to discuss the results to date and resolve next steps.

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is the ability to self-determine the work which I do. In this position there is no real “boss”, and you must feel comfortable working independently and have confidence and creativity to do meaningful work. It is also so much fun to determine the type of research one wants to pursue and then diligently working to achieve results.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

The coolest project that I have worked on was developing a new biobased material, made entirely from tree components and chemicals, that functions similar to plastic. This material can be used to replace plastic in many applications, like horticultural pots, plastic food trays and plastic bags.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Don’t worry about determining a very strict career path. If you work to the best of your abilities, get involved and take advantage of any opportunities presented to you, your career path will take care of itself. In addition, treat all people you meet with kindness, maintain personal integrity, and believe in yourself.

Ed Czerwinski

Ed Czerwinski

CIF-IFC Maritimes Section/University of New Brunswick

Ed's Profile

Position:

Director/Chair of Maritimes Section, and Technical Team Lead, Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick

Qualifications:

Registered Professional Forester of New Brunswick

Academic background:

Bachelor of Science in Forestry, UNB, and Forest Technician – Conservation, Sault College

How did you get into forestry?

Growing up in the city of Toronto, I had many interests, including wanting to become a police officer. At the time, our high school toured a different part of Canada every April, and that gave me insight that Canada was much more interesting than the concrete jungle of downtown Toronto, where I was attending school. I remember well one spring, taking the overnight train from Calgary to Vancouver, through the Rocky Mountains, and saying, I could live here! The vistas of snow-capped mountains and glacier filled valleys, and trees and wildlife everywhere. There was NATURE. It was so different than Toronto’s Young and Dundas. It was then, I knew I had to get out of Toronto. I started to seek out ‘nature’ in Toronto. From the ravines and beaches to green spaces such as Taylor Creek Park or the Don Valley, I sought nature, birds and wildlife. Together with the principal of the school we would find dead birds at the base of the tall skyscrapers in downtown Toronto. We collected the dead birds every morning during spring and fall migration, identified them, and handed them over to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) for processing. Along the way we even saved a whole lot of the birds. Birds that were just stunned from hitting the windows. It was there, at the ROM where I had my first job– volunteer job. I assisted the curator in processing the birds we donated. From our efforts in the early 1970’s spawned the Fatal Light Awareness Program in Toronto: https://flap.org/ So, I knew I wanted to do something with birds in my future, birds lead me to bird habitat, and that lead me into Forestry. You see, I have never been an industrial forester (one who manages the forests for wood fibre), but a forester for habitat, ecology, and sustainability.

Provide a short overview of your job

I have had many different jobs over my career in forestry, but currently in my job as Technical Team Lead, at the Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, I am responsible to the Dean of Forestry for operational management, maintenance of Faculty facilities and research and technical support, and for ensuring that safe working conditions and practices are adopted and implemented Faculty-wide. I chair the Faculty Infrastructure Committee, and the Faculty Safety Committee. I provide technical support primarily for the Ecology and Wildlife group, and am responsible for the Greenhouse operations, Faculty Equipment Room, Cold Storage facilities and Controlled Environment chambers. In addition, I provide technical support to six Forestry and Environmental Management faculty members (part of two disciplinary clusters), including the preparation and implementation of an integrated group of forestry and environmental management undergraduate courses, maintenance and use of specialized equipment, and research projects. I work closely and effectively with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and other forestry-related agencies. Identification of all native flora and fauna is a must. I have spent many days on remote islands in the Gulf of Maine banding seabirds with researchers, and grad students.

Describe a typical work day

There is no typical workday in forestry. Sure, there are seasons when you do certain activities consistently for a few days or weeks, but as seasons change so do the responsibilities and the activity. Whether it is daily or weekly, there is generally a team “huddle” (not to get warm), but to reflect on what you have done, are doing, and about to do, so everyone knows what you are working on. This team huddle (meetings) should help set direction and see how your role fits into the strategic direction, goals, objectives, and priorities of the organization. Then I focus a short amount of time going through recently received emails, and then start my day’s work activity which I have set from tasks the week prior, day before or have arisen as a priority since. I might be working or website additions, setting about organizing professional development e-lectures, checking on greenhouse tree seedlings, germination chambers or be planning for my next field work. Every day is different.

What is the best part of your job?

