What is TRANSFOR-M?

The Transatlantic Forestry Master (TRANSFOR-M) is a 2-year program that is in partnership with other European and Canadian Universities. This partnership is a unique course-based educational experience, which provides students with the opportunity to explore forestry both in Europe and Canada.

Each UBC TRANSFOR-M student will receive upon completion of the program the UBC Master of Forestry (MF) degree and one of the degrees offered by the European Host University:

  • Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Germany – MSc Forest Sciences)
  • Bangor University (Wales, UK – MSc Agroforestry / MSc Conservation and Land Management / MSc Environmental Forestry)
  • University of Eastern Finland (Finland – MSc Agriculture and Forestry)
  • University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (Austria – M.Sc. Mountain Forestry)
  • University of Padova (Italy – M.Sc. Forest Science)

Current TRANSFOR-M Students

Arrotti, Christopher

Christopher Arrotti

Hi all! My name is Chris Arrotti, and I’m from Farmington, Connecticut. I grew up playing in the backwoods around my house and was surrounded by scenic farmland, so I naturally gravitated towards biology and environmental subjects. I graduated from the University of Connecticut in Spring 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in biology. My most recent endeavors have been doing research on invasive species at UConn and working on management plans for land trusts. I’ve found dedicating my work to environmental solutions extremely rewarding- especially because we are in dire need of it, and I know it benefits the plants and animals around me. Through the TRANSFOR-M program I will receive a Master of Science in Conservation and Land Management from Bangor University and a Master of Forestry from the University of British Columbia. I hope to use this knowledge to pursue a career in applied research to aid in conservation/restoration efforts. During my time away from academics, I enjoy playing guitar, making video edits, playing hockey or soccer, and I generally just enjoy learning new things. Overall, I’m excited to further my studies, explore new opportunities, and make great memories! 


Bacon, Sam

Sam Bacon

Hello all, I’m Sam. I grew up in a small town in England near Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. With a passion for the environment and having graduated with a BSc (Hons) from Keele University in Geography & Environmental Science, I left uni and spent some time with a sustainable business and renewable energy consultancy. Ultimately, I decided to return to academia on the TRANSFOR-M programme, which has allowed me to gain international experience and explore across continents, whilst developing my interests across the forest science spectrum, with a focus in community & carbon forestry, invasive ecology, and climate tolerant forestry. I have now completed my first year of the TRANSFOR-M programme at the University of Freiburg, Germany, learning plenty and exploring as much as possible in this Covid-19 era. I spent last autumn at the Bavarian Forest National Park interning in the wildlife monitoring department, whilst spending my spare time hiking, photographing nature and skiing. I am now looking forward to starting this next chapter here in Vancouver!


Brandolese, Alessio

Alessio Brandolese

I come from Italy and I grew up close to the Alps in Padova. Thus, since my childhood the dolomites are the mountains where I spend most of my time in the nature. I have applied for this program because I love forestry and the experience of studying abroad. While I was in high school, I did a one-year exchange in Ecuador. This experience opened my mind and inspired me to learn more about nature. Thus, I started to study Forest Science. Forests have been always important for me. Since I was a child, they have been the mainstage for my outdoor activities, such as hiking, family vacations, boy scouting and sport. By enrolling in university, I wanted to learn how forest ecosystems work and how to deal with environmental issues along with earning the knowledge to communicate the importance of those issues to other people. Referring to me, I am curious person. I like to discover how things are connected to each other and I think that this program is a great opportunity in the forestry field to continue on this path. 


Bhattarai, Lokesh

Bhattarai, Lokesh

I am from Nepal, a mountainous country eminent for Everest, so my affinity and love for nature is instinct. Because of this, I have done my undergraduate in Forestry, which is the core subject of choice for somebody who wishes to gain a theoretical base on natural resources, biodiversity and ecology. Besides my course work, I have been an active member of different volunteer organizations, a voracious reader, and an obsessive traveler from the very beginning of my college days. It will be an absolute delight and privilege to be studying this program in these revered universities. This will enrich my life not only with a global and in-depth understanding of my subject matter but also with a global exposure with peoples of different countries, backgrounds, and beliefs, and experiences of travel abroad. I will be completing Msc. Mountain Forestry from BOKU, Vienna before coming to UBC as a part of TRANSFOR-M program.


