Who are we?
We are governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of individuals representing the forest industry, the K-12 education system, post secondary education, conservation and related forestry associations. Board members volunteer their time for all aspects of tour promotion, development and operations. We do not have a general membership. Our goal is to provide teachers with the opportunity to participate in balanced and interactive forest education tours.
Provide professional development tours at no cost to teachers or their schools.
Provide teachers with information and materials that can be taken back into the classroom and used to enhance teaching, extending the information to their students and colleagues.
Encourage as many individuals from differing perspectives and backgrounds as possible to volunteer their time and share their knowledge with the teachers and other presenters.
Promote sound forest resource stewardship in all activities.
Facilitate public access to forested areas with a goal of observing the complexities of forest resources management.
Present scientific principals and theory as it relates to the forest ecosystem (both the biotic and abiotic components of the natural system).
Introducing our Board of Directors
Brenda is the Manager of Public Affairs for Paper Excellence. Brenda has more than 12 years of forestry communications experience. She has worked for the Association of BC Forest Professionals—the professionals who manage the forests, the Truck Loggers Association—the logging contractors who harvest the trees, and Interfor—the world’s fourth largest lumber manufacturing company. While Brenda is not a teacher, she comes from a teaching family. Her grandpa and mother both taught and her brother and sister-in-law currently teach in Surrey and Coquitlam.
Brenda has served on the board since 2009.
Sandy is a partner in Wood N Frog Communications - publishers of the Tree Frog Forestry News. She has worked in forest industry communications for over 25 years, including communications and recruitment for the UBC Faculty of Forestry, Director of Communications for the Wood Manufacturing Council and the Truck Loggers Association. Sandy has forestry degree from UBC and is an honourary member of the Association of BC Forest Professionals. Sandy is an active volunteer in the area of forest education in BC.
Sandy has served on the board since 2003.
Russ Paton has been involved in forestry camps since he was a youth. He started off as a camper at Evans Lake (Squamish). This led to becoming a Junior Forest Warden, and later, a camp counsellor. In the past 20 years, he has served as camp director and member of the board of directors at Evans Lake. He has participated in numerous FoF tours, including hosting a group at Evans Lake as part of the Sunshine Coast tour and assisting in organizing and attending a forest tour through Squamish. Today he manages the Silver Lake Forestry Centre.
Russ has served on the board since 2018.
Steve is a registered professional forester and has worked in the forest sector for over 25 years. In addition to his time in the forest, he was hired to do forest education outreach on behalf of the UBC Faculty of Forestry and moved on to work in forest health and drinking water protection for the government of BC. Steve is a proud father of two young outdoorsy girls, and currently works for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development specializing in the development of provincial forest policy and supporting the administration of forest tenure agreements.
Steve has served on the board since 2003.
Fred has taught on Vancouver Island since 1989. He is retired full- time teacher who still works on-call. Fred worked on the design of SD 85's Forestry Academy. He has been a member of the Vancouver Island North Woodlands Advisory Group since it started. Fred and Eleanora, his wife, raised three boys in Port Hardy, and are actively involved in their community. Fred was recently elected to the District of Port Hardy Municipal Council. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg and completed his teacher training and library education at the University of Victoria. He holds a Masters in Curriculum and Leadership from Gonzaga University.
Fred has served on the board since 2015.
Jason is the Managing Director for the UBC Centre for Advanced Wood Processing (CAWP). He was born and raised in Vancouver where his passion for the wood products industry started at very young age as he helped at his father’s cabinet business and continued through woodworking classes in school. This led him to UBC Forestry where he completed his Bachelors of Science in Wood Products Processing. He worked for several years in the industry prior to joining UBC working as a technical specialist, specializing in process optimization, quality control, and product development. He has worked on a myriad of projects throughout the forest products value chain from value-adding logging waste to developing high-end millwork to windows and doors. Jason enjoys hiking with his family and exploring this beautiful province we call home and continues to instill the beauty and value of this wonderful sustainable resource to his three children.
Jason has served on the board since 2020
Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Victoria Farahbakhchian has her Master of Science in Ecological Restoration and Bachelor of Science in Biology. Victoria’s background in science, restoration, and children’s programming has led her to become the Education Coordinator at the UBC Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge. At the forest, Victoria has created outdoor educational programs that allow guests the opportunity to learn about their local environment in a unique and interactive way. Victoria feels that protection of the environment starts with a basic understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Victoria is interested in old-growth forest ecology, protection of endangered species and ecosystems, and riparian restoration.
Victoria has served on the board since 2020
Rob Van Buskirk
Rob Van Buskirk is the resident forester for the Faculty of Forestry's Malcolm Knapp Research Forest in Maple Ridge and Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake where he is also serving as the acting manager. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and is a Registered Professional Forester. Rob has over a decade of experience working across the forest industry supply chain. In his previous roles, Rob has overseen: forest planning and operations, landscape-level planning, sawmill and forest residual fibre supply procurement, and quality control. More recently, Rob served in sawmill management roles in the Central Interior.
Rob has served on the board since 2020