NRESi Awards

NRESi Member & Community Awards

NRESi has two awards to honour the accomplishments of its members, as well as an award recognizing the contributions of individuals and organizations from the community. More information about upcoming calls will be posted soon.

The awards:

  1. Distinguished Scholar - a NRESi member who has achieved any or a combination of the described criteria over the past 12 months (it is possible to receive this award more than once over a career)
  2. Lifetime Achievement – a NRESi member who has achieved a combination criteria over the course of their career (both as NRESi members and, if appropriate, in previous positions/activities)
  3. Community Advancement Award – an individual or organization from the broader community who has demonstrated achievement of any or a combination of the described criteria through their research and/or service

Award Descriptions and Criteria:

Distinguished Scholar Award Criteria & Process

Lifetime Achievement Criteria & Process

Community Advancement Award Criteria & Process

Past Award Recipients

2021-22 Recipients:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Gail Fondahl - Through her research, teaching, and service work, Dr. Fondahl has made profound and cumulative contributions to the NRESi and its core mission.  Across each of these areas, her contributions are remarkable for their attention to interdisciplinarity, especially the relationships between people, their cultures, the economy, the land, its natural and biophysical resources, and the governing structures (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) that impact regions over time. Her research on Indigenous territorial rights in the Russian Federation, and previously in the Soviet Union, demonstrates a quality of sustained scholarly output and contribution that has her recognized internationally as one of Canada’s leading experts on Northern and Arctic studies. Gail developed long and sustained relationships with people, organizations, and communities across Eastern Siberia. Her first book Gaining Ground? Evenkis, Land and Reform in southeastern Siberia (1998) is a masterful exploration of complex issues and it employs several innovative tools for communicating the implications for both communities and people of the many processes of change impacting the region. As a result of Dr. Fondahl’s four decades of extensive northern and arctic research, she has made significant contributions to research on Arctic sustainability and development. Gail also co-led from 2004-2008 the UNBC -Tl'azt'en Nation CURA (SSHRC Community-University Research Alliances) project “Partnering for Sustainable Resource Management”. This initiative is remarkable as one of the first true research partnerships between a First Nation and a university in Canada. As such, it continues to inspire and inform. At its core, the UNBC -Tl'azt'en Nation CURA was about respect and interdisciplinarity. The success of the CURA enterprise continues to benefit many NRESi members and our graduate and undergraduate students as it strengthened the partnership between UNBC and the Tl'azt'en Nation. From a teaching perspective, Dr. Fondahl has been a stalwart advocate for the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to student learning and faculty teaching. She demonstrates this commitment through her delivery of both general and specialty courses within the Geography curriculum. Drawing upon a deep commitment to fieldwork, she has supervised trainees at the Masters, PhD, and postdoctoral level working on topics in Canada and abroad. For her graduate students, Dr. Fondahl has been active within both UNBC’s NRES and IDIS (Interdisciplinary Studies) graduate programs – something that further demonstrates her broad commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship. In addition to her teaching within Geography, Dr. Fondahl has also made a significant commitment to the teaching of an interdisciplinary approach through her delivery of the NRES courses. These required courses have at their core the need to communicate the NRES commitment to interdisciplinary thinking and research. Having delivered these courses many times over the years, Dr. Fondahl has played a significant role in the delivery of the NRES graduate program! Gail has also demonstrated leadership on a number of important international committees and organizations in the area of Arctic affairs and diplomacy. Gail served as the Canadian representative and Vice-Chair of the Social and Human Sciences Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), and the Co-Chair of the Social, Economic and Cultural Expert Group of the Arctic Council’s Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG). From 2011- 2014, she served as President of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA). Dr. Fondahl’s commitment to championing interdisciplinarity through leadership has also been actioned through her years as Chair of the Geography Program and currently Acting Chair of the Department of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GEES). As an academic unit that embraces the social, physical, and natural sciences in its teaching and research, Dr. Fondahl’s leadership helped guide curriculum revisions, maintain our collective focus on interdisciplinary approaches and thinking, bring new research initiatives to life, and now shepherding the integration of two former academic units into a functioning whole. This continues the positioning of GEES as an integral part of the NRES family and the individual faculty as members of NRESi. Gail also made important contributions to the NRESi during her tenure as Vice President Research at UNBC. In addition to expanding a number of Research Office programs, providing support to the various animal and human research ethics boards, Dr. Fondahl took the lead in changing University research overhead policy by redirecting