Candidates for 2023-2024 Board of Directors
President / Co-Chair
Christine Thuring is a founding director of the Society and was an active volunteer right from the start. She co-established and continues to co-edit The Quarterly Buzz newsletter. In 2021-2022, Christine served as Secretary. She is pleased to serve a second term as co-chair with Paula Cruise.
With a background in environmental science and plant biology, Christine is passionate about native bees, green roofs and climate action. While her career began in applied plant ecology, for the last 20 years Christine has worked predominantly in the urban context. As a Green Roof Professional and a Meadow Maker, she is committed to enhancing conditions for biodiversity, including the built environment.
Vice-President / Co-Chair
Paula Cruise has been a member of the Society since its founding in 2019 and joined the Board of Directors in 2020. Her interest in wild bees grew as a natural extension to her passion for gardening. She spent four years planting Indigenous gardens for pollinators and people through her work with Hives for Humanity, a non-profit society based in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that seeks to create equitable access to nature and meaningful opportunities to share in its gifts and in its stewardship.
Now living on the Sunshine Coast, Paula is very excited to learn about the amazing biodiversity of bees in the Pacific Northwest through Oregon State University’s Master Melittologist program. She contributes to the Society’s education and outreach programming through grant writing and administrative tasks and is committed to supporting the Society’s continued growth through financial stability, targeted research, diverse membership, accessible programming and fruitful collaborations for the protection and promotion of BC’s biodiversity.
Paula is proud of the work she and her co-chair Christine have achieved over the past year and is both honoured and excited to continue with this partnership in 2024.
Sky was a member at large for the society in the previous year. She graduated the Natural Resource Conservation program at UBC in 2021 and currently works for a Community Forest in the rural town of Barriere. Sky lives in Kamloops with her partner, Mathew, a bee keeper, and their child Cedar. Through various paid and volunteer positions sky has experience participating in board meetings and functioning in a secretary role to draft agendas, take meeting minutes, and assign action items. Sky has supported the society through spearheading public education articles within the Quarterly Buzz newsletter and hopes to continue supporting the Society’s growth.
Nikki is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and has an extensive background in accounting and finance. She dedicated twelve years of her professional career to working in the non-profit sector for a registered charity. Nikki joined the Native Bee Society of BC as Treasurer in February 2022, combining her enthusiasm for bees with her love of numbers. Nikki and her husband live in Dawson Creek, BC with their two teenage sons. When she is not "crunching the numbers", she can be found working in her garden or at the school gymnasium cheering on her son's basketball team.
I have been actively documenting the native bee fauna and its floral relations throughout British Columbia and Alberta for 20 years. Currently I am part of the Faculty of Horticulture at Oregon State University where I am the Pollinator Taxonomist in the Pollinator Health Lab for the Oregon Bee Atlas and Master Melittologist. We have been successful in bringing the Master Melittologist program to British Columbia through the Native Bee Society of BC. This is a self-paced, step-wise educational program that provides a comprehensive education about bee biodiversity and ecology.
The Oregon Bee Atlas is the largest citizen science project of its kind, where hundreds of volunteers actively survey the state and produce tens of thousands of museums specimens representing hundreds of species of native bees, sampled from over 1400 flowering plant species, and counting. This has led to the development of WA and ID Bee Atlases as well. I’m also working to curate the historical bee collection at the Oregon State Arthropod Collection and provide taxonomic support to many other research labs and government agencies. In BC I host the annual BC Native Bee Course in Penticton, and other related specialty courses throughout the province. I collaborate widely in BC on research and education with various post-secondary institutions, NGO’s, First Nations, and artists.
I will bring my energy and expertise in research, education, and outreach to the NBSBC, and leverage my network to the Society’s benefit. There is enormous potential for the society to provide strong science-based research, education, and outreach, and I hope to develop programming and projects that inform stakeholder groups and lead to landscape-based solutions to our environmental challenges.
