2016 Award Recipients

The Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada 2016 National Awards Banquet took place on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia during our Annual General Meeting and Conference. Megan Smith, President of CIF/IFC, was the moderator of this long-running annual tradition.


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. The 2016 recipient was Dr. Gordon Weetman of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Gordon began his research career at Paprican in Montreal, and continued as a professor of Silviculture at the University of New Brunswick and UBC. He is a Past-President of the CIF and former editor of the Forestry Chronicle. In addition to preparing generations of undergraduates for careers as forest professionals, and graduate students for careers in research and teaching, Gordon was instrumental in the design and launch of the Silviculture Institute of British Columbia, and more recently, the UBC Master of Sustainable Forest Management program.


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. The 2016 recipient was Jessica Kaknevicius of Toronto, Ontario.

Jessica has played a critical role in coordinating, developing and leading a number high- profile forestry education programs within Forests Ontario for the last six years. By educating youth, teachers and the public, Jessica has dedicated her career to connecting people with their environment and potential futures in forestry – building the leaders who will help us grow smarter, healthier and greener forests, and sustainably manage Ontario’s most important natural resource for decades to come! Through community outreach and community tree plants, she has helped directly and indirectly in the planting of millions of trees in the province each year.


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. 2016 year saw two recipients: the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Forestry and CN Rail.

UBC is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the top 40 universities in the world. UBC was founded in 1908, and the Faculty of Forestry was authorized in 1915. Since then, thousands of forest professionals have graduated from UBC, going on to make major contributions to the development of the forest industry in the Province and Canada. Today’s Faculty of Forestry is the largest forestry school in Canada in terms of both number of students and number of faculty members, and has graduates working all over the world.

Over the last two decades, CN has made huge strides towards sustainability. Assessing issues such as corporate governance, risk management, climate change mitigation, supply chain standards, stakeholder engagement and labour practices, CN’s sustainability practices are based on economic, environmental and social performance. Since 2012, CN has initiated a number of tree planting and reforestation programs. Specific projects include: a rural reforestation project under the Mass Planting Program where 900,000 seedlings have been planted since 2013 with the purpose replacing trees the company uses for the replacement of railroad ties, and over 100,000 seedlings as a part of a program that recognizes clients of CN who exemplify the very best environmental practices. Since 2012, a total of over 1 million tree have been planted in all programs since 2012, contributing to the health and vigour of our forests.


The Institute recognizes individuals who have made innovative and outstanding achievements in forestry research in Canada. Recognition can be for developing new practices, processes, or techniques, or for demonstrating the practical applications of research in forestry. This award has the objective of encouraging innovation, exploration, application and excellence in forest research. The 2016 recipient was Dr. Phil Comeau of Alberta.

Over the past 30 years, Phil has engaged in forest science research focused on developing, testing and implementing innovating management options for boreal mixed wood forests. This has included studies examining short term growth responses, quantifying the nature and consequences of competition on tree growth, competition dynamics, medium and long-term stand growth, and impact of silviculture practices on plant community diversity. Over Phil’s career, he’s solved real-world problems with an innovative and multidisciplinary approach, providing scientific knowledge for the improvement of silviculture.


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. The 2016 recipient was Dr. El-Lakany from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since acquiring his B.SC in Agriculture and M.Sc. in Forestry from Alexandria University, Egypt, a Ph.D. in Forestry from the University of British Columbia, Canada and a D.Sc. honoris causa from Laval University, Quebec, Canada, Dr. El-Lakany has built a wealth of experience in international forestry. He was the Assistance Director-General of FAO/Head Forestry – head of the Forestry Department, overseeing all of the forestry activities of the United Nations. He championed the cause of ending global deforestation and promoting the restoration of degraded forest lands, utilizing his knowledge of Canadian forest management practices as a guide to accomplish this. This led to his active participation in the global negotiation of REDD and REDD++ well after his ‘official’ retirement.


The Canadian Institute of Forestry is very much a grass-roots organization; but with a national network and focus. We currently have 19 sections that span the country, and for the first time in the Institute’s history, an active International Section.   Our Sections are truly the foundation and strength of our organization. The Section of the Year Award recognizes outstanding activity, involvement and support of the Institute as a whole. The 2016 recipient was the Saskatchewan Section.


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 2016 Schlich Medal was Erin Deshong, UBC Faculty of Forestry student. Erin is one of UBC’s highest ranked students. She is also a graduate of the BCIT program and is the student representative for the CIF.


This was just the second year of the Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award. This award is endorsed by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and delivered in partnership by the Canadian Institute of Forestry, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, and the Duchy of Cornwall, and is sponsored by TD Bank. The Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award recognizes young forestry professionals in Canada and the United Kingdom who possess a dedication to sustainable forestry and the skills and aptitude to become our future forestry leaders. In 2016, four top students – two from Canada and two from the United Kingdom – were selected as the recipients of this award. Sarah Townson of Lakehead University and Clement Sofalne of Laval University were selected as the two Canadian winners amongst talented competition; and Nicholas Hill and Ellinor Dobie from Bangor University from the UK. All four recipients thrived in their placements and contributed to the practice of sustainable forestry.


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 our 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. The 2016 recipient of the J. Michael Waldram Memorial Model Forest Fellowship was Kristin Smart of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kristen is  a student of UBC’s Forest Resource Management program. At the end of her second year at UBC, a desire to learn more about Aboriginal communities in BC and Aboriginal Forestry compelled her to switch to the Forest Resource Management program at UBC. For the past three summers, Kristin has worked as a dispatcher and Dispatch Lead for BC Wildfire Service. Looking to the future, she hopes to use the skills she has developed in communications and knowledge gained in resource management to help find solutions to improve social relations, build trust and help foster successful land management arrangements between Indigenous nations and the provincial government of BC, in the Forestry Sector


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.

2016 recipients:

  • Bert Frampton – Newfoundland and Labrador Section
  • Gerald Guenkel – Southern Ontario Section
  • Rory Thompson – Rocky Mountain Section
  • Gordon B. Stenhouse – Rocky Mountain Section
  • Barry Northey – Rocky Mountain Section


During every annual Awards Banquet, the Institute recognizes those individuals who are celebrating 50 years of membership in the Institute. It is a privilege to induct these members into the Golden Year Club. We had six members who have proudly reached this impressive milestone in 2016:

  • Alan Vyse
  • David D. G. Bird
  • R. David Chown
  • Jack H. Smyth
  • Robert A. Richmond
  • Raymond A. Savola