a portion of research grant overhead monies that would have otherwise remained in the Research Office back to the Research Institute's from which the successful researcher was a member. For many years, this revenue source was a vital part of the sustainability of NRESi itself! The vision to support research institutes committed to interdisciplinarity is clearly demonstrated by her advocacy for this policy change. Gail has demonstrated substantial interdisciplinary growth through her various research programs, has made direct and significant contributions to the growth and development of the NRESi, has maintained and defended vigorously an interdisciplinary outlook in the delivery of graduate teaching and the supervision of graduate students / postdoctoral fellows, and through her integrative approach has extended the scope and recognition of NRESi not only across northern BC, but across Canada, the circumpolar north, and internationally.
  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Art Fredeen - Art has made significant contributions to UNBC and the local community over the past 27 years. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute and was a co-director of the Institute in its early years, was a member of the Steering Committee (2013-14), and for the past three years he has been the Institute's Director. Dr. Fredeen’s diverse interests and interdisciplinary spirit are well illustrated by the breadth of his teaching contributions, which extend beyond his home discipline of plant biology into collaborative interdisciplinary courses (ENVS 225 – Global Environmental Change; NRES 720 – Global Change). He was co-founder of the latter graduate course 15 years ago, and guided it for several years. Most recently, he provided one of the final – and most original - guest lectures in a new special topics course (NRES 798 – Anthropocene Environments). After three months of learning about everything from the stratigraphy of mass extinctions to indigenous land use practices, he treated the class to an evening about “Haiku and the Biology Professor”. In his research program, Dr. Fredeen has centred his work on the interactions of the carbon cycle with terrestrial ecosystems, grounded in the distinctive forests of north-central British Columbia. These research initiatives have ranged across the major ecological gradients of this vast region, from the lodgepole pine forests of the interior plateau, to moist Sub-Boreal spruce-fir forests, and the globally rare inland temperate rainforests of the Rocky Mountain Trench. This work has ranged across a similarly large range of scales of investigation, from individual stand-level graduate research projects to complex collaborative studies involving ecosystem flux techniques. Among its many accomplishments, this program has quantified the impacts of timber harvesting on forest carbon fluxes, provided a solid basis for validating components of Canada’s internationally circulated Carbon Budget Model for forest carbon accounting, and for recognizing the regional-scale significance of carbon stocks in endangered old growth inland rainforests. As significant as these contributions have been, Art’s curiosity about the fundamental workings of nature has expressed itself in other ways, for example, as in a meticulous study of the mechanisms of spiral growth patterns in the structure of pine cones! Dr Fredeen shared his passion and curiosity with his students, inspiring them to address current environmental issues with open imaginations, and emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary perspectives. He celebrated the creativity of his undergraduate students by displaying their completed textile projects in his laboratory. In addition to his academic contributions at UNBC, Art was a prominent champion of the Green Centre and the university’s numerous environmental initiatives. Art has been a strong advocate for campus sustainability generally and the Green Centre specifically; he played a fundamental role in UNBC becoming ‘Canada’s Green University’. He upheld this trademark and remained committed to championing campus initiatives that included his participation on committees such as Students for a Green University, University Farmers Market, Green University Planning Committee and more. As a supporter and unofficial ambassador of the Green Centre and all of the university’s green initiatives, Dr Fredeen carved out time in his course curricula to allow students to do the same. Dr. Fredeen centered student participation in campus sustainability and environmental initiatives, which provided opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate student advancement in these important and broadly applicable topics. As a driving force behind the waste reduction program at the university’s cafeteria, Art ensured students were given opportunities to enhance research design and project management skills by offering supervision and guidance in the project. Once the project was completed, Dr. Fredeen helped move this research forward into a publication which allowed students to build an academic portfolio as co-authors. These are only a few examples of how Dr. Fredeen has provided avenues for success for students while also working to improve the sustainability of campus operations. The types of opportunities that Dr. Fredeen provided for students have informed their overall experiences as students at UNBC, their graduate research, and their careers. Furthermore, Dr Fredeen’s dedication to environmental sustainability is evident in his personal life as well as his professional/academic activities. For the entirety of his career at UNBC, Art walked or bicycled to campus, and avoided using his very fuel efficient car except when absolutely necessary. In his free time Dr Fredeen advocates for climate change action, and leads by example to demonstrate the importance of sound scientific expertise in activism.

