James Aiken (B.Sc., M.Sc.)
James has over 15 years of experience researching and working with fish and fish habitat in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nunavut. He has a M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Ottawa, and a B.Sc. in Geography from Brandon University. James has worked in fisheries for government and a non-profit organization, and since 2008, has worked as a consultant coordinating and conducting: fish community and Lake Sturgeon monitoring studies; fish health studies; fish habitat mapping studies; fish salvage and relocation operations; and fish movement studies in support of construction and resource development projects. James has extensive experience using a variety of fisheries assessment techniques including backpack, raft, and boat electrofishing.
Tom Boag, MSc. PBiol.
Tom has worked with fish populations and aquatic habitat since 1982 and has consulted full time since 1990. He has 30+ years of Boat Electrofishing and industry experience working with freshwater fish populations and their habitat. Tom is a respected leader and innovator in the practice of Boat Electrofishing.
As a senior biologist, Tom has managed and participated in countless fisheries and environmental projects that address challenges to fishes and their habitat throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, South and Central America, and the Arctic.
Eric Braumandl PID, EP, ASc.T.
Eric has over 32 years experience as a fisheries consultant in both the private and public sector, accumulating an extensive background in fish and fish habitat assessment, environmental monitoring and environmental assessment.
Since 1999, Eric has taught Electrofishing Certification and fisheries-related courses. He is a knowledgeable and passionate trainer and brings a wealth of practical experience to courses he teaches. Eric has a Fisheries Technology diploma, a Provincial Instructor diploma, and is a certified Environmental Professional.
- This course was extremely informational and practical. Eric was a wonderful, interesting and knowledgeable instructor. Would recommend this course to all professionals! Cayden Olstad, Biologist, Pritchard, BC
- I learned a great deal about the most appropriate methods for capturing fish in the least harmful and most effective way. A really excellent course and instructor. Jens Uwe Spremberg, Biologist, Nanaimo, BC
- Practical, great instructor! James Boldt, Biologist, Cranbrook, BC
- A great, fun-filled course with valuable field component. Tim Chala, Biologist, Elkford, BC
- Great course! Excellent balance of class vs. field and we learned valuable skills that will certainly help me with my position. Colin LaRochelle, Fisheries Technician, Lillooet, BC
- The quality of this course and instruction was exactly what our company was looking for. Lanny Amos, Biologist, Elkford, BC
- Eric was a great instructor; very knowledgeable, helpful, respectful and passionate about course content. Field component was very valuable, and brought together the whole course. Dylan Begin, Biologist, Cranbrook, BC
- Great instructor! I am experienced in the field and learned lots too. Patricia Clarke, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, BC
- This course was professionally conducted and provided training specific to the needs of our organization. Excellent instructor and course content. Natasha Lukey, Fisheries Technician, Kelowna, BC
- Excellent course, awesome instructors! Roxanne Pinyon, Environmental Technician, Merritt, BC
Morgan Brown, RFT
Morgan Brown is a highly regarded forestry professional, having 30+ years experience managing forestry, silviculture, terrain stability, biophysical inventories and wildlife management projects on behalf of industry consultants, forest licensees, BC Parks, other government, and First Nations groups throughout BC.
