Leadership

2020-2021 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
Savona

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
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Range management
  • Food web theory
GCC Board Member - Greg Anderson

Greg Anderson, Director
Invermere

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.

Ian Barnett, Director
Kamloops

Ian has been involved in land and water conservation across Canada for 40 years, of which over 25 years has been in BC’s Interior. He has been a member of numerous national and international boards and committees concerned with the conservation and wise stewardship of important natural habitats. He brings to the GCC extensive experience in the development of program partnerships and in ensuring the financial health of NGOs.

After retiring from the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 2017 as Vice President of Regional Operations Ian has served on NCC’s BC Board of Directors as well as a board member for the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef whose goal is to enhance sustainability in the beef industry from the land to the consumer. Ian was also a member of an expert committee for the Canadian Land Trust Alliance to revise standards and practices for use by over 75 conservation organizations across Canada. He retired from Ducks Unlimited Canada in 2011 after 31 years with his last position as Director of Regional Operations for the Western Region. He was responsible for DUC’s conservation, education, and fundraising programs in Canada’s four western provinces and the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Ian previously served on the board of the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia in the early 2000’s and has remained a long-time supporter. He enjoys outdoor recreational activities such as skiing, hiking, biking, and birding, particularly in the grasslands of the Thompson-Okanagan region.

GCC Board Member Ian Barnett
GCC Board Member - Eleanor Bassett

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.

Toni Boot, Director
Summerland

Toni entered local government in late 2014 when she was elected to the District of Summerland Council, and she successfully ran for the Mayor’s chair in October 2018.

In addition to being the Mayor of Summerland, Toni is a Director on several Boards, including the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She is also completing her third term on the Southern Interior Local Government Association executive, currently serving as second vice president.

Toni taught at Okanagan College for several years, co-owned Kettle Valley Dried Fruit Company, and founded and operated Grasslands Nursery for ten years.  Grasslands Nursery focused on products and services related to dryland (xeriscape) and food (edible) gardening.

Having grown up in the South Okanagan, Toni has a deep appreciation for the ecological values and sensitivities of this semi-arid area.  Now, as an elected official, she continues to advocate for the protection of habitat and ecological services and has a keen interest in Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

Toni holds a degree in professional communications, and she brings extensive experience in public engagement and a knowledge of local government planning and development.

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC Board Member Toni Boot
BC Grasslands Board - Ryan Holmes

David Borth, Director
Kamloops

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.

Dr. Tom Dickinson
Kamloops

Dr. Tom Dickinson is the Dean of the Faculty of Science at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and he has extensive experience in strategic planning and program development.

Tom came to Kamloops in 1989 to be part of the growth of TRU, and he became the first Associate Vice President of Research in 2003.  In this position, he helped develop the Canada Research Chair and Leading Edge Endowment Fund Chair programs, and led the TRU Advanced Technology Centre, which helped connect the local community to the resources and services of the university.  He is the current President of Venture Kamloops, which promotes economic opportunities and business investment in Kamloops

Tom has always been interested in the behaviour and ecology of animals, principally birds, and for many years he has taught a broad range of courses in wildlife biology, conservation biology, and evolution.  He has served on the executive of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists for over a decade and he represented the Federation of BC Naturalists in the Kamloops LRMP planning process.

Tom was involved in the creation of the Grasslands Conservation Council of British Columbia in the 1990’s, and he has had a life-long passion for the wise stewardship of BC’s grasslands.

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC Board Member Dr Tom Dickinson
Grasslands Conservation Council of BC - Agnes Jackson

Agnes Jackson, Director
Nicola Valley

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
Kamloops

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.

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC - Dennis Lloyd
GCC Board Member - Mandy Ross

Mandy Ross, Director
Kamloops

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.

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC Board Member Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas
Okanagan Falls

Brian is a third-generation rancher, and his family has been ranching in Okanagan Falls for over 100 years.  He is a Director for the BC Cattlemen’s Association, a Director for the South Okanagan Stockmen’s Association, and he was previously a Director for BC Livestock Producers Co-operative Association.

In 2000 his family sold a large portion of their ranch to The Nature Trust of British Columbia, to protect the land from development and to have it continue as a cattle ranch.  They now lease back the ranch, and currently run 200 cow/calf pairs and sell their excess hay.  On the land that wasn’t sold, they lease a portion to Arterra Wines Canada for a vineyard.  Brian also runs an organically listed compost operation, using cattle bedding and grape pomace from local wineries.

Brian is very interested in the grasslands of our province because, as a rancher, he knows how much the ranching industry relies on these grasslands to raise cattle.  Without healthy grasslands we don’t have a healthy ranching industry.

The grasslands of the province have come under a lot of pressure in the last few years, such as housing subdivisions and increased recreational use, and in the South Okanagan, increased pressure from other types of agriculture, such as vineyards, wineries and orchards.

Bob Peart, Honorary Board Member
Victoria

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.

BC Grasslands - Board Member - Bob Peart
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