Oct 10th & 11th, 2023
Vancouver, BC

Restoration Conference 2023

Working Together to Build an Indigenous Led Restoration Vision

Register Now
Agenda
Program

Restoration Conference in the news

Restoration Conference - Vancouver Sun Opinion Piece

Read the Opinion Piece about the Conference that was published in the Vancouver Sun on Oct 18th, 2023

FULL STORY

Oct 10 – 11, 2023

9:00 am – 5:00 pm

SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC

Join key leaders from across BC and Canada to discuss the strategic advancement of both ecological restoration and the restoration economy.

Register Now

What is the Restoration Conference?

The Restoration Conference 2023 is a two-day event focused on advancing ecological restoration, responsible economic development, and reconciliation throughout British Columbia.

The conference will bring together Indigenous leaders, industry experts, government representatives, academics, community officials, and the charitable sector from British Columbia and across North America.

We face an economic and ecological crisis across BC’s forests, rivers, wetlands, estuaries, and lakes. We need a vision that integrates conservation and climate response, restoration, and economic development. Nature-based solutions including ecological restoration are essential to recovery efforts and offer many benefits and opportunities, including job creation, critical wildlife and fish habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture, and it plays a significant role in addressing climate change.

The conference aims to offer a balanced outlook for a future with a restoration economy at its core and is specifically designed with First Nations participation and leadership to ensure that traditional knowledge and Indigenous rights are integrated into the new restoration economy and the watershed restoration vision for British Columbia.

Conference Details

Download PDF Agenda
Download PDF Program

Why Do We Need This Conference?

Now is the time to follow the lead of local Indigenous leaders and coordinate ecological restoration efforts with the private sector, the charitable sector, and all levels of government at the Restoration Conference 2023.

The Restoration Conference 2023 will tackle pressing issues with twenty leading speakers, special presentations, breakout sessions and multi-stakeholder panels to provide attendees with an understanding of the opportunities of the restoration economy and the need to create an integrated and coordinated decade-long vision for watershed restoration in British Columbia.

The conference organizers have designed the event to ensure that tangible outcomes will facilitate forward momentum within the overarching restoration economy.

Conference Goals

  • Develop a clear path to reconciliation through the creation of an Indigenous-led framework and vision for restoration in British Columbia
  • Establish a coordinated ten-year comprehensive restoration vision for British Columbia

  • Create a strategic roadmap for a new restoration economy for British Columbia

  • Define the true cost of British Columbia’s restoration vision

  • Identify policy, market drivers and innovations such as best-practice standards and carbon and biodiversity credits

  • Integrate the opportunity to target brownfields and existing mine sites for critical minerals and restoration of these areas

  • Build a political and social roadmap to help advance these goals

Speakers

Keynotes

Robert Phillips

Political Executive
First Nations Summit

Robert Phillips is a member of the Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake) First Nation, a part of the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University College of the Fraser Valley.

Mr. Phillips was previously elected by First Nations Summit delegates to three, two-year terms as a Commissioner of the British Columbia Treaty Commission (2007-2013). He also previously served as Chief Negotiator, and prior to that, as Self-Government Director at the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council (1998-2007). Mr. Phillips has an extensive background in aboriginal justice and economic development.

Mr. Phillips was elected in June 2022 for a fourth consecutive three-year term on the First Nations Summit Political Executive, which is mandated to carry out specific tasks related to Aboriginal Title and Rights negotiations with British Columbia and Canada and other issues of common concern to First Nations in British Columbia.

Terry Teegee

Regional Chief
BC Assembly of First Nations

Terry Teegee, is the elected Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations and proudly serving his second term in this position.

Terry’s ancestry is Dakelh, Gitxsan and Sekani descent and is a member of Takla Nation. As a former Registered Professional Forester, Terry was responsible for looking after the forests, forest lands and forest resources. Terry is deeply involved in natural resources development and the pertaining policies. As Regional Chief, he was an instrumental voice in the development and historic passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA).