Carew, Ayesha 

Hi Everyone, I’m Ayesha from England. As a child I always had a toy animal attached to my side and as I grew my interests in the natural world grew with me. Since my teens I have always had a hand in with a nature-based volunteer organisation, and in 2012 decided to follow through with my passions by completing a BSc in Zoology. After my BSc I worked as an ecological consultant, this provided me with an opportunity to develop skills in specialist species surveys, report writing and communication – unfortunately, I’m no Doctor Dolittle but it turns out a lot of work in ecology is really about talking to people! Having come from a consultancy background and growing up near a city it is evident that development is here to stay. I’m interested in learning how we can all communicate and work together in a more efficient, environmentally friendly manner, allowing us to work with nature instead of against it. I’m hoping that returning to study will steer me in the right direction to future career in conservation/forestry and, I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to study, live and meet some amazing people at UBC. 


Cohen, Caleb 

Caleb Cohen

Hi, my name is Caleb (he/him). I grew up in southern Vermont, USA but I am currently based out of Victoria, BC. In 2013 I came to Canada to study at McGill University. While working on my bachelor’s degree in Environment and Development, I was active in the McGill Outdoors Club and lead hiking, climbing, paddling and ski trips. For the last six years I have worked as tree-planter and planting crew-lead all across BC, from the north Island to the Kootenay’s. Tree planting introduced me to the complex world of forestry in BC and, more broadly, the intersection of natural resource industry, land tenure, and culture. I am excited to be a part of TRANSFOR-M and to combine my enthusiasm for outdoor recreation, forestry, and learning with a multi-cultural international experience. This fall I will be in Padova, Italy. Eventually, I am interested in the ASFIT pathway to becoming an RPF, working with Community Forests and indigenous forestry groups, and learning about progressive tenure reform. 


Crawford, Jodi

Crawford, Jodi

I grew up on a small farm in Southwestern Ontario, shortly down the road from a rapidly developing urban landscape. The drastic contrast of these two settings instilled in me an early interest in the complicated relationships between people and the land. As a result, I pursued my BScH in Physical Geography and Geographic Information Sciences at Queen’s University. Following the completion of my degree, I worked and volunteered for various organizations within the environmental sector. I am excited to be starting at the University of Padova in the fall; but until then you can find me hiking, taking photos, reading, baking bread, knitting, running, petting cats, or singing along to whatever my roommate is currently learning on guitar.


Dingli, Katya

Katya Dingli

Originally from the Maltese Islands, I spent most of my childhood playing in the tiny woodland area of Buskett, surrounded by nature and people who found meaning in being connected to Earth. Having had grandparents who were farmers and shepherds, I grew up with a great sense of respect and awareness on our interactions with nature. I achieved my first Bachelor degree (HONS) in Geography with the University of Malta and for seven years I worked on European Social Funds during which I completed a Master in Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurship from the University of Malta. I concluded my career as a Department Manager on EU Funds to travel, volunteer, and return to my passion of nature and science. During this time I backpacked through Central and South America, camped, hiked long distances and visited several natural parks which continued to nurture my curiosity for the natural sciences. I volunteered with Operation Wallacea in Honduras in field works on both terrestrial and marine research. In 2020 I moved to Austria to pursue an MSc in Mountain Forestry with the Universität Für Bodenkultur. Through the Transfor-M, I am continuing my studies with a Master of Forestry with UBC. I am especially interested in soils, mycorrhizal networks, fire and indigenous forest management and ecological restoration. My hobbies are trekking, camping, climbing mountains and any outdoor sports. I am passionate about self-development and applied practical philosophy.  


Eggink, Ellie

Eggink, Ellie

Hi ya’ll, I am Ellie from Nashville, Tennessee. My passion for environmental science began as a young girl playing ‘forest detective’ in the Appalachian Mountains near my childhood home. Refusing to quit the detective gig, my early fascination with nature only continues to grow. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Global Studies from the University of Tennessee in 2018. During my undergraduate degree, I focused on international development, sociology, and dendrochronology. Over the past few years, I worked in paleoclimate and dendrochronology laboratories in the United States and in Australia. I am keenly interested in exploring relative roles of ecology, economics, and social science in forest management. In the TRANSFOR-M program, I aim to develop an understanding of value-based and place-based approaches to forest management. I am excited for the new experiences to come- cheers.


Ferronato, Paolo

Paolo Ferronato

Hi everyone! I’m Paolo Ferronato, I come from a small city near Venice (Vicenza, Italy), where I also study and work. In my free time. I like to do ANYTHING that’s in the mountains, from climbing to ski touring to just enjoying the view. Lately I have been always busy with the olive trees where I work at, the cares I give them (from pruning to the calculation of fertilization) are all year round, it is a tough job but also relaxing… During my time spent in this awesome field the more I studied the more I knew I needed to learn. We are barely scratching the tip of the iceberg in our understanding of trees and forests so here I am learning these useful tiny bricks of information that are so important… especially in this troubled times where environment is finally being brought to our attention. Thank you for your time I hope we can develop even a better knowledge of each other. 


