Lifelong conservationist and land steward to receive honorary degree

Media Release
Person wearing a brown hoodie and headphones sits in a radio broadcast studio with small table lamp in background.
Honorary degree recipient Jim Good sits in the broadcast studio of CGNP, the dedicated channel for guests visiting his botanical park, nature and music museums just outside of Prince George.

Prince George, B.C. – Jim Good, a lifelong nature enthusiast, conservationist and community builder in Prince George, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia during the 2024 Convocation ceremony at the Prince George campus on May 31.

Good is the founder of Goodsir Nature Park, a 160-acre botanical park featuring more than 3,000 plant species and tranquil walking trails located just north of Prince George. A true labour of love, the park was the realization of a dream when it opened to the public in 1989 and has served as Good’s ongoing commitment to share his passion for botany and nature with others.

Diagnosed with autism at an early age, Good credits early camping trips with his parents with cultivating an insatiable curiosity about trees and plants that has been a fulfilling lifetime focus as a hobby botanist.

“Growing up in Vancouver, I began collecting plant samples as a young boy of six or seven and by the time I was 13, I knew that I wanted to buy land someday,” says Good. “In 1973, I moved to Prince George to be closer to nature and I set my sights on opening a park and sharing my interests with others.”

With the goal of becoming a custodian of the land always in the forefront, Good says he lived wisely on a janitor’s salary — buying the perfect parcel, initially homesteading as he single-handedly crafted the park, and raising his family there while altruistically giving back to the community.

Showcasing a national collection of trees, plants, flowers and other botanical species collected by Good during two cross-country road trips, the park is also home to a picnic area, overnight campsite and two museums.

Hundreds of interpretive signs along the trails document the wealth of knowledge Good has accumulated over decades of pursuing his passion, as do the curated pressed plant, rock and soil exhibits on display in the Goodsir Botanical Museum. The second on-site museum, the JL Good Vinyl Museum, houses more than 42,000 vinyl records, mostly 45s, purchased from every town and city visited during his travels across the country. Good delights in taking park guests on a time travel back to the ‘golden era’ of music, often broadcasting on speakers in the park from the cozy studio of CGNP.

Over the past 35 years, Good has given his time and shared his knowledge freely with visitors, while operating the park independently with no admission cost. Goodsir Nature Park has become an educational hub for the community, northern B.C. and beyond.

In 2022, he received a B.C. Achievement Community Award in recognition of his remarkable contributions to community.

“Being a caretaker of this land has been my life’s work and sharing it with others has brought me immense joy,” says Good. “To now be receiving this honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNBC in acknowledgement of my efforts is above and beyond the goals I set for myself as a young man.”

Good adds that one comment from hundreds written in his guest register will always stand out as he reflects on his accomplishments. Penned by a university student, it reads: ‘Words fail me. A must for all of Canada to see.”

Good will receive the honorary degree during the afternoon ceremony celebrating the Class of 2024 at Convocation on May 31.