2019-2020 Board of Directors
Our directors come from varied walks of life and professional backgrounds. Each member contributes a broad range of skills, knowledge, and perspectives to the GCC, its programs, and its strategic direction.
Bob Haywood Farmer, Chair
Bob Haywood-Farmer and his cousin own and operate Indian Gardens Ranch, a cattle ranch in the Thompson Nicola Region. His family has been ranching in Savona, BC for almost 100 years; the fourth generation will be keeping it in the family when Bob is ready to retire.
Bob is a member of the Interior Panel for the Agriculture Land Commission, the BC Cattlemen’s Association, and the BC Livestock Association. He represents the BCCA on the Canadian Intermountain Venture, bringing an important voice to the organization’s projects.
The late Dr. Bert Brink, conservationist and UBC professor, is credited with Bob’s passion for preserving this threatened ecosystem. “Dr. Brink was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about BC grasslands,” stated Bob, “that it was hard not to be interested.” He is dismayed with the many pressures driving the loss of grasslands. These threats include the fracturing of large lots into small holdings that result in a “mosaic of hobby farms”; and the lack of species diversity when clear-cut areas are re-vegetated.
Bob’s work as a director of GCC will include an emphasis on public engagement and education, as he feels policy change begins on the ground.
Dr. Lauchlan Fraser, Vice Chair
Dr. Lauchlan Fraser’s expertise is in grassland and wetland ecosystems, with a focus on ecosystem reclamation, biodiversity, range management, climate change, and food web theory. He is the Associate Editor of two academic journals (Applied Vegetation Science and Plant Ecology) and chair of HerbDivNet, an international network of over 60 scientists united to explore the drivers controlling herbaceous plant diversity.
Lauchlan recently received $2.5 million to establish the new Centre for Ecosystem Reclamation at the Thompson Rivers University.
As well, he is the NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Ecosystem Reclamation at TRU.
Dr. Fraser earned his PhD in Plant Ecology at the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, England. He is a community and ecosystem ecologist. Since 2009, Dr. Fraser has been a full professor in the Department of Natural Resource Science, Department of Biological Sciences at Thompson Rivers University.
Laughlan’s education and interests are well aligned with the Grasslands Council of BC mandate; his research covers plant ecology as well as applied science for land management. His general research interests include:
- Grassland and wetland ecosystems
- Ecosystem reclamation
- Climate change
- Range management
- Food web theory
Mike Dedels, Treasurer
Mike has had a long career working in the grasslands around Kamloops as a Range Agrologist with the Ministry of Forests in its various incarnations.
After graduating from UBC in 1983, and three summers in noxious weed control, he worked in wholesale and retail sales until starting in Range in 1990.
He has enjoyed working from the driest parts of the country around Ashcroft to the alpine meadows of the Robson Valley, and especially working with ranchers on the ground.
Implementing the Kamloops LRMP in the grasslands of the Tunkwa Lake area brought some of his greatest challenges and rewards.
Mike has also worked with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and the Ministry of Agriculture, and he is currently the Wildfire Invasive Plant Management Coordinator with the Thompson Nicola Regional District. He is responsible for a 3-year project to prevent and control weeds in the area impacted by the 192,000 ha Elephant Hill wildfire in 2017 near Cache Creek.
He is a long-time member of the GCC and is passionate about its role. A proud moment was having his picture on the front page of the Kamloops Daily News talking about “coniferous weeds” taking over grasslands.
Peter Jones, Secretary
Peter is a consultant with over 40 years’ experience promoting the wise stewardship of land and natural resources in British Columbia.
While working for the provincial government, Peter received Premier’s Awards for leading initiatives to improve the involvement of First Nations in resource management, preparing for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and for leading the development of the Sea-to-Sky LRMP, which received a Sustainability Award from the Fraser Basin Council in 2009.
Peter was raised on a poultry farm in the Fraser Valley and developed a special interest in grasslands while working with Ducks Unlimited Canada in the Cariboo, Thompson-Okanagan, and Kootenay regions. Peter has a geography degree and a diploma in forestry.
Greg Anderson, Director
Greg is a forester with a long-time interest in the ecological relationship between native grasslands, open forests, and historic fire regimes.
As a manager with the BC Forest Service, Greg initiated and led the Rocky Mountain Trench Ecosystem Restoration program from 1996-2006, and he was the inaugural Chair of the BC Prescribed Fire Council. In 2006, he became BC’s first Provincial Ecosystem Restoration Manager, and he was nominated for the BC Forests Excellence Award in Forest Management in both 2009 and 2010.
After retiring from the Government of BC, Greg became the first Executive Director of the Forest Enhancement Society of British Columbia (FESBC) in 2016. The FESBC received an initial endowment of $235 million in 2016-17 to improve the management of forests and natural resources.
Currently, Greg is a member of the Board of Directors of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, which provides over $7 million annually for conservation projects across BC, and he is the Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee of the Columbia Basin Trust. Locally, Greg is serving a third term as a Town Councillor for the District of Invermere and he is a former four-term School Board Trustee.
Eleanor Bassett, Director
100 Mile House
Eleanor is a rangeland research ecologist with the Government of BC and is currently investigating post-wildfire plant ecology in the Cariboo. She conducts applied research to support science-based decision-making on the integrated management of range, forest, and wildlife resources. In 2009 she received a NSERC scholarship while at Thompson Rivers University to fund her graduate research on the Lac du Bois grasslands near Kamloops.
