Midway, B.C.: The forest industry's highly regarded Canadian Forest Industries (CFI) Magazine has unveiled its prestigious Top 20 Under 40 awards for 2023. Among the outstanding individuals making positive and meaningful contributions to the forest industry is Peter Flett, a Registered Professional Forester currently in charge of all forestry operations for the Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), where he oversees Nk’Mip Forestry and West Boundary Community Forest (WBCF). Flett's remarkable accomplishments and dedication to advancing the forestry sector for the past 8 years, have earned him a coveted spot among this year's distinguished honorees.
“This award came as a surprise to me, but I feel very honoured to be recognized. It was a really great opportunity for our teams at the Osoyoos Indian Band and the West Boundary Community Forest to be recognized for some of the great projects that we are working on,” said Flett.
As Jennifer Ellson, CFI Magazine’s editor shared, Flett’s outstanding achievements stood out in a fiercely competitive field, with a record number of nominations pouring in from every corner of the country.
“Peter's accomplishments remind us all of the incredible potential and fresh ideas the younger generation brings to the forest industry, sparking hope for a brighter future in these ever-evolving time,” she expressed.
While Flett’s journey toward working in forestry led him down a few different pathways, the 30-year-old has become a change-maker and innovator in the forest industry. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in human kinetics from the University of British Columbia (UBC), he realized he would enjoy a job that allowed him to be outdoors surrounded by nature. He decided to switch gears and enrolled in the natural resource science program at Thompson Rivers University.
His passion for forestry ultimately led him to join UBC’s master’s program in sustainable forest management, allowing him to work at Vaagen Fibre Canada (Vaagen) upon graduation. With Vaagen, he was able to dive into a wide array of forestry roles, from project management, planning, operational supervision, and silviculture to building relationships and partnerships with the local community.
In his current role with the OIB and the WBCF, Flett is involved in all aspects of forestry operations and planning. He works closely with OIB members and local citizens prior to and during the project planning to integrate the area’s values and proactively address any concerns.
“Peter brings a plethora of talent to our forestry department at the Osoyoos Indian Band. His communication skills, innovation, and knowledge of forestry processes and policies have been directly attributed to the incredible success of OIB's forestry planning and operations,” said Dan Macmaster, Forest Manager of the WBCF and Head of Forestry of the OIB. “Peter's diversity of projects and creativity in addressing multiple objectives throughout his planning has resulted in economical, cultural, and environmentally sustainable forest management.”
As Flett further shared, one of the things he enjoys the most about his job is getting to see the progression of the projects that he works on and ultimately learning from them.
“Being able to witness how projects like the wildfire risk reduction that we put so much effort into unfold and then later coming back and looking at how the environment responded to what we did is truly fulfilling.”
Flett believes that there needs to be more awareness about the many career opportunities in forestry for today’s youth and hopes that this recognition with the CFI Magazine will open up new doors to conversations around it with them.
“I think it is important to educate young people about the career opportunities in forestry. There is a bit of a gap in knowledge for young people coming into forestry and knowing what it is all about,” he shared. “Hopefully, with the publishing of this Top 20 list, we can reach some of those who don’t know what the opportunities are and encourage teachers and schools to learn more about what’s out there and what careers are available.”