Terry’s strong leadership, both provincially and nationally, was vital on the following portfolios and issues:

  • AFN Chair on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Implementation Committee
  • AFN Chair of the Chiefs Committee on Economic Development (CCED)
  • Co-Chair of the AFN National Fisheries Committee
  • Co-Lead on the AFN Justice and Policing Portfolio
  • Co-Chair for the Champions Table with BC Business Council
  • Tripartite Working Group (TWG) member to implement Bill C-92, Indigenous Child Welfare Jurisdiction Bill to implement the Commitment Document Provincially
  • AFN Representative on the UN Convention of Biodiversity
  • Member of the BC First Nation Gaming Commission

Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
Government of Canada

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson was first elected as the Member of Parliament for North Vancouver in 2015. He has previously served as Minister of Natural Resources, as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and as Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Raised in Saskatchewan, Minister Wilkinson spent more than 20 years in the private sector, holding leadership positions with a number of companies dedicated to the development of green technologies.

Minister Wilkinson’s work as Chief Executive Officer of both QuestAir Technologies and the former BioteQ Environmental Technologies (now BQE Water), in addition to his role as Senior Vice-President of Business Development with Nexterra, provided him with extensive experience in the energy and environmental technology sectors. He also previously worked at Bain & Company, a leading global management consultancy.

A Rhodes scholar, Minister Wilkinson made use of his educational background in public policy when he worked as a constitutional negotiator and a federal-provincial relations specialist for former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow. He has served on several industry and charitable boards, including United Way of the Lower Mainland and the BC Technology Industry Association. He also served as a board member and treasurer of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.

Hon. Nathan Cullen

Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship
British Columbia Government

Nathan Cullen is currently the the MLA for Stikine and the Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship. He previously served as Minister of State for Lands and Natural Resource Operations, as Chair of the Environment and Land Use Committee and a member of the Cabinet Committee on Economy.

Nathan proudly served as Member of Parliament for the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley for 15 years, from 2004 to 2019.
During his time in Ottawa, Nathan was named a Parliamentarian of the Year multiple times, served as Official Opposition House Leader, and held opposition critic roles for Finance, Ethics, Environment, and Democratic Reform.

Nathan has worked to encourage the participation of young people in politics, the creation of new laws, and has supported young entrepreneurs in the Northwest in starting and growing their businesses.

He lives with his family in Smithers.

Hon. Josie Osborne

Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation
British Columbia Government

Formerly the Hon. Josie Osborne was the Minister of Land, Water Resource Stewardship, but has now been appointed to her new role as Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation.

Josie grew up on Vancouver Island and has lived in Tofino for over 20 years, first moving there to work as a fisheries biologist for the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and later as executive director of an environmental education non-profit organization.

She was the Mayor of Tofino from 2013-2020 and served as Chair and Vice-Chair for the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District. After being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly, Josie was appointed by the BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change to the BC Clean Growth and Climate Action Advisory Council.

Josie lives with her husband on 10 acres in Tofino with their dog, three goats, and a coop full of chickens.

Merle Alexander, KC

Partner
Miller Titerle & Company

Merle practices Indigenous resource law, empowering Nations through title and rights affirmation, sustainable economic development, and environmental conservation.

Active within his community, Alexander is a former director and president of the Vancouver Native Housing Society Foundation, has served as the chief negotiator for a UN Indigenous Caucus. He is a recipient of Business in Vancouver’s 2009 “Top Forty Under 40” award and a UVic Distinguished Alumni Award. Alexander holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Victoria along with being the recipient of the Kings Counsel Designation.

Merle’s clients are looking for righteous advocacy, angular thinking, and relentless diplomacy. They want to be treated with the dignity of Indigenous Governments, not as warrior activists. His clients are Nations that uplift their jurisdiction and take their rightful seat at the economic and political table.

He holds the Hereditary Chief name, Lagax’niitsk, of Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation.

Fin Donnelly

Parliamentary Secretary for Watershed Restoration
British Columbia Government

Fin Donnelly was elected the MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain in the 2020 provincial general election and is Parliamentary Secretary for Watershed Restoration.

Prior to running for provincial office, Fin served as a Coquitlam City Councillor from 2002-2009, and as the Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Coquitlam and Port Moody-Coquitlam from 2009-2019.

During his time in Ottawa, Fin introduced bills to protect West Coast waters. He founded the All-Party Oceans Caucus, a cross-partisan group of MPs and Senators committed to promoting ocean health.

Prior to being elected to public office, Fin was a well-known community and environmental advocate. He completed fourteen environmental marathon swims, including twice swimming the 1,375 km length of the Fraser River. In 1996, he founded the Rivershed Society of BC.

Other Speakers

Byron Spinks

Indigenous Leader
Stein Nahatlatch Indigenous Protected & Conserved Area

Byron Spinks is the former Chief of the Lytton First Nation and current Elder leading the Stein Nahatlatch Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area Initiative.