Variety, as almost every day there is something different. A different challenge to work through, a different job function. Problem solver, breaking down barriers, or finding solutions to issues might be the best part of my job. And it happens every day.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

The best part of my job over the years has been conducting aerial reconnaissance out of helicopters or small fixed winged aircraft through northern, southern and eastern Canada, looking for insect or disease ravaged forests. While conducting aerial surveys I often can view different wildlife from above, feel like a bird, and certainly get a bird’s eye perspective on the landscape. I have been in northern Saskatchewan, all parts of Ontario, from Point Pelee National Park (southernmost point in Canada), to Opasquia Provincial Park in northwestern Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Gaspe Region of Quebec.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Get out in the woods, ravines, or green spaces, exercise often. Hug a tree, listen more, talk less. Dream big, and don’t take “No” for an answer. If your friends are trying to hold you back, leave them behind. Build your confidence – because “you can do it”. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re absolutely right.” Avoid social media as much as possible. It wasn’t a thing when I was in highschool, and to this day I can’t see the benefits. What you put on social media sites never goes away. Your future employers will look on all the platforms – so beware that it can follow you.

 

Sean Greene

Sean Greene

CIF-IFC Newfoundland and Labrador/ Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Sean's Profile

Position:

Forest Engineer – NL Forest Service, Forest Engineering and Industry Services Division, Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

Qualifications:

Professional Engineer, Registered Professional Forester

Academic background:

Forest Engineering degree – University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, NB

Advanced GIS diploma – Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS), Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Lawrencetown, NS

How did you get into forestry?

I started university in the Mechanical Engineering program at UNB and worked at that for three years. I enjoyed the math, physics and other general engineering courses but was not super interested in the Mechanical Engineering courses. I had a number of friends who were in the Forestry program and they seemed to be having a lot of fun. For example, classes and labs in the woods, field trips to mills, learning outdoor skills. That looked interesting to me because I enjoyed being out in the wilderness. I found out that there was a Forest Engineering program at UNB and that I could transfer all of my engineering credits and that’s what I did.

Provide a short overview of your job

Mostly, I’m involved with building and maintaining resource roads on Crown managed land. This involves office work and field work; working in a team environment and also completing tasks on my own. I work with other road users, too, like snowmobile clubs, mining companies, and outfitters. Also, I get to work with other sections of the NL Forest Service such as industry services, forest protection (fire, insects and disease), silviculture and GIS. 

Describe a typical work day

My work days are not typical – and that makes my job exciting. For resource roads, I could be helping to layout roads in the field, developing road contracts in the office, working with contractors to build roads, inspecting bridges, or tracking the progress of road construction and maintenance projects. I’m involved with technology transfer and that could mean attending training courses, conferences and meetings and then sharing relevant information and technologies throughout the NL forest sector.

What is the best part of your job?

Helping people solve a problem or complete a task is rewarding. Sustainable Forest Management is challenging and everyone is working to solve many different problems – to make something safer, to make something more effective or efficient – and if I can help in any way, that’s rewarding.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

In 2018, I was part of an Incident Management Team (IMT) working in Smithers, BC, on wildfires. I had taken the required training but this was my first experience being deployed out of province and working on big fires. I worked with and met locals, people from across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and New Zealand. I learned a lot from that experience. The work was fast-paced and exciting.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Experience is key. You learn a lot in school and academics is important. Just as important, is experience. Summer jobs are a great way to gain experience (and you can make some money!). Volunteering is another great way to gain experience in your chosen field. 

 

Ron Ayling

Ron Ayling

CIF-IFC Ottawa Valley/ Editor of the Forestry Chronicle

Ron's Profile

BScF (Forestry), University of Toronto, 1963˗1967

PhD (Forestry), Australian National University, 1968˗1972

Position:

Editor, The Forestry Chronicle, since 2005

Qualifications:

Author of several research papers, background papers and editorials; former assistant professor of forestry, University of Toronto; Visiting Professor of Forestry, University of Vicosa, Brazil; senior program officer in forestry/agroforestry with the International Development Research Centre responsible for writing proposals and monitoring projects; English-language editor for the Chinese Journal of Forest Research (Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China)

Academic background:

BScF (Forestry), University of Toronto, 1963˗1967

PhD (Forestry), Australian National University, 1968˗1972

How did you get into forestry?

When we moved into a suburb (from a rural property) of Kingston, my father took me one evening to something called “Boy Scouts” (now Scouts Canada). I was extremely fortunate to have a scoutmaster that boxed and played football at Queen’s, was a young pilot in the war, one who was keen on camping, hiking, fishing, anything to do with the outdoors (yet he was also a stamp collector and talented artist). I had my first canoe trip to Algonquin Park with Bruce and the gang – and then knew I wanted to work outdoors’. It also helped that one of his close friends was a forester for Ontario’s Lands & Forests who taught us tree identification and ‘bush lore’ at a tented camp one summer.

