Message from Leigh-Ann Fenwick, ED

Natural Resource Management in the 21st Century:

Natural resource management is changing.  Key change drivers include climate change, the effects of landscape-level disturbances such as wildfires, ecosystem resiliency and sustainability, community resiliency, species at risk such as caribou, and carbon management. Addressing these profound changes requires new ways of thinking, new knowledge and new research. The Bulkley Valley Research Centre (BVRC) is well positioned to mobilize people and research to help address our turbulent world of natural resource management. The BVRC's mission is to support research and collaborations to advance better stewardship of our natural resources. The BVRC also serves to ensure dissemination of information to the public.

Partnerships & Collaborations

The Centre plays a unique role in our region as a research bridging organization connecting natural resource management knowledge with communities, the public, First Nations, industry, government, and academia. By doing so, the BVRC creates the space for dialogue, learning, and adaptation. The BVRC also fosters partnerships and collaborations. These five core elements are needed for the fundamental paradigm shifts required for natural resource management in the 21st-century.

Over the coming weeks/months, I will be working with leading researchers and scientists locally and across the province/country on research project proposals and scientific forum proposals that address these core elements. If you can assist by providing or garnering funding, please let me know.

The Future

In closing, I leave you with recommendations from Richard Schneider, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, from his 2014 Adapting Biodiversity Management to Climate Change Report:

❝ In time, more substantive changes will need to be made to the system of conservation management, and land management in general, to accommodate climate change. The main challenge is to develop a system that embraces flexibility while safeguarding against activities that are inconsistent with the aims of conservation and actors seeking to avoid environmental regulation. The whole concept of accountability also needs to be reconsidered. We must be prepared to take risks in the context of adaptive management, and to accept that failures will sometimes occur, while somehow continuing to hold companies and government agencies accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take. It may be best to begin with pilot projects that can serve as laboratories for identifying and solving the many practical issues that must be dealt with. 

Featured Project: BC Coastal Cryosphere Conservation (A Preliminary Concept)

North America's mountain ice and snow fields are shrinking as a result of climate change, and the highest rates of reductions in ice volume are those closest to the Pacific ocean, especially in the BC mid coast area. These areas are in immediate need of recognition, study, and careful management, especially concerning the depletion of snow fields and glaciers as freshwater sources for a large proportion of BC. The ultimate goal is to make the best of a difficult situation using the power of collective knowledge and action.

A group of five individuals are in the process of developing this concept. The team is in the beginning phases of determining what has been done on this topic as well as what else needs to be done.


  • Determine what gaps there are in physical, environmental and social science, as well as human endeavor, related to glacial recession effects in the area of interest
  • Educate and provide information of the long term effects of glacial recession, in order to make wise decisions related to the environment, economies, and societies, as well as means of adapting to them.
  • Assist in organizing and facilitating collaborative efforts to understand and pro-actively resolve issues related to glacial recession

Why is this important?  

This project seeks to provide proactive improvement in our understanding of emerging issues related to glacial recession in relation to our environmental, economical, and social well being of the area.

In addition, the project leads hope to offer opportunities to evolve current monitoring and decision making systems in advance of significant glacial recession related effects to improve adaptive capabilities, and avoid regrettable knee jerk reactions to poorly understood, or un-anticipated changes.

Featured Member: Alana Clason, MSc, PhD

Alana has been associated with the BVRC since 2009, when she came to Smithers to pursue her MSc through the University of Alberta. Alana's work focused on whitebark pine resilience, following ongoing disturbance and mortality; she was supported by Dave Coates, and supervised by Sybille Haeussler and Ellen Macdonald, with the BVRC as an industrial sponsor. You can read the report here

In the winter of 2011, having completed her MSc and choosing to continue life in Smithers, Alana began her PhD at UNBC with Phil Burton and Eliot McIntire. It was during this time that she had her first daughter, Teslin, and defended her PhD in August 2017 – 8 months pregnant with her second child, Atty. You go girl!

