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Mike Carlson 1944-2017

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It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Michael (‘Mike’) Carlson at his home in Vernon, BC on the 25th of September, 2017. Mike had been diagnosed with ALS earlier this year. He is survived by his two daughters, two grandchildren, his partner Marilyn and his beloved Golden retrievers. 

Mike earned his Master’s degree in Forest Genetics from the University of Washington, followed by his Ph.D. in Genetics and Plant Breeding from the University of California Davis. After a stint at Weyerhaeuser in Washington State, Mike joined the BC Forest Service in 1982 as a scientist and tree breeder at the Kalamalka Research Station in Vernon, BC. He retired in 2010, but continued to be heavily involved as Scientist Emeritus at the Station.

Besides his responsibilities as the lodgepole pine breeder, Mike developed a taste for several broadleaved species, such as hybrid poplar, birch and black walnut and could point to some very nice trial results with all these species.  Mike became involved with poplar trials established by Peter McAulliffe (at the time at Scott Paper) and the undersigned at MacMillan Bloedel Poplar Farms.  The three of us became known as the ‘three amigos’ in the BC poplar world.

Mike quickly acquired a reputation as the fearless flying poplar guy, hanