Meet Our Executive & Board Of Directors

CIF-IFC National Executive

The CIF-IFC Executive (President, Vice President, 2nd Vice President and Past President) provides leadership to the CIF-IFC Board of Directors, and oversees CIF-IFC operations, major decision-making, needs and concerns.

LONI PIERCE
President

About Loni

Loni has proudly been a member of the CIF for over a decade. She started out as a student liaison for the Vancouver Island Section while in school to be a forest technician. In Ontario she became the secretary and then chair of the Central Ontario Section (COS). She has sat on various committees, including the National Awards Committee and the Forestry Chronicle Task Force, and worked diligently to take the National Conference to the COS prior to its cancellation due to COVID-19. In addition to her volunteering, she also worked at CIF headquarters in Mattawa where she observed and participated in the daily workings of the national office. After her internship completed, she was one of the first forest technicians hired under the newly created CIF-SEEK. During this time, she became aware that most parties (industry, academia, NGOs, Indigenous) want the same thing (sustainable forestry that provides value to stakeholders) but never seem to be speaking the same language. She completed a bachelor’s degree in professional communications as a way of positioning herself to bridge this gap. Outside of the CIF, Loni has spent most of her time working in the public service. She has been fortunate enough to work for Natural Resources Canada, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and BC’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development. As with many professionals in the sector, her career has comprised a series of contracts, extensions, and acting assignments. Loni has recently returned to Vancouver and is a new member of that section.
MARGARET SYMON
Vice President

About Margaret

Margaret Symon RPF is the manager / owner of a professional forestry consulting firm based in the Cowichan valley on Vancouver Island. Margaret has a background in industry, government, First Nations, and international work.

A proud member of the CIF-IFC since the start of her forestry career, Margaret initially joined the then very active Northern Vancouver Island Section (now disbanded) which, as part of its whirlwind of annual activities to promote forestry, enjoyed hosting multi-agency / multigenerational tree planting events in the rugged hills of northern Vancouver Island during National Forest Week. A big draw to those events was the gourmet picnic lunch meticulously prepared by and carefully delivered on site by Bill Dumont. As a silviculture rookie, Margaret enjoyed learning from, and sharing knowledge with other foresters on CIF-IFC site tours across the north island. Those experiences, combined with rewarding times volunteering with CIF-IFC members at fish hatcheries, science fairs, and at elementary schools, where CIF-IFC members distributed Christmas trees to classrooms of excited students, helped to create a strong camaraderie with foresters of all types – and sparked a special connection with the public – especially children.

After a brief interlude in Saskatchewan (notable were the field trips in the boreal forest with the CIF-IFC Saskatchewan Section), Margaret and family located to southeastern Vancouver Island, where, like the Saskatchewan Section, the Pacific Section provided all important vectors for knowledge sharing and networking.

For many years after returning to BC, Margaret enjoyed heading a group of enthusiastic forestry types who hosted highly popular National Forest Week Celebration Days (complete with helicopter tours, Mars bomber water drops, and raffles of logging truckloads of firewood). When the Vancouver Island Section was reinvigorated a few years ago, Margaret was pleased to join the Board to support a range of activities up and down the island, including a mentorship program with Vancouver Island University Forestry, Silver Ring ceremonies at two island institutions, National Forest Week events, fundraisers, and, in 2019, in collaboration with CIF-IFC National, a well-attended Indigenous Forestry forum.

As the only national forestry society, the CIF-CIF is fortunate to have strong roots in history. Key objectives of our organization: promotion and forestry education, stewardship of our forest resources, and mentorship – are essential to current programs and future initiatives. Giving back to the CIF-IFC is very important. We – the Board, National staff, and members across the country – have important work to do to increase resiliency of the CIF-IFC in response to pressing needs and changing times in forestry.

DEAN ASSINEWE
2nd Vice President

About Dean

First and foremost, I am a proud Ojibwe of the Sagamok Anishnawbek and the Robinson Huron Territory. I grew up on our family farm where I learned valuable lessons about taking care of livestock, gardening, and forest management. To advance the timeframe to a young adult, I graduated from the Sault College Forestry Technician Program and was awarded the Canadian Institute of Forestry’s (CIF) Gold Medal (class of 1998) for my academic achievements. I then attended Lakehead University and graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 2001. I became a member of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) in 2002 and have been a member in good standing for over 20 years, practicing as a Registered Professional Forester across different regions of Ontario.