- Morgan is an awesome instructor, and very helpful at all times. I truly enjoyed this course, and Morgan made it that much more interesting. Staci Badine, Environmental Monitor, Fort Nelson, BC
- Strongly recommend Morgan as an instructor! Morgan is crystal clear as an instructor, and I really benefited from his knowledge. Tina Bailie, Environmental Monitor, Fort Nelson, BC
- Great instructor! Morgan engaged me and increased my interest in this field. Bryden Ashdown, Environmental Monitor, Fort Nelson, BC
- Morgan has extensive leadership skills, knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices pertaining to resource management. His experience with legislation, policies, procedures, directives and guidelines, highlights Morgan’s exceptional skill set in the management of organizational resources. Frank Varga, General Manager – Burns Lake Community Forest
- Morgan is knowledgeable, hardworking and always brings a sense of camaraderie to the crew. I learned invaluable skills in the field of forest development thanks to Morgan always taking the extra time to explain and talk ideas through. He is a great team leader and a pleasure to work for. Brianna Lukkar, Registered Forest Technician
- Of all the people I have known and worked with for over 25 years, Morgan has been the most consistent and level-headed. He embraces challenges as opportunity for change and is enthusiastic about innovation and how it can improve deliverables for the client. Morgan has a wealth of experienced and I consider him a leader in project planning and management. He is well liked by those that work for him and those that he works for and he is not afraid to engage in thought-provoking conversations. Michael Verschoor, RPF, PMP, Manager, BC Hydro
Rick Budhwa, MA
Rick is an applied Anthropologist and Archaeologist, and an industry leader in bridging differences in perspectives and establishing cultural resource management (CRM) and indigenous land management initiatives in BC. For years, Rick has successfully created and implemented alternative CRM methodologies for multiple stakeholders in British Columbia.
Rick has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario in Anthropology, a Post Baccalaureate diploma from Simon Fraser University in Archaeology, and a Masters Degree from Simon Fraser University in Archaeology, with an emphasis on Anthropology and First Nations Studies. Rick is a permit holding Archaeologist in BC, and a member of the Canadian Archaeological Association, the Society for American Archaeology and the First Nations Environmental Assessment Technical Working Group.
Rick is the principal of Crossroads Cultural Resource Management located in Smithers, BC.
Since 2009, Jenn has been a Terrestrial Ecologist with a passion for botany in both the private and public sectors. Her formal botanical training in species identification and specimen collection came from Cape Breton University, Western University, and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Canada. She is especially interested in restoration of terrestrial habitats and invasive species management. In the office, Jennifer has experience with policy analysis, Endangered Species Act permitting, analysis of development impacts, report writing, and project management. Jenn’s career started in Nova Scotia, transitioned to Ontario after doing a M.Sc., and has now led her to Manitoba. She has continued to educate herself and grow her skill set through courses and certifications, such as becoming an ISA Certified Arborist and completing training in wetland evaluation.
Greg Eisler, B.Sc. (honours)
Over the past 15 years, Greg Eisler has been fortunate to work in a number of different sectors within the Freshwater Fisheries discipline. Experience gained while working for a not-for-profit conservation organization as well as with provincial and federal and provincial agencies has afforded him a unique perspective on the management, use and protection of western Canada’s freshwater fisheries.
In his current position as an aquatic consultant, Greg has designed mitigating and compensatory programs for various stakeholders across western Canada and has managed and/or conducted numerous fish population and habitat inventories, fish health investigations, salvage programs, telemetry assisted passage assessments, aquatic habitat mapping projects and spawning surveys. He has also gained invaluable experience in the design and implementation of a number of large fisheries management projects for the province of Alberta, private industry and the multi-stakeholder funding agencies.
Doug Ellis is a highly regarded, experienced Natural Resource educator and practitioner in BC Doug has more than 30 years experience teaching and working in the education, safety, wildland fire, forestry, arboriculture and recreation sectors. Doug travels throughout BC and Canada conducting field work and teaching Safety, Forestry, Wildlife Danger Tree, Sled Safe, ATV/UTV, Chainsaw, Firefighting and other training programs.
Matt Foy, BSc Zoology
For 25 years, Matt worked as a DFO Fish Habitat Biologist throughout BC in the field of community involvement, salmon enhancement and habitat restoration.
Matt is a true pioneer in fish habitat restoration, having designed, constructed and developed many salmon habitat restoration projects and techniques in watersheds throughout the Lower mainland of BC, including projects located within the Chilliwack-Vedder River watershed.
Matt retired from DFO in 2015, and continues to be involved with issues and projects affecting salmon as a volunteer with both the Pacific Salmon Foundation and the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition.