Lanz, Gregor

“Guten Tag” everyone. It means “good day” or “hello” in Germany, which is very I come from. Growing up in a city, I loved the forests around for sports and recreation. It took me a six months trip to Canada after highschool though to find out, that forestry could become more than a passion. I always thought that forests are full of solutions to nowadays challenges and I was eager to contribute to a positive change. I received my undergrad (B.Sc.) in Rottenburg, Germany in forest management, GIS and landscape ecology. Specializing on urban forestry, I quickly understood that “forestry is not about trees, it´s about people” (J.C. Westoby). Working in forest policy making, public relations and consulting for four years now I can tell that communication is key – especially in a multifunctional forest. With the TRANSFOR-M program I´m hoping to deepen my understanding about the fascinating interplay between nature and people and develop my career as consultant, coach and forestry expert. I can´t get enough of forests and I think nature is full of surprises, poetry and wonderful moments. So I love to go look for them in my free time with my friends.


Menon, Nicola

Nicola Menon

I am from Padova (closed to Venice) located in the Veneto Region, Italy. I studied in the scientific high school Eugenio Curiel and then I decided to deepen my passion for the forest by enrolling in the program “Forestry and Environmental Sciences” at the University of Padova.Here, I learned many useful and interesting things, from silviculture to remote sensings (one of the topics that interested me the most).I am excited to be part of the outstanding TRANSFOR-M program to enlarge my forestry knowledge and to meet new people. My goal is to continue with research in the forestry sector. During my bachelor thesis, I discovered the world of research and I was very enthusiastic about it. My hobbies are many outdoor activities like running, hiking and practising several sports (especially basketball, tennis, soccer, skiing and swimming). Moreover, I am a huge fan of photography and I hope to capture the best views that Canada has to offer! 


Manduca, Veronica

Manduca, Veronica

Hello to everyone! My name is Veronica and I am from Rome, Italy! After attending classical studies in Rome, my interest in science and ecological themes came out, so I began my bachelor’s degree in Environmental and forestry sciences in Italy, Viterbo… having the big chance to develop my final thesis in South America! I definitely fell in love with tribal cultures … for this reason, after my graduation, I decided to take a break from my studies and have a work-volunteering experience in collaboration with an NGO in Africa. I had the big chance to live almost one year in a rural village within the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, working about water access, food security, women empowerment, education, and food forests! During this path, I did several internships concerning forest management plans in Italy, reforestation and land recovery in Ecuador, and cooperation in Kenya! Since I think that every goal is a new starting point, I decided to begin my master’s in Padua, where I have been studying one year before coming to UBC! I love making new friends and know new cultures, so I will enjoy this multicultural environment in Vancouver for sure! I am a big fan of outdoor activities, indeed I also worked as a naturalistic guide! Anyway, I never forget about relaxing time, so I hope to meet people for both amazing experiences or a cup of coffee! I love cooking, art, music, and exploring! I hope to make the most of this amazing experience too!


Papageorgiou-George, Lydia

Lydia Papageorgiou-George

My name is Lydia and I am from Athens, Greece. I left at age 16 to study at UWC Atlantic College, an international boarding school in Wales, before returning to Athens. I graduated from Deree – The American College of Greece (ACG) with a BSc in Environmental Studies in 2020. While at Deree I worked at the ACG Center of Excellence for Sustainability, where I assisted with sustainability awareness-raising campaigns and biodiversity monitoring amongst other projects. Over the past year I have been volunteering with a couple Greek environmental NGOs, helping out with translations and graphic design work. Outside of my studies I enjoy playing football (soccer), debating, photography, and 3D animation. I am beyond excited to be spending a year in Vancouver and a year in Padova. As a Greek/Canadian, I was torn between continuing my studies in Europe or pursuing a master’s degree in Canada. That is why when I came across TRANSFOR-M I knew I had to apply. In the next two years I hope to learn more about conservation practices and land use, as well as investigating the environmental, social, and economic benefits of urban forests. 