Provide a short overview of your job

As editor of The Forestry Chronicle, I am responsible for managing (editing and stylizing) professional and scientific/technical papers – and when finalized, sending them to the production manager. Once a manuscript is received, I determine if it would be of interest to CIF members and other Chronicle readers – once I accept it, it is sent out to an associate editor to organize a review. In addition to managing papers, I look for someone to write a guest editorial on a subject of interest, someone to write a book review; I also prepare book announcements, seek out new associate editors, and liaise frequently with authors/associate editors.

Describe a typical work day

One of the best parts of this job is that there is no ‘typical day’. Sometimes I might work several hours, especially if a new issue is being prepared; other times, I might not be involved in Chronicle-related work for several days, especially if it is a warm sunny day and ‘work’ in the garden beckons. When I am at work, it might be editing a manuscript or an editorial, or answering a question concerning the Chronicle. 

What is the best part of your job?

Besides not having a typical 9-5 workday, the best part of being the Chronicle editor is that it is a creative and satisfying job. Once an issue is out, there is the next issue to look forward to.

Managing Chronicle submissions is also an opportunity to learn new things, to often be amazed at the quality and variety of research being carried out across the country. And it keeps the ‘little grey cells’ active.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

The coolest? By default, I became ‘site coordinator’ for the creation of Almonte’s Alameda in June 2020 – a week of extremely high temperatures. An Alameda is simply a tree-lined walkway – very fitting for a town with a Spanish name. Over the week, 100 15’ sugar maple ‘autumn blaze’ cultivars were planted along an old rail line running through the middle of this picturesque town. It was a great project because it involved many members of the community; it was a positive achievement, and a great monument to be enjoyed for many years. Once started, it has attracted several weather-proof sculptures, and dedicated benches and picnic tables.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Well, I followed my high school English teacher’s advice: “Work hard! But also play hard!” My high school self would also say “Be curious; ask questions!”

 

Margaret Symon

Margaret Symon

CIF-IFC Vancouver Island Section/ Forestry Consulting Firm

Margaret's Profile

Position:

Director

Qualifications:

Manager/Owner of a forestry consulting firm based in the Cowichan valley on SE Vancouver Island. Specialities include: wildfire interface hazard assessments, FireSmart Program coordination, inventories of red-listed flora, First Nation forestry liaison/management; Timber Sale client assessments, Forest Safety Council safety program

Academic background:

 RPF, PCP  (A Registered Forester, I’m also a Paramedic – inspired through volunteering with ski patrol).

How did you get into forestry?

As a young teen on an outdoor education summer camp I met a group of climbers who introduced me to the wide, wild world. I joined the climbing club; and in Grade 11, while chatting around a campfire after rock climbing at the west coast, one of the climbers (who also happened to be a forester) asked me what I wanted to do after school. At the time, I wasn’t sure. He extolled the benefits of a forestry degree – it sounded so “alive.” I had grown to love the outdoors. What clinched it for me was when I heard a degree in Forestry would provide qualifications to manage forest resources – and make a difference. And that has made all the difference!

Provide a short overview of your job

 As the manager/owner of a small consulting firm, my crews and I enjoy an interesting array of projects. The bulk of the work evolves around wildfire interface assessments (all sizes of properties from single lots to proposed subdivisions to municipalities and larger areas). I’m enthusiastic about the growth of the FireSmart Program – last year, as coordinator of a FireSmart crew, it was rewarding to conduct over 120 home and property assessments in one community , and to demonstrate to residents how to make their homes and properties more resilient to wildfire.

Another responsibility is working with a logging contractor to ensure compliance with operational and safety regulations. Last summer I was fortunate to work out of the company’s floating camp at Knight Inlet.

And another task involves inventories for rare and endangered flora. A highlight was searching for an elusive lichen in old-growth forest stands in remote mountainous terrain from both ends of Vancouver Island.

Describe a typical work day

No day is typical – that’s why I like forestry so much. Many days do involve a fair amount of travel; when I work out-of-town for my logging company client, it inevitably entails a very early start and a long drive – sometimes followed by a boat ride or helicopter trip to the work site. Often, I’m on my own, I’ll meet the contractor on site; other times the contractor and I will travel together – that’s my preference, as we can have great discussions about forestry. Sometimes, the government representative will meet us on site; the input is valuable. We’ll look at a range of issues that could include crew safety to the fire hazard to secondary wood uses to planting requirements. Whatever the weather – rain, sun, cloud, cold, hot, I enjoy being in the field. Day’s end more often than not is a late return trip. And alas, an invigorating day in the field typically generates hours of report writing in the office.

