SER-WC Board of Directors 2019-2020
Erin Roberts (Chair) – Vancouver, BC
Erin is a problem-solving ecologist with professional experience in consulting and governments Alberta and BC. She is currently working as a Habitat Planner with the Canadian Wildlife Service, where she helps manage and restore federal protected areas for wildlife, migratory birds, and species at risk. Her roots were formed at the University of Waterloo in an interdisciplinary Environment and Business (BES) program – and she has since completed the Ecological Restoration MSc program from BCIT and SFU. For her graduate research, she investigated monitoring metrics in intertidal estuarine restoration, and is fascinated with the role of resilience and succession in ecosystems. Wetlands, watershed management and disturbance histories in Western Canada are her specialty, but she often finds herself learning and working in other ecosystems. It’s good to mix it up.
She’s excited about restoration because she believes it helps people better understand and appreciate the complexities of nature in a practical way. She’s also a rock climber, skier, and reasonably proficient pickler.
Zachary Moore (Vice Chair) – Pincher Creek, AB
Zachary is a developing environmental professional working with Nature Conservancy Canada as an Assistant Natural Area Manager, where he helps to coordinate conservation strategies for a large buffer zone surrounding Waterton Lakes National Park. After working on several population ecology research projects in and after his undergrad, Zachary discovered his interest in how ecological theory is taken and applied by biologists working on the ground. This led him to Niagara College and a graduate certificate in Ecosystem Restoration – the “ultimate test of ecological theory”. As the Vice President of their student SER chapter, Zachary organized several small restoration projects through the college. Through this work, he developed a fascination with the multitude of public, private, and non-profit organizations that exist to further similar environmentally based goals, and how they can be better connected. Since moving to Alberta, the SER’s goal of connecting restoration practitioners the world over to share their knowledge has become one of Zachary’s true passions. His other passions include bugs of all kinds, cooking (eating), working with kids, and board games.
Dave Polster (Treasurer) – Duncan, BC
Dave is a plant ecologist with over 35 years of experience in vegetation studies, reclamation and invasive species management. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. He has developed a wide variety of reclamation techniques for steep/unstable slopes as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats. He is the past-president of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association in and is a founding member of and is the treasurer for the Western Canada Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is the NW Regional Representative on the SER international board. He serves on the board of the Invasive Species Council of BC.
Katherine Stewart (Secretary) – Saskatoon, SK
Dr. Katherine Stewart is an Assistant Professor in the Soil Science Department at the University of Saskatchewan. As an expert in northern plant ecology and soil science she works primarily in northern Boreal and Arctic ecosystems.
Dr. Stewart conducts research investigating the restoration of plant communities and nutrient cycling processes in northern ecosystems to identify means of restoring sustainable pathways that promote long-term ecosystem health. She works with several industrial partners in northern Canada to develop soil amendments and identify local native plant-soil materials that can restore the fertility of impacted northern ecosystems and facilitate plant community development of desired seral stages.
June Pretzer (Director) – Victoria, BC
I’ve restored natural and not so natural areas for a very long time now and see incredible potential for integrating natural systems into urban, industrial, and agricultural areas. As our knowledge increases, the benefit of integrating restoration into anthropogenic systems is more obvious and needed. I have a Graduate Certificate in Project Management to run projects more efficiently with improved stakeholder engagement and more fundraising experience than I care to think about. I’m Chair of the Coastal Invasive Species Committee whose range is Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. I know a lot about invasive species identification, control, management, and legislation.
I strongly believe in the ability of just a few people to influence and direct change. As an organization of specialists with vast collective knowledge, SERWC provides the perfect home to expand our intellectual ecological landscape. We have so much more to do! Join us.
Andy Owens (Director) – Vancouver, BC
Andy has worked as Restoration Ecologist for Brinkman Restoration for the past 11 years, managing the design and implementation of terrestrial and aquatic restoration projects throughout Western Canada. His focus includes riparian and upland restoration, habitat enhancement in novel ecosystems, and restoration of soil health through microbial inoculations. Andy has a BA in Environmental Studies, Certificate in Restoration of Natural Systems and Professional Specialization Ecological Restoration. A Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP), Andy currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Society of Ecological Restoration for Western Canada and the CERP program certification committee for SER International.
Shane Byrne (Director) – Maple Ridge, BC
Shane Byrne is an ecologist focusing on aquatic restoration. Hailing from Maple Ridge BC, he has called the Fraser River valley home for his entire life. Being in such close proximity to a major river system provided the foundation for studying the environment and human impacts on natural systems. Shane received his BSc in applied biology from Simon Fraser University and is now working towards his MSc in Ecological Restoration from BCIT and SFU’s joint program. Ecological restoration provides an interdisciplinary approach to difficult problems and challenges practitioners to tackle projects with a scientific approach. Restoration project management is an area Shane hopes to progress into.
Throughout university Shane worked as a commercial salmon fisherman. This work experience drove his interest in restoring salmonid habitat and contributing back to a key component of BC’s environment, economy, and culture. Currently he is completing his applied research project on the Salmon River diversion dam on Vancouver Island. He will produce a restoration plan for infrastructure removal and to reintroduce salmon migration to the upper watershed.