My career pathway has been varied and diverse, and the many positions I have experienced created valuable learning opportunities that serve my career well, to this day. At the beginning of my career I worked for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to promote First Nation forestry initiatives in the far north of the province, in a program called the Northern Boreal Initiative. This program was implemented to create economic opportunities in the forest sector, which would be led by First Nations through community based land use planning. I later moved closer to my homeland to take on a forest management and operations position with the North Shore Tribal Council. This position taught me much about the key role of forest management and provided me with invaluable experience to learn from forest professionals in the Ontario government, federal government and from industry across the province.

In the 2008 economic downturn resulted in opportunities within the forest sector becoming scarce. I adapted well by starting a consulting career, taking on a contract as the Aboriginal Environmental Assessment Coordinator with Xeneca Power (small hydropower developer). Here I managed up to 18 projects in Northeastern Ontario. This fast paced atmosphere taught me much about Indigenous, federal provincial government and industry relations, and the processes involved in working within a multidisciplinary team of professionals.

Another early highlight of my consulting experience involved the work I completed as a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Auditor with SAI Global. Auditng work is very complex, and to be an auditor you must have a high level of experience with forest management planning, forest industry, Indigenous relations, networking, communication, and the ability to undertake research and use excellent judgement for the evaluation of a company’s compliance or non conformance to a certification standard that ultimately determines their success, failure, or documented areas requiring improvement.

Amongst my most valuable experiences as a professional forester, was the work I undertook with FPInnovations. I was part of a team of passionate researchers and industry advisors focusing on modernizing and improving forest operations and wood products manufacturing. For me, the scope of this work opened up a vast network of companies and Indigenous communities across various regions of Canada. As an Industry Advisor I promoted innovation including methods for increasing productivity and utilization of Canadian wood and fibre products for both domestic and global markets. Under extenuating COVID-related circumstances I was let go from FPInnovations, and restarted my consulting business again in 2020. At this time, I took on the role of Indigenous Opportunities Advisor at the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), where I now continue to promote relationship building with SFI certified companies and Indigenous communities across Canada (and to a lesser extent in the USA). This current work with SFI places me at the forefront of the sector, interacting with many leading forestry companies across Canada to promote sustainable forest management practices, Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and Indigenous relationship building. In this role I engage with Indigenous communities and companies to create youth employment and training through SFI’s sister organization, Project Learning Tree Canada.

Working as an independent consultant and project manager, I have also completed many individual projects with First Nation communities including developing a Forestry Economic Plan and Maple Syrup Woodlot Management Plan, along with other types of forest assessment work. As an example of forestry leadership, I sit as a board member of the First Nation owned and operated Black Diamond Forestry Company, where I participate in regular meetings to discuss strategy and identify opportunities for growth in forest harvesting. We are also currently exploring the opportunity for a venture into sawmilling/primary manufacturing and bioenergy business. This rewarding role brings together all of my knowledge and experience for the betterment of the company and the stakeholder community of Wahgoshig First Nation.

I am also very proud to share my knowledge and experiences, by taking every opportunity afforded me, to pass along what insight and wisdom I may have gained, by serving as a mentor with new professional registrants with the OPFA. I also continue to serve as a mentor with Project Learning Tree Canada Green Mentorship Program.

Family life is of the highest priority for me. I have been married for 20 years to Lynn, and together we are proud parents of our 17 year old daughter, Sierra and 14 year old son Talon. In 2018 we bought a 100 acre property near Bonfield, Ontario we call Green Legacy Farm. Through this investment we hope to create a wholesome lifestyle, and generate wealth through market gardening, poultry meat, egg production, beekeeping and maple syrup production. I am truly fortunate to share my love and passion of forestry with my family, and together we work as team to improve the condition of the forest, and build and maintain trails. It is not all work for the family, as there is plenty of time to pursue all the benefits of living out in the country. From a professional standpoint, the forested area is where I practice the skills and techniques I have learned over the years; more recently we invested in a sawmill to take our productivity and utilization to the next level.

Through this enjoyable decades-long journey, I have also recently come to be a member and supporter of the Ontario Woodlot Association (OWA); and through that relationship I have become more involved with other organizations including the CIF Algonquin Section, the Nipissing University Biology Class, the University of Toronto Masters of Forest Conservation Class and the Canadian Ecology Centre.

