Catherine Dowdell

Catherine Dowdell

Originally from Ontario, with roots in East Gwillimbury, Guelph and Ottawa, I’m a transplant in Calgary, Alberta. I hold a Red Seal Endorsement in Landscape Horticulture, am an ISA Certified Arborist and am Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. I hold a Certificate in Sustainable Landscapes from the University of Guelph and have operated a business in edible landscapes and nurturing young trees for nearly a decade. I developed and managed a small-scale, organic, urban agriculture training program for youth at risk, which supplied a 30-share CSA membership. Through coaching and mentoring, the program was eventually was run by youth, for youth. I’m completing my Bachelor of Applied Science in Horticulture and work seasonally for a municipality currently. Prior to working with plants as a career, I worked with nonprofit organizations that focused on non-formal education programs based in community development. Through this type of work, I was fortunate to live and work in different parts of our beautiful country. In non-COVID times, I would enjoy playing pool (poorly but with lots of fun and a competitive nature), love travelling and camping, and gather with friends and family.


Virginia Hang

Virginia Hang

I am from Brampton, Ontario, which is known as the “Flower City” of Canada. I studied Planning at the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo. I am a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and a member in the Canadian Institute of Planners and have worked in the field of land and real estate development for the past four years. Before attending UBC, I completed the Ontario Master Naturalist Program and have been exploring the roles of native species in Ontario during hikes and kayaking adventures. My love for nature and the outdoors and my interests in biodiversity conservation, environmental sustainability, green infrastructure, and urban resilience to climate change eventually led me to the MUFL program. I aspire to work with cities, conservation areas, and private and public organizations to solve environmental challenges, improve human well-being and ensure sustainable land use in cities. I aspire to grow in my urban planning career as a Planner who can tackle urban forestry issues in cities.


Heather Johnstone

Heather Johnstone

I am from Perth, Western Australia and my current role is connecting communities, local governments and stakeholders to work together and appreciate the importance of their own urban forests through establishing shared values and understanding. An artist in tapestry, print and paint who began teacher training before starting a family, I have often found solace amongst trees and is excited to deepen my understanding of urban forestry leadership through the MUFL.  I am the lead Author and volunteer manager for Australia’s first community led urban forest strategy, endorsed in 2018. I am involved its implementation and governance through community action and chair the local tree board. I work in youth led urban forest and environmental projects with Millennium Kids, securing funding and mentoring youth through the project delivery process. This work has seen contributions recognised through the 2019 Environmental Action award from the United Nations Association of Western Australia and the 2020 Banksia Sustainability Award win in the Community and Charity category. I am passionate about ensuring fair and equitable access to natural assets in our cities so that everyone can thrive. I believe transparent, inclusive and community led urban forest management, stewardship and governance is how this will be achieved.


Jon Kozak

Jonathon Kozak

I was born in Kenora, Ontario located in the Lake of The Woods boreal shield ecoregion of Canada. This area was my home, playground and where I established my roots. I come to UBC with a Degree in Horticulture, obtained from Olds College in central Alberta, Canada. I began my studies in the Environmental Horticulture program where I graduated with dual-majors in Landscape Management and Arboriculture. I’ve had an active interest in the topics of ecology, landscape architecture, urban design and urban forestry which has guided my career path towards the Master of Urban Forestry Leadership program. I currently work for the City of Calgary in the Parks – Urban Forestry Department as an ISA Certified Arborist. In the spirit of reconciliation, I acknowledge that I live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina, the Îyâxe Nakoda Nations, the Métis Nation (Region 3), and all people who make their homes in the Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. Calgary is my new home and I’m excited to share what this city offers in its history of trees, parks and natural environments.


Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

I am currently in the role of Natural Asset Technician with the Town of Gibsons, a municipality at the forefront of work with Natural Assets and ecosystem services. My position with local government puts me in a position to benefit greatly from the Master of Urban Forestry Leadership program.