Bonnie Zand is an RPBio based out of the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island. She works in the intersections of pollinators and agriculture, running an IPM consulting company, Bonnie’s Bugs IPM, and leading the Pollinators in Vancovouer Island Agriculture Project. Bonnie is the BC instructor for the Master Melittolgist Program, and loves to help others learn how awesome bees are. Bonnie also contributes to pollinator conservation through outreach to garden clubs, bee clubs, and school groups, as well as through her work with the endangered Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly.
Bonnie is excited to be continuing with the board for a third year, and intends to continue to run the Native Bee Study Group, support the BC Master Melittologist program, manage memberships, and provide website, social media and grant writing support to the society.
Maureen has worked for many years at the University of British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art + Design in the field of adult continuing education. Now she is passionate about learning more about BC’s incredible biodiversity, and to donate her time to organizations working to further environmental conservation, restoration, education and advocacy.
Maureen is interested in continuing the co-editing of the Quarterly Buzz, and hopefully in 2024 being able to attend and contribute to in-person events and outreach. She is also (possibly) interested in helping with grant application processes.
Jen is an artist, educator, meditation mentor and bee-enthusiast, aspiring to awaken kindness and wisdom within society. In 2015 she co-founded the Hudson Valley Bee Habitat(HVBH), pollinating public engagement with bees, the environment, and each other - helping both humans and bees thrive. Jen is currently teaching at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she shares her interest for art, bees, and seeds of engagement.
The roles she is interested in supporting are grant writing, strategic planning and education/outreach.
Tamara is an outdoor educator focused on place-based learning about bees, plants and people. She has led projects in community, school, and botanical gardens in BC. She has developed urban greening projects, public education initiatives, and produced curriculum and events for people of all ages. She has a comprehensive knowledge of native plant nurseries and best practices to support habitat and pollinator recovery. She has an Honours Specialist degree in Art and Art History, a BFA in Ceramics, and a Masters of Education in Sustainability. Her current PhD studies in Ecology and Consciousness focus on connecting with our natural relationships.
I am a restoration botanist and native plant conservation advocate with a keen interest in pollination networks. I live in Nelson BC and am a founding member (and current treasurer) of the Kootenay Native Plant Society. I am fascinated by complexity of plant-pollinator relationships, and am involved in numerous restoration projects with a pollinator focus.
I’m interested in bringing a plant perspective and expertise to the conversation about native bee conservation. I strongly believe that they go hand in hand and am excited by the potential for cross-pollination.
I am a photographer/artist and an avid learner.
I am self taught but passionate and thorough.
I am very interested in taxonomy and the diversity of Hymenoptera in general, with a particular interest in bees and wasps, I’m currently working through the Master Melittology course and looking forward to taking the WaspID course again in January.
I use photography to further my study of insects and arachnids with the goal of using it in the future to contribute to conservation efforts, ideally beginning with a regional Vancouver Island specific field guide to pollinators and how to support them.
I engage with the public on online forums through Facebook almost daily where I help to Admin a large group wherein we ID insects posted by people all over the world, answer their questions, and engage in conversation to help destigmatize our arthropod friends.
I have skills in social media management and I can do writeups for blog posts, have some graphic design skills to create logos or printable materials like brochures and posters. I already create personal posts with my photography that includes accessible, easy to understand information about the insect world, especially focusing on advocating for stigmatized animals that people often struggle with due to common fears such as social vespids, but eventually what I would really like is to be involved in the BC Bee Atlas project.
The NBSBC is important to me and has given me a lot, I’d like to give back, be involved in research and conservation and continue to engage in learning and education.
Julia is a lifelong resident of the PNW and lover of all organisms who call this region home--especially our native pollinators. She has worked, studied, and volunteered in the conservation realm for nearly a decade, and recently completed her Bachelor of Science from UBC specializing in ecology, biodiversity, and sustainable food systems. There, she conducted bumblebee biodiversity surveys at UBC Farm and on blueberry farms around the Fraser Valley, falling further in love with the diversity of native bees and their habits. Julia also has experience in science communication and social media outreach through her time coordinating online content and condensing academic articles with UBC's Centre for Sustainable Food Systems' BC FoodWeb, and has great passion for sharing environmental knowledge with audiences of all backgrounds. Julia has a deep interest in fostering public engagement in ecological issues and strives to build community around critters big and small.