Western Canada Chapter Board of Directors 2017-2018
Darcy Henderson (Chair) 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.
Erin Roberts (Vice Chair) Vancouver, BC
Erin is a problem-solving ecologist with professional experience in consulting and local governments Calgary and Vancouver. She is currently working in environmental assessment with Parks Canada in Banff National Park. 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 sport climber, skier, and reasonably proficient pickler.
Photo credit: Steve Krysak
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.
Jennifer Barker, MSc, PBiol (Former Chair) 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.
Michael Keefer (Director) Cranbrook, BC
Michael is a senior results based environmental leader and visionary with extensive experience in a variety of areas including: ecological restoration and reclamation, environmental assessments, hydroelectric reservoir and transmission line restoration and assessments, First Nations traditional knowledge studies, managing large and complex environmental projects and other related works. Michael is able to work effectively in a wide variety of cultural settings that range from remote First Nations communities to that of formal urban environments. He is well known for his vast knowledge of the uses of native plants for ecological restoration and ethnoecology in western Canada. Along with his skills as a scientist he is also a talented entrepreneur with ambitious goals for environmentally, socially and economically sound businesses. Michael has been a director of SERBC since 2005 and in his role as President in 2014 helped lead the expansion of our organisation to SER Western Canada.
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
Living in Vancouver, Andy Owens is a Project Manager and Restoration Practitioner for the Urban Restoration division of Brinkman & Associates, based in New Westminster, BC. With over 8 years of experience conducting and managing both terrestrial and aquatic restoration projects throughout British Columbia and Alberta, he is interested in novel ecosystems, biomimetic design, successional processes on disturbed sites, and ameliorating soil health through mycorestoration and microbial inoculations. After completing his undergraduate degree through the University of Victoria in 2006, he’s continued with UVIC to pursue the Restoration of Natural Systems diploma and a Professional Specialization certificate in ecological restoration. He enjoys life. A lot.
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.
Julie Porter (Director) Pitt Meadows, BC
Julie has a technical diploma in Fish, Recreation and Wildlife and a B. Sc in Ecological Recreation from BCIT. She is currently an M.Sc student in Ecological Restoration through BCIT and SFU. Julie has previous experience working in West Coast Estuarine ecosystems and monitoring commercial fishing vessels dockside, tracking quota allotments. Julie’s current applied research project is at the Katzie Slough in Pitt Meadows, B.C, where she also lives. She will be making restoration recommendations on the slough’s water quality and riparian areas to bring back prime rearing habitat for Coho and Cutthroat salmon.
Julie has a passion for urban restoration of the aquatic variety. She believes restoration is achievable by working with communities, government and First Nations. In her spare time, she is chasing after her 3 young children, playing field hockey and dreaming of fresh clean 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.
Matthew Tutsch (Director) Vancouver, BC
B.Sc., MRM, RPF- Terrestrial Ecologist
Matthew works as a terrestrial ecologist for ENKON Environmental in Vancouver and is looking forward to working with others at SER who love restoration ecology. Matthew has a Masters degree from the Resource Environmental Management program at SFU specializing in forest disturbance ecology. He is also certified as a Registered Professional Forester. Most recently, Matthew has specialized in terrestrial impact assessment as well as planning and undertaking riparian ecosystem restoration projects.
Charlotte Adamson (New Director)
Western Canada Staff
Cassandra Copp (Media Coordinator since November 2015) Edmonton, AB
Cassandra graduated from Brock University in St. Catharines, ON in 2010 with an B.A in Communications, and from Niagara College in 2011 with a Post-Graduate Certificate in Event Management. She moved to Edmonton in 2011 to pursue work in the not-for-profit Sector. Since moving, she has also done independent contract work as a communications professional.
She recently completed her Master’s degree at the University of Alberta, exploring communication flows around natural resource extraction industries, specifically in relation to environmental policy and the public engagement process surrounding mine-site reclamation.
As the part time SER-WC Media Coordinator, she is actively working to make the SER-WC website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts a resource hub for everything restoration-related, and a venue for restorationists across the expansive area of Western Canada to connect, furthering restoration science and practice.
Please contact Cassandra if you have any suggestions or would like to share content for our website, social media, and e-newsletters.