Byron recently spoke at the COP 15 on Biodiversity in the Canadian Pavilion and was also a key leader of the Fraser Watershed Initiative. Mr. Spink has a wide variety of experiences as a political leader, front line worker and volunteer.

He recently resigned from the Stein Valley School Board with over 20 years of experience. Byron also sat on other Band committees that involved community development and public relations. Outside his community he has served well as a public relations officer for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for 10 years and the B.C. Ambulance Service for 12 years. Byron has also worked closely with the Boston Bar First Nation as The Special Events Manager for Tuckkwiowhum Heritage Village.

He is currently following and carrying out the legacy of his father Nathan Spinks in caring for and protecting the territory of the Nlaka’pamux Nation.

Jennifer Psyllakis

Executive Director (Wildlife, Habitat and Species Recovery)
Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship of BC

Jennifer is passionate about conservation and believes strongly that partnerships are key to improving outcomes for wildlife and habitat.

Growing up in Victoria amidst Garry Oak trees, she developed a passion for natural spaces and conservation. As the Director of Wildlife and Habitat for British Columbia, she helps to ensure alignment to common goals and leverage partnership opportunities in western Canada. Her career has included supporting acquisition and designation of areas used for conservation and parks, development of natural resource policy and leading program areas for wildlife and habitat management.

In her downtime she loves traveling and spending time outdoors or on the water with her husband and young daughters.

Jordan Point

Executive Director
First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia

A strategic thinking Executive Director, who understands both the First Nations world view, and non-Indigenous world view, with 20 years of concurrent service on the Musqueam First Nation Council, and 15 years working for the Federal government.

In 2010 Jordan transitioned to the senior management role with the provincial scale First Nations Fisheries Council of British Columbia. Jordan is a trusted builder of stable, collaborative, structures and processes that are effective in execution and implementation in difficult and complex environments.

A clear thinker with extensive capacity and understanding of Governance process, from business implementation, and elected First Nation Governance experience. Seeking to build bridges and opportunities wherever possible and practical, with willing partners. Mr. Point has very strong Board development, and Director experience in both Public Sector “listed Companies”, and the private sector, as well as First Nation LLP structures.

Mr. Point was Valedictorian and Top Recruit at the Justice Institute of British Columbia’s Police Academy (JIBC). He was certified by the RCMP Coordinated Law Enforcement Training unit in Instructional Techniques and Facilitation, and the Harvard Public Disputes program in Interest Based Negotiations and Public Dispute resolution.

Carly Vynne

Director of Biodiversity and Climate
Resolve

Carly Vynne is the Director of RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Climate Program, which designs and catalyzes innovative solutions to conserve nature.

In her role, Carly provides science support for global biodiversity research and conservation projects, oversees the Quick Response Fund for Nature, and designs regional programs focused on thoughtful, community-led natural resource planning and protection. Carly’s principal motivation is to help ensure that natural places and wild species can thrive together with humanity now and into the future.

In previous positions, Carly led biodiversity planning efforts throughout Asia, Africa, and South America, and helped design and implement species-based conservation programs across the western US and Alaska. Her PhD research brought her to Brazil, where she studied maned wolves, giant anteaters, and jaguars of the Cerrado grasslands. Carly is a co-founder of TerrAdapt, a cloud-based mapping tool that helps decision makers understand the landscape-scale impacts of their local land-use decisions on regional species and ecosystems.

Amber Johnston-Billings

Vice President, Communities, Government Affairs & HSEC Systems
Teck Resources Limited

Amber Johnston-Billings was appointed Teck’s Vice President, Communities, Government Affairs and HSEC Systems in October 2020.

Amber is responsible for Teck’s global engagement and governance with Indigenous Peoples, Communities, human rights and government relations.

Amber joined Teck from Trevali Mining Corporation, where she was the Chief Sustainability Officer. Amber led the sustainability strategy and climate change practice for KPMG Australia. Amber was also Head of Sustainability and Reporting for South32, where she built the sustainability function in the de-merger from BHP, achieved world leading outcomes for human rights and climate change and delivered large positive community legacy programs. Amber has also worked for the United Nations Environment Programme in West Africa, where she led green economy development initiatives and planning in partnership with government and local communities. Amber believes that protecting nature is foundational to human prosperity.

Amber holds a Bachelor, Honors and a Master’s degree in Psychology, and a Post-graduate Diploma in Climate Policy and Carbon Accounting. Amber has published research on culture change, mining efficiency, climate change and sustainable development.

