Local from the start

Since 1998, we have been working to protect and enhance nature in the Fraser Valley for future generations.

Initially, we were created as the Abbotsford Land Trust. We have since expanded to become the only locally-based land trust to conserve habitat and protect wildlife across the Fraser Valley.

Our Guiding Principles

We are a small group of highly dedicated people who come together around these shared values.

Land

We respectfully acknowledge we work on the territory of the Stó:lō peoples in the Fraser Valley. We value what the natural world provides – the air, the water, the fields, and the forests of the Fraser Valley.

Community

We recognize the people who stewarded the land before us and continue to work alongside us to care for this valley. We value the beliefs and opinions in our community and the diversity of how we all connect with nature.

Integrity

We incorporate sound science, local ecological knowledge, and the experiences of those who live and work on the land into our work. This is done in a respectful, collaborative, and permitted approach.

Collaboration

We strive to build partnerships with all organizations interested in the protection or stewardship of the Fraser Valley.

Responsibility

We believe every member of our community has a shared responsibility to steward the land.

Future

We ensure our properties are protected in perpetuity. We undertake our programs with commitment to their long-term success.

Get to Know Us

Meet the people behind the programs! Our staff and board members come from many different backgrounds. Each contributes something special to our team.

Joanne Neilson

Executive Director

Joanne Neilson

Executive Director

Growing up in beautiful BC, Joanne has been passionate about environmental stewardship her entire life.  She joined the FVC as the Executive Director in 2013. In this role she brings over two decades of experience in the not-for-profit sector administration as well as field work on a wide range of conservation initiatives throughout the province. She guides the daily management of our organization, drawing on her knowledge of the local ecosystems and strong conservation ethic. She also oversees the acquisition and management of our conservation properties, builds partnerships with other like-minded organizations, and develops projects that contribute to our mandate. She loves that every day, through her work, she can promote and put into practice stewardship solutions that to make a difference for our special valley home.

 

 

Aleesha Switzer

Project Biologist

Aleesha Switzer

Project Biologist

Aleesha considers herself to be both a biologist and a social scientist. She has helped developed and supervises a wide range of our programs including the Oregon Spotted Frog, Bradner-Mount Lehman Neighbourhood, Frog Finders, and Close to Home programs. Aleesha has been helping save threatened amphibians through various roles at the FVC since 2010. After graduating from the University of the Fraser Valley with her BSc in 2014, she joined our team full-time. Every day since, she has worked tirelessly to bring her passion and dedication to conservation to whichever program she is working on. She also eagerly shares her extensive knowledge with anyone who is interested.

Jon Blais

Habitat Enhancement Coordinator

Jon Blais

Habitat Enhancement Coordinator

Jon joined the FVC in 2018 to undertake the maintenance of our ecologically important habitats. Since then he has also taken on key supportive roles in other FVC projects. His ability to tirelessly eradicate invasive plants by hand  and spot the elusive egg masses of the endangered Oregon Spotted Frog, have made him an invaluable member of our conservation team. He has a degree in Environmental Practice from Royal Roads University, holds a diploma in Greenspace Management from Red River College, as well as certificates in arboriculture, organic gardening, and herbalism. His years of experience as a gardener, landscaper and general plant enthusiast are now being used to help our local ecosystems.

Jennifer Barden

Herpetofauna Project Coordinator

Jennifer Barden

Herpetofauna Project Coordinator

Jennifer joined the FVC in 2020. She has become our resident bullfrog control expert and supports our Ryder Lake Amphibian Protection Program work. She also works on the Oregon Spotted Frog project helping us answer some of the many unknown questions to help ensure this endangered frog can survive. Jenn’s passion for reptiles and amphibians has led to many days mucking around in ponds and flipping logs. She has a BSc in Zoology from the University of Guelph that cultivated her love of wildlife, and herpetofauna in particular. Throughout her career, she has worked with many species at risk reptiles and amphibians, including two of Canada’s three rattlesnake species, both in British Columbia and Ontario. After years of working in semi-arid shrub-steppe and tall-grass prairie habitats, she has adapted well to working in more aquatic environments within the Fraser Valley.