Marck McDonald

Mark McDonald

I was born and raised in Burnaby, B.C. Canada and completed my Bachelor of Science in Forest Sciences at UBC, where I specialized in Forest Pathology. My work experience includes working in both the public and private sectors of arboriculture for over 13 years and 4 years in horticulture prior to that. Before attending UBC for my master’s, I worked as a Tree Inspector for the City of Burnaby, a role which I will continue during my studies. My interests include topics about plant health care, tree biology and pathogens, and tree climber safety. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, hiking, backcountry camping, and playing softball. I decided to pursue my master’s because I have a strong passion for keeping cities green, and want to preserve and promote new ways people can enjoy the benefits of trees in their own neighborhoods. In the future, I wish to continue working in the public sector with the goal of creating new urban forest policies and managing greenspace projects.


Taylor Melone

Taylor Melone

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and currently serve as Program Director for Up With Trees, a local tree planting, preservation, and education nonprofit, where I found a passion for urban forestry by way of youth education. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, I served as an Apprentice with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota at Big Stone County Soil and Water Conservation District. I began at Up With Trees through the development of Tulsa’s Urban Forest Master Plan and over the last 6 years have grown with the organization through the development of education, volunteer service, and community forestry programming. I recently attained the ISA Certified Arborist credential and continue to learn about the value of urban trees through professional groups including the Alliance for Community Trees and the Municipal Forestry Institute. My goal in the MUFL program is to become a well-rounded urban forester able to lead interdisciplinary teams and equip communities with the tools they need to build resilient, safe, and connected urban forests. Outside of trees, my hobbies include camping, attending community events, seeing new places, and sitting on my patio.


Laura Ralph

Laura Ralph

Growing up, I was fortunate to spend my summers on the shores of Lake Huron in Tobermory, Ontario where the amazing plant and animal life in the extensive forests drew me in – things like discovering salamanders beneath logs or marveling at stunted ancient cedars, magically growing out of bedrock, helped me grow a great sense of appreciation for trees and forests. When I moved to Vancouver, BC in my late teens, the many parks, trees, and surrounding forests, helped me feel at home. I learned how even one tree in a sea of hardscape in the city could make a big difference. Now, I live in Saanich, BC (W̱SÁNEĆ) and the urban forest, which includes endangered Garry oak ecosystems, continues to inspire me to advocate for and learn about sustainable urban forestry. My professional background is in residential tree and garden care, land restoration, permaculture design, arboriculture consulting, tree preservation through land development, and municipal urban forestry. I am eager to explore ways to encourage best land use that will promote biodiversity, maximize ecosystem services, and ensure liveable communities. I like to spend time hiking with my two dogs, gardening/building a food forest, foraging, and have recently been learning how to dye with plants, fungi, and lichen.


Marco Sanelli

Marco

My name is Marco! I am originally from Italy and moved to Vancouver in 2013 for my BSc in Natural Resources Conservation at UBC Forestry. After graduating from UBC in 2018, as a GIS Analyst I joined Diamond Head Consulting, a local Vancouver award-winning environmental consulting firm. The growing demand for urban forestry professionals has led me to enroll in the MUFL. Through the MUFL program I am hoping to develop my leadership, policy analysis, and project management skills. Outside of work and school, you’re likely to find me bouldering in Squamish or catching a movie at the Rio Theater.


Ryan Senechal

Ryan Senechal

I’m originally from Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada and began my career in Arboriculture/Urban Forestry in the Toronto and Niagara regions. I graduated from Humber College Urban Arboriculture in the diploma program in 2009 and have also taken short courses at Guelph University, BC Institute of Technology and University of Victoria. My current role is in coordinating Urban Forestry maintenance with the City of Victoria as Assistant Supervisor of Urban Forestry. I am specialized in Arborist consulting and Arborist occupational health and safety and have worked previously as an industry trainer and educator for large tree care companies, training organizations, and Camosun College. Outside of work I enjoy collecting seed and growing trees, woodworking, playing music, hiking, paddling, and bmx riding. I try to stay active in the community particularly for the cause of environmental justice through volunteer service on the ground and participating with committees. I’ve applied to the MUFL program to face some of my key professional gaps and better equip myself for the challenges ahead, and to share and learn from the experiences from similarly motivated students. My goal is to prepare myself for some of the immense challenges ahead in Urban Forestry planning to support affordable, livable communities.