2020-21 Recipients:

  • Lifetime Achievement:Dr. Ellen Petticrew - Ellen was one of the first faculty to be hired in NRES at UNBC in 1993, and UNBC’s first geographer. Ellen played a key role in launching UNBC’s Geography Program, steering the process of creating its degree requirements to requesting relevant library holdings. Her role during the founding years of the original NRES Faculty was significant through her personal commitment to an integrated and interdisciplinary NRES curriculum and teaching structure that would later become the ethos of NRESi. She became FRBC Research Chair in Landscape Ecology in 2007 and Professor in 2009. Ellen has taught/co-taught 19 different courses in Geography, Biology and NRES graduate programs: she has supervised (or co-supervised) 18 undergraduate final year studies, 26 MSc students and five PhD students. She has also supervised four postdoctoral fellows and over 20 research associates/assistants. She has co-developed various courses and has helped facilitate several external field schools, she has been on the organizing committee for many conferences, was heavily involved in the executive of the IASWS, and was on the editorial board of the Journal of Soils and Sediments. Locally, Ellen has contributed to numerous technical and advisory committees including the Tabor Lake Task Force and Tabor Lake Management and Remediation Committee (1993-2004), Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program (2000-2005) and Nechako White Sturgeon Recovery Team (2007). Ellen was Principal Investigator (PI)/co-PI on two SSHRC-funded projects which delivered six outreach workshops in the Cariboo in 2011 and 2012. Ellen’s scholarly activity has been outstanding. She has held NSERC Discover Grants almost continuously since 1995. To date, she has published >40 refereed journal papers, and was the first person at UNBC to publish a paper in the Nature group of journals (Nature Geoscience 2008), with her PhD student, John Rex. She has published 53 book chapters, technical reports and non-refereed papers, given 29 invited presentations, and was lead or co-author on 91 oral presentations and 41 posters. Recently Ellen’s research has focused in particular on the Quesnel watershed. Since 2014, she has examined the consequences of the breach of the tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley Mine, which represents Canada’s largest mine disaster. She is the PI on several research grants from ECCC’s Environmental Damages Fund to study the aquatic impacts of the spill and she leads a team of scientists, graduate students and HQP from UNBC, UBC, University of Lethbridge and DFO. The project is interdisciplinary and involves experts in limnology, fish ecology, microbiology, ecotoxicology, hydrometeorology, fluvial geomorphology and contaminant geoscience. This has led to Ellen giving >30 interviews for radio, print, on-line and TV, and has been featured in a televised movie documentary (In the Shadow of Gold) which was broadcasted in Europe and North America. In recognition of this body of work, Ellen was awarded the NRESi Distinguished Scholar award in 2015.
  • Lifetime Achievement:Dr. Bill McGill - Bill came to UNBC in 2001 to become Dean of College of Science and Management (CSAM). Bill continued in that role for 10 years. Since 2011, he has been a Professor in Ecosystem Science and Management, half-time since 2012. Bill’s teaching and research has focused on soil science, agriculture, biogeochemical cycling with emphasis on carbon and nitrogen, and simulation modelling of associated greenhouse gas dynamics. In addition, he has studied value-added uses for waste materials, as well as the fate and dynamics of contaminants, including remediation strategies for contaminated sites. His teaching and research activities have spanned 7 countries. He is a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (2012), the Canadian Society of Soil Science (1995), the Soil Science Society of America (2002) and the Agricultural Institute of Canada (2001). He received the Distinguished Agrologist Award from the Alberta Institute of Agrologists in 1996. Bill loves teaching and he has taught and mentored many students over the past 50 years. He supervised 21 MSc and 14 PhD students while at the University of Alberta. His teaching has spanned 19 courses ranging from Soil Microbiology through Geochemistry and Reclamation of Disturbed Lands, to Society, Policy & Administration. Over the past two decades, while at UNBC, he has taught 11 courses. Students appreciate his critical and philosophical approach, analytical prowess and great sense of humor. Although Bill has not formally supervised graduate students at UNBC, he has mentored many UNBC MSc and PhD students as a member of their supervisory committees. Bill is widely respected by his peers as a highly accomplished scientist. He has over 120 journal articles and over 140 additional professional papers, reports or symposia proceedings. According to a recent report of the World’s most cited scientists, Stanford University has put Bill in the top 1% of his discipline. At least three of his journal articles have been cited over 400 times. Bill’s 1981 Geoderma article entitled “Comparative cycling of C, N, S and P” is the 10th most cited article (696 times) in the 55-year history of that international journal (top 0.12%!). What makes the article noteworthy is that Bill proposed a new theory for explaining phosphorus cycling, which is now widely accepted. Bill and his former students have made major contributions to science over the years. Bill has served on many community and provincial