Named after B.C.’s provincial flower, Dogwood is a people-powered organization driven by a shared love of place. We bring together people across the political spectrum to work on the urgent challenges facing our home.
Our staff work in places across B.C. anchoring volunteer organizing teams in dozens of key ridings. The goal is to build a grassroots base of engaged citizens ready to take action outside of the existing political party system.
We look for tipping points: places where enough citizen pressure can rewrite a law, reverse a bad decision or convince a politician to take a stronger position. We work steadily to identify thousands of like-minded voters in key constituencies. We build organizing teams made up of local people committed to each other and the place they live. Then we mobilize.
When the moment is right, Dogwood channels large-scale citizen action both online and offline. This might be an election, a leadership race, court case or regulatory review. The rest of the year we train organizers, build capacity among our allies and serve as a watchdog on our campaign issues. Want to see organizers in action? Attend an event!
We only take on issues in our home province. We pick battles that fit into our broader strategy to transform politics in B.C. And once we commit to a campaign, we maintain focus for as many years are necessary until we win.
Dogwood is probably best known for the No Tankers campaign. Since 2007, we’ve helped prevent a massive expansion of carbon pollution and oil tanker traffic on the West Coast. Our supporters are definitely concerned about climate change and oil spills. But we don’t just work to protect the environment.
What’s at stake in all our campaigns is self-determination: the right of local people to have a say over what happens in their home. Our core belief is that decisions should be made by the people who have to live with them. Often that means taking on powerful CEOs, far-off bureaucrats and unaccountable politicians.
The good news is if there’s any place where organized people can win back control over their shared future, it’s British Columbia. First Nations across most of the province never signed away control of the land, giving Indigenous legal systems real weight. And B.C. citizens share a unique love of place and spirit of civic engagement.
In combination, these two forces are starting to change how power is won and wielded in British Columbia – and could even shape the future of the global climate. We see the potential in our conversations every day. That’s what gives us hope.
Helping David beat Goliath since 1999!
By day, Adam has spent a decade raising funds for hospitals, festivals and symphonies across Canada. By night, he has spent half his lifetime singing songs about the need for change and organizing community folk festivals. He once had the distinct pleasure of losing to Tanya Tagaq at the Canadian Folk Music Awards! In that moment it all became clear: Adam would leave the art to an unstoppable force of nature like Tanya Tagaq, and join an unstoppable force for change, like Dogwood.
As Dogwood’s Strategic Partnerships Officer, Adam connects with supporters and funders to make sure Dogwood has the resources in place to be an effective conduit for action. Born and raised on Vancouver Island to a family of immigrant lumberjacks and millworkers, he often spends weekends in the woods contemplating Uncle Johnny’s cautionary words: “We never thought we could cut it all down.
Laura joined Dogwood’s staff in 2013 and has held three positions at the organization. She spent her first three years starting and running Dogwood’s Beyond Coal campaign, then moved over to become Director of Organizing from 2016 to March 2019. Laura is now Director of Administration & Human Resources on Dogwood’s Executive Team.
First trained in community and labour organizing in the early 2000s in San Diego, Laura has many years of experience working in non-profits and on political, environmental and social justice campaigns from Oregon to California to B.C.
Laura lives the charmed life of a dual citizen on beautiful Burnaby mountain with her husband Jeremy, sons Henry and Leo, and a tuxedo cat.
Cheryl spent the first 15 years of her life in rural Alberta, when the “Athabasca Oil Sands” were a myth of the future. Her family were Ukrainian immigrants who changed their surname to escape discrimination. She grew up running wild near her childhood home on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, spending weekends hiking and ski racing in the Rocky Mountains.
A love of the ocean brought her family to Vancouver, and her brother’s marriage to a fisherman’s daughter landed Cheryl with a job on a salmon seiner for 5 seasons to finance her education – a diploma from BCIT and a B.Sc. from UBC in Ag. Economics.
It was the demise of the commercial salmon fishing industry due to mismanagement on many fronts that inspired Cheryl to take action. Living in the U.S. for 12 years during which Bush was elected — twice — was icing on the cake. Back in B.C. and when time allowed, she started to volunteer with Dogwood, building teams in 4 provincial ridings along Vancouver’s North Shore.