To highlight the 2019 “International Year of the Salmon”, Matt has compiled a series of stories he had written relating to his experiences with salmon and the people that work each day to conserve and restore these iconic species. These stories can be found on the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition here under the 2019 International Year of the Salmon”.
Alan McNeill, BSc.
Alan McNeill has 25 years experience in fisheries management specializing in freshwater species. His primary interests are population enumeration for various species in streams and lakes, habitat assessment for salmonids, aquaculture, regulation development, creel and angler surveys, and sportfish promotion. Al has a BSc. (Honours, Marine Biology) from the University of Guelph and several technical certifications including Certified Electrofishing Crew Leader, Seafarers and Wilderness First Aid, Swiftwater Safety Technician, SCUBA diver, Marine Emergency Duty, Coastal Navigation, Certified Installer for Watercourse Alterations.
Al has worked with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Halifax and Pictou, Nova Scotia. Al is currently Director with the Inland Fisheries Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Al is the Past President of the Atlantic International Chapter of the American Fisheries Society and recipient of the Premiers Award of Excellence in 2007 for his work on the Environmental Monitoring Program for Marine Aquaculture. Al currently lives in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
- “Al was fantastic! Very encouraging, entertaining and knowledgeable”. Tanya Prystay, Biologist, Stantec, Burnaby BC
- “Great instruction! Excellent knowledge base and a keen interest to share experience and enthusiasm for field biology”. Micki Steedman, Biologist, Stantec, Burnaby BC
- “Alan McNeil and Darren were amazing instructors. Super knowledgeable, encouraging and friendly. We all learned so much and received great practical tips”. Elaine Leung, Biologist, Vancouver BC
- “Just want to say that I really enjoyed the course. Al really helped create a collaborative learning environment and a feeling of teamwork that was greatly appreciated. I also felt very safe throughout the course, knowing that we were in good hands. Here’s to hoping for another course with you guys!” Luke Warkentin, Environmental Scientist, Stantec, Vancouver BC
- “Al McNeill was fantastic!, knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic. Course exceeded my expectations”. Noel Soogrim, Toronto, Ontario
- “Alan was attentive and patient while we practiced on equipment. I appreciated his mind set on safety and providing a safe learning environment.“ Meghan McCarthy, Dartmouth NS
- “Alan was amazing, so knowledgeable. This course was great, I enjoyed the combo of theory and in-person training and experience. Alan has a great teaching approach, it didn’t feel rushed.” Dartmouth NS
- “The electrofishing course was excellent. Alan was incredibly knowledgeable, and the field component was fantastic.” Montana McLean-Gregoire, Dartmouth NS
- “Alan provided excellent training, both in class and in the field. I feel very prepared to electrofish after taking this course.” Sarah MacLeod, Dartmouth NS
Kyle Milburn, BSc.
Kyle Milburn has 10 years experience conducting fisheries and hydrometric studies in British Columbia. Since 2008, Kyle has worked with as a consultant conducting environmental impact assessments for Independent Power Producers as well as conducting water use plan studies for BC Hydro.
Kyle has worked on countless streams throughout British Columbia and has extensive knowledge in the fields of fisheries resource inventory, fish habitat assessment, in stream flow studies, ramping studies/stranding monitoring, water quality testing and hydrometric installations and measurements.
Kyle has numerous specialty safety certifications and is experienced and comfortable in all outdoor settings. He is extremely comfortable working with students and members of the general public, having previously been employed in the nature-based tourism industry as a fishing guide, commercial bear viewing guide, naturalist and certified captain. Kyle has a passion for fish and people.
