BC Nature Board

President: Vacant

Vice President: Vacant

Past President: Alan Burger currently interim President of BC Nature. I am is a retired wildlife biologist and university prof, now living in Logan Lake. Research on ecology and seabirds, especially the threatened Marbled Murrelet, was my primary career focus. I’ve been a member of naturalist groups all my adult life and am currently the president of the Nicola Naturalist Society in Merritt. I’ve been on the BC Nature Board since 2012, and was President 2016-2019. Wildlife viewing and photography, birding, hiking and kayaking are my main outdoor interests. My personal website is http://www.aburger.ca/

TreasurerBarbara Towns. Barbara Towns, CPA is our treasurer with over 20 years of finance experience. She has worked in public practice, for large multi national corporations and now with technology companies handling their business administration and finance needs. She is happiest when challenging herself on new trails, observing the wonders of nature and exploring new wilderness areas.

Secretary: Susan Thorne. Sue is the president of the Kitimat Valley Naturalists, having served as a director in various capacities over the years.  She is an advocate for the environment and attends meetings, speaking to municipal leaders and industrial project people advocating for wetlands, and estuaries in the Kitimat region.  She is a retired elementary teacher and loved to encourage the young ones to enjoy nature, and to help look after it.  Her favourite activities now are with the grandchildren and instilling in them the love of birds and other species.  Birding, scanning family photos and organizing them, plus traveling near and far are her main interests. She is the Secretary for BC Nature.

Secretary AlternateNancy Flood. Nancy Flood is currently president of the Kamloops Naturalist Club, and is active in several other environmentally-oriented groups in the interior of BC.   An ornithologist, she taught for over 30 years at Thompson Rivers University.  She is the mother of 2 amazing young adults and the grandmother of 1 young bird lover.

Director at Large: Rick Gee is a retired Computer Science professor. He has lived in Kelowna since 1985 and is very involved with the birding and hiking trips the Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club organizes. He has held many positions with that club, including director and president. In the winter he is an active snowshoer. In his spare time he assists others with newsletters, bylaws, and other publications. He loves an Oxford comma.

Director at Large: Ben van Drimmelen is a retired biologist/forester/lawyer living in Victoria who volunteers with various environmentally-concerned non-government organizations such as the Land Trust Alliance of BC, the Habitat Acquisition Trust (a land trust based in Victoria). He has previously volunteered with the Victoria Natural History Society, the Sea Change Conservation Society and the Mary Lake Sanctuary. Ben is with BC Nature’s Conservation Committee and Wildlife Subcommittee.

Conservation ChairPeter Ballin. Peter’s academic background focussed on the behavioural ecology of fishes (A.B., U of California, Berkeley; M.Sc., UBC) and led him to a career teaching biology at Vancouver Community College and science education at UBC, with occasional research stints studying fishes. He served as head of the science department at VCC, where he also developed a continuing education natural history program. He has been a facilitator for Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation Education since 1995. He retired from VCC in 2006 to further direct his attention to environmental education and conservation, which includes volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium as well as BC Nature. Currently he studies conservation biology of western painted turtles, as an adjunct faculty at Thompson Rivers University. Peter and his wife Shirley enjoy travelling and hiking and kayaking.

Kootenay Regional Coordinator: Greg Ross. Greg has belonged to the Rocky Mountain Naturalists (the Cranbrook/Kimberley Club) for more than 35 years. He has been very interested in all aspects of nature and found that the Local Naturalists group, the Federation of BC Naturalists and now BC Nature all make a good fit for his natural propensity to learn, teach and protect nature. He served many years as the RMNat’s BC Nature Director and many of those years as the Kootenay Regional Director, a position he is again holding for the interim while another Kootenay Director steps up. Greg lives in Cranbrook and presently loves monitoring the turtles at Elizabeth Lake and traveling and exploring the Kootenays with his sweetheart in their little teardrop trailer. 

Lower Mainland Regional Coordinator : Sheila Puls. Since arriving in Canada in 1968, I have loved the Canadian natural world – from experiencing the Canadian Shield in Ontario, to the mountains of British Columbia.  With my husband, we have enjoyed a rural lifestyle, raising our family on a small sheep farm in the Lower Mainland and spending many holidays camping in this beautiful Province.  We joined the Langley Field Naturalists as a relaxing “retirement” project, and soon both ended up on the executive, where I edit the quarterly newsletter (and he as President!).  My background in administration also led me to co-chair the 2010 BC Nature Fall Meeting, which somehow ended with my becoming the Lower Mainland Regional Coordinator for BC Nature, as well as a Board member for the BC Naturalists Foundation.

Northern BC Regional Coordinator : Walter Thorne. Walter is a retired grade 6 teacher who enjoyed nature activities and outings with his class.  He continues his interest and love of nature by focusing more on birding in his retirement.  He completes monthly waterbird surveys, takes part in Christmas bird counts, gets up early once a year in June to complete a transect for a breeding bird survey, and is the IBA caretaker of the Moore/Byers IBA in Hecate Strait.  Birding is his passion and every day he is either walking, biking, and maybe canoeing, listening and looking for birds.  Along with birding, photography is on his interest list as is researching, reading and writing on history, especially about the Kitimat area.  Walter has been a director of the Kitimat Valley Naturalists since the club’s inception, and now is the Northern Regional Coordinator, on the BC Nature Board.

Vancouver Island Regional Coordinator: Brian Wilkes. I’m a Victoria, BC based biologist and environmental consultant, now semi-retired. I’ve worked on numerous water and watershed related projects in Canada and in several international settings. I have a special interest in policy and governance arrangements to improve water, watershed management and issues related to sustainability.

I’ve been interested in natural history since I was a youngster, and was a keen birder when I was a teenager. I belonged to Toronto nature clubs growing up, the Nanaimo Naturalists when we lived there, and the Bulkley Valley Naturalists when we lived in Smithers.   I worked many summers as an interpretive naturalist in Ontario parks as I was going to university.

Thompson Okanagan Regional CoordinatorGary Hunt. Gary is a member of the Kamloops Naturalist Club He is retired from Thompson Rivers University where he taught for 25 years. Gary’s academic background is in mycology in forested ecosystems with an interest in the biology and ecology of wild mushrooms. 

Education Chair:  Margaret Cuthbert. Marg Cuthbert was born on BC’s coast in Garden Bay and lived early years in the wilds of the province. Twelve years of post secondary studies and studio work focused on education, fine arts and architectural design and many moves, brought her to White Rock- Surrey where she designed and built custom homes in the area. Between projects Marg travelled south exploring the southern states and Central America, appreciating the landscapes, architecture and art. The birds and all the wild creatures in these places reinvigorated and inspired her passion for nature.  The environmental conservation bug bit in the mid 1990’s with an awareness of the development siege on Boundary Bay’s watershed and rivers. Involvement with the White Rock and Surrey Naturalists Conservation Committee and the Little Campbell Watershed Society, led to initiating the Friends of Semiahmoo Bay Society in 2001. The goal being to engage local residents, business and government agencies through community events, school programs, meaningful citizen science and habitat enhancement projects. After becoming Important Bird Area Caretaker for the Fraser delta, Marg then got involved with BC Nature representing Friends and then nominated Education Chair in 2013 and Award Chair in 2017.  She hasn’t stopped working for conservation except to be grandma and follow her bliss travelling to new landscapes and see wild creatures, especially the birds!