Wally Knott on saw and his partner Red Meyers at Meades Creek Oct. 1945 by W.H.Gold PhotoMOFM Logo
Still Counting The Rings

by Gerry Burch

Still Counting the Rings by Gerry Burch

William Gerald Burch, known as Gerry Burch, RPF(Ret), was born on August 2, 1923. The son of a forest ranger, he grew up in Moyie, BC, and Trail, BC. After his secondary education, he went to study forestry at the University of British Columbia. His studies were interrupted by conscription into the navy in 1942, when he served as a sub-lieutenant on HMCS Eyebright. In 1945, he was demobilized and returned to his studies at UBC. He spent his university summers working for British Columbia Forest Products, which became his employer for most of his career. Burch was appointed Chief Forester in 1968, and Vice President of Timberlands and Forestry in 1976. He was also active in professional associations, serving for a time as President of the Canadian Institute of Forestry. Burch has been awarded with such distinctions as the Distinguished Forester Award and the Achievement Award from the Canadian Institute of Forestry. After retirement from BC Forest Products in 1988, Burch remained active in forestry as a consultant for Stewart & Ewing Ltd., as an adjunct faculty member at UBC in the faculty of forestry, and by collecting research, writing papers and giving speeches. Burch was the director of The Working Forest of British Columbia, a book published by I.K. Barber in 1995. Burch’s autobiography, Still Counting the Rings, was published in 2006. Described as one of forestry’s elder statesmen, still vigorously thoughtful in maturity, Gerry brings with him a wealth of experience. During WWII, in his late teens and early 20’s, he served in the Royal Canadian Navy as a lieutenant (navigator). He then attended UBC and graduated with a bachelor of applied science degree in forest engineering in 1948. Even before he graduated, Gerry was employed at BC Forest Products Ltd., where he worked for 40 years before branching out into consulting. Gerry’s varied forestry career includes private, industry, academic and government work. In addition, Gerry has served the forest sector through volunteer activities with the Association of BC Forest Professionals (council member and president in 1969) and the Canadian Institute of Forestry (president in 1971). He received the Distinguished Forester Award in 1972, the Canadian Forest Achievement Award in 1986 and the Western Forest & Conservation Association Lifetime Achievement Award also in 1986. In his spare time, Gerry has authored a number of books:

•The Working Forest of BC (1995)
•Still Counting the Rings – Autobiography of W.G. Burch (2006)
•The Father of Silviculture in BC (Unpublished biography of F.D. Mulholland)
•The Father of Tree Improvement in BC (Unpublished biography of Dr. Alan Orr Ewing)