Dan Buffet

Chief Executive Officer
Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF)

From Dan’s humble days as a summer student to his role as manager of BC’s conservation program with Ducks Unlimited Canada, Dan brings to HCTF over 25 years of conservation experience.

Along the way, Dan completed his master’s degree in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University. Dan’s background in hands-on habitat restoration and conservation planning will serve him well as he leads HCTF forward in our mission to improve conservation outcomes for BC’s fish, wildlife and habitat areas.

Dan is excited to be leading the HCTF team, with its solid reputation for managing a wide range of funding projects which enable important conservation initiatives throughout BC. He believes that working cooperatively with partners generates better conservation outcomes and has worked with governments, NGOs, agricultural producers, industry, and individual landowners to promote conservation efforts throughout the province.

Stephen D’Esposito

CEO
Regeneration

Regeneration, a B-Corp start-up that produces biodiversity, community, and climate positive minerals for the energy transition, green tech, and sustainable brands.

Stephen also serves as the President and CEO of RESOLVE, a non-governmental organization that works with business, government, foundation, NGO, and community leaders to forge sustainable solutions to critical social, health, and environmental challenges.

Stephen is a solutions strategist. Trained as a policy advocate, he helps partners envision, design, and implement innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. He is the Board Chair of WildTech™, a conservation technology start-up supported by Intel. He created Salmon Gold™ with backing from Apple and Tiffany &Co.

Previously, Stephen served as CEO of EARTHWORKS, chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Mining and Metals, and held senior positions at Greenpeace where he led the International Executive Committee, based in Amsterdam. He also serves on a number of boards and advisory groups.

Sarah Nathan

Manager of Provincial Operations
Ducks Unlimited Canada

Sarah is the British Columbia Manager of Provincial Operations for Ducks Unlimited Canada.

She has always been passionate about nature and habitat stewardship, and shifted her career focus towards birds and their habitats after volunteering and later working as Assistant Bander at the Iona Island Bird Observatory in Richmond, BC.

Sarah earned a Master of Resource Management degree from Simon Fraser University in 2006, and her desire to take action on the ground to support fish and wildlife populations led her to take courses in ecological restoration at the BC Institute of Technology in 2012 and 2013. Sarah worked as a wildlife biologist in the private sector before joining Ducks Unlimited Canada in 2016. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor endeavors such as backcountry skiing, whitewater kayaking, and, of course, bird watching.

Kevin M Scott

President
RESOLVE Canada

Kevin Scott has 30 years of experience in government relations at the local, provincial/ state, national and international levels.

He also has 25 years experience developing and implementing strategic plans ranging from overarching organizational development plans to start-up planning, as well as goal based strategies and political campaigns.

He has successfully raised over $40M for leading charities around the globe and negotiated corporate partnerships with global Fortune 500 companies such as: Disney, Goldman Sachs, Mercer Lippincott, and AOL Time Warner.

Kevin also has extensive experience in policy development, specializing in the areas of: land-use plans, provincial and national parks, wildlife management, forestry, and climate change.

Brian Bawtinheimer

Executive Director
BC Provincial Stewardship Strategies & Planning

Brian has worked for the BC Government Public Service for over 30 years providing leadership in resource and land use management including protected areas, conservation, outdoor recreation, ecosystem management, forestry, land and marine planning.

Brian has a long history of working collaboratively with First Nation governments and communities on new approaches for land and water stewardship as part of advancing broader government-to-government reconciliation.

In addition to leading new land use planning, Brian is a past member of the Haida Gwaii Management Council, member of the Indigenous Circle of Experts committee regarding Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and is past Chair of the Canadian Parks Council and the Canadian Heritage Rivers Board. He continues to be involved in international protected area efforts including volunteering as an advisor for national park management in Thailand.

Colin Ward

Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship

Colin joined the BC Public Service in 2016, working as an Executive Director in Treasury Board Staff at the Ministry of Finance and in the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation as the Executive Director of the Integrated Negotiations Branch.

He was a key part of the development of a number of significant policy initiatives, including the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 and government’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy through his work with Treasury Board Staff, and in the development of new First Nation negotiation policy frameworks. A policy wonk at heart, Colin has a passion for the work of reconciliation and is grateful for the many opportunities he has had to work in support of reconciliation for many years. Prior to joining the BC Public Service, Colin worked for Tsawwassen First Nation (TFN) for eight years, helping establish its legislative and governance frameworks prior to its Treaty Effective Date before continuing to work for TFN on policy and program development and implementation across a range of topic areas.