boards, including the BC Forest Practices Board (as Member and Vice Chair, appointed by BC Cabinet), PG Chamber of Commerce (including President), Northern Technology and Engineering Society (Founding Member), Innovation Resource Centre (Director), PG Airport Authority (Governance Chair), BC Forage Council (Member of Advisory board), and the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society (Advisory Committee). He has also been Associate Editor and Guest Editor for the Canadian Journal of Soil Science. He has been president of the Canadian Society of Soil Science. Currently, he is Deputy Editor of the journal Climatic Change; since assuming editorial responsibilities for this journal, he has managed over 600 paper submissions. In addition to his initial position as Dean of CSAM, Bill has held a number of other significant university administrative roles over the years. While at UNBC, he has been Interim University Librarian, Acting Director of Special Projects, Director of NRESi (2013-2014), Acting Dean of Graduate Programs, and Manager of Northern Analytical Laboratory Services (formerly known as the Central Equipment Lab). At the University of Alberta, Bill served as Chair of the Department of Soil Science and was Associate Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Phil Burton - Phil had a very prolific year in 2020, with 7 published peer-reviewed contributions and 1 peer-reviewed book chapter published, and two additional peer-reviewed articles submitted in 2020 (accepted in early 2021). The journals were all internationally-recognized, several have high impact factors: e.g. Journal of Biogeography (IF – 3.7), Current Forestry Reports (IF – 5.0), Ecography (IF – 6.45), and a lead author article in BioScience (IF - 8.3). In addition, the rankings of these journals revealed that they were all in the top ten Forestry-specific journals (out of 150 journals total).This high productivity is not abating, as Dr. Burton also has 3 additional articles already in review or near submission in 2021. Dr. Burton’s contributions in 2020 add to a sustained high level of scholarly output over his career – with over 150 career publications in both academic/scientific and professional forestry and ecological restoration journals, 106 of which are peer-reviewed (journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings and extension notes, and co-authored/co-edited books). Phil remains one of UNBC’s most influential scholars, with his work being cited more than 7180 times in the scientific literature. His work has been cited 400-500 times/year in each year since 2014, and has already been cited 122 times in 2021. The papers he published since 2020 have already been cited 29 times in the literature. His most influential paper - edge effects on forest structure and composition in fragmented habitats - has been cited more than 1300 times, and he has 22 works that have been cited more than 100 times each. His work has significantly influenced Canadian forest policy on vegetation management, post-disturbance salvage logging, and landscape planning. Over the course of a 30-year career, Dr. Burton has secured 3.3 M$ in total grant funding, and supervised 5 postdoctoral fellows and 16 graduate students, all while taking on high levels of service and teaching. Even in the past five years, while serving as the Northwest Regional Chair and as the sole ESM faculty and NRESi member based on the Terrace Campus, he maintained this high level of output while simultaneously being Co-Editor in Chief of one of Canada’s foremost forestry journals (Canadian Journal of Forest Research).
  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Oscar Venter - Oscar holds the FRBC West Fraser Growth and Yield Research Chair at UNBC, and currently holds the rank of Associate Professor in Landscape Conservation and Management. He currently supervises at least 2 postdoctoral fellows and 4 Research Associates, as well as a large lab of graduate students. He leads or participates in high-impact collaborative research projects on multiple continents that address some of the globe’s most pressing conservation challenges. That includes research focused on mapping the extent and intensity of the human footprint across BC and Canada as well as the interaction between forest management systems and climate change. Oscar had an extremely prolific year in 2020 with 20 published peer-reviewed contributions, - which seems to be on an exponential curve in recent years, with this past year’s output surpassing both previous years - both of which were good years for him. He also seems to be continuing the trend in 2021, with at least 8 more publications already in press or review. Dr. Venter and collaborators published in a variety of upper echelon journals in 2020, including the likes of: Global Change Biology, Conservation Biology, Nature, Nature Communications, Biological Conservation, Environmental Reviews, Nature Ecology and Evolution, PNAS, One Earth, Global Ecology and Conservation, Conservation Letters, and Conservation Science and Practice. In addition, his papers are clearly having an impact. As evidence to this, two of his prior publications received ‘Highly Cited Paper’ awards in 2020 from Essential Science Indicators for being in the top 1% for citations in the fields of ‘Environment and Ecology’. And Oscar is not just a top-tier researcher, but also a thoughtful and conscientious instructor in two courses that he has developed over the past three years. Also, he has served as one of the lead voices, and Curriculum Committee Chair, for the BSc in Conservation Science and Practice.