Helping citizens to amplify their voices in this time of climate crisis is Cheryl’s passion, and Dogwood organizing provides her with a powerful connection to a community of like-minded people.
When she’s not canvassing or leading team meetings, Cheryl is stand-up paddling near her home, doing yoga, or hiking with friends. Her mantra: Compassion for Future Generations
Jess is a professor at the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia where she teaches classes in environmental politics and researches attempts to make biodiversity conservation investable and profitable. As co-founder of the international network the CBD Alliance, Jess has participated in over a decade of major negotiations of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and worked with many NGOs and social movements (from the North and South) to develop analysis and positions on global biodiversity issues. Jess and her partner Ryan live with their three kids in Vancouver.
Maggie grew up in coastal B.C. and still prefers being in the ocean to being on land. In a confusing twist of fate, she ended up landlocked in northeastern B.C. for a stint while she earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UNBC. She then moved further north to live in Chetwynd where she was the editor of the local newspaper. Living in the north, in the centre of extensive resource extraction, gave her a defined commitment to helping citizens gain control of their resources and their land.
After returning to the coast, and with her northern experience inspiring her, Maggie joined the Dogwood team in October 2009. After six or so years working in fundraising and administration and progressively diving deeper into digital tasks and tools, she took on the role of Head of Digital Systems in 2016. She is committed to furthering Dogwood’s capacity by maximizing the potential of digital tools and data resources and enjoys the digital challenges presented by grassroots organizing.
When not wrangling data, Maggie is busy wrangling six kids and two dogs with her partner in Ucluelet.
In 2020 Jamie brought her enthusiasm and diverse background to the Dogwood team as the Development and Digital Coordinator. She has a civil engineering degree, a certificate in Information and Computer Systems and 7 years of environmental consulting work under her belt. She’s passionate about all things data and constantly on the pursuit to parse out valuable information in seas of numbers.
When she is not sitting in front of a computer, you will find her riding her bike, watercolor painting and exploring Vancouver Island.
Aman is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), bringing a strong financial acumen to Dogwood’s Board of Directors. He is currently employed as the Canada Controller for a global medical device company.
Aman was born and raised in the beautiful coastal community of Tahsis, BC on Vancouver Island, nestled in the heart of Nootka Sound. As a father of two young children, Aman has started to view the world through his children’s eyes and is committed to protecting the province’s environment and resources so that they can enjoy the beauty of BC as he did as a child. Aman and his partner Manreet live in Delta with their two young boys.
When not traveling, Ingrid feels privileged to live in Vancouver, on the traditional, unceded, ancestral territory of the Coast Salish peoples. Ingrid holds a BSW and MSW from UBC, and has spent her life to date contributing to community. She has worked both in government and community social services, as well as teaching at multiple local colleges and universities. Ingrid recently left her position as CEO of an award winning (47 awards) not-for-profit, Pacific Community Resources Society. She is a recipient of a YWCA Women of Distinction Award (2019), Federation of Community Social Services of BC Award of Excellence (2019), and Surrey Board of Trade Women in Leadership Award (2018). Ingrid currently works as a consultant, loves all things outdoors, is endlessly enthusiastic about learning through travel, is an avid reader and writer, and more recently, will be taking on the role of Executive Director of the Arnold and Anita Silber Family Foundation.
Seth Klein served for 22 years (1996-2018) as the founding British Columbia Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a public policy research institute committed to social, economic and environmental justice. He is now a freelance researcher, writer, consultant and speaker, and an adjunct professor with Simon Fraser University’s Urban Studies program.
Seth’s new book – A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency – will be released in September 2020.
Seth is a founder and served for eight years as co-chair of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a network of over 50 community organizations in BC campaigning for a comprehensive poverty reduction plan in BC. He is a founder and served for 10 years on the advisory committee of the Metro Vancouver Living Wage for Families campaign (and was co-creator of the methodology for calculating the living family wage, now used in about three dozen Canadian communities). He is an advisory board member for the Columbia Institute’s Centre for Civic Governance. And he is a founder, advisor and instructor for Next Up, a leadership program for young people committed to social and environmental justice.
Seth’s research deals primarily with climate policy and climate justice, fiscal policy, taxation, welfare policy, poverty, inequality, economic security, and job creation. His research reports can be found on the CCPA’s website; and his policy commentary can be found primarily on the CCPA-BC’s blog.
