Recovery Implementation Group (RIG) members do the groundwork of the recovery team. Some are scientists who specialize in the endangered plants and animals associated with Garry oak ecosystems, some are ecologists, some work in their community land trusts, and some work for government agencies. There are dozens of people involved in seven RIGs.
Explore some of our member bios below.
(Additional bios will be added as capacity permits.)
Trudy Chatwin is currently the Rare and Endangered Species Biologist for the Ministry of Environment in Nanaimo, B.C. As chair of our Vertebrates at Risk RIG, she is a key player in the Bring Back the Bluebirds project. Her personal interest in protection of Garry oak ecosystems perhaps stems from being born and raised in a Garry oak woodland, alive with camas, shooting stars, fawn lilies, oaks, birds and snakes. She studied Wildland Recreation and Resource Management at Selkirk College in Castlegar and later completed a degree in Biology at the University of Victoria. Trudy is enthusiastic about learning about and protecting most aspects of our natural world.
250-387-9611 | Brenda.Costanzo@gov.bc.ca
Brenda is the Senior Vegetation Specialist with the BC Ministry of Environment. She has been involved with GOERT since the initiation of the Recovery Team, and was co-chair of the Plants at Risk RIG from 2004-2009. She is chair of the Restoration & Management RIG, and co-authored (with Fred Hook) the Native Plant Propagation and Supply chapter in Restoring British Columbia's Garry Oak Ecosystems: Principles and Practices.
Brenda has a M.Sc. in Biology and her background is in plant taxonomy, native plant identification, herbaria curation, and native plant gardening. She is co-author with April Pettinger of Native Plants in the Coastal Garden: A Guide for Gardeners in the Pacific Northwest published in 2002. Over the years she has taught many native plant gardening courses and presented numerous public talks on gardening with native plants. As well, she designed and installed the first phase of the native plant garden at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary in 1985. Her first love has always been gardening, and she is currently working on her yard to integrate native plants into the landscape, including Garry oaks and associated species. Brenda was given an Acorn Award in 2011 for her outstanding contributions to the cause.
Out of his involvement with the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society (GOMPS), Hal became of the original members of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team in 2001. His interests range from nature observation and photography to conservation, land use and park planning.
Hal graduated in biology in 1956 with a further 2 years of graduate studies in wildlife management at UBC. He was employed as a biologist by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 1959, followed by a number of resource management supervisory positions in the field and head-office. Hal served as supervisor of environmental planning for the Ontario Parks Branch from 1969 to 1976 and also directed the design and implementation of the Ontario Nature Reserve system. He then spent a short period as an environmental supervisor in private industry in a head office in Toronto, followed by a stint as the supervisor of wildlife management for the Northwest Territories before returning to Ontario as a supervisor until retirement.
Since retiring in 1993 and moving to Victoria, he has become a director of the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society, (past) Director of the Friends of Mount Douglas Park, a member of the Victoria Natural History Society, and a member of the Garry Oak Restoration Project (GORP) steering committee. He is currently participating with Victoria Parks on a Parks Master Plan Steering Committee and has been active with the Oak Bay Green Committee.
250-361-0621 | email@example.com
Michelle works for City of Victoria Parks as the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordinator, and she co-chairs the Municipal Committee of the BC Plant Protection Advisory Council. She enjoys giving plant diagnostic workshops to Master Gardeners and other horticultural groups as time permits. Michelle’s training is in plant protection — particularly in finding environmentally sensitive solutions to plant insect and disease problems.
Michelle says, “There is nothing that I enjoy more than working with others of like mind towards protecting endangered ecosystems and their inhabitants.” Michelle was presented with an Acorn Award in 2013 for her many contributions to the cause. Read more.
604-222-6759 | Jennifer.Heron@gov.bc.ca
Currently, Jennifer is working on a long-term butterfly monitoring program in the southern Gulf Islands, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, along with habitat restoration for Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies in Helliwell Provincial Park, Hornby Island. Jennifer’s interests include invertebrate public education, music, jogging, and hiking.
Chris joined GOERT in 2002. With the Team, he mainly focuses on outreach and habitat rejuvenation initiatives, such as the Back to Our Roots Gardening for Nature Project and the Taylor#s Checkerspot Butterfly Habitat Recovery Project Team. As a contractor, Chris coordinates the volunteer habitat restoration program for the Town of View Royal. He also enjoys introducing tour groups to Vancouver Island’s wonderful natural and cultural heritage.
You may also see Chris on a trail, in a kayak, on a Disabled Sailing Association sailboat, or hanging around the horses at the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association. He also likes to play Celtic music, take pictures, read occasionally, and put more native plants in his yard.
Jan is a landscape ecologist who has worked with Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service and the BC Conservation Data Centre, Ministry of Environment. She provides scientific support to facilitate and encourage sustainable, ecosystem-based land use decisions. She works with federal, provincial, regional, and local government staff as well as non-government organizations and individuals, often in multi-agency partnership projects. She has been a member of the GOERT Conservation Planning and Site Protection RIG since its inception.
