A Williams Lake professional forester received national recognition this week from the Canadian Institute of Forestry.
Ken Day, who retired in April after 31 years as the manager of the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest in Williams Lake, was presented the CIF Canadian Forestry Achievement Award Tuesday evening at the institute’s Awards Banquet in Grande Prairie, Alta.
The Canadian Forestry Achievement Award recognizes unique and outstanding achievement in forestry in Canada with the objective of encouraging excellence in the forestry profession.
“It’s a great honour,” Day said. “I looked at the list of previous award winners and having my name added to that is pretty humbling.”
Day, who graduated from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont., began with the research forest at its inception in 1987.
The research forest is 10,000 hectares spread across two separate areas at Gavin Lake and at 150 Mile House between Jones Creek and knife Creek. It was born out of an economic development study commissioned by the Cariboo Regional District in the mid 1980s.
Day was also the first manager of the Williams Lake Community Forest, a partnerships between the City of Williams Lake and the Williams Lake Indian Band up until the end of December 2017.
While attending the CIF’s function Tuesday, Day participated in workshops and meetings throughout the day, before being treated to an evening of dinner and entertainment at the awards banquet where 10 other awards were handed out to honour individuals and groups from throughout the country.
“I’m guessing there were probably about 200 people registered from throughout the country there,” Day said. “It was an interesting mix of academic, government and industry there. At one point I was talking to an archaeologist, as well, so it was a good mix of interests.”
Day said he was nominated for the recognition by the Vancouver Section of the CIF.
“About a month ago I found out,” he said, noting the award recipients are nominated by sections spread across the country.
“There are 17 sections, and the Vancouver section has a lot of folks from UBC, and they assembled letters of support and forwarded those on.”
While appreciative of the recognition, Day said it doesn’t quite feel right to take all the credit.
“There’s that familiar feeling that it’s never been just me,” he said. “There’s a whole team of people at both research forests that have had an awful lot to do with our success so I feel a little bit embarrassed when it’s actually a group success.”
During his award presentation, Day said he thanked the university, the institute for the award and the Vancouver section for nominating him.
He also thanked a practising forester by the name of George Merak who taught him as an undergraduate.
“He said: ‘You need to get a job and stay in one place and learn how things work,’” Day said, which is precisely what he wound up doing once he settled in Williams Lake and raised a family.
“A big thank you to UBC for giving me all the rope I wanted to use. I always had lots of latitude to explore my curiosity, and for the chance to practice in one place for 30 years.”
“I learned a lot from the faculty, the staff and the students. I was always learning new things. I’m particularly glad I had the chance to work with such a great group of staff at the research forest.”
The CIF Canadian Forestry Achievement Award has been issued since 1967, while the CIF is celebrating its 110th year of existence this year.
The CIF aims to foster public awareness of Canadian and international forestry issues all while promoting sustainability and competence among forestry professionals.