2019-20 Recipient:

  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Hugues Massicotte - Hugues was an original NRES Faculty member in the Forestry Program. He is an outstanding colleague, researcher, teacher, and community member. Hugues engaged in many collaborative and multidisciplinary research projects throughout his career at UNBC with a wide number of colleagues, and was very successfully funded. Collectively, this work resulted in an impressive array of publications (82 peer-reviewed journal articles to date (10 more in the works); 1 co-authored book, 7 book chapters, 11 conference papers, 7 book chapters, 139 meeting and conference presentations and posters – and a host of other non-refereed articles and letters.  Perhaps even more importantly, Hugues gave 58 media interviews across his nearly 26 years at UNBC, many for Radio Canada en francais. As a professional forester (Laval), mycologist and ectomycorrhizal expert, his skills (and Linda’s) were very much sought after. Hugues, and his partner Linda Tackaberry, also contributed to many types of multidisplinary service external to the UNBC campus. Dr. Massicotte’s expertise and passion for natural history, particularly plants and their fungal root associations, were in constant demand by Prince George and BC communities.  His ability to identify sporocarps (aka mushrooms), often from poor specimens left in bags on his office door or from field trips and courses, epitomizes his tireless enthusiasm for his discipline.

2018-19 Recipients:

  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Pamela Wright - UNBC faculty, lead organizer of the BC Protected Areas Research Forum held at UNBC in 2018, displayed exemplary leadership in the development of the new BSc in Conservation Science and Practice. Dr. Wright has a well-established interdisciplinary research program. Her research has covered a range of topics including climate change and systematic conservation planning, wilderness character mapping, spatial conservation decision platform development, and social conditions of wilderness in the Muskwa Kechika Management Area.
  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Oscar Venter - UNBC faculty, collaborated with other researchers to produce the first comprehensive fine-scale map of the world's remaining marine and terrestrial wild places which was recently published in the journal "Nature". By defining and providing a succinct synopsis of what is at stake in the area of conservation, this interdisciplinary contribution has and will continue to have a major and lasting impact with respect to our awareness on human-related wilderness decline. This co-authored article by Dr. Oscar Venter and his team was widely received by both the scientific community and the general public, in part through its strong global wilderness appraisal and advocacy.
  • Lifetime Achievement - Dr. Roger Wheate - UNBC faculty. Since Dr. Wheate's arrival at UNBC in 1994 as part of the original (founding) UNBC Faculty, the fields of cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems have transformed many times commensurate with the revolutions in computing and communications technologies. With energy, lots of enthusiasm and a wonderful sense of humour, he has spearheaded the elaboration of the GIS facilities at UNBC. Roger has kept his teaching in these fields at the leading edge of these changes and revolutions such that his students have been able to go on to successful careers – and some have led their own revolutions in the field. 

