2009 Award Recipients

The Institute presents national awards to individuals and groups on an annual basis. The 2009 CIF/IFC Awards Banquet was held Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 in Nanaimo, BC. CIF/IFC President Peter Marshall was the master of ceremonies; the following summary is a direct excerpt from Dr. Marshall’s speech during the banquet.


Through the James M. Kitz Award, the Institute recognizes that there are individuals across Canada who are making unique, significant or outstanding contributions to forestry and the Institute 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 Professional Foresters. He passed away at the early age of 36.


Julia Hancock with Executive Director John Pineau and President Peter Marshall.

This year’s recipient is Ms. Julia Hancock of North Bay, Ontario. Julia is a graduate of the University of Toronto Masters of Forest Conservation Program and she recently accepted the Directorship of the Southern Ontario Section. Julia also worked at National office in 2007 and 2008. Upon accepting an internship as Communications Coordinator, she immediately made a positive impact by leading several projects. For example, Julia led the development of a new and more modern website. She quickly familiarized herself with our administrative procedures so that she could define our needs and communicate them to the web developers. She also oversaw the transfer of all content to the new site, re-writing and re-organizing much information. Julia also took responsibility for the then new – national electronic lecture series – the Forest on your Desktop. She developed and coordinated all aspects of our e-lectures, including deciding what themes to cover, scheduling speakers, communications with participants and post-production-archiving of audio-visual files. Julia also played a key role in the production of the Institute’s 100th anniversary DVD; assisting with content development and coordination of member interviews. She has written many articles for The Forestry Chronicle and national newsletters. She is currently pursuing a career with the Ontario Government. Julia’s energy and enthusiasm and resulting contributions to the Institute fit well with the purpose of the James M. Kitz 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 to encourage excellence in the forestry profession.


The Canadian Forestry Achievement Award recipient Gordon Prest with Executive Director John Pineau and President Peter Marshall.

This year’s recipient is Mr. Gordon Prest of Merritt, British Columbia. Gordon has contributed significantly to forest management, forest education, environmental awareness, and best practices in forestry. He has been at the forefront of forest education programs for the better part of his career. Gordon has positively influenced the evolution of sound forest management in BC through direct involvement in his role as a BC Ministry of Forests District Ranger and Operations Superintendent, where his passion for forestry and desire to do the right thing always guided his decision-making processes. Following his time with the government, Gordon started a second career as an educator at the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. We were fortunate to be able to borrow Gordon for a while to start the “First Nations Forestry Initiatives” office in the Faculty of Forestry, UBC in 1994. His teachings of inclusive gatherings, respectful acknowledgement, interest-based negotiations versus positional stances, and patience and persistence in the face of uncertainty have had a direct impact on the lives of many people. His personal dedication to recruiting a supportive community and family along with the best individuals into challenging land-based careers has helped make NVIT and UBC centers of success for Aboriginal forestry students.


Created in 1980, the Canadian Forestry Scientific Achievement Award recognizes unique and outstanding accomplishment in forestry research in Canada. Its objective is to encourage excellence in forest research.


Dr. Sally Aitken of the Department of Forest Sciences at the University of British Columbia, the 2009 recipient of the Canadian Forestry Scientific Achievement Award.

This year’s recipient is Dr. Sally Aitken of the Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia. Sally leads a forest genetics research program at UBC where she also teaches undergraduate and graduate programs. Her work is important to the sustainable practice of forestry in British Columbia, throughout Canada, and internationally. Sally established the Centre for Forest Conservation Genetics at the invitation of the BC Forest Genetics Council. There she leads studies into adaptation of forest-tree populations to local climate conditions and how tree species diversity is best managed for resilient future forests. Sally is also leading groundbreaking work in molecular and ecological genetics in Sitka spruce. Her team has identified candidate genes associated with local adaptation to climate. This work is a building block for researchers in plant biology around the world. Her research initiatives are aimed at improving sustainable forest management, focusing on the areas of forest resilience and forest conservation. The profession of forestry in Canada is well-served as a result of her contributions to forest science, research and education. As a result of Sally’s work, forest management decisions have the best available knowledge of predicted climate change and its effect on native tree species and their populations in BC.


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. The award exists to recognize outstanding accomplishments by teams or groups of natural resource managers, researchers, or non-government-organizations in the field for forest resource related activity in Canada.


Fraser Dunn and Jimm Fyles of the Sustainable Forest Management Network, recipient of the Canadian Forest Management Group Achievement Award.