Colin has a Bachelor’s of History (Hons.) from Queen’s University in Kingston and a Master of Public Policy from Simon Fraser University. He is an avid runner and cyclist and while he enjoys most things outdoors, he is often found at the rink through the winter months where he coaches minor hockey. He is grateful to live in the territories of the Lekwungen peoples with his wife Sarah and two energetic sons, Matthew and Owen.

Richard Sparrow

Director of Indigenous-led Conservation
Grizzly Bear Foundation

Richard Sparrow has been active in the field of First Nations conservation and restoration management and policy for more than 20 years. He is a member and Councillor of xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band).

Richard has spent his career advocating for the protection and enhancement of the inherent fishing rights and title of local First Nations communities. His work primarily focuses on building and maintaining natural resource relationships with Indigenous communities throughout BC, as well as on collective impact related to First Nation natural resource management and inherent rights.

Prior to his work with GBF, Richard spent more than 6 years providing senior management to the First Nations Fisheries Council of BC (supporting intergovernmental affairs and fisheries management) as well as governance and leadership to the Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance and the Musqueam Fisheries Commission.

Nancy Shackelford

RNS Director & Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies
University of Victoria

Nancy is a restoration scientist – her research and work center on how we do effective restoration in natural ecosystems. She works mostly in terrestrial settings, with a particularly love of grasslands and a growing love of forests.

Nancy focuses on improving restoration knowledge and outcomes through quantitative and experimental research. Ecological restoration is increasingly viewed as an essential tool to mitigate the effects of human-induced degradation in our natural systems. Despite its importance, however, restoration outcomes are often unpredictable, and success can be difficult to achieve. Nancy’s research uses theoretical concepts around functional ecology, priority effects, and resilience to understand ecological behavior in response to restoration practice. She works across relevant ecosystems, with a current focus on drylands, rangelands, and savannas, and has a particular interest in data-driven research that spans international scales.

Robert W Gray

AFE Certified Wildland Fire Ecologist
R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd.

Robert W. Gray is an AFE certified Wildland Fire Ecologist, with over 35 years experience in the research and application of many facets of fire science, including fire regime reconstruction, fire behavior and effects analysis, national and international fire management policy, and hazardous fuel management.

Most recently Robert has focused efforts on gaining a better understanding of fire behavior in mountain pine beetle impacted stands, the impact of past fires on future fire spread and severity, and fuel treatment effectiveness. R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd. clients include: US Forest Service, Parks Canada, The World Bank, State of Oregon, State of Washington, ?aq’am and Tsilhqot’in First Nation, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, B.C. Ministry of Environment, University of Washington, University of Idaho and University of British Columbia, several rural BC communities (Cranbrook, Kimberley, Vernon), the BC forest industry, and many others.

Aaron Sumexheltza

Lawyer
Miller Titerle

Aaron is the former Chief of the Lower Nicola Band and is in our Indigenous Law Group and a member of the Lower Nicola Indian band. Aaron advocates for the rights of Indigenous Nations and advises Indigenous Organizations on governance, economic development, and shared decision-making.

He also works on justice-related issues and is passionate about helping Indigenous Nations revitalize their laws.

Aaron is a former elected chief and councillor of the Lower Nicola Indian Band. His leadership experience fosters his understanding of the challenges and work needed for his Indigenous clients. Previously, Aaron worked primarily as a criminal defence lawyer and represented Residential School Survivors seeking compensation for abuse. Aaron has represented clients in the BC Provincial Court, BC Supreme Court, and BC Court of Appeal.

Rob Schweitzer

Executive Director
BC Wildfire Service

Rob joined the BC Wildfire Service in 2016 and currently holds the Executive Director position. He is a Registered Forest Technologist and has worked in the Ministry of Forests since 1991 in several divisions such as Engineering, BC Timber Sales and as the Resource Manager with the Thompson Rivers District.

Rob’s career has taken him to many locations throughout the province both on the coast and the interior and he’s currently based out of Kamloops.

Glenn Sigurdson, KC, C.M.

Chair Emeritus
RESOLVE

Glenn has a long association with Simon Fraser University as an adjunct professor and associate of the Learning Strategies Group in the Beedie School of Business, and as Senior Dialogue Associate of the Morris J. Wosk Center for Dialogue.

