Congratulations to Jonathan Smyth, BCIT Instructor for Forest and Natural Areas Management, for being awarded the prestigious Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. Jonathan is recognized for his decades-long exceptional volunteer achievements with Scouts Canada, the BCIT Forest Society, and the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society, where he supports youth environmental education.
Jonathan was one of 44 BC residents that attended Government House on September 5 to receive the award from Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin on behalf of Governor General Julie Payette. The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers was created in 1995 to honour volunteers who have made a significant and continual contribution to their community in Canada or abroad.
“When you get a call from the governor general’s office you take a second – is this for real…”
Read Jonathan’s interview with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News and learn more about Jonathan’s deep-rooted connection to BCIT via the Q&A below.
What is your length of service at BCIT?
32 years (since September 1987)
What brought you to BCIT?
I have had a lengthy (some would say life long) relationship with BCIT. My father started as an instructor in Mechanical Engineering in 1965 and became the Facilities Manger in the early 1970s, he left BCIT in 1985. BCIT supported my family while I grew up. I was also a student and graduated from both the Forest Management and Fish, Wildlife and Recreation programs. After several years working in industry, including four years in New Zealand Forestry, I was drawn to a BCIT job notification seeking a replacement for a staff member on extended leave. I always enjoyed supporting and guiding new workers/employees so the job opening at my Alma Mater seemed like a good fit. I tried it out and haven’t left! I started as an Assistant Instructor (AI) in the Forest Management and Fish and Wildlife programs in September of 1987. Over the years in addition to my AI role, I have taken on numerous temporary full and partial load instructor roles until recently when I became full time instructor. I also teach a Chainsaw Maintenance & Safety course in our Part time Studies program. This will be my 32nd year as a BCIT employee.
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What has been your most memorable moment while working at BCIT?
There have been many over the past 32 years, but I especially enjoy when new students arrive to start their programs and begin a new phase in their lives.
Outside of BCIT, where do you spend your time?
More recently I enjoy the time I spend with family and watch my children become adults and begin to raise their families. I am and have been very involved in my community (Maple Ridge). From many years as a Scouter and Group Commissioner in the 1st Haney Scout Group and Scouting community supporting and encouraging youth; Stream stewardship work with Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society (KEEPS) and their community outreach; Member and Guildmaster of the 31st Allouette Baden-Powell Guild and their support of Scout and Guide events in the local area to President of the BCIT Forest Society supporting an outdoor location for practical field based training.