Delta, BC – The Burns Bog Conservation Society has elected a new President and Board of Directors at its first-ever “virtual” Annual General Meeting, held Saturday, April 3.
Derek Zeisman, a former Delta resident and founding member of the Society, was acclaimed as President by the membership during the two-hour AGM, held online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance was one of the highest ever, with more than 100 members present.
Other acclaimed officers of the Board include Liz Walker of Surrey as Vice-President, Ed Brown of Delta as Treasurer, Nancy McLeod of Langley as Secretary, and Eliza Olson of Delta as Past President. Seven more members were acclaimed as directors. Biographies of all Board members will be posted on the Society’s website (www.burnsbog.org) in the near future.
“I’m honoured and thrilled to take on the role of President, during this exciting new period in the Society’s history,” said Zeisman, a legal officer with Global Affairs Canada, working in international human rights and economic law.
Founded as a not-for-profit society in Delta in 1988, the Society advocates for the protection and enhanced stewardship of Burns Bog and other peatlands, which are critical natural sanctuaries for unique plants and wildlife. Bogs also serve as essential carbon sinks, offsetting the adverse effects of human-induced climate change.
“I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the many members who took the time and effort to support our team at the AGM, despite being held over the Easter long weekend,” said Zeisman
“I also want to congratulate our new 12-member Board of Directors. I believe it represents the strongest, most talented group of directors we’ve ever assembled. I look forward to working closely and cooperatively with them during my time as President.”
The AGM was held using the Zoom and Simply Voting e-platforms. It was capably managed by Lisa Zwarn, a Surrey-based Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP), and Society Interim General Manager Nikolai Karpun, who oversaw meeting registration and logistics.
“Lisa and Nikolai did a fabulous job of guiding our inaugural online AGM, which posed some unique challenges given the high number of attendees and the new platforms we used for our virtual meeting,” said Zeisman. “We’re most grateful for their professionalism and dedication.”
The Society’s last AGM was held nearly two years ago, in May 2019, due in part to the pandemic.
Zeisman said the new Board will take immediate steps to renew and strengthen its internal relationships with staff, volunteers and members, as well as with key external stakeholders, including the City of Delta, Metro Vancouver, the BC and federal governments, and many others.
“I’ve always had such love and respect for Burns Bog and its amazingly complex and diverse ecosystem. The Bog truly is ‘the lungs of the Lower Mainland.’ The new Board is looking forward to working hard to better protect it. An exciting new chapter in our history lies ahead.”
Eliza Olson, who served as President of the Board for 32 years, from its creation until this AGM, now takes on the role of Past President.
“I’d like to thank Ms. Olson for her many years of service on behalf of the Society,” said Zeisman. “I know the new Board will work hard to build and expand upon her legacy of service.”
Zeisman said the Society is now entering a new period of renewal, following a difficult period of legal and financial turmoil, caused by a divided Board and the ongoing public health emergency.
“Our new Board is strong and united. We’re eagerly looking ahead to the future.”