From a broader societal perspective, in recent years Canadians have had to recognize their own history with Indigenous People through the federal and provincial government’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Commission and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These commitments are being adopted by many companies and organizations as they seek ways to address the TRC report and the 94 Calls to Action to further reconciliation efforts. As a survivor of intergenerational trauma from the residential school system, I recognize the importance of these actions and I have worked on developing programs for companies to adopt policies and best management practices for addressing reconciliation efforts. I continue to work with industry stakeholders to increase participation and inclusion in forestry, so that all Canadians can benefit fully from the forest.

The above experiences are just a few of the highlights of my career and personal life, and I hope they provide evidence of my dedication to good leadership and effective teamwork, conducting myself with integrity, and having respect for the environment and for the many people in the broader forest sector. In conclusion, I sincerely hope to bring the absolute best of both my professional and life experiences to the CIF, for the advancement of the Institute, and the sustainability of Canada’s forests.

DOUG REID
Past President

About Doug

Doug has been an active member of the CIF since 2006, when he was warmly welcomed by the Northwestern Ontario Section as a new guy in town. Doug is the Boreal Silviculture Research Scientist at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research. His research work has covered a broad range of topics from tree physiology to caribou habitat interactions, and currently focuses on remote sensing approaches to monitoring regeneration and silviculture. Doug served as Chair and Director of his Section between 2010 and 2018 and has been an active member of the National Membership Committee since 2017, acting as co-chair with the current Past President for the last two years.

Doug’s involvement in the CIF, through organizing and participating in events and workshops, has allowed him to experience many informative and exciting interactions with other members of our profession from a wide range of backgrounds. These interactions are critical to developing professional and personal relationships within the local community of forest practitioners, as well as across Canada. Doug believes strongly in the Institute and has been happy to volunteer his time whenever opportunities arise to bring people together who have a shared interest in forestry and forest management.

Doug has also been fortunate to get to know many young professionals through his CIF involvement as they worked through their academic programs and moved on to challenging and exciting careers in forestry and forest science. These people are the future of our Institute, and now more than ever Doug is committed to working to improve how we connect with students and young professionals. They will be responsible for sustainably managing our Canadian forests for many years to come. Meaningful efforts to improve retention of current members and recruitment of new members are key priorities Doug plans to continue working on. Together, we will find new and better ways to provide meaningful value to forest practitioners from across the many disciplines involved in managing forests sustainably.

CIF-IFC Board Of Directors

The CIF-IFC Board of Directors consists of representatives from our 17 regional Sections from across the country, and one International Forestry Network. The Board of Directors provides guidance to the Executive and actively voices questions, ideas and concerns to address the needs of  both CIF-IFC members and the forest and natural resources sectors in Canada.

Vancouver Island

Director: Margaret Symon
Chair: Corey Mathieson

Vancouver – South Coast

Director: Peter Marshall
Chair: Sen Wang

Cariboo

Director: Stephanie Sundquist
Chair: Nate Atkinson

Thompson Okanagan

N/A

Klondike

N/A

Rocky Mountain

Director: Milton Davies
Chair: Lindsay Dent
Vice Chair: Brad Pinno

Saskatchewan

Director: Jessica Randall
Chair:
Amber Dereshkevich
Vice-Chair: April Lesko 

Manitoba

Chair: Brad Epp

Southern Ontario

Director: Terry Schwan

Ottawa Valley

Director: Jim Farrell
Chair: 
Ken Farr

Algonquin

Director: Brittany MacKenzie 
Chair:
Sionaid Eggett

Northeastern Ontario

Chair: Bob Elliott

Northwestern Ontario

Director: Brian Campbell
Chair: Ryan Wilkie

Lake of the Woods

Director: Janet Lane
Chair: Matt Corbett
Vice-Chair: Cole Wear

Orléans

Director/Chair: Anne Bernard
Vice-Chair: Janani Sivarajah

Maritimes

Director: Ed Czerwinski
Chair: Anne LeBrun Ruff

Newfoundland & Labrador

Chair: Chris Griffin
1st Vice-Chair: 
Colin Carroll

International Forestry Network

Director: Geraint Richards