Upon graduation Shane aims to restore streams, estuaries, and wetlands both at home and abroad. He is excited about the impacts he can have on restoring the environment and combating climate change. Outside of school Shane enjoys being active and exploring the outdoors both on land and by water.
Eric Balke (Director) – Burnaby, BC
Eric is the Coordinator of the BC South Coast Conservation Land Management Program (SCCLMP). He manages a portfolio of conservation lands that are managed/owned by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Ducks Unlimited Canada, The Nature Trust of BC, and Canadian Wildlife Service. The goal of the program is to use a collaborative approach to maximize the values and utility of these lands for the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, including species and ecosystems at risk.
Eric is an ecologist with a diverse multidisciplinary background. He graduated from the BCIT|SFU Ecological Restoration MSc program in 2017. For his masters research he collaborated on the Sturgeon Bank Marsh Recession Project to determine the cause of marsh recession along the Fraser River delta front in an effort to inform future restoration efforts. Eric completed his BSc in Biology at UBC in 2012 after completing several co-op work terms that had him living in a tent in Aldergrove Regional Park, BC and a beach palace in Saudi Arabia.
Mae Whyte (Director) – Fort St. John, BC
Mae works for Blueberry River First Nations as their Restoration Project Officer. She graduated from BCIT twice, completing the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation diploma program in 2017 and the Ecological Restoration BSc program in 2019. From 2017-2019, Mae served as the President of the Society for Ecological Restoration at BCIT. She is passionate about invasive species management, boreal forest restoration, freshwater ecology, and reciprocal restoration. When not working or volunteering, Mae is either curled up with a book or laughing at herself at the gym.
Rebecca Wilson (Director) – Saskatoon, SK
Rebecca is a registered professional biologist from British Columbia who recently relocated to the beautiful prairie province of Saskatchewan. Rebecca works for Stantec and has 9 years of experience in ecosystem management, wildlife biology, and environmental assessment and permitting. She is enthusiastic about field work and is skilled in planning and undertaking surveys for vegetation communities, terrestrial birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals in western Canada. Rebecca has a BSc in Forest Sciences from UBC and a MSc in Ecological Restoration from SFU/BCIT. She specialized in wildlife habitat management during both her academic programs and is passionate about using restoration as a tool for improving ecological communities for wildlife, particularly species at risk.
Keith MacCallum (Director) – Burnaby, BC
Keith didn’t stumble onto the field of ecological restoration until the last semester of his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science. Trying to make up for lost time, he completed the Niagara College graduate degree program a year later. A brief intermission in New Zealand convinced him to pursue the M.Sc. Ecological Restoration program at SFU/BCIT, which he completed in April 2019. His passions include his (occasionally flaming) bagpipes, dreaming of building a very unconventional house, and bringing people together to assist the recovery of ecosystems.
Alex Blais-Montpetit (Director) – Regina, SK
Alex is an Aquatic Habitat Protection Specialist with the Water Security Agency in Saskatchewan, where he leads the province’s aquatic habitat protection permitting process for the southwest region. Alex is involved in riparian and shoreline restoration projects with a wide range of stakeholders at different phases of a proposal from the pre-planning meetings, work design assessments, permit issuance, and field compliance inspections. He graduated with a Professional Specialization Certificate in Ecological Restoration from the University of Victoria, a Master of Environmental Management degree (MEnv) from the University of Sherbrooke and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Québec at Rimouski. Alex’s passions outside professional responsibilities are dedicated to rowing, cross-country skiing and exploring backcountry regions with friends.
Cassandra Timms (Director) – Edmonton, AB
M.A. Environmental Sociology
Charlotte Adamson (Director)
Darcy Henderson (Chair – 2017-2019) – Kelowna, BC
Darcy has 25 years of experience in the environmental field. He is Head of Protected Areas and Stewardship (Prairies) with the Canadian Wildlife Service, and Adjunct Professor with the University of Saskatchewan where he teaches PLSC 398.3 Environmental Restoration. His work with ecological restoration involves research, management and practical experience in prescribed burning, native seed collection, re-seeding disturbed sites, modifying grazing practices, controlling invasive alien plants, as well as survey design, monitoring, and assessment of species at risk populations, plant community diversity, soil salinity and organic matter, and health of wetlands, rangelands, and boreal forests. He has PhD and MSc degrees from the University of Alberta, a BSc from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Diploma in Resource Management from Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
Jennifer Barker (Chair – 2015-2017) – Calgary, AB
Jennifer is an Environmental Advisor for TransCanada, who supports a collaborative and integrated approach to landscape planning, restoration and reclamation. She collaborates with environmental planners, regulators, engineers and stakeholders, and throughout her career has contributed to a wide range of projects. These include local/regional environmental management plans, reclamation plans for oil sands/pipelines, and site specific landscape restoration/planting plans. As a member of the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists, she enjoys being a mentor for Biologists in Training. She joined the SER as a Director in November 2013 and her current focus is the expansion of the Western Canada membership.
Western Canada Staff
Fraser Los (Media Coordinator) AB
Please contact Fraser (email@example.com) if you have any suggestions or would like to share content for our website, social media, and e-newsletters.