October 11, 2018

A Licence to Grow Forward

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Tracey Ofstie knows first-hand how to grow and cultivate a tree to full maturity. She has been interested in trees since she took a forestry class while studying to be a fish and wildlife conservation officer at Sir Sanford Fleming College in her native Ontario.

While her interest in fish species waned, her love of trees continued, and that interest led her to leave fish and wildlife behind and instead pursue two Forestry diplomas (Forest Technician and Forest Technologist) at college. In 1995, she moved to Williams Lake and started work as a silviculturist at a forestry consultant business. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 2013, Tracey was hired by Tolko’s Cariboo Woodlands Division as a forestry coordinator.

“When I was interviewed for the position at Tolko, my experience was not in forestry development, but Tolko allowed me to grow, learn and develop my skills,” says Tracey, who has since broadened her forestry knowledge even further.

She recently received her Registered Forestry Technician (RFT) designation and in an even more notable achievement, Tracey decided to go one step further by getting a Limited Licence from the Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals (ABCFP). Tracey has also recently started a new position as an Operations Forester for Cariboo Woodlands.

She is only the twentieth forester within the ABCFP to be granted with a Limited Licence, which allows her to sign off on site plans and site amendments.

“It’s an avenue that I don’t believe has been pursued by many other people. The last one that I know of was granted in 2011,” says Tracey. “To me, it’s even more of an achievement than my RFT, even though the RFT was a two-year process. This was an achievement because it is so rarely granted. It goes over and above of what you can do as an RFT.”

To get her Limited Licence, Tracey’s background and experience were taken into consideration and she also had to provide past examples of her work.

“I went through an interview process with several members of the ABCFP. They gave me scenarios, which I had to provide answers for,” she recalls.

Tracey also had to go through a practice review audit. “Part of the conditions of this Limited Licence was that I was going to be audited within the first year of receiving it.”

For the audit, Tracey was accompanied by her current supervisor, Jeff Alexander, Forestry Superintendent at Cariboo Woodlands, and her previous supervisor, Woodlands Manager Kevin Sytsma, who served as her guarantor.

“I did not do this alone. I needed to have a sponsor to go through the RFT process, so Jeff helped guide me through the Limited Licence process as well,” she says. “I also have a great team at Tolko who all bring different forestry backgrounds. Working with them has provided me with the ability to build my knowledge and grow into a better professional forester.”

In his practice review assessment, auditor Kris Zmudzinski, Member Competence Specialist with the ABCFP, recognized Tolko for its support of Tracey.

“It is my observation that Tolko, as an organization, has a very effective system of continually advancing education for their employees. Tracey, as she indicated, enjoys learning new things and she takes advantage of these opportunities.”