Says Jan: “It’s been very rewarding to be part of a multi-agency initiative that is focused on conserving of one of our most endangered ecosystems. By providing the scientific context and rationale for protection of Garry oak ecosystems to land users and decision makers, the RIG is promoting and achieving tangible conservation results on the ground.” Jan was presented with a coveted Acorn Award at GOERT's AGM 2011.
250-363-6066 | firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to all his work with GOERT, Mike is a member of the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society (GOMPS) and President of the Thetis Park Nature Sanctuary Association. His interests are tree and forest genetics, and Garry oak genetic variation and growth. Mike recently conducted a serendipitous study of Garry oak basal area/age relationship and seedling growth rate.
Mike was presented with an Acorn Award in May 2010 for his outstanding contributions to Garry oak ecosystems recovery. Read more about Mike and his award here.
(250) 475-5494, ext. 3408 | Thomas.email@example.com
Thomas has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from University of Waterloo, and a Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma and Masters of Science degree from University of Victoria. He worked with First Nations in the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, and Colombia, South America for more than 20 years. He specialized in assessing development impacts on First Nations traditional lands, ethno-botanical field studies, traditional use and archaeological research, environmental impact assessment, photopoint monitoring, and vegetation inventory.
Thomas worked for the City of Victoria Parks Department for almost 10 years, in protection of rare plant Species at Risk, preparing natural areas management plans and restoration plans, doing invasive plant removal, plant propagation and site re-vegetation, and various restoration activities. He is now employed as a Senior Environmental Planner for the nearby District of Saanich, where he is focused on reviewing development applications through the lens of environmental protection, and developing a biodiversity strategy for protection of Garry Oak ecosystems in Saanich.
He is part of a Canadian-Colombian family, with two girls, all nature lovers. Outside of Saanich work, Thomas does volunteer restoration work, gardening, berry picking, hiking, and choir singing.
(250) 478-5140 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Aimee works for Parks Canada's species at risk team as the project manager for Garry oak ecosystem restoration and species at risk recovery at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. Restoration efforts at Fort Rodd Hill focus on species at risk and invasive species research and management and propagation of native species for planting in our restoration sites. Much of the work is accomplished through the hard work of co-op students and dedicated volunteers. Two new projects underway are the development of a native plant demonstration garden, and the restoration of a 1 acre area of the historic site to a Garry oak woodland, rocky outcrop and meadow mosaic. Aimee is greatly enjoying the challenge of learning how to propagate native species in the small native plant nursery at Fort Rodd Hill and in her garden at home.
Adriane Pollard has represented the District of Saanich on GOERT since 1999 and has contributed on the GOERT Society Board and as Chair of the Conservation Planning and Site Protection RIG. Adriane has been the Manager of Environmental Services for the District of Saanich for 20 years after a career as a consulting ecologist specializing in wetland evaluation and ecosystem mapping. Her main areas of expertise are environmental policy and planning, urban ecology, and impact assessment. Adriane has a Master’s degree in Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Management from Monash University (Australia) and is a professional member of both the Canadian Institute of Planners and the College of Applied Biology of British Columbia.
250-746 8052 | email@example.com (attn: Dave Polster)
Dave Polster serves on all three committees of the Restoration RIG: He is on the Native Plant Propagation and the Fire & Stand Dynamics Sub-committees, and co-chairs the Invasive Species Sub-committee. He has an amazing ability to be in several places at once, working to restore Garry oak habitat at Somenos Garry Oak Preserve and Mt. Tzuhalem Ecological Reserve near Duncan, while simultaneously directing mine reclamation in far-flung places and dropping by to give advice on small-scale restoration projects. His interests are invasive species, restoration, soil bioengineering and natural history. Dave was given an Acorn Award in 2009 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to Garry oak ecosystems recovery.
250-363-8560 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Reader graduated with a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Management in 1984 and has worked for the Parks Canada Agency for more than eighteen years. Brian served as the Chair of the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team for many years and currently works for Parks Canada as a Species at Risk Ecologist. Brian maintains an active role in restoration and species at risk recovery through various Garry oak ecosystem field projects in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. He also chairs the Seaside Centipede Lichen Recovery Team, serves on the Killer Whale Recovery Team and is a Director of the Invasive Plant Council of British Columbia.
Conan has spent more than seventeen years working with species at risk and ecosystem restoration in Garry oak and associated ecosystems. Including Garry oak restoration projects with Parks Canada, preparing federal recovery strategies for various Garry oak species at risk, and COSEWIC status reports. Before joining the recovery team Conan earned a BSc at the University of Victoria.
His other interests include connecting with nature through outdoor activities of all types, photography, naturescaping, and fruit and vegetable gardening.