Profiled in the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law publication Public Dispute Mediators: Profiles of 15 Distinguished Careers, he is internationally known for his work related to complex multi-party challenges involving environmental, resource, and land use issues, from mining to oil and gas, fish to forests, energy to water, often involving indigenous rights and interests.

He co- authored the widely referenced Building Consensus For A Sustainable Future – Putting The Principles Into Practice to give life and application to Guiding Principles for Building Consensus that had been developed through a two year national negotiation process which he helped lead involving sustainability roundtables established in every Canadian province and territory, and The Canadian Council of ministers of the Environment, as part of Canada’s response to the Report of the World Commission on the Environment.

Jason Hwang

Vice President
Pacific Salmon Foundation

Jason started his career as a Habitat Biologist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the BC Interior North region. He reviewed development projects to assess their impact on fish habitat as well as engaged in community outreach.

Jason was also the lead on the Nechako Fisheries Conservation Program Technical Committee where they assessed Alcan’s flow releases in the Nechako River to lessen the impact on salmon.

In 2015, Jason moved into the Regional Manager, Salmon Enhancement Program for the Pacific Region position. He managed a budget of $9M, forty-five staff and more than 10,000 volunteers. He worked with PSF as well as other NGO’s and stakeholders to build strong partnerships and enable salmon habitat restoration and increase community involvement.

Jason earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Simon Fraser University in 1994. He also earned a Technical Diploma in Fisheries, Wildlife & Recreation from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 1991.

Leah George-Wilson (Sisi-ya-ama)

Co-Chair
First Nations Summit

Leah George-Wilson is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) located in North Vancouver. She has previously served three terms as Chief of TWN.

In 2001 she was the first woman to hold the office of Elected Chief for the TWN, a position she held from 2001-2003, 2005 – 2009 and 2017 – 2019.

Ms. George-Wilson currently practices law with the law firm Miller Titerle & Co. She previously worked for the TWN for many years in various positions including member of the TWN’s negotiating team in the BC Treaty Process, TWN Self-Government Coordinator. and Director of the TWN Treaty, Land and Resources Department.

Ms. George-Wilson’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Simon Fraser University and a Law Degree from the University of British Columbia.

She also sits on a number of boards including: the First Nations Lands Advisory Board and the Canadian Tourism Commission. She is also a former council member of the BC First Nations Health Council.

Ms. George-Wilson was elected in June 2022 to her eighth consecutive term as co-chair, the 2 member administrative executive of the First Nations Summit. As co-chair, she deals with the administrative issues of the FNS and works with the First Nations Summit Task Group (FNS Political Executive) who are authorized by the Summit to carry out specifically-mandated tasks on issues related to treaty negotiations, Title and Rights and other issues of concern to First Nations in BC.

Leona Antoine

Guardians Coordinator
Stein Nahatlatch Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area

I am a member of the Nle/kepmx/Sylix nation, a mother of 2 sons, 2 daughters and 1 grandson. I see value in embracing our traditional practices throughout our family, community, and nations.

In the new and evolving environment, the implementation of indigenous values and principles are to be embedded in all decisions on the land from a holistic perspective.

Over the past 30 years, my career has enabled me to contribute to the Nicola watershed in several different capacities throughout as a steward and Registered forest Technologist practitioner. My teachings came from a variety of knowledge holders; elders, youth, and other practitioners, throughout my career. The stewardship is embedded throughout my professional life and as a harvester of food and medicines for my family.

I am the new addition to the Stein/Nahatlatch IPCA team and look forward to implementing the guardian program and ensuring that there are boots on the ground as we assess the damage from the recent fire of 2023. The fire has a huge impact, but perhaps with the baseline being indigenous led and restoring the landscape with our values, perhaps the long- term plan will be sustainable for all values in the future where everyone sees themselves in the plan.

Tiffany Joseph – ŚW̱,XELOSELWET

Indigenous-led Planning Consultant
Habitat Acquisition Trust

My name is Tiffany Joseph. My ancestry is of Sḵx̱wu7mesh (Fresh Water people) and W̱SÁNEĆ (Saltwater people, Emerging people) peoples.

I’m currently the Indigenous-led Planning Consultant for Habitat Acquisition Trust. I grew up learning Sḵx̱wu7mesh Snichim (Squamish language) from preschool to grade 10, and I started learning SENĆOŦEN in 2015 in the W̱,SENĆOŦEN IST program. I’m drawn to work that promotes wellness of our minds, bodies, and the environment in which we live, because the wellbeing of the land and the people is intertwined.

