OPFA presents awards at annual meeting

April 17, 2015

By: The Working Forest

On April 9th in Toronto at their annual general meeting the Ontario Professional Foresters Association presented awards to members who have made significant contributions to the forest industry. The following are this year’s award recipients.

Mike Barker of Sault Ste. Marie, recently received the Bayly Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto.

The Bayly award recognizes contributions to the profession and practice of forestry by someone who is not a member.

Mr. Barker joined the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests in 1961 where he was employed in many different roles until 1993.  Since leaving government, he has operated a consulting business offering services in natural resource issue management, facilitation, government liaison, strategic planning and project management. Mr. Barker served as the forest industry member of the Great Lakes/ St. Lawrence Region Round Table on the Lands for Life initiative and since 1999 he has been a member of Ontario’s Forestry Futures Committee. He is has been a Public Member on OPFA Council since 2009 and serves on the association’s Executive Committee and as Chair of the Crown Land Forestry Committee.

Dawn Burke of London, recently received the Herridge Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto.

The award recognizes significant mid-career accomplishments in any aspect of professional forestry.

Dr. Burke is an ecologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, in London, Ontario.  Her current research involves working with Trent University, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the Canadian Forestry Service, and the Science and Information unit within the Ministry of Natural Resources in the London and Peterborough regions. The focus of her work is on avian productivity in response to local and landscape changes, with particular emphasis on Ovenbird, Wood Thrush, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and American Robin. Dr. Burke is Chair of the Blue Racer, and Karner Blue Recovery team, and a member of the Red Mulberry, and Acadian/Flycatcher Hooded Warbler Recovery team, and sits on the Carolinian Canada Management Committee. She is an Adjunct Professor with Trent University.

Graeme Davis, R.P.F. of Barrie, received the John H. Sellers Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto.The award is presented to a member of the Association who has made substantial contributions to the promotion and awareness of professional forestry in Ontario. 


Graeme Davis, a Registered Professional Forester since 1989, joined the County of Simcoe in 2005 after nearly 13 years with the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.  Since coming to Simcoe County he has been responsible to ensure the continued success and leadership of the Simcoe County Forests, one of the most highly recognized municipal forestry programs in Canada.  He has authored an updated its management plan and recreation policy, achieved third party forest certification, and overseen the continued expansion of the forest. His many years of field experience in southern and central Ontario has enabled him to develop a particular expertise in afforestation, plantation management and hardwood silviculture.

Mr. Davis is a regular contributor to the Community Forest Managers Network, Forest Conservation By-law Committee, member of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council and Forestry Ontario, and is currently Past President of the Ontario Professional Foresters Association.

George Graham, R.P.F. of Hearst, Ontario, was recently awarded the Honoured Professional Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA.) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto.  The award is presented annually to one individual and recognizes professional foresters who throughout their careers have made exemplary and significant contributions to the Ontario Professional Foresters Association and to forestry in Ontario.

Mr. Graham received his Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University. He became involved in beginning one of the oldest and, at this point, longest lived co-operatively managed public forests in the province: Hearst Forest Management Inc. Currently Mr. Graham serves as the Senior Forester for Hearst Forest Management and Managing Partner in Thunderhouse Forest Services, a silvicultural and forestry contracting and consulting service.

Ken Elliott, R.P.F. of London, received the Herridge Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto. The award recognizes significant mid-career accomplishments in any aspect of professional forestry. 


Mr. Elliott achieved an Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University.  He is an elected Council member with the Ontario Professional Foresters Association.

As a Forest Science Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry’s Southern Region, Mr. Elliott’s work focuses on silviculture, forest ecology and the ecological impacts of human disturbances.  He provides expert forest science advice based on knowledge, literature reviews, small trials and participation in large scale integrated research. This includes the testing and development of silvicultural guidelines, training and auditing under the provincial tree marker certification program, and a number of advisory committees, including Recovery Teams for both birds and trees at risk. As a professional forester, he makes every effort to use field and science experience to improve the collective understanding of forest management practices that will best maintain healthy forest ecosystems.

Christine Leduc of Toronto was awarded the Fernow Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto. The Fernow Award is named in honour of the first Dean of Forestry in Canada, B.E. Fernow, who started the 100-plus year tradition at the University of Toronto.  The award is presented to a new member who has made notable contributions to either the Ontario Professional Foresters Association or to forestry in Ontario.

Christine Leduc earned an Honors Bachelor of Sciences from the University of Toronto in 2011 and obtained her Master of Forest Conservation from the University’s Faculty of Forestry in 2013.

In 2013, Ms. Leduc obtained a position as a policy advisor to the Honourable David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources. In the Minister’s office, she was responsible for the endangered species act and forestry files, amongst others. As of January 2014, Christine works as the Director of Policy and Communications at the Ontario Forest Industries Association. Christine is the Chair of the Canadian Institute of Forestry’s Southern Ontario Section and is a member of the University of Toronto’s College of Electors, representing the forestry alumni association.

Michael Rosen, R.P.F., of Ottawa, was awarded the Jorgensen-Morsink Award by the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto. The award recognizes significant accomplishments in the field of Urban Forestry. 


Mr. Rosen is the President of Tree Canada, a national, charitable organization committed to Growing Better Places to Live by engaging corporations, government, municipalities and individuals in greening Canada’s communities and reforesting areas in need. Based in Ottawa, Tree Canada promotes the importance of trees to our environment, to our communities and to our well-being.

Mr. Rosen presently serves a number of organizations including: U of T Faculty of Forestry Advisory Board, Ottawa’s Cité Collégiale Consultation Committee, Director of the Canadian Institute of Forestry and Vice-Chair of the Forest History Society of Ontario as well as a local historical group, Cantley 1889.  He authors papers on various topics related to urban forests, carbon and trees and forest history.

Peter Schleifenbaum, R.P.F. of Haliburton, received the Zavitz Award from the Ontario Professional Foresters Association (OPFA) during its 58th Annual Conference in Toronto.

The award, which is named for E.J. Edmund Zavitz, Ontario’s first Provincial Forester and the person known as “The Man Who Saved Ontario with Trees and Determination”, recognizes significant contribution to forest conservation.

Born, raised, and educated in Germany, Dr. Schleifenbaum and his family arrived in Haliburton in 1988 to take on the management of Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve. As a Registered Professional Forester with a PhD in Forest History and Forest Economics, Dr. Schleifenbaum’s focus was on the vast timber resources of Haliburton Forest, which had been neglected for decades. At the time of his arrival Haliburton Forest was almost entirely focused on tourism activities. Undaunted, Dr. Schleifenbaum embraced the notion of multi-use forest stewardship, and he began developing an innovative tourism business and building an integrated forestry company.  As a result, Haliburton Forest is now known for its unique tourism operations like dogsledding, canopy tours, and citizen science adventures. It is also known as Canada’s first certified private forest by the Forest Stewardship Council in 1998.

Today, Dr. Schleifenbaum is involved with every aspect of Haliburton Forest, from designing experimental forest practices, to creating new non-timber forest products like chagga tea.

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