- “Kyle’s delivery of your Electrofishing course was absolutely top-notch. He is knowledgeable, professional, and most of all, unfailingly cheerful and patient. Our field session was the third in two days, and I got the feeling from Kyle that he would not rather be anywhere else than right there teaching us about zapping fish. He took care to assist with review before the test, ensuring we all had the time we needed to be comfortable with the material. I believe the integrity of your program is superbly represented by this instructor”. Scott Klassen, Biologist, Vanderhoof BC
- “Kyle is well-educated and experienced, and fun to learn from. Really appreciated the real-life experience”. Kevin VanderBoom, Biologist, Vancouver BC
- “Excellent instruction! Really liked the depth of knowledge/experience with a clear and understandable language”. Karenn Bailey, Conservationist, North Vancouver BC
- “Kyle loves what he does, and conveys this to the students. He made this course incredibly fun, entertaining and knowledge-filled”. Dan Klein, Biologist Stantec, Vancouver BC
- “Kyle was awesome”. Aimee Black, Biologist, Stantec Vancouver BC
- “Great course and instructors. Kyle is knowledgeable, enthusiastic and encouraging”. JoAnne Fisher, Lands Manager, Ktunaxa Nation Council, Cranbrook BC
- “Wonderful hands on learning! Kyle was an excellent instructor, and ensured everyone maximized their learning and experience. These are valuable skills that will help advance my career”. Leigh Anne White, Fisheries Technician, Port Alberni, BC
Sean Mitchell, PhD, RP Bio
Sean has worked in and studied the field of biology and impact assessment since 1987 and in that time has gained experience in four Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland) working on a broad array of fish and wildlife, from periphyton to mammals. Sean’s experience has ranged widely from basic fieldwork to experimental biomechanics of crustaceans; from environmental impact analyses and fisheries issues through biogeography, philosophy, and sophisticated data analyses and modelling; from forests to the ocean. Sean has been, and strives to remain, a generalist in a world of hyper specialization and fascination with technology.
LeeAnn Muggeridge is a Registered Technologist in Biology (R.T. Biol) with the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists and an Applied Biology Technician (A.B.T) with the British Columbia College of Applied Biology. LeeAnn has a diploma in Marine Environmental Technology and a bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Applied Science from Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has been working as an Environmental Specialist for 9+ years in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and British Columbia, specializing in construction management and monitoring, habitat assessments in natural and disturbed areas, wildlife management, and fisheries and aquatics. A portion of her career has focused on fish salvaging, fish habitat monitoring, and fish stranding projects to determine and minimize the effects on fish during infrastructure projects and mining operations. LeeAnn has been backpack electrofishing since 2018, which has become a useful tool in fish studies and the protection of fish for both large- and small-scale projects.
Thomas Munson holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from University of Waterloo, and a Restoration of Natural Systems Diploma and Masters of Science degree from the University of Victoria. He is a Professional Agrologist and Certified Wildlife and Danger Tree Assessor. He worked with First Nations in the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, and Colombia, South America for much of his career. Thomas has carried out field work in the areas of fisheries, wildlife, botany, archaeology, forestry, vegetation inventory and environmental assessment. Thomas worked for many years as Environmental Technician for City of Victoria Parks, in ecological restoration and management of Garry oak ecosystems. Now, as Senior Environmental Planner for District of Saanich, he works to protect these same Garry Oak ecosystems from development activities.
David F. Polster, MSc., RPBio.
Dave is a plant ecologist with over 35 years of experience in vegetation studies, reclamation and invasive species management. He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977. He has developed a wide variety of reclamation techniques for mines, industrial developments and steep/unstable slopes as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats. He is the past president (third term) of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association. He is the treasurer for the BC Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is the NW Regional Representative on the board of the international Society for Ecological Restoration.
Maggie Pugh, M.Sc
Maggie Pugh is an Ecologist with more than 18 years specializing in ecosystem assessment. She completed graduate research in Canada’s northern wetlands and has worked as an ecologist in the private sector for more that 15 years. She is a seasoned field biologist with expertise in Species at Risk screenings and permitting, flora and fauna inventories, seasonal wildlife surveys, significant wildlife habitat assessment, rare species monitoring programs, wetland and vegetation community assessments, sediment/ erosion control and environmental monitoring. Maggie is an Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES) evaluator, Butternut Health Assessor, and is certified in Ecological Land Classification (ELC).
