Women in Forestry Series

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021, we featured six women who work in forestry around our province.


1. Sydney Goward, RPF, Planning Forester 

Meet Sydney Goward, a Planning Forester for West Fraser in Smithers, BC. As a planning forester, she’s involved in the pre-harvest stage, and one of her main responsibilities is designing cut blocks that meet the company’s sustainability goals and forest stewardship plan. Designing a cut block involves many steps, from engaging stakeholders to working with the silviculture and operations team to managing contractors. Also, Sydney is the divisional Environmental Management System (EMS) Coordinator, and in this role, she ensures the division is meeting its Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification.

Sydney has a keen interest in wildlife management. In the past, she worked as an assistant habitat/wildlife biologist for West Fraser and is still applying those skills in her role today. Sydney is looking forward to beginning her Master’s Degree, studying wildlife, this May. She recently developed a website where she blogs about conservation and has a gallery for her wildlife photography: https://gowardresearch.weebly.com/

For women considering a career in forestry, Sydney would tell anyone to “just go for it!”. She believes that every workplace is stronger, more creative and more resilient when it is diverse. She loves seeing other women and non-binary folks getting into the industry, and she is very proud that she’s been able to mentor and support young women as they pursue forestry careers. #womeninforestry #internationalwomensday #bcforestry


2. Sarah Germain, RPF, BIT, Planning and Practices Biologist

Meet Sarah Germain, a Planning and Practices Biologist for WFP in Campbell River, BC. In this role, Sarahprovides technical biological support to WFP’s various operations. She also supports the implementation and monitoring of WFP’s Environmental Management System, Stewardship and Conservation Plan, Sustainable Forest Management certification, and operational planning processes.

Sarah grew up working on a farm, and from a young age, knew she wanted a career outdoors. She completed a bachelor of science in biology at the University of Victoria and then the forest resources technology program at Vancouver Island University. She has been working in forestry for roughly six years and has never looked back.

Sarah loves her job because it is so diverse, and every day is different. She is proud to work for a forward-thinking company that is continually looking for ways to improve forest management practices. For women considering a career in forestry, Sarah would tell you that everyone she’s worked with is extremely respectful and supportive, and you only need to believe in yourself. She is also a firm believer in getting out of your comfort zone and accepting new challenges.


3. Kari Stuart-Smith, PhD., RPBio.,PBiol, Senior Forest Scientist

This is Kari, the Senior Forest Scientist for Canfor. As a forest scientist, Kari is always looking at the latest scientific research on wildlife and forests and working with Canfor’s foresters to incorporate this information into their management practices. Kari believes that people would be astonished if they knew how much planning went into every cutblock, because Canfor doesn’t just look at the trees, but also what is important for wildlife and the entire ecosystem.

Kari chose to pursue a career in forestry because she wants to make a difference and use her knowledge to continuously improve the way things are done in forestry. She is very proud to have recently been appointed to the first Minister’s Wildlife Advisory Council in BC, whose role is to advise Minister Conroy on BC’s Together for Wildlife strategy and significant wildlife issues around the province.

For women considering a career in forestry, Kari would tell you that there are incredible opportunities for an exciting and dynamic career wherever your interests lie: everything from working outside in the forest everyday, to strategic planning working with stakeholders and First Nations, to policy development opportunities with government.


4. Shannon Jonasson, RPF, Silviculture Coordinator

Meet Shannon Jonasson, a member of the Westbank First Nation and Silviculture Coordinator for West Fraser in Quesnel, BC. As a silviculture coordinator, Shannon’s involved in the post-harvest stage, ensuring that trees are replanted and meet the government’s free-growing assessments. A key part of her role is monitoring stands to ensure the trees are healthy and happy, and no pests or diseases are preventing growth. Shannon said they generally plant three trees for every tree harvested.

Shannon chose to pursue a career in forestry because she loves to spend time outdoors. She particularly enjoys seeing all of the different animals, plants, and medicines in the forest.  Shannon said it’s important to remember that the forest is an entire ecosystem, and we must respect all of the animals and plants that use the land.

For women considering a career in forestry, Shannon would remind you that there are several different aspects of forestry, from silviculture to planning to operations. “If you like being outside and in the forest, you’re going to find something you enjoy!”


5. Sue Grainger, RPF, Manager of the John Prince Research Forest

This is Sue Grainger, an RPF and Manager of the John Prince Research Forest (JPRF) located outside of Fort St. James, BC. She has been working in the forest industry since 1979, and has worked for an array of forestry employers including the Ministry of Forests, consulting companies, academia, and licensees throughout BC and the US.

Since 1997, Sue has worked with the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the Tl’azt’en Nation to establish and manage the JPRF. In this role, she manages log sales, which support its research and educational mandate. She’s also in charge of the overall administration and management of the research forest as well as the harvesting and silviculture operations. Sue works with the local Indigenous community and other researchers on various projects, such as wildlife monitoring programs, that are aimed at enhancing the quality of forest management.

Sue says, “As natural resource professionals through our management of the land, we are trusted with the stewardship of the forests and its resources not just for our generation but for that of our children and their children.  It can be career choice that one can find meaning and take pride in.  My advice to young women interested in forestry is to take a broad and holistic view of land management, and be adaptable, strategic and persistent in pursuing their career goals.”


6. Amanda Black, Operations Superintendent

This is Amanda, an Operations Superintendent for West Fraser in Chetwynd, BC. In her role, Amanda oversees all of the logging, hauling, and road-building activities for the Chetwynd Forest Industries division. She ensures contractors are meeting the company’s environmental goals and following safety protocols.

Amanda attended Olds College in Alberta for geographic information systems (GIS) before she moved to Williams Lake, BC. In Williams Lake, she started her career as an equipment operator for a logging company and gradually learned how to run every piece of equipment. She ultimately realized that camp life wasn’t for her, so became a Woods Assistant for West Fraser in Williams Lake and worked her way up to the role of Operations Superintendent.

Amanda loves that she still gets to spend time in the bush. Currently, she has four younger Operations Supervisors under her direction. She loves helping them develop professionally and teaching them about sustainable forestry. For women considering a career in forestry, Amanda would tell you to be confident in your abilities and get up every day wanting to learn something new. “There are no barriers if you’re willing to work hard!”