Michael Meneer

CEO
Pacific Salmon Foundation

Michael Meneer has two decades of experience in journalism, fundraising and public affairs in the United States and Canada. Michael has been President and CEO of the Pacific Salmon Foundation since April 2019 and prior to that was Vice President for Development, Communications and Marketing for ten years.

He helped to generate significant growth in PSF’s fundraising, communications and government relations during that period. This included leadership roles in the fundraising campaign for the $13 million Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and the successful effort to return 100% of Salmon Conservation Stamp revenue to PSF’s Community Salmon Program. Before moving to Vancouver in 2007, he worked for seven years in Washington, D.C. as an association executive director, journalist and communications officer for two NGOs. This included stints at the ABC News affiliate in the nation’s capital, Catholic Charities and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. Michael earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from The Ohio State University in 1997 and a Master’s degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in 2004. While a college student, Michael joined AmeriCorps, the domestic Peace Corps, and was a literacy instructor for low-income children in Columbus, Ohio.

Nikita Wallia

Spatial Analysis & Cartography Specialist
David Suzuki Foundation

Nikita is passionate about using maps to tell stories of conversations, lives and songs lived out of a place. Her approach to cartography is strategic, holistic and research oriented; her practice is about balancing creativity with practicality.

She completed her Bachelors of Science at the University of British Columbia, mapping how glaciers and rivers have and will continue to shape the landscapes of the South Coast Mountains to the Himalayas. She is skilled in translating questions into geospatial answers with professional experience in ESRI and open-source environments in the environmental, agricultural, renewable energy, and technology sectors. She now works collaboratively with Indigenous Nations in ecosystem-based conservation and restoration planning, advocating for wildlife and the places they live.

Michael Twigg

Senior Research Associate
Smart Prosperity Institute

Michael is the Program Director of Land-use, Nature, and Agriculture at the Smart Prosperity Institute, where he and his team advance policy research that focuses on the intersection of conservation, food systems, and community development as key drivers of economic growth and prosperity.

He also works in the area of research that has been applied in Ontario’s Greenbelt, in coastal communities across Nunavut, and in support of First Nations in British Columbia and Northern Ontario. Michael holds a Master’s of Environmental Policy from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).

Gillian Kerr

Senior Research Associate
Smart Prosperity Institute

Gillian Kerr has worked within Canada’s environment community for almost 30 years as environmental policy analyst, ecological economist and champion of understanding the value of nature. She worked for Alberta Environment for over a decade and has spent time working as an academic, consultant and within several areas of the non-profit sector.

She completed both a masters and PhD focused on Alberta environmental economic issues. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship with McGill on ecosystem services in working landscapes and a postdoc at Dalhousie University of perceptions of environmental change in Atlantic Canada. She lives between Nova Scotia and Alberta and is happiest when she is wandering around outside.

George Kelly

CEO
Earth Recovery Partners

George leverages his deep experience in ecosystem markets, environmental finance, and environmental law to advance outcomes-based environmental solutions using market and performance-based tools.

Immediately prior to starting ERP, George served as a managing director at Quantified Ventures, founder at Bespoke Mitigation Partners, and an affiliate member of Earth & Water Strategies.

From 2014-2019, he was the Chief Market Officer for Resource Environmental Solutions, which had acquired Environmental Banc & Exchange, a firm George founded in 1997. During his term at RES, the company grew to be the largest ecological offset provider in the world and KKR acquired a majority interest in 2016. At RES, George led market initiatives with a focus on expanding the organization’s client base, geographic footprint, and wetland, stream, nutrient, water, and species offset markets. In this capacity, George spearheaded efforts to open nutrient and stormwater markets in the Chesapeake Bay Region; species markets in the Appalachian, Western, and Mid-Western U.S.; stream markets in Texas and the western U.S.; and wetland and stream restoration projects for water quality and carbon markets.

He has worked with numerous resource agencies, landowners, investors, and private and public credit buyers on the implementation of mitigation projects and has promoted new policies at the federal and state levels relating to market-based solutions to achieve environmental objectives.

Tara Shea

Senior Director, Regulatory and Indigenous Affairs
Mining Association of Canada

Tara works with members, Indigenous organizations and governments, stakeholders and government decision makers on policy related to Indigenous engagement, wildlife management and biodiversity conservation.

