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Family Values Strengthen Forestry Research

A memorial contribution by the Nevison family has created two endowed scholarships for students conducting research at UNBC’s research forests.

May 16, 2017
Marjorie and Tim Nevison hold a photo of the late Alan Nevison
Marjorie and Tim Nevison hold a photo of the late Al Nevison, an early builder of Industrial Forestry Service Ltd. The Nevison family made a memorial contribution to UNBC to fund two endowed scholarships.

Alan Nevison never went to university himself, but during his nearly five decades as an early builder and longtime vice president with Prince George-based
Industrial Forestry Service Limited (IFS), he came to appreciate the value of a post-secondary education.

Alan was often the first point of contact for clients needing help and information and he witnessed first-hand how technology drove progress in the forest industry. With his knowledge of aerial photography, geographic information systems and other new technologies in the forest sector, he led his company’s efforts to become one of the largest, most reliable and successful natural resource consulting firms in B.C.

In the company’s early years, investing in the technology was the easy part; what was more difficult was finding university-trained employees to collect, interpret and disseminate the data. In those days there was no UNBC, and the company
recruited trained personnel from all parts of Canada and some from the United States for forestry and mapping work. He found that those trained in the Lower Mainland rarely stayed long in Prince George.

So not surprisingly, the Nevison family were supporters of UNBC from the beginning and got behind the public campaign for a northern university in the 1980s.

“There was always this interest in our family with UNBC,” says Marjorie Nevison, Alan’s wife of 61 years. “We enjoyed watching it grow and develop as it came into being.”

After his death in November 2015, Alan’s family made a memorial contribution to UNBC to fund two endowed scholarships, valued at $1,500 each and awarded annually, for students conducting research at UNBC’s research forests.

“After Al died we wanted to do something to honour his memory,” Marjorie explains. “Forestry was his passion. A donation to support forestry students at UNBC was the obvious thing to do.”

Through this contribution, the Nevison family is strengthening research and teaching excellence, and growing UNBC’s grassroots efforts to strengthen B.C.’s and Canada’s North. UNBC’s research forests are important sites for discovery and guiding natural resource management, and the scholarships the family created will help future generations of foresters find innovative solutions for the next wave of forest sector advancements.

And, 25 years after its creation, UNBC is producing graduates who provide the skills and experience that Alan had to previously search for abroad.

“In the old days it was just cutting down trees, bringing them into town and selling the lumber,” Marjorie says. “Now there is so much more to forestry and the students at UNBC are on the cutting edge.”

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