2017-18 Recipients:

  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Brian Menounos - UNBC faculty, Canada Research Chair in Glacier Change and collaboration with 14 co-authors from five countries and a number of disciplines to produce a paper recently published in the prestigious journal "Science".
  • Lifetime achievement: Dr. Annie Booth, UNBC faculty, contributions to northern BC in terms of academic publications and reports, service work, and mentoring with respect to “environment and community”.
  • Community Advancement: Mr. David King, conservation of our region's natural resources and recreation opportunities.

2016-17 Recipient:

  • Community Advancement: Dr. Darwyn Coxson - UNBC faculty, recognition of his outstanding work promoting Northern Wetbelt Forest Ecology and the establishment of the Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park. 

2015-16 Recipients:

  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Ellen Petticrew - UNBC faculty, research and substantive community engagement on the Mount Polley mine tailings pond breach.
  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Phil Owens - UNBC faculty, research and substantive community engagement on the Mount Polley mine tailings pond breach.
  • Lifetime achievement: Dr. Lito Arocena - UNBC faculty, UNBC's first Canada Research Chair (CRC), and widely respected multi-disciplinary research program.
  • Community Advancement: Dr. Catherine Nolin - UNBC faculty, exemplary commitment to learn from and teach in local communities.
  • Community Advancement: Dr. Roy Rea - UNBC faculty, Field Applications course development and delivery for the past 15 years.
  • Community Advancement: Dr. Sarah Boyd - UNBC faculty, PG-PIRG coordinator, Green University Planning Committee member, contributions to Prince George Women's organizations.

2014-15 Recipients:

  • Distinguished Scholar: Dr. Mike Gillingham - Development, coordination, and contributions to NRESi's Biodiversity Monitoring & Assessment Program
  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Mike Gillingham - Founding UNBC faculty, Past Co-Director and Past Director of NRESi, and widely respected research program
  • Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Staffan Lindgren - Founding UNBC faculty and widely respected research program
  • Community Advancement: Dr. Susan Stevenson - Past Adjunct UNBC Professor and NRESi members, respected research on inland rainforest ecosystems and Editor of: British Columbia’s Inland Rainforest: Ecology, Conservation, and Management

NRES Graduate Student Awards

Natural Resource & Environmental Studies Graduate Students are invited and encouraged to consider writing a Research Extension Note, as part of NRESi’s peer-reviewed publication series. Each year, NRESi assesses publications submitted by graduate students as first authors and one is selected for the annual NRES Graduate Student Publication Award. Past awards have been for $500. The cut-off date for consideration is August 31st and awards are presented during the NRES Graduate Icebreaker held early in the fall semester.