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

Program Director

Aleesha Switzer

Program Director

Aleesha brings her skills as a biologist and an environmental educator to her role as Program Director at the FVC.  She has helped develop a wide range of our programs including Precious Frog, Frog Finders, Step to It, Habitat Healers, and various educational series and outreach campaigns, such as Speak for the Peak and Nature Stewardship School. Aleesha has worked to protect 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. Now, she is a Registered Professional Biologist (RPBio) with the College of Applied Biology. Aleesha is also a MA (candidate) in Environmental Education and Communication from Royal Roads University. Aleesha is passionate about inspiring residents of the Fraser Valley to engage in environmental stewardship.

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. He is now a registered Professional Agrologist (P.Ag).

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.

Patricia Fantillo

Coordinator of Volunteers

Patricia Fantillo

Coordinator of Volunteers

Patricia is an Herbalist and forever a student of nature. She joined the FVC as the Coordinator of Volunteers in the Spring of 2023. Patricia’s love for plants began in her great grandmother’s garden when Patricia was a little girl. As an adult she has her own garden and grows herbs, vegetables, fruit, and native plant species. Patricia has completed two courses at BCIT on native plant identification and soil assessment. She is currently studying herbal medicine with Commonwealth Centre for Holistic Herbalism and at Evolutionary Herbalism. Her passion for plants, the earth, and her need to help people is intertwined. When Patricia isn’t working or in her garden she is out exploring trails within the Fraser Valley.

Puggle Riker

Staff Support

Puggle Riker

Staff Support

Puggle Riker is an important member of the team at the Fraser Valley Conservancy. He specializes in begging for treats and getting head scratches.

Optu

Staff Support

Optu

Staff Support

Optu is a professional bug and leaf catcher, garden manager, and block watch. When not outdoors with his hoomans, he spends his time inside playing with his big sister and sleeping in a cozy spot. Optu enjoys meeting the neighborhood dogs on daytime walks, and catnip in the evenings. His best friend is a Bernese/Pyrenees mix dog named Watson.

Emma Bryce

President

Emma Bryce

President

Emma Bryce is an advocate for sustainable agriculture and conservation in the Fraser Valley. She works as the Communications Manager for the Organic Federation of Canada, helping manage the Organic Science Clusters research activities and the maintenance of the Canadian Organic Standards. Emma is currently pursuing her MSc in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University; researching the use of native bumblebee populations as a supplementary pollination method in berry crops. Her interests center around developing relationships between agricultural producers and environmental practitioners in a way that supports the development of resilient food systems grounded in sustainable practice.

Dr. Roy Cline

Vice President

Dr. Roy Cline

Vice President

Roy Cline is a retired Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Clinical Professor at UBC. He has a lifelong interest in wildlife photography and environmental protection. He is a member of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. He and his wife, Susan, have a farm near Fort Langley where there are resident goats, horses, dogs, a cat and a new beekeeping venture. They are active participants in the FVC Nature Stewards program and are supporting an amphibian habitat restoration project on their property. They feel privileged to listen to the frog chorus each evening.

Trish Osterberg

Secretary

Trish Osterberg

Secretary

Trish is from the Squiala First Nation and grew up in Squamish BC. She has an undergraduate degree in Forest Resource Management and a Masters of Science in Plant Science. She has served First Nations of BC for over 20 years in areas of research, wellness programs, policy and strategic planning, community engagement and First Nation health governance. You may have met Trish if you support our Native Plant Sales she is passionate about plants and helping the FVC!

John Vissers

Treasurer

John Vissers

Treasurer

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.

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.

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 over 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!