Qualicum Institute: Advocating a science-based understanding of ecological, social and economic survivability

Qualicum Institute Directors

Qualicum Institute director's biographies
Top row, left to right: Susan Fisher, Luisa Richardson, Neil Dawe, Richard Hampton.
Seated, left to right: Gerry Addy, Terri Martin. Not present: Alan Hawryzki.

Qualicum Institute Director's Biographies

The Qualicum Institute was established in 2002. Its directors are concerned professionals from the fields of biology, chemical engineering, and education at the university, college, school and local government and community levels. The mission of the Qualicum Institute is to help establish ecologically, socially and economically sustainable communities that operate within the regenerative and assimilative capacity of the ecosphere. 

Gerry Addy, BA., B.Ed, Honorary Director

Gerry is a retired elementary school principal from North Vancouver with thirty-six years of service in education. He and his wife Ruth moved to Qualicum Beach in 1997.

Gerry worked on the Board of the Eaglecrest Residents’ Association for eight years. Most of his efforts were devoted to working as a management team member on the Neighbourhood Emergency Watch program.

Considerable research and study on climate change convinced him of the need for action. Despite the irrefutable scientific evidence that global warming and carbon emissions are threatening to overwhelm us, it is still difficult to convince the public of the seriousness of the problem. Powerful lobby groups continue to subvert action at the political level even though a large majority of climate scientists agree the danger is real and imminent.

Gerry is interested in promoting ecological sustainability. He believes public recognition of the severe threat presented by climate change is an essential ingredient in achieving the greater goal of a sustainable community.

Neil K. Dawe, Vice-President

Neil is a Retired Wildlife Biologist in British Columbia. He retired from the Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, in 2006 after 31 years in civil service on Vancouver Island, managing National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries and working to protect migratory birds and their habitat.

Concerned about the plight of the Brant sea goose, Neil co-founded the Brant Wildlife Festival and co-chaired the festival for its first five years. This led, in part, to the establishment of the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Wildlife Management Area in 1993, which protected all Brant habitat along a 17-kilometre stretch of the Vancouver Island coast from Craig Bay north to the Little Qualicum River estuary.

In 1997, he was appointed to a two-year term as a volunteer member of the Healthy Community Advisory Commission for the City of Parksville, British Columbia. He is a founding Director of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve Foundation and the Qualicum Institute and was the first Canadian Director of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE).

Neil is a recipient of Environment Canada’s Regional Citation of Excellence Award for his work in promoting the value of wildlife to Canadians and for his work with the Brant Wildlife Festival. He is also the recipient of the Federation of British Columbia Naturalist’s Outstanding Service Award.

In 2001, he was honoured with the Ian McTaggart-Cowan Award of Excellence in Biology from the Association of Professional Biologists of British Columbia “in recognition of a significant contribution to the biological sciences in British Columbia.”

Much of his work over the past 20 years has involved studies on bird use of estuaries and the restoration and creation of estuarine marsh habitat. His primary interests today, focus on the two limiting factors affecting biodiversity conservation on the Earth today: human population growth and per capita consumption.

Neil has written over 80 scientific, technical, and popular papers and articles on birds, ecology, and the environment. He is a co-author of the four-volume work, The Birds of British Columbia. He also authored the children’s book, The Hummingbird Book and Feeders and is a co-author of another popular children’s book, The Bird Book and Bird Feeder.

Susan R. Fisher, PhD., Secretary

Susan is a retired literature professor and university administrator. The author of many articles on Canadian and world literature, she received the Canada Prize in the Humanities for her 2011 book Boys and Girls in No Man’s Land: Canadian Children and the First World War. Once a climber and now a hiker, Susan compiled In the Western Mountains, an oral history of mountaineering in BC. In retirement, she has been able to devote more time to learning about the human and natural history of our region.

Neither a biologist nor an ecologist by training, Susan nonetheless feels that all citizens need to inform themselves about the complex interactions between human culture and natural systems. The most important duty we have is to become good ancestors (to borrow the title of David Ehrenfeld’s book) and to pass on to our descendants a world that has not been irretrievably damaged by human consumption. To do that in the face of declining biodiversity and human-induced climate change will require not just modifying behaviour at the individual level (important though that is); it will require a hard-to-imagine overturning of many established values and practices. The critic Fredric Jameson wrote in 2003 that “Someone once said that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism.” Not wanting the first fate, Susan is looking for ways to accomplish the second—that is, to turn away from the addiction to economic growth and thus look after and if possible restore our world. Susan joined the Qualicum Institute because of its focus on the destructive effects of economic growth and the consequent need to re-think how we live.

Richard (Dick) Hampton, B. Eng. (Chem), Treasurer

After graduating in Chemical Engineering from McGill, Dick spent most of his career working in the food industry. His work included positions in Research and Development, process design, and general management. Several side ventures included: management consulting with emphasis on strategic planning, franchise restaurant operation, and even farming.

After retirement he moved to Parksville where he has been active in community affairs.