I am from a small town in an agricultural area of Nova Scotia and grew up roaming the fields and forests near my home. I always enjoyed natural history and being outdoors, hiking, camping, fishing and hunting, so after high school I went to Acadia University where I eventually received my MSc in population biology in 1986. Two years later I moved with my partner and our two children to Antigonish to become a Regional Wildlife Biologist for the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables. I was responsible for “everything wildlife”, including wildlife surveys, integrated forestry-wildlife planning, nuisance wildlife and chemical immobilization, and wildlife education. During my time as a biologist I managed several projects focused on the conservation biology of wood turtles, moose, old growth forest and freshwater mussels. Not long after moving to Antigonish I was invited by the local university to teach biology and resource management in the faculties of biology and education, which I am still doing. In 2015 I moved into a management position and became a Regional Integrated Resource Manager, and was responsible for regional Crown land-use planning. In 2019, following a comprehensive review of forest management practices in Nova Scotia I worked with several teams responsible for the implementation of various aspects of ‘ecological forestry’ until my retirement in 2021. Not long after retiring I started my own wildlife consulting company specializing in wildlife surveys and forestry-wildlife training. My involvement with NRTG began in 2021. I still enjoy hunting and fishing with my son and grandsons, and try to get out on my mountain bike as often as possible.
Jeannine Randall, MSc., RPBio.
Jeannine has over 12 years experience studying birds in both academic and professional contexts. Her broad interest in ecology stems from a diverse background, working on multiple taxa in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Jamaica. In particular, she has a strong proficiency in the planning and implementation of avian-specific field techniques, including capture methods, nest surveys, and identifying species by sight and sound. She has also studied the breeding ecology of amphibians and conducted amphibian salvage. Jeannine is skilled at communicating with diverse groups of learners in both classroom and applied field settings. She is passionate about teaching and applying sound scientific practices as an environmental professional.
Jeff Sereda, PhD.
Senior Fisheries Ecologist, Adjunct Professor University of Saskatchewan
Jeff holds a PhD. in Limnology and an Aquaculture Technician Diploma. He served as manager of a commercial salmonid hatchery for 4 years, lectured at the University of Saskatchewan on topics of fish physiology, taxonomy, ecology, conservation, and aquaculture. Currently, Jeff is a Senior Habitat and Population Ecologist with the Saskatchewan Government and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saskatchewan.
Jeff’s research has encompassed topics such as assessing the risk of lakes to anthropogenic eutrophication, macrophyte management, fish habitat restoration, and the impacts of water management on species as risk (Bigmouth Buffalo, Chestnut Lamprey, Mountain Sucker, and Lake Sturgeon). Jeff’s research has been presented at over 60 national and international conferences and resulted in 15 peer reviewed publications.
For 39 years, Mel worked as a DFO Fisheries Biologist in the Resource Restoration Division, focusing on habitat restoration and enhancement of wild salmonid species.
Mel specialized in the design and construction of groundwater channels and side-channels primarily designed to provide highly productive juvenile rearing and adult spawning habitat.
Mel is a highly regarded restoration biologist. In his career, Mel, devoted a significant amount of time designing procedures for riverbank and ocean shore re-stabilization, riparian revegetation, cattle fencing, beaver dam control and development of water storage projects for increasing minimum summer streamflow. For a ten-year period, Mel designed and installed large woody debris structures and spawning gravel platforms in west coast main stem rivers, designed estuary restoration programs, and designed and managed lake and river fertilization and fishway construction projects.
Mel is now retired from DFO and works as a private biological consultant independently and partnering with other consultants, non-profits, municipal and federal government agencies.
