2019/2020 PRSSS Executive
Alex Kramer, M.Sc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Alex Kramer received his B.Sc. in Microbiology at the University of Victoria. Through his undergrad, he worked at an environmental chemistry lab followed by the BC Proteomics lab in Victoria. After a year off, Alex came to UBC to find a program in which he could effect change in the environment. Currently, Alex is working on his M.Sc. in Soil Science with Dr. Maja Krzic and Dr. Brian Wallace at UBC. His project focuses on long term carbon storage in grasslands in the Southern Interior of BC.
Teresa Porter, M.Sc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Teresa Porter received her B.Sc. in Global Resource Systems at UBC. She spent the next four years working on small-scale organic farms around the province. Her experience was mostly in mixed vegetable production, as well as in herbs, flowers, fruit, egg, and pig production. Teresa is currently working on her M.Sc. in Soil Science with Dr. Maja Krzic at UBC. Her research focuses on the effects of grassland set-asides on soil physical quality in the Fraser River delta region.
Paula Porto, M.Sc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Paula is a Master of Soil Science student at UBC, under the supervision of Dr. Sean Smukler. Her research investigates the impact of different drainage systems on soil greenhouse gas emissions from blueberry farms in Delta, BC. Previously, she completed a B.Sc. in Biology and worked as the lab manager of the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes lab, both at UBC. Paula’s interest in soils began with a passion for natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. In her free time, she enjoys singing and dancing, playing board games, and being outdoors!
Patricia Hanuszak, M.Sc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Patricia (Trish) is a M.Sc. student at UBC with Dr. Sean Smukler. Trish’s interest in soil was ignited when she learned about agronomy as a career during her time abroad. Her work experience includes winery production and wine making, sterile insect release technology, and more recently an involvement with a grassland set-aside project in Delta, B.C. Trish’s dream is a small secluded plot of land with a fertile loam soil and a creek that runs year-round. When Trish is not in school she can be found out in nature whether at the beach or in the trees.
Website and Social Media Coordinator
Cara LeGault, B.Sc. Student in Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, UBC
Cara LeGault is in her fourth year of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment at UBC. She does not enjoy referring to herself in third person (haha) but thoroughly enjoys soil science and the collision of agricultural and social sciences. Cara has worked in a variety of roles on farms and in her faculty, Land and Food Systems, that involve agricultural education and sustainable farming. She is a firm believer that sharing knowledge has the power to make progress towards more sustainable and holistic food systems. Cara is interested in soil conservation from a practical perspective on the farm scale as healthy soil is a key component in healthy agroecosystems. Her interest in sustainable agriculture was sparked at young age and fostered throughout her degree at UBC. When not in the field or behind a microscope, Cara enjoys hiking, yoga, dancing and baking!
Website and Social Media Coordinator
Fernanda Diaz Osorio, B.Sc. Student in Global Resource Systems, UBC
Fernanda moved from Oaxaca, Mexico, to study at UBC. She is currently in her last year of her undergraduate degree in Global Resource Systems, with a focus on Sustainable Agriculture and Economics. Growing up, she spent a significant amount of time at her family’s restaurants, and developed a deep interest in food systems. However, it was not until she took an Introductory Soil Science class with Dr. Sandra Brown that her passion for soil was born. During the past two summers, she also had the opportunity to work at organic farms in both France and Belgium. When she is not studying, Fernanda enjoys trying new food, hiking, playing basketball and knitting.
Website, Social Media, and Newsletter Coordinator
Lewis Fausak, M.Sc. in Soil Science, UBC
Lewis is currently the Applied Biology Education and Research Technician at UBC. He recently completed a MSc studying plant available nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions in the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Lab under the supervision of Dr. Maja Krzic and Dr. Sean Smukler. He completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental and Conservation Science at the University of University of Alberta, where he discovered his passion for soil science and applied research. Outside of academia, he enjoys hiking, cooking, skiing, and making art.
Website and Social Media Coordinator
Raelani Kesler, MSc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Raelani is a MSc in Soil Science student with Dr. Sean Smukler in the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Lab at UBC. She works with organic vegetable growers to study the effects of plastic tarps on soil biology and soil health. Her work as a farm manager brought her to graduate school, hoping to understand more about the complexities of the soil ecology that underpin healthy crops. Raelani hopes to run her own small farm one day and is passionate about improving communication and extension between producer and research communities. Previously, she received her B.S. in Environmental Science at the University of Washington.
Hannah Friesen, B.Sc. Student in Global Resource Systems, UBC
Hannah is a fourth-year Land and Food Systems undergraduate student studying Global Resource Systems. She is especially interested in soil science and how it can be used to address environmental concerns and assist farmers in management decisions. Since pursuing an education at UBC, her passion for soil has grown as a result of classes, especially sustainable soil management and lab methods in soil science, as well as working in the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes lab on an organic vegetable nutrient management project. When she’s not playing in the soil, Hannah can be found hiking, biking or talking to chickens.