Payne, Caitlin

Caitlin Payne

I’m originally from the D.C. area, but I have had the privilege to spend the last five years living in Bangor, Wales and Lugano, Switzerland, where I completed my undergraduate degree in environmental science at Franklin University Switzerland. The FUS priority on experiential learning afforded me numerous opportunities to gain hands-on experience in my fields of interest – ecology and conservation. This includes research I undertook while studying abroad in Cambodia to process and analyze camera trap data from WCS Cambodia to assess species richness in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary. Through the Trans-Atlantic Forestry Masters with Bangor University and UBC, I hope to build on this background and diversify my skill set. Following my completion of the Trans-Atlantic Forestry Masters, I hope to continue working in conservation while incorporating my hands-on skills and experience in ecology and forestry. 


Payne, Holden

Holden Payne

Hi everyone! I’m Holden. I grew up in Miami, Florida and spent much of my childhood engaging with the coastal environment and aquatic ecosystems. I changed track a bit at university and went on to get my BSc from the University of California, Berkeley with dual degrees in Environmental Sciences and Ecosystem Management & Forestry. While at university I spent much of my academic free time working on forestry management, fire ecology, prescribed burning, and herbicide usage in forestry. After graduating university I worked for a season with the Stephens Fire Lab on Giant Sequoia mortality and health following severe fire. I then decided to attend TRANSFOR-M to further diversify my knowledge of forestry management and ways to improve forest health and resilience in the face of increasingly severe wildfires and climate change. In the future I hope to work in dry Mediterranean mixed conifer forests on better policy and management styles that allow forests to thrive while also providing multiple-use benefits to the people and ecosystems that rely on them.


Spencer, Zachary 

Zachary Spencer

Hey there, I’m Zach from Mississauga, Ontario. I grew up in Ontario and spent much of my childhood exploring the Great Lakes region. After my dad moved to Victoria, I spent a lot of time hiking the temperate rainforests on Vancouver Island. That was an awe-inspiring experience—I’ve held a passion for wild spaces ever since. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Queen’s University, where I focused on political theory and environmental studies. Since graduating I have invested my time working with a non-profit called Mining Shared Value which works at a policy and advocacy level to improve standards in the global mining industry. Coming to UBC, I am interested in learning more about the topics of restoration ecology, agroforestry, and climate change. In particular, I would like to learn more about the effects of climate change on forest dynamics in temperate and subtropical regions. I’m truly grateful to have the chance to participate in the TRANSFOR-M program and look forward to getting to know everyone.  


Stenson, Kelli 

Kelli Stenson

Hiya! My name is Kelli and I grew up in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. I spent summers growing up exploring the waterways around Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario in a canoe which sparked my passion for the environment. I’ve been living in Vancouver for the past few years studying Urban Forestry here at UBC and spending my free time travelling, camping, and working on the water. During my undergrad, I developed a keen interest in ecology and restoration. During the TRANSFOR-M program, I am hoping to combine my passions for restoration and the water by focusing on watershed and riparian ecosystem restoration. I’ll be completing my second year of the program at BOKU where I look forward to gaining some global perspective on forest and ecosystem management, as well as having an opportunity to travel and explore a new part of the world! 


Thorman, Charlie 

Charlie Thorman

Hi! I’m Charlie from Lincoln, Nebraska, via Toronto, Ontario, with interests in conservation, ecology, and the creative arts. I studied Geography and Studio Art at Dartmouth College in the U.S. before working as an aquaponics research assistant at the College’s organic farm. After several years working as an art director in advertising, I am very excited to be shifting my focus back to the environmental field. I will be exploring ways to combine my experience in communications and filmmaking and recent coursework in ecology with my studies at UBC and Bangor University. Through the TRANSFOR-M program, I hope to find ways contribute to the collaborative, creative, and intersectional work being done in the international conservation world. Outside of my studies, I play basketball, read sci-fi comics, go to film festivals, and camp with my wife, Joanna. 


White, Mia

Mia White

Hey Folks! My name is Mia White. I was born and raised in Detroit, MI, USA. I first learned my love for the outdoors through a trade school I attended concurrently with high school. I received my Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University in Forestry (Virtual Class of 2020). I have previously managed a closed-loop greenhouse, cared for plants at a botanical garden, and helped teach dendrology to students. I wanted to pursue a master’s program because I want to work internationally and learn more about forestry. I am extremely interested in Agroforestry to tie my foodie roots to my love for trees. Through the Transfor-M program, I’ll obtain a Master’s of Agroforestry and Food Security from Bangor University and I think this will really set me apart with the Master of Forestry from UBC. In my spare time, I love to read books, play video games, and cook! I also have gotten into kombucha brewing and mushroom growing. I enjoy bike rides and traveling to new places. FUN FACT: I studied abroad twice in my undergrad (Ireland and the Netherlands). After being in the Netherlands for six months, I traveled with my dad to 19 different countries!