Darcey Shyry is a professional biologist, educator, researcher and conservationist. He taught wildlife biology, ecology, conservation and management for over 15 years at Lakeland College, the University of Alberta, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, so brings a valued depth of technical environmental knowledge and teaching experience to NRTG. As a wildlife consultant for 25 years, Darcey has gained practical experience conducting visual, acoustic and sign field surveys for wildlife, mitigating impacts of disturbances and deploying autonomous recording units and trail cameras for wildlife monitoring. He has been the on-site biologist for various renewable, upstream petroleum, mining, municipal and road construction projects. Wildlife research has always interested Darcey, so in addition to managing research projects on Burrowing Owls, snake road mortality mitigation, amphibian surveys and habitat use, he also conducts research on bats as a Regional Coordinator with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada’s Alberta Community Bat Program.
I really enjoy sharing my wildlife and environmental knowledge because people are best motivated to value and protect those things that are familiar. Everyone is different, so some students are keen on birds, others are keen on frogs, and others yet want to focus on carnivores and game species, so I have developed a depth of wildlife understanding and experience that help me relate to the diverse interests of students. I also really enjoy hearing the wildlife stories that students bring to the class, so in a way I’m still a student! I’m a proponent of life-long learning and still spend much time about wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
“I like to bring first-hand experience from the field to the classroom”
Lauri Solsberg, M.Eng., P.Eng.
Mr. Lauri Solsberg holds degrees in chemical and environmental engineering. He specializes in three areas of oil and chemical spill prevention and response: countermeasures recommendations, contingency planning, and training. Lauri has responded to spills, investigated various spill control technologies and methods, and prepared many manuals and guides. The development and instruction of training programs has been a key part of his work since 1980.
Dr. Gregory Thomas, Ph.D., R.P.Bio, MAIC
Dr. has a Ph.D. in aquatic toxicology with 32 years as a practicing scientist, entrepreneur and business executive. Dr. Thomas is President of G3 Consulting Ltd. (G3), an environmental engineering and research consulting firm based in Surrey BC, Canada. As President, Dr. Thomas is responsible for the organization’s overall operations and scientific oversight. Dr. Thomas has been a Project Manager and Senior Scientist for 34 years on integrated marine, freshwater and terrestrial studies, ecological and human health studies, risk and habitat assessments and environmental impact studies. Dr. Thomas has provided senior direction, input, oversight, and scientific review on numerous projects on behalf of industry, First Nations, NFPs, municipal, provincial and federal regulators. Dr. Thomas has designed and implemented hundreds of integrated, multimeric water, biota and sediment sampling programs, fisheries assessments, wildlife and riparian assessments and numerous ecological assessments in a variety of environments defining ambient ecological condition in a scientifically-defensible manner. Dr. Thomas is an expert in these areas and applies this considerable knowledge on these topics to environmental research and assessments. Dr. Thomas is an active member of numerous scientific and business organizations.
Emily Townend, B.Sc
Emily Townend is a fisheries technician that has been working on various stock assessment programs throughout the Fraser River watershed. She has thus far focused her career on the inventory and assessment of Pacific salmon using high precision methodologies for population enumeration.
Emily has organically moved into an instructor role after many years working in natural tourism. She has achieved experience in outdoor safety and leadership while working as a fishing guide, and various roles in public service. Emily enjoys working with diverse groups of people and possesses an endearing enthusiasm to share knowledge.
Rena Vandenbos, M.Sc., R.P.Bio.
Rena Vandenbos is a registered professional biologist with 18 years of experience in the field of aquatic ecology and particularly fish biology. She has a M.Sc. in Environmental Biology and Ecology from the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, AB.
Since 1999, Rena teaches fisheries and ecology courses at the post-secondary level. Throughout her career, Rena has worked as a fisheries consultant specializing in projects related to fish population and community assessments, impacts of large-scale hydroelectric facilities, and conservation of an endangered species (white sturgeon). In addition, she has been a member of the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative since it’s inception in 1999.