A social activist for over 30 years, Seth lives in East Vancouver with his partner and two children. Seth has been listed by Vancouver Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful people in the city, and by Homemakers Magazine among the “60 men we love.” He does not know how he ended up on either list, but he humbly accepts the latter.
Jennie has been actively involved in the environmental movement in BC since the mid 90s. While attending the University of British Columbia, she was president of the Student Environment Centre and founder/chair of the Task Group on Waste Reduction. While attending the University of Victoria, she was an executive member of the Environmental Law Centre throughout her three-year law degree. She also conducted research on a volunteer basis for The Land Conservancy. Jennie has worked for the Environmental Youth Alliance and Sierra Legal Defence Fund (now Ecojustice), first in donor relations and then as a legal researcher. She is currently a practicing lawyer in Vancouver.
Dave landed in Canada at Wallace Island in 1973. Early immersion in those orca and salmon-rich waters imprinted deeply. A University of Victoria graduate, Dave has worked in the resource management and public service sectors in many great locations across our province. Dave believes we won’t amount to much if we lose our connection to this place and the great creatures that inform our identity. He joined Dogwood to help build a bridge to a reconciled, resilient, and sustainable future.
A fifth-generation British Columbian, Kai lives on Gitxsan territory in Northern B.C. His last name translates roughly to “everlasting rice paddy,” which was probably a lot to hope for in feudal Japan. In his spare time he enjoys getting out on the land, growing and foraging local food, and cooking with family and friends.
Early in his career Kai worked as a journalist for CBC, CTV and other outlets. After volunteering with Dogwood, Kai joined the staff in 2014 as a campaigner. He’s been Communications Director since 2016. If you have a question, media request or constructive feedback, the quickest way to get in touch is probably on Twitter: @kainagata.
Christina is the Communications Manager, working out of Dogwood’s Victoria office. She has been successfully communicating since she first learned to speak as a toddler, and has since used communications skills for good (giving compliments, telling people in danger to “Watch out!”) as well as evil (karaoke, talking her way out of speeding tickets). After spending the first part of her life communicating with ease, Christina decided to turn it into a certified skill by earning a communications degree from Western Washington University (with a minor in political science for good measure).
After finishing university, Christina explored several career paths including owning and managing a family business, fundraising and marketing, and a regrettable stint in banking. After beginning work at the not-for-profit Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in early 2012, she discovered a passion for environmental protection and citizen engagement, which led to an interest in, and eventual hiring at, Dogwood.
Christina was born in Victoria but as a child/teen lived in many exotic places… like Campbell River. And Utah. In 2006, Christina decided to move back to the place she always considered home (Vancouver Island) and now lives in North Saanich with her husband Eric, sons Griffin and Voss, two very destructive cats — Beyonce and Becky (with the good hair) — and a dog whose name she *thinks* is Murph, but isn’t sure since he never comes when he’s called.
Matt is Dogwood’s Operations Director and has been with the organization since late 2006. Matt manages the overall operations of the organization including, Development, Digital Systems, Administration, and Finance. Before joining Dogwood he served for four years as the Director of Organizing (and occasional stints as Acting Executive Director) for the Green Party of Canada. Matt was one of the key players in the Green Party’s initial breakthrough on Canada’s federal political scene. When not in Dogwood’s office Matt likes to get out and explore Vancouver Island’s wilderness areas. Matt lives in Victoria with his wife Kelly and Ernie the cat.
As a child of the west coast, Alexandra’s love of the forest and the ocean runs deep, and she’s been asking people to stop trashing the planet since she was in preschool. But it is outrage at the injustices of climate change – and the corporate greed and political inaction that got us into this mess – that fuels her organizing work.
Alexandra moved to London to do a PhD in social movement studies in the mid 2000s, and spent 10 years helping to build the UK’s climate action movement. She played a leading role in successful campaigns to stop airport expansion, block a new generation of coal-fired power stations and reduce public transit fares.
Returning to B.C. in 2012, Alexandra joined the fight to defend the west coast and the global climate from Big Oil, first as a campaigner with Georgia Strait Alliance and now with Dogwood.
Alexandra lives on the Sunshine Coast with her family, but spends a fair amount of time in the city in pursuit of climate justice and good coffee.
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