Forest Professionals British Columbia Appointment


Congratulations to Kelly Kitsch on her Appointment to Chair of the Forest Professionals British Columbia

The City of Mission would like to congratulate Kelly Kitsch on her recent appointment to Chair of the Forest Professionals British Columbia. Kelly has served as a dedicated Registered Forest Technologist at the City of Mission for over 25 years and, among her many duties within the department, she leads the silviculture program that sees the planting of over 80,000 trees in the Mission Municipal Forest every year. She talked about the trees of the Municipal Forest in a recent video series.

In the following interview, she shared her insights on forestry, climate change, sustainability, and the future of the industry.

What first inspired you to pursue forestry as a career?

My first foray into forestry came working at Pelton Reforestation Nursery in Maple Ridge in the late 1980s, just for a short season. My job was to pull seedlings from containers and bundle them for winter storage. I was surrounded by millions of trees of every species on a daily basis and learned more about the reforestation that occurs in BC after harvesting. I graduated from BCIT’s Natural Resources Forestry Program in 1991 and was excited to put my Diploma of Technology to use to find new ways to better manage BC’s forests.

How did you first get started with Forest Professionals British Columbia?

Forest Professionals BC is the organization responsible for registering and regulating BC’s professional foresters and forest technologists. I started volunteering with FPBC at Fraser Valley job fairs, to promote the profession, not just to students but specifically for young women to show them the variety of jobs that exist for women in forestry. I also volunteered on the organizing committee for one of the annual Conferences and Annual General Meeting and was a panelist for a discussion on Community Forestry. In 2019 I let my name stand for election to their Board and held a position of a Board member for a 3 year term.  I was then asked if I would be willing to continue in the Executive as Vice Chair, and became the Chair in 2024, which will be a one-year term.

What does your role as Board Chair involve?

The Board governs, controls, and administers the affairs of FPBC and is composed of eight registrant board members, and four lay members who are appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council to represent the interests of the public.  As the chair, I am responsible to safeguard the integrity of the board processes and represent the board as required. This includes chairing all meetings of FPBC, represent the organization with stakeholders and partners as required, ensure the Board operates consistently within established policies, and lead the Board in its work of strategic planning, risk oversite and goal setting.  The board meets six times per year, remotely and in-person.

What do you like most about working in forestry?

Working in forestry is like solving complex puzzles, which I love. Forestry isn’t just about cutting trees, it is about making complex decisions on a variety of ecosystems, for the health of the forest, wildlife, and community use over the long term. Now, more than ever, our forests require oversight and management to make them resilient to our changing climate, to protect our communities from wildfire, as well as to ensure they meet the needs of society in a multitude of ways.

What would you tell the next generation of foresters?

The next generation of foresters and technologists have even more tools and technology available to continue to care for our forests and ecosystems. In speaking with many of our new young professionals, they are excited to put their skills to use and to layer together all of the values that our forests offer.  I encourage them to make the best efforts to gain assistance from Indigenous knowledge keepers and to continually adapt to community input so they will be able to make the best sustainable management decisions for our future forests.