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 governments Alberta and BC. She is currently working as a Habitat Technician 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.

Photo credit: Steve Krysak

Dave Polster (Treasurer) Duncan, BC

david polster bio

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

K. Stewart (Director)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-barkerJennifer 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.

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, CERP (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.

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 (Director)

Jason Weiler (New Director) Calgary, AB

P.Biol, CERP

Jason is a restoration ecologist with more than eight years of professional experience working with non-profits, consulting firms and municipal and federal governments. He graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor’s degree in environment, resources and sustainability, and a specialized diploma in ecological restoration. Jason began his career conducting vegetation and wetland assessments in northeast Alberta, building a strong foundation in vegetative ecology. Now working in Calgary, Jason is excited by the unique challenges of executing ecological restoration in a highly urbanized setting.

He currently works within the Urban Conservation portfolio of the City of Calgary Parks business unit, where he manages several different restoration projects and is developing the City’s habitat restoration program and naturalization initiative. Due to the complexities of urban natural area management, Jason takes an innovative approach to restoration planning that combines aspects of landscape design with ecological restoration science and citizen-led stewardship.

Cassandra Timms (New Director) Edmonton, AB


M.A. Environmental Sociology

Western Canada Staff

Fraser Los (Media Coordinator)  AB

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