She is the policy lead on issues related to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and leads MAC’s Indigenous Relations Committee which focuses on matters related to Indigenous participation in mining. She is dedicated to working on species at risk and protected areas related issues and is an active member of the Nature Advisory Committee as well as the Canadian Environmental Domestic Advisory Group. Tara is also a member of the Centre for Land Conservation’s Board of Directors.

Paige Olmsted

Program Director, Nature Based Solutions
Smart Prosperity Institute

Paige is an environmental scientist whose research focuses on how we account for, make decisions about, and value nature – from a personal as well as economic standpoint.

At SPI Paige is leading the conservation finance initiative, examining financial mechanisms and enabling conditions to catalyze interest and investment to support ecosystem services and the natural environment. Her expertise centers around ecosystem services, nature-based solutions for climate change, ecological economics, and environmental and relational values. With a common thread of connecting people and nature, her work has spanned rural agricultural settings in Latin America and South East Asia, to advocating for change in international policy settings, to providing sustainability guidance to private sector actors. In this work and past positions at the Earth Institute in New York City and UNEP in Geneva, she enjoys working with a range of stakeholders to address conservation challenges — including local communities, NGOs, various scales of government, academia, and the private sector. Paige maintains affiliations with the CHANS (Connecting Human and Natural Systems) Lab at UBC, and the Copenhagen Business School as part of the Impact for Innovation Lab. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC and a Master’s of Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

Ben Clark

Director, Green & Circular Economy
Delphi Group

As the director, Ben supports and manages client projects for Delphi’s Green Economy Services. Ben has a diverse background in government, non-profit, and business, and has managed projects related to climate action, adventure tourism, and performance measurement frameworks.

Ben has led organizations in the development of place-based food systems and the local food economy, as well the urban development process and resilient neighbourhood planning.

Ben has an MA in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University, where his research focused on the role of restaurants in the local food economy, and a BSc in Geography from the University of Victoria.

Outside of work, Ben enjoys exploring Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea with a bike and a pair of hiking boots.

David Bidelspach

Design Engineer and Partner
5 Smooth Stones Restoration

Mr. Bidelspach is a nationally recognized river restoration specialist with more than 20 years’ experience.

Mr. Bidelspach’s academic and research background includes five years with the Stream Restoration Program at North Carolina State University where he provided assessment, design and construction oversight services on a large number of restoration projects and taught courses related to river assessment, restoration design and construction administration. Mr. Bidelspach was mentored at NCSU by Dr. Greg Jennings and at Wildland Hydrology by Dave Rosgen. Mr. Bidelspach has completed more than 200 river restoration/stabilization projects in 29 states, 6 Canadian Provinces/Territories and Costa Rica.

Mr. Bidelspach is an innovator that is dedicated to improving the quality of river restoration through natural channel design while lowering the cost of projects. He has been recognized by some as being an industry leader in developing a 3-D design process which allows designers to rapidly go through numerous iterations to optimize the design. Mr. Bidelspach is a designer that has operated equipment and constructed restoration projects. This broad range of experience has refined his ability to produce accurate engineer’s estimates and constructible designs.

Sponsors

PLATINUM

GOLD

SILVER

FRIENDS OF THE CONFERENCE

Our Vision:

We envision a less polarized world with a shared commitment to transforming ambitious ideas into real benefits for people, communities, and ecosystems.

Our Mission:

RESOLVE Canada forges sustainable solutions to critical social, health, and environmental challenges by creating innovative partnerships where they are least likely and most needed.

We are a team of collaborative leaders, mediators, policy experts, strategists, scientists, and facilitators. RESOLVE Canada brings a unique combination of expertise to our work: mediation and process design; solutions-focused strategies and programs; and a capacity to create and launch self-sustaining social enterprise. As an independent, nonpartisan, nongovernmental organization (NGO), we work across sectors, borders, and political lines to engage with business, government, foundation, NGO, and community leaders.

Register

Please bring your registration confirmation form, and a piece of photo identification to receive your onsite pass.
All tickets include full access to all keynote speeches and panel / breakout sessions.

On-site Registration

On-site registration for the Restoration​ Conference 2023 will commence at 8:00 AM on Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

Registration tables will be set up in the main hallway outside the Segal Conference Rooms.

Minister Jonathan Wilkinson speaking while displaying the Giant Map at the Restoration Conference 2019.

Left to right: Chief Byron Spinks, Kevin Scott, Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Fin Donnelly (MLA), Minister Lana Popham, Tim Joyce