UNB Alumni
Telling our #ProudlyUNB stories

Women in Wood co-founder Lacey Rose (BSF’06) connects women in forestry across Canada and around the world

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on May 29, 2023

Category: FOREM , UNB Fredericton , Inspiring Stories

It’s a Thursday afternoon and so far this week Ontario forester Lacey Rose (BSF’06) has planted trees, dealt with a boundary dispute, collected data and caught up on paperwork.

And when she’s not in her dynamic role as the Renfrew County forester, or hosting the international web series Mighty Jobs, Lacey is helping to connect women foresters as the co-founder of Women in Wood.

Launched in 2015, Lacey and co-founder Jess Kaknevicius invited about 20 women from the Ontario forestry industry to a private Facebook page, in hope to make connections among other women in a male dominated field. It didn’t take long for the informal networking group to snowball, generating widespread interest.

“Jessica and I met at a conference, and we wondered why there weren’t more women around,” says Lacey. “The group really did fill a need that we didn’t realize was there. People latched onto that sense of community and it’s been so heartwarming to see women supporting other women.”

Now, with over 3000 members across Canada and around the world, the women are engaging in member-driven events, gatherings, job postings and daily industry discussions.

Most recently, fellow UNB alum Storm Robinson (BSF’20, MSF’23) created a Women in Wood New Brunswick chapter which is helping to unite many UNB graduates, students and foresters working in the province. Lacey says it's been wonderful to see the New Brunswick members take the lead on building and expanding their community.

“I think it’s important that Women in Wood shows women that they have a place in this industry and that there are women out there doing these jobs.”

Born and raised in Labrador, Lacey’s own journey into the forestry industry was not linear. She says she grew up spending a lot of time in the woods but didn’t come from a forestry family or have intentions to work in this field- that is until she was encouraged to explore UNB’s faculty of forestry and environmental management.

“I felt quite behind at first, but through the power of class collaboration we helped each other with our different strengths, and I knew as soon as I finished my second year at UNB that this is what I wanted to do. I never had any doubt.”

After many summer work experiences and career moves from New Brunswick to Denver, Colorado, Lacey landed in the Ontario forest industry. Now in her 12-year career as county forester, managing a land base owned by the county of 6,500 hectares, she’s collecting data, writing harvesting prescriptions, tree marking, tendering, supervising the operation, and planning and implementing any regeneration work.

“There’s also a pretty large piece of education and outreach, which is my favourite. Taking students into the woods, visiting classrooms, providing information to the public about forest health concerns. It’s a very diverse job.”

Lacey has certainly maintained her connection to UNB and her love for education, returning as a guest speaker for the faculty, and encouraging connections among current students through Women in Wood.  She says her own experience with the student-alumni connection is what brought her to Ontario, thanks to UNB grad Chad Anderson (BSF’00) who hired her for a summer job.

“I still thank him because he was my way into Ontario forestry and since then I haven’t been unemployed for a single day. I think it’s important for employers to sometimes take a chance on the underdog and not necessarily be afraid of hiring someone because they don’t fit the mold of what they might have in mind.”

As Lacey reflects on her exciting career and the success of Women in Wood, she says that she is continuously seeing growth of women in the industry. Someday, Lacey hopes that groups like Women in Wood won’t be necessary, because the sector will represent the diversity of the working population.