September 2012: This season’s Acorn Award goes to Jennifer Psyllakis. Jen has ably seen GOERT through one of its most challenging times during the past year, acting not only as Chair of the Board, but also as Treasurer. She willingly took increasing amounts of personal and holiday time to handle the hiring of a new Executive Director, fill the gap created by the departure of the Financial Administrator, negotiate a possible office move, ensure financial stability for the society, plan and run Board meetings, and perform many other Board-related tasks.
Fellow director Jan Kirkby says, “Jen has been one of GOERT’s most dedicated members and directors, willingly taking on a myriad of duties and roles with an unfailingly positive attitude, even when she had a new baby in tow! An amazingly well-organized and hard-working person who does most of her GOERT work behind the scenes, Jen is a wildlife ecologist with the BC Ministry of Environment, and has served on the GOERT Team and Board since 2007. Jen has been a pleasure to work with, and although she is stepping down as Board Chair, we’re very happy that she has agreed to carry on as a Board member.”
Another fellow director, Adriane Pollard, says, “Jen is a great choice for an Acorn Award. I don’t know what we would have done over the past year without Jen’s leadership and commitment on the Board. She always finds the time to address matters, often in person. She stays current and has a handle on all the issues that are important to GOERT, no matter how small. Jen keeps us focused on the long-term goals and objectives of the Board while handling the day-to-day matters that pop up. I envy her energy!”
Jen grew up in Victoria and spent many hours playing at Uplands Park and climbing Garry Oak trees in her yard and the yards of friends. She attributes her passion for natural spaces and conservation to these experiences. “I left Victoria for many years, but always hoped that I would come back. At some point I realized that Garry Oak ecosystems are a big part of what gives me my sense of place and home here. I also believe that my opportunities to play in the natural spaces around Victoria are the foundation for my career in conservation science. Being a part of GOERT gives me an opportunity to give back tangible work that will contribute towards ensuring other people, of all ages, will have the opportunity to connect to Garry Oak ecosystems. In my ‘real’ job, it is easy to lose touch with my grass roots; from that perspective, GOERT keeps me grounded. Plus, it is so energizing to work with dedicated and passionate people. It is my pleasure to be in their company as a part of GOERT.”
Jen is currently the Acting Unit Head of Standards and Guidelines with the BC Ministry of Environment. She is a wildlife ecologist with expertise in the interface of forest and wildlife management, including endangered species research. Her job keeps her focused on the many natural resource sector issues affecting wildlife populations and species at risk.
Thanks Jen, for all you have done and continue to do for GOERT!