Eleanor has a special interest in education and public engagement. She was the Education Coordinator at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre in Vernon for 3 years, and she has published scientific reports and developed educational materials. She has leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector as past member of the Board of Directors of BC Institute of Agrologists (Okanagan Chapter) and the Food Action Society of the North Okanagan.
Eleanor has roots in agriculture as well. She has operated a small farm business in the Okanagan, and she has worked as a volunteer on farms in Turkey and Central America.
David Borth, Director
David comes from a ranching background in Vanderhoof and now lives in Kamloops, where he gets out on the land as much as he can. He is currently the Executive Director for wildfire recovery with Emergency Management BC.
David has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Sciences from the University of British Columbia, with a major in Agricultural Economics and a minor in Range Management. He maintains his credentials by participating in several natural resource-based organizations, including the Invasive Species Council and the Society for Range Management, where he plays leadership roles.
David is passionate about the valuable contributions that rural communities and people make to this beautiful province, and he strongly believes in the part that not-for-profit organizations like the GCC play in protecting the values associated with grasslands.
Bob Gray, Director
Bob is a fire ecologist with over 30 years of experience in studying wildfires in dry forests and grasslands throughout North America. He has extensive experience in using prescribed fire to restore grassland ecosystems and to reduce the risk of wildfires, and he has been a qualified burn boss in Canada and the United States since 1995.
Bob was a member of the team that prepared the recommendations in the Firestorm 2003 report, after wildfires in Kelowna during the summer of 2003 forced the evacuation of 45,000 people. Bob has published many scientific and technical reports, and he is a highly respected speaker at conferences and public events.
Bob has worked with the Ktunaxa Nation, Nicola Tribal Association, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon, Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation in Washington, and the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona on projects to restore dry forest and grassland ecosystems.
Climate change, and subsequent alterations in the magnitude and severity of natural disturbance, are predicted to have a significant impact on BC’s terrestrial ecosystems in decades to come. Bob has dedicated his career to addressing these impacts and improving landscape resilience.
Agnes Jackson, Director
Agnes is a third generation cattle rancher, and she was born and raised in the grasslands of the Interior of British Columbia. Agnes and her husband, Roy, owned and operated Napier Lake Ranch for 40 years and she learnt first-hand about the importance of healthy grasslands and the role the rancher plays in their stewardship and sustainability. In 2015, the Jackson family partnered with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to protect more than 1000 hectares of grasslands at Napier Lake.
Agnes has extensive experience in leadership roles in organizations concerned with agriculture and the environment. She was the Chair of the BC Cattlemen’s Association (BCCA) from 2002-2004, Chair of the BCCA Environment Stewardship Committee, and the BCCA representative on the Agriculture Protection Committee. She was also on the Vancouver Foundation Advisory Council from 2009-2014, and received a Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her work for the environment.
Agnes was a member of the inaugural Board of Directors of the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia in 2000 and she was Chair from 2013-2015. She continues to serve on the Board to foster greater understanding and appreciation for the ecological, social, and economic importance of grasslands throughout BC.
Dennis Lloyd, Director
Dennis is a research ecologist with over 30 years of experience with the BC Forest Service. He played a key role in developing the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) and in using it to map the former Kamloops Forest Region. He published field guides and maps, and spent countless hours training natural resource managers and university students about BEC principles and their application.
During his time with the BC Forest Service, Dennis contributed to numerous silviculture projects aimed at improving forest regeneration and our understanding of plant succession following timber harvesting. In the 1990s Dennis co-authored the field guide, Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia, and he was the Chair of a multi-disciplinary technical team that contributed to the protected area strategy in the Kamloops, Okanagan-Shuswap, and Lillooet Land and Resource Management Plans.
Dennis was a co-founding member of the Grassland Conservation Council of British Columbia in 1999 and served on the inaugural Board of Directors until 2007. He recently returned to the Board of Directors and is a key contributor to the Priority Grasslands Initiative and the development of management plans for the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grassland Interpretative Site.
Mandy Ross, Director
Mandy is a plant ecologist specializing in habitat assessments and ecological monitoring. She has recently completed contracts for the BC Conservation Foundation, BC Parks, and forestry consultants based in Kamloops. Mandy developed a special interest in grasslands while completing graduate research on the Lac du Bois grasslands in 2016 at Thompson Rivers University.
Before moving west in 2007, she was a forest technician with the Grand River Conservation Authority in Ontario while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. During this time, she also completed volunteer work in Nepal, Bolivia, and Guatemala.
Mandy has a passion for public education and outreach. She has been the WildSafeBC Community Coordinator for the Thompson-Nicola region and a leader of NatureKids BC activities. This has involved coordinating public events, preparing communication materials, media liaison, and making presentations in schools and to public groups.
Mandy enjoys as much camping, biking, hiking, skiing, and rock climbing as her young family will allow. She appreciates the beauty and importance of grassland landscapes and has spent many hours observing these unique ecosystems.
Bob Peart, Honorary Board Member
Bob has been a biologist and environmental educator for nearly 40 years, living in Victoria since the early 1980s.
After working in a variety of senior roles in government and environmental organizations, he is currently semi-retired/self-employed.
Bob has been involved in temperate grassland related issues since the mid-70s, and has worked to protect and conserve them at the international, national, provincial, and regional levels.
As the Founding Chair of the GCC, Bob has been a strong voice for keeping working ranches working, and for keeping the remaining BC grasslands ecologically intact.