Since reading the original book, The Limits to Growth back in 1972, Dick has taken an interest in the sustainability of human civilization. He believes that now is the time for widespread action to tame humanity’s obsession with growth. It’s for the sake of our grandchildren

Alan R. Hawryzki, M.Sc.

Most people don’t read the writing on the wall until their backs against it“. Attributed to Adlai Stevenson.

Allan retired in 2008 from Vancouver Island University (VIU) where he was Professor of Biology, teaching courses in first year biology, environmental education for student teachers and conservation officers, and upper levels courses in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. He was also the Director of the Biological Sciences Museum at VIU.

Allan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia where he attended Simon Fraser University graduating with a degree in biology. During three field seasons he traveled through the mountain ranges of western North America (Mt. Denali, Alaska; Rockies of British Columbia/Alberta; as well as the Sierras of California, and mountains of Montana, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming as a research assistant. In addition to collecting and analyzing the botanical biodiversity of these areas for the VIU herbarium, he conducted research on the evolutionary history and distribution of the Ranunculus eschscholtzii species complex. His graduate research at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, involved the conservation biology of endangered species.

Terri Martin, BSc, RPBio., President

“Rather late, the people grew alarmed.”                                                  From “The Mysteries” by Bill Watterson and John Kascht

Terri grew up at the edge of suburban Amherst View, near Kingston Ontario. His keen interest in the countryside, especially those critters close to home, led him to the University of Guelph’s Wildlife Biology program. While working towards his undergraduate degree, a wide array of character-building, agricultural jobs kept him in the field and enjoying a sense of place.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1989, he moved to British Columbia and began working as a naturalist; first with the Capital Regional Parks system in Victoria, then at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in Parksville. It wasn’t long before he joined the Arrowsmith Naturalists to pursue birding, botany, and intertidal explorations with like-minded folks. He spent a year as the club president and was acknowledged for his invaluable contribution to the growth of the Club on their 35th anniversary.

Terri achieved the designation of Registered Professional Biologist in British Columbia in 1999. He has over 25 years of biological experience on Vancouver Island, has written over 30 scientific and technical reports, popular articles and essays, and has prepared expert witness testimony for the Conservation Officer Service and Crown Counsel.

He feels particularly grateful for having had the chance to work on two, long-term projects on southeast Vancouver Island: tracking the spring migration of the Black Brant sea goose and, as program biologist on Vancouver Island for the Wildlife Tree Stewardship Program, documenting and monitoring of more than 1,000 Bald Eagle nest trees. Currently, Terri works in local government as an environmental specialist where he has been able to craft policies, guidelines and bylaws. 

Throughout much of his career, however, Terri has had a growing concern that conventional conservation techniques are not working. Year after year, more habitat and biodiversity gives way to human encroachment despite conservationists’ best efforts. It is this pursuit of the root cause of biodiversity loss that brought him to the Qualicum Institute. 

Luisa Richardson, MSc, M.Eco Ed.

“The climate crisis has been framed as an environmental problem. That it is about atmospheric CO2, and so has us looking up for solutions, instead of looking down at the economy and exploitation of land, labour and living systems.”  Gopal Dayaneni, co-founder of the Movement Generation.

After earning a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biology and following a 22-year career in industry, Luisa found her calling as an environmental educator, creating and delivering innovative and effective programs on behalf of local and regional governments. As a contract project manager, Luisa incorporated solid research into the scientific principles, ecology, history and government regulations underlying the topics of waste and ecological footprint reduction, water conservation and drinking watershed protection. Her research was then translated into multi-faceted and engaging education programs for the community at large and for all school grades. She hired and mentored university students to deliver the programs over many summers.

Her use of community-based social marketing techniques measurably increased public awareness and achieved the target improvements in community use of government-managed resources. She received City of Campbell River Stewardship awards in 2009 and 2014 for community engagement and outreach. Despite experiencing success, Luisa felt she should update her knowledge and credentials and completed a Masters in Eco Ed and Curriculum Development at Simon Fraser University. This together with her participation in a team that helped the BC Ministry of Education re-write the science curriculum to include ecological literacy and place-based knowledge enriched her education programs, transforming them into even more powerful agents of change.

Luisa is an engaging facilitator, storyteller and experienced naturalist. She enjoys all her work, including her role as a Campbell River Museum history boat cruises guide. Here, she spun the powerful geological, natural history, cultural and European currents that have swept through this area into fascinating experiences for her guests. Her ProD workshops for teachers, model how to incorporate the local ecology into the curriculum, while remaining respectful and ethical when observing nature around the schools.

Luisa often wonders, “Is it still called ‘work’ if you love what you do?”

As a life-long learner with a passion for nature, cultures and people, Luisa joined the Qualicum Institute hoping to learn how to balance our ecology with our economy and how to stem the biodiversity losses, extinctions and climate emergencies brought about by the human species in the Anthropocene age.

Stop ecological overshoot caused by economic growth

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