For her PhD, Alana worked to understand the cause and consequence of whitebark pine’s northern range limit (which occurs in our area). She had the opportunity to explore amazing places, such as Willmore Wilderness, Jasper, the Robson Valley, and the mountains around Smithers, Fort St. James and beyond, on foot and by air, looking for, and counting whitebark pine. She spent (what seems like even longer) working on the models to understand the constraints to whitebark pine’s northern distribution, and forecasting range shifts under climate change.

Ongoing Work

Alana continues to be actively involved with the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada as a board member. They organize meetings, workshops, field trips, and help to promote whitebark pine recovery in Canada.

Alana is very grateful to the BVRC, the College, as well as the researchers and naturalists of the Bulkley Valley who supported her thoughout both degrees.

❝ I feel really lucky to have been able to be rooted in Smithers while training as a researcher. It would not have been possible to pursue my grad work here without the people and organizational support that I received.

My obsession with whitebark pine remains, but I’m looking forward to continuing to work more broadly on the ecology of mountain ecosystems under global change moving forward. ❞

Request for BVRC Award Nominations: New Deadline

The Irving Fox Award and the Jim Pojar Award recognize researchers, writers, activists, or organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to sustainability in northwest BC.

The Volunteer Distinction Award was created to commend an active and involved volunteer member of the Bulkley Valley Research Centre. 

Anyone can nominate candidates (you can even nominate yourself). Nominations for these awards are to be received no later than December 15th, 2018. This provides the awards commitee enough time to review nominations as well as extend an invitation to the awardees to attend our AGM in person and receive their award.

You're Invited: Members Social & Showcase!

Mark your calendars! We are hosting our holiday social, exlusive to members only. There are two parts to this evening (in addition to socializing, celebrating, and networking, of course!)

1. Three minute Project Showcase - or Pay Up! 

We are planning to host three minute project presentations. The twist: strict monetary penalties for going over time! After three minutes, a $20/minute fee is applied. Any money raised will be donated to the Pacific Northwest Regional Science Fair Awards.

For those interested in the challenge and presenting their projects, please RSVP by sending us an email and we will add you to the agenda. 

2. Field Equipment Auction

The BVRC will be auctioning off research and field equipment. Come ready to bid! 

When: Thursday December 6th, 2018

Where: The Old Church - Smithers, BC

Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm

This will be a Potluck & feel free to BYOB!

SORTIE-ND Postdoctoral Research Associate Position

The BVRC is looking for a postdoctoral research associate, to be based out of Smithers, BC, starting in early 2019. The length of the position is 1 year with a possible extension to 2 years.

The Bulkley Valley Research Centre (in collaboration with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development) has a research programme to apply knowledge of forest stand dynamics to high priority natural resource management issues in British Columbia.

The spatially explicit model of forest dynamics, SORTIE-ND, has been used to integrate forest science knowledge and make future projections of different management and natural disturbance scenarios. To apply SORTIE as a tool in more ecosystems in BC, particularly to ecosystems with caribou habitat (SBPS and ESSF), we need a post-doc to develop methods, using Bayesian statistics and primarily existing data, to efficiently re-parameterize the model.

Deadline: November 23rd, 2018

To read more about the position, necessary qualifications, and how to apply, visit our website

Work Opportunity: Whitebark Pine Seed Extraction

This is a casual work opportunity for BVRC Members & Family Members.

Whitebark Pine Seed Extraction:

This work involves manually removing seeds from whitebark pine cones. The work is repetitive and requires attention to detail, but is not strenuous.

When: Starting Tuesday November 13th, 2018

Where: 3rd floor, Nora Government Building

Hours:  Flexible, between 9:00am - 4:30pm

Pay: $20/hour

Contact: | 250.643.9054 (cell)

Learn more about whitebark pine.

Funding Opportunity: FESBC

The priorities for proposal submissions are as follows:

Intake 5A: Carbon Emissions Reduction – Fibre Utilization

  • Proposals resulting in residual fibre utilization

Intake 5B: Wildfire Risk Reduction and Other

  • Priority is for proposals focused on Wildfire Risk Reduction Treatments
  • Proposals for other FESBC purposes may be considered depending on availability of funding

All proposals must be consistent with Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) Integrated Investment Plan Priorities.

Deadline: Project proposals starts on October 1st, 2018 and remains open until November 30th, 2018.

For more information and to view the application guide, visit the FESBC website

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