This year’s recipient is the Sustainable Forest Management Network. The Sustainable Forest Management Network was established in 1995, bringing together a group of researchers from a wide range of disciplines, while working with many forest sector partners to explore the very foundations of sustainable forest management. Through rigorous scientific peer-reviewed research, Network researchers have discovered solutions to some of the most perplexing challenges facing Canada’s forests. Since its inception in 1995, the SFM Network has had a number of successes. For example, SFM Network research has influenced policy in several provinces and informed and directed the planning and practice of forest companies in several regions. As well, the SFM Network represents one of the few forums to bring Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal forest resource managers and policy makers around one table to promote dialogue and the development of a common understanding in a non-confrontational environment.

The SFM Network has made their research results accessible to their partners through their Knowledge Exchange and Technology Extension program. It is thanks to their great work that the forest sector has been able to make significant improvements to practice.


Established in 1988, the Institute’s International Forestry Achievement Award is intended to recognize unique and outstanding contributions or accomplishments 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.


Michel Vallee of the Vancouver Island Section, the 2009 recipient of the International Forestry Achievement Award.

This year’s recipient is Michel Vallee of Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo British Columbia. Michel has been teaching forest sciences at Vancouver Island University (formerly Malaspina University-College) since 1987. His abilities and enthusiasm are second to none in supporting international exchanges with students from foreign locations. Among other activities, Michel has been involved in the Canada-Europe Academic Mobility project, which allows for up to 70 Canadian students and 50 European students to travel to each other’s countries to study and gain an understanding of forestry practices. He has also been instrumental in the development, implementation and delivery of the Ghana Forestry Partnership, whereby Vancouver Island University directly partnered with two Ghanaian institutes in a five-year CIDA funded project aimed to help reduce poverty in central Ghana. Subsequently named the Ghana Canada Partnership for Environmental Education, the project aims to build capacity and develop knowledge transfer strategies to reduce plastic waste, foster HIV/AIDS awareness and education, improve drinking water quality, develop ecotourism, and reduce bushfires. Over the past three years faculty and students from Canada and Ghana have shared knowledge and skills, principally through faculty working visits to both countries and three-week field schools in Ghana. As the Institute rapidly moves forward with its Forests Without Borders Program, members like Michel, who bring enthusiasm and experience to international forestry, natural resources and community improvement will be key to its success.


The Institute’s 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.


The 2009 recipient of the Presidential Award is Ms. Bev Wilson of Edmonton, Alberta

This year’s recipient is Ms. Bev Wilson of Edmonton Alberta, and a member of Rocky Mountain Section as well as the College of Alberta Professional Foresters. Bev is very committed to the profession of forestry and to the Institute as demonstrated through her tireless volunteer efforts with both organizations. She has volunteered in several major capacities, as both a Councillor of the College and of the Institute’s Rocky Mountain Section. She chaired the Continuing Competency Committee of the College for several years. Some of the initiatives undertaken by the Competency Committee under Bev’s tenure included revising the Professional Examination and Study Guide readings, and examining and determining options for various alternatives for a Continuing Competence Program. Bev also led the coordination and delivery of Professional Development workshops while overseeing the Continuing Forestry Education Program. It should be noted that Rocky Mountain Section technical workshops are considered amongst the best that the Institute offers. It was through Bev’s work that significant changes were made to reporting mechanisms for professional foresters. She was dedicated to launching a program that would see the development and approval of seven guiding principles for continuing competence. Under Bev’s leadership, the committee also adopted a communication plan and web page devoted to continuing competency, with the necessary background information for successful implementation. As a member of the Professional Exam Subcommittee, Bev’s work ethic and dedication brought success to this groundbreaking endeavor. Bev currently works for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development as a Senior Resource Analyst in Forest Management Branch.



Eric Young, Section Director, representing the Newfoundland and Labrador Section, the 2009 recipient of the 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. There are currently 18 Sections that span the country, and they are truly the foundation and strength or the organization. The 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 has done just that through events, initiatives, activities and member recruitment that address the Institute’s strategic directions. The Newfoundland-Labrador Sectionhas effectively encouraged future forest practitioners, worked to maintain professional competency, contributed to the health of the Institute and facilitated communications and outreach. Newfoundland-Labrador is the Institute’s 2009 Section of the year.



Steve Henderson of the Cariboo Section receives his Tree of Life Award from Executive Director John Pineau and President Peter Marshall.

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 individuals have received Tree of Life Awards in 2009 in their Sections:

Nicolas Brzezinski, Orleans Section
Steve Henderson, Cariboo Section
Rod O’Connell, Maritime Section
Mike Trepanier, Cariboo Section
Herman van Duyn, Northwestern Ontario Section


Those individuals who are celebrating 50 years of membership in the Canadian Institute of Forestry are automatically inducted into the Golden Year Club. There are 10 members who have proudly reached this impressive milestone in 2009:

Denes Bajzak
John Harris
Stephen Homoky
J. Peter Jackson
Fred McDougall
David Oxley
William Pollock
Pieter Prins
Leo Sayn-Wittgenstein
Ralph Yanni