Vancouver nonprofit sprouts $500,000 campaign to conserve old-growth forests in B.C.

Campaign partner Age of Union donated $100,000 to help develop a tool to track old-growth deforestation.

Credit: Alan Katowitz. Age of Union founder Dax Dasilva

Campaign partner Age of Union donated $100,000 to help develop a tool to track old-growth deforestation

When Angeline Robertson set out to track the logging of old-growth forests in B.C., she probably didn’t realize that much of her days would be spent behind a screen.  

Last year, Vancouver-based nonprofit organization put out an investigative report called Tall Talk estimating the risk that old-growth forests are facing across the province. The investigation relied on satellite imagery to conclude that the provincial government has not followed through on its promise to stop (or “defer”) the destruction of at-risk forests, which are reportedly still being logged.  

The woman behind the screen in that investigation was Robertson. She spent hours manually scanning landscapes across B.C. to detect old-growth logging and came out of the experience with a newfound appreciation for satellite imagery. “I am a forest ecologist by training, and I’ve spent lots of my career in the forest, but never have I worked so hard without setting foot in it,” she adds with a laugh. 

Robertson has been a senior investigative researcher with since 2020. She is based in Sechelt, and her work on the Tall Talk report paved the way for’s recent launch of Forest Eye: a technology that’s leveraging remote sensing, satellite imagery and geographic information system (GIS) analysis to track old-growth deforestation in B.C.  

“With Forest Eye, we were able to confirm a lot of the early detection that I had done,” says Roberston. As the lead on the project, she is the first to be alerted of any changes in vegetation. Then her growing team of four scans the data to verify whether it’s old-growth logging or not, the timing of it and who’s responsible. “And then we put out a satellite image or a time lapse video associated with that to create a formal, confirmed alert, which goes out on our website.”  

In the name of public transparency, anyone can subscribe to be alerted of old-growth deforestation detected by Forest Eye. Last year, Montreal-based Age of Union—a nonprofit founded by Vancouver-born tech entrepreneur and environmentalist Dax Dasilva—committed $14.5 million to the BC Parks Foundation. This year, it donated $100,000 for to develop this technology. Now, the two environmental organizations have joined forces in a campaign to raise $500,000 to explore deeper applications for Forest Eye.

“My first experience working in environmentalism was when as a teenager I participated in the blockades to protect Clayoquot Sound, led by [’s international program director] Tzeporah [Berman],” Dasilva said in a release. “I vowed then and there that I would continue fighting for our forests, and it’s an honour to stand by her side again in the same fight three decades later.”