Alexandra Janes

Community Engagement Coordinator

Alexandra Janes

Community Engagement Coordinator

Alex joined the FVC team in 2021, she is bringing her extensive communication skills to help us build our volunteer and community programs. Alex graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in Environmental Studies and continued on to complete a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Visual Communications with Fleming College. She has always had a deep concern for how climate change and land use management are affecting wildlife and an interest in how people learn about and interact with nature. Alex is excited to apply her passion for environmental education and skills in marketing and project management to the community engagement programs at FVC.

Laura Brodey

Close to Home Program Coordinator

Laura Brodey

Close to Home Program Coordinator

Laura joined the FVC in the summer of 2021 to launch and coordinate our Close to Home program. Through this program she will engage Fraser Valley communities in events and workshops that support our climate through nature-based solutions. Laura has lots of environmental field experience, having collected biodiversity data in Alberta, restored streams and studied plants in Ontario, and even reported on Macaque Monkey behaviour in Thailand. She has worked hard to support the urban forests of the Greater Toronto Area while putting her Masters of Forest Conservation and digital mapping skills to good use. She loves meeting new people, as she has been able to do through teaching ESL both in Canada and abroad. One of her favourite things about nature is the smell of forests in the fall and of meadows in the summer.

Joelle Krol

Conservation Technician

Joelle Krol

Conservation Technician

Joelle joined the FVC in 2021 to support the Bullfrog Control and Biodiversity Research program. She has since supported the FVC’s Habitat Enhancement and Oregon Spotted Frog programs. She is enthusiastic about removing invasive plants and bullfrogs and is always eager to learn more about restoring habitat for our native species. She graduated from McMaster University with a BSc in Biology and has been working to protect our local ecosystems since.

Zoey Slater

President

Zoey Slater

President

Zoey Slater (B.Sc.) is a biologist who graduated from the University of the Fraser Valley and lives and works in the Fraser Valley. She has been involved in stewardship activities focusing on species at risk for nearly 10 years. She has also been involved in invasive plant work and stream protection. She is passionate about preserving land so that biodiversity will flourish throughout the Fraser Valley. Zoey previously worked for the FVC, delivering outreach programs, and became a board member in 2012 so she could continue to spread the word about the importance of conserving natural habitats in the valley for future generations to enjoy.

Emma Bryce

Vice President

Emma Bryce

Vice President

Emma Bryce is the Assistant Agriculture Technician at the University of the Fraser Valley. Emma sits on the board of directors for BC Young Farmers and is the BC, Alberta, Yukon regional representative on the board of directors for the Canadian Young Farmers Forum. After completing her Bachelors at Kwantlen in 2013, Emma moved to Chilliwack and began her studies at UFV, earning her Certificate in Livestock Production and Diploma in Agriculture Technology. While studying at UFV, Emma worked in a range of agricultural fields, including managing a small organic lavender farm in Abbotsford and milking at a dairy in Rosedale. Emma also owns a small farm in Ryder Lake, where she has raised a variety of animals including pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys. Emma’s passion for sustainable agriculture and conservation drew her to FVC, and she looks forward to bringing her experience in agriculture to conservation issues affecting the Fraser Valley.

John Vissers

Secretary

John Vissers

Secretary

John Vissers has been a resident of Abbotsford for over 30 years, and is well-known throughout the valley for his tireless dedication to protecting the environment. In addition to serving on the FVC board for the past 10 years, he is the past chair of the Abbotsford Environmental Advisory Committee and currently serves on the Abbotsford Development Advisory Committee. His commitment to the environment has earned him the Order of Abbotsford, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, as well as the Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship. He lives on a rural property on Sumas Mountain where he appreciates the natural values of his surroundings.

Pérry Iqubal

Treasurer

Pérry Iqubal

Treasurer

Pérry Iqubal (M.Sc.) has a unique blend of diverse experience in Community Environment, Wildlife & Finance. Pérry started his career in Ornithological research from the foothills of the Himalayas and worked on conservation projects with organizations such as the Centre of Wildlife & Ornithology, India & World Pheasant Association, and International Trust for Nature Conservation UK. After finishing his Masters in Environmental Management, he worked with The Waterfowl and Wetlands Trust in Washington, UK. Pérry moved to Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon, and worked with United States Forest Service where he worked on conservation projects related to Biodiversity, ecological restoration, and Community Environment Awareness programs. Inspired by strong ethical values and corporate social responsibility, Pérry joined Vancity Savings Credit Union and has been working with Vancity for over 12 years. Pérry came onto the board of FVC in 2014 and enjoys working with the high-spirit team here.