Bryan Driscoll, M.Sc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Bryan recently graduated from ‘Applied Biology – Food and the Environment’ at UBC. Transferring from the University of Calgary, he began in nutritional science before switching focus to sustainable agriculture. He fell in love with soils after taking the intro soils course at UBC. He also went on the PRSSS summer field ID course in 2014. After graduating with his BSc., he worked with the Food Pedalers, briefly, before buying into the co-op in 2017. He and two others operated the microgreen growing business in Strathcona, just outside downtown Vancouver, out of a shipping container greenhouse. He started his MSc in Soil Science in September 2019. His research is in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The project is a soil and water conservation system designed for terracing of potato production and is the first field experiment in the world linking subsurface drainage and irrigation with erosion control structures.
Andy Jakoy, M.Sc. Soil Science, RPF (retired); Vancouver, BC
I was born on April 27, 1935, in Hungary in a small hamlet where my father was the resident forester. I enrolled in the Forest Engineering School of Sopron (western Hungary) in 1954. The Hungarians revolted against the Soviet occupation in October 1956. The superior Soviet army soon defeated this ill fated effort and most of the Engineering School, staff and students escaped to Austria. In early January, 1957 we were transported to Canada and finally to the West Coast. In September, 1957 we started our studies as an affiliated faculty of the Forestry Faculty of UBC. I graduated with BSF in 1959. In the early 1960-s I worked throughout BC in forest engineering. I started an MF program in silviculture in 1965 in the Forestry Faculty of UBC. My research and thesis work was in the fertilization of 2-0 planted Douglas-fir seedlings in Coastal BC. I had obtained a teaching position in the Natural Resources Department at BCIT in 1967. Soon I established valuable contacts with Drs. Karel Klinka and Nurettin Keser; through them I met Dr. Les Lavkulich and in 1975 I started my grad studies in Soil Science under the guidance of Dr. Lavkulich. In 1981, I defended my thesis, “Soils of grassland and forest transitions north of Kamloops, British Columbia”. Looking back on these years now, I feel I’d completed the best six years of my professional life at that particular time. During this period, I joined the PRSSS, which was initiated by Dr Lavkulich and have maintained my membership ever since. I was the president of our Society in 2002-03, when we celebrated our 25th Anniversary. As a retirement job I look after the report and map collection library of our Society, which we inherited from MOE in the mid 90s. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to learn from and to exchange information with such wonderful people as the earth scientists. I feel I earned the distinction as “director emeritus” of PRSSS.
Art was raised on a small farm in Illinois, did his university education in that state at Southern Illinois University (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) and the University of Illinois (Ph.D.), and immigrated to British Columbia four decades ago. Art’s educational background is in Agronomy, specifically soil and crop management, and he taught courses and conducted research on soil fertility and management throughout his UBC career. Art has also had opportunities to explore social dimensions of agricultural systems through his teaching in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems’ Land, Food and Community core curriculum. Since coming to UBC, he has conducted research on both inorganic and organic fertilization, nitrogen cycling, on-farm composting, agroecology and cropping systems. Art officially retired to Professor Emeritus status in 2011 and continues to pursue interests in sustainable soil management and supporting farmers and farm communities. He was a charter member of the PRSSS and past director and is enthusiastic about helping the Society to engage with the broader public in advocating for policies based in sound soil science.
Eveline Wolterson, M.Sc. Soil Science, President, EvEco Consultants Ltd., Vancouver, BC
Eveline was raised in rural Horseshoe Bay and earned her training in physical chemistry, geomorphology and soil science at UBC. She has worked as a cocktail waitress, in an oil refinery, as a laboratory tech, in applied research, and for the last 30-odd years as an environmental consultant. She has worked locally and internationally providing natural resource management services to government and the private sector, primarily in agriculture, forestry, transportation, mining, land use planning, and water resources. Eveline is a Professional Agrologist and an Environmental Professional certified in the disciplines of agriculture, waste management, and site assessment and reclamation. She has recently retired from full-time consulting, but continues to dabble in policy development, cases requiring expert testimony, and in her interests in sustainable agricultural systems, beneficial waste management, and environmental planning and advocacy.
Regional Director (Peace River/ UNBC)
Serena Black, M.Sc., B.J. Science Research Specialist
Serena Black has been working in applied agriculture research and extension throughout the Omineca and Cariboo Regions for the past seven years. Black completed her Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University in 2010, and her Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Science from the University of Northern BC in 2015. Black’s research is focused on forage and grain crops, invasive weed management and soil health. Black currently lives in Prince George, BC, and works as a Science Research Specialist at Industrial Forestry Service Ltd.