What is the best part of your job?

There is no one “best” part of my job – there are many “bests.” I’m grateful to have met so many fine professionals and skilled forest workers through my career. Work has taken me to fabulous settings with outstanding scenery. Volunteering with forestry organizations (e.g. CIF) has resulted in solid friendships with like-minded colleagues across Canada and overseas. 

In the work that I do, I can honestly say it’s making a positive difference.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

I feel fortunate to have had many “cool” projects.

When I started in forestry, the global market collapsed; I lost my job , that wasn’t cool and I decided to go traveling to find work. A forestry company in Norway needed a field tech. I arrived in mid-September at a small village in Norway to find the forestry office deserted. It was the boss’s birthday; everyone was out hunting. The next day, the hunters returned and we celebrated with Kransekage birthday cake. My job that fall was to assess provenance trials of Norway spruce and Lodgepole pine in the Jotenheimen (the trolls’ home mountains). Mornings we would brew up a pot of coffee over a campfire set amidst a frosted mountain landscape resplendent with fiery colours of tyttbaer (cowberries) and krøkebær (crowberries). By late afternoon that coffee was so thick you couldn’t get a spoon in it.

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

Be open to a broad range of ideas; try different things; expand your horizons as much as possible. Give back along the way.

 

Anne LeBrun Ruff

Anne LeBrun Ruff

CIF-IFC Maritimes Section/ Atlantic Provincial Leader

Anne's Profile

Position:

Atlantic Provincial Leader

Qualifications:

Registered Professional Forester in NB

Project Management Professional (PMP designation)

Academic background:

Bachelor in Forestry 1998 – Université de Moncton, Campus d’Edmundston

Health Sciences and Biology Studies 1992 – 1994  Université de Moncton

How did you get into forestry?

I had plant physiology as one of my electives and I simply fell in love with the subject. So I started investigating what type of job I could have with a focus on plant physiology….there was not a very long list of opportunities. As luck would have it, the U de M (campus d’Edmundston) had a recruiting fair in my faculty lobby. After a vivid discussion with the recruiter, I made my choice and transferred into forestry. I had never really been in the forest as a kid, never hunted, never camped nor hiked!  The first day in the program they took us out in the woods and I was just mesmerized with the size of the ferns!!!  My interest swiftly grew into the forest ecosystem and I never looked back.

Provide a short overview of your job

Employed as the Atlantic Provincial Leader for FPInnovations, I foster strategic partnerships with government and industry funders to stimulate economic development opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses, and indigenous enterprises.

I lead and secure new opportunities. I lead science needs discussions and am responsible to write research proposals and review research reports for accuracy and relevancy. I am overseeing many multidisciplinary research projects and editing the reports. I am also the regional lead to deliver the FPInnovations Indigenous Forest Program.  

Describe a typical work day

Most of my job is to connect with people and discuss how we could improve a variety of topics along the value chain. In the morning I could be discussing how to improve sawmill efficiency by implementing sensors (digitalization) and in the afternoon, I am negotiating a contract to provide research on using lignin in fish feed! Every day is different, I may attend conferences, advisory committees, ribbon-cutting events and have the occasional field tour in the forest. Since 2020, I spend most of my days in the office and connect virtually- although it is efficient, nothing can replace face-to-face discussions.

What is the best part of your job?

I work closely with a national group of peers that enables me to have a broad view of the sector. I have a great group of colleagues that have my back. Since I provide information in all aspects of the sector, I can depend on my colleagues to provide the depth/expertise in the subject when needed. My goal is to help people whether they are industry, government, Indigenous communities, academia, etc., by working together we can find the solutions to improve the sectors’ resilience.

What is the coolest project you have ever worked on?

I have been working alongside First Nations in Atlantic Canada to identify opportunities within the forest sector that fits with their goals. I am an unbiased advocate; I will not shy away from the truth if I know an initiative will not be successful. I was part of a group that provided a fact-based analysis of an opportunity which had lots of red flags but promised huge returns for the community. I am proud that we were able to provide the community with accurate data for their decision-making and saved them money and frustration. 

If you could give one piece of advice to your high school self, what would it be?

USE YOUR VOICE!! Believe in your capabilities, do not be afraid to make mistakes.

 

Connecting students with forestry careers.

The CIF-IFC has partnered with Chatterhigh to bring valuable information about the forest industry to students and teachers across Canada. 

ChatterHigh is an award-winning content engagement platform that aims to foster hope around future educational and career pathways for students. ChatterHigh has been engaging students for nearly 15 years, and has teacher and student users in every province and territory. Learn more here.