This page provides an overview of my changing interests, motivation, and perspectives that have shaped my philosophy in life and research. Explore the links and I hope you find inspiration for your own adventures!
A short bio:
At around 16 years, my friends and I began our first scrambles and wilderness traverses, leading us to discover the elegant simplicity of nature - a stark contrast from the awkward and material high school lives below. This trips into the deep forest and staggering mountains inspired a curiosity for the unknown.
Back in BC, like never before my stunning homeland was brimming with adventure opportunities. There was no time for school so I continued working in construction, got into trail running, and quickly tackled my first real alpine ascents. Mountaineering became my main purpose. Nearly every weekend I maneuvered up into the craggy aretes, horns and hanging valleys often in awe and humbled by the grandeur of limitless freedom found in this new world I had discovered. I gained introspection from passing days, and sometimes weeks, alone in wilderness settings.
Through my wilderness and global travel I learned things not taught in school, such as my own physical and mental limits. I also had some spectacular failures: I nearly disappeared into a crevasse near Pemberton BC, suffered high altitude sickness in Bolivia, and was blinded by a sand storm alone in a remote desert in Argentina... to name a few. Through my success and failures I got to know myself - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions - and I formed strong connections to diverse landscapes around the world. During my travels I also saw concerning environmental degradation.
|Cycling the 'Highline' around Anderson Lake in St'at'imc First Nations traditional territory, Lillooet, BC|
- First cycling across Canada to Cape Spear, Newfoundland (10,017km; 5 months)
- Then to Skagway, Alaska via Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii and the Cassiar Highway (3,300km; 2.5 months)
- And, my biggest trip was to the Panama Canal (10,800km; 10.5 months)
|The moment I arrived to the Panama Canal, after cycling 10,800km from Vancouver. May 2013|
My purpose in life was adventure, but I began to question the this internal ego-centric focus. Considering the effort I was investing, could I apply it to help others, and maybe the environment?
|At the base of a giant Sitka spruce, Carmanah Valley April 2012|
I began to accept that university would be a good next step for me. So I enrolled at Langara College and in great contrast to my previous experiences, I was thrilled by school. I was fed information on fascinating subjects (eg,Latin America, climatology, mountain formation, biology) like oats to a pig. I gobbled it up and then my perspective of humans and nature began to evolve. Rapidly. I finished a two year degree at Langara College then my BSc at the UBC Faculty of Forestry. The generalist, applied, and often field-based approach of forestry suited my liking. My interests focused poignantly towards forests, and I started a campaign to engage people to protect BC's coastal old-growth forests. So after cycling to Panama on a mission to explore forests, I started my MSc studying at McGill University under Dr. Elena Bennett and Dr. Sarah Gergel (UBC) studying the recovery of ecosystem services impacted by old-growth logging.
After three years working since my MSc, in Sept 2018 I returned to the UBC Faculty of Forestry to undertake my PhD with Dr. Jeanine Rhemtulla. I''m fortunate to hold a Vanier Canada Scholarship and am flourishing back in , engaging in diverse discussions, presenting my work, and, of course, publishing it. The aim of my thesis is to quantify the historical dynamics in the structure and function of forests across BC, a challenge which is taking me physically around the province, into rarely explored archival datasets, and into contact with an incredible array of resource experts, academics, and practitioners. It's looking to be a particularly interesting chapter of my life.
- Find and cultivate your passions. Sometimes this requires digging deep and maybe finding the right people to help you. In fact, the right people may be the key. Although, the story above is about me, I would have never developed my passions without inspiring people I met along the way. I hope this inspires you. Pursue your passion, and you will be sure to inspire others.
- Let variety be your teacher. One of my core philosophies is that by doing different things we layer time - we embed diverse experience into our memory rather than drown them amidst a sea of repetition. Sometimes repetition is good, but if your up for it, try something different. You'll learn a lot and you may perceive that you live longer.