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.
Graduate Student Representative
Brooke Hayes, MSc. Student in Environmental Studies, University of Victoria
With an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, Brooke Hayes has returned to the University of Victoria as a graduate student in the school of Environmental Studies after a twenty year career working in the BC provincial service. Brooke has worked on a variety of projects during that time, such as assessing the impacts of the mountain pine beetle epidemic on rural communities in BC, supporting the transition of the BC Ambulance Service and the Oil and Gas Commission out of the public service, developing a cross-government strategy for the delivery of $6.6 billion of goods and services delivered through procurement, and most recently, held responsibility for climate change, marketing, land use planning, and soil, air and water quality portfolios within the BC Ministry of Agriculture. Here Brooke discovered a passion for agriculture that has inspired a return to school to investigate the relationships between climate-adaptive soil management practices and the overall health of farmers and communities in BC and beyond.
Graduate Student/ BC Peace Regional Representative
Joseph Crudo, M.Sc. Student in Soil Science, UBC
Joe completed his B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation at UBC Forestry. After graduating, Joe went on to work as a field supervisor and senior forest technician with a prominent forestry consultant. This work took him to the forests of northern B.C., northern Alberta, and as far away as the Northwest Territories. Joe is a forest mensuration specialist and has been involved in implementing some cutting edge LIDAR-based technologies including ground-based scanning systems. Although he has focused on forest inventory and timber cruising in the past few years, in his duties as a field supervisor, Joe has overseen the multi-phase development of hundreds of thousand of cubic meters of timber in B.C.’s northern-eastern regions. This includes soil and ecological assessments, stream and riparian assessments, engineering and harvest reports, bridge and road planning, etc. After gaining 5 years of field experience, Joe has now returned to UBC to complete his M.Sc. Soil Science under the supervision of Dr. Maja Krzic.
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.
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 Alberta, where he discovered his passion for soil science and applied research. Outside of academia, he enjoys hiking, cooking, skiing, and making art.
Director at Large
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, P.Ag., EP (Emeritus)
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 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 is retired from full-time consulting, but continues to dabble in environmental policy, planning and advocacy for local communities, sustainable agricultural systems, and stump ranching in the north Okanagan Valley.
Amy Norgaard, M.Sc. Soil Science
Amy is a research assistant in the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes (SAL) lab, UBC, working on a greenhouse gas opportunity assessment for the agriculture sector in BC. She completed her MSc in Soil Science in the SAL lab in October 2020; the goal of her MSc research was to help improve nutrient management on organic vegetable farms to balance crop production with environmental stewardship. To do so, she worked with 20 producers across three regions of southwest BC (Fraser Valley, Pemberton, Vancouver Island). Amy has also worked on an organic mixed vegetable farm in Pemberton, BC for several seasons and was a program coordinator for the Richmond Food Security Society. She is a Professional Agrologist with the BCIA and teaches sustainable soil management with the KPU – Tsawwassen First Nation Farm School, KPU Richmond Farm School, and the UBC Farm Practicum. She also works with ES Crop Consult offering nutrient management services to farmers in the lower Fraser Valley. Amy has been a speaker and facilitator of workshops on nutrient management, translating agricultural science at numerous producer events in the province.