Tamsin Baker

Director

Tamsin Baker

Director

Tamsin Baker (M.Sc.) has been involved with the Fraser Valley Conservancy since 1999 when she was The Land Conservancy of BC’s Lower Mainland regional manager. She has experience with land acquisitions, conservation covenants, stewardship initiatives and partnership building. Since 2012, she has been the Stewardship Coordinator for the South Coast Conservation Program (SCCP) where she has been coordinating stewardship activities including landholder contact for Coastal Sand Ecosystems on the South Coast and Species at Risk in the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley. She joined the FVC board in 2014, and while she lives in Vancouver, she enjoys frequent visits to the Fraser Valley to appreciate its many natural areas.

Chris Lumsden

Director

Chris Lumsden

Director

Chris Lumsden (B.Arch) moved to BC from Ontario in 2016 and currently works as an Area Planner with the City of Surrey. Having grown up camping, fishing and exploring southern and central Ontario he is passionate about protecting natural habitats as well as the importance of conservation and education efforts from one generation to the next. As an urban planner, he is committed to developing resilient, livable and flourishing cities where access to and a better understanding of nature forms an integral part of urban life. He has been involved with the implementation of the City of Surrey’s Ecosystem Protection Measures, which seek to balance ecosystem conservation and enhancement with land development and infrastructure planning on a city-wide level.

Emily Hamilton

Director

Emily Hamilton

Director

Emily Hamilton (M.L.A.) moved to British Columbia from Massachusetts in 2014 when she got a job with the City of Surrey, Trees and Landscape Section. She brought her experience as an Arborist and a Landscape Architect, as well as a respect for the role that Land Trusts play in protecting our environment. Emily has always been interested in the connections people have with nature and protecting biodiversity on an ecosystem-wide scale. Her career has evolved from art & design to science, and then to a political approach of protecting nature, but always with a focus on learning. Here in the Pacific Northwest, Emily also appreciates the growing awareness and openness to listening to indigenous cultures and their environmental wisdom. Her favourite tree on the west coast is the giant sequoia, and her favourite tree on the east coast is the white oak.

Tamsin Baker

Stewardship Coordinator

Tamsin Baker

Stewardship Coordinator

Tamsin Baker, MSc, is a nature stewardship specialist with over 20 years of land conservation experience in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Her work with the Fraser Valley Conservancy involves stewardship and outreach program coordination, focusing on the Nature Stewards and Nature Stewardship School programs. She also provides support for the FVC’s land conservation, species at risk recovery, and partnership building activities. As a long-time Lower Mainland resident, she can usually be found enjoying one of the many parks in the region on the weekends.

Sofi Hindmarch

Project Biologist

Sofi Hindmarch

Project Biologist

Sofi is a wildlife biologist who has been studying species at risk in the Fraser Valley for 10 years. She completed her Master’s degree at Simon Fraser University in 2010 where she studied the impact of changes in land use on barn owls, a threatened species in BC. Since then, she has continued her research on the species and focuses on conservation issues affecting barn owls such as the loss of habitat and nest sites, road mortality, and the risk of secondary poisoning from rat poisons. Sofi has a passion for outreach work and understands how important it is to create awareness and facilitate habitat stewardship for vulnerable species in the valley. She has worked with the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust, UBC, SFU, Environment Canada, and the Fraser Basin Council. She presents regularly to naturalist groups and municipalities in the region. Sofi joined the FVC team in July of 2016 and has been sharing her extensive bird knowledge with us ever since.

Get Involved

We are always looking to connect with enthusiastic people passionate about conservation. We have volunteer positions ranging from office-based and fundraising tasks, to getting your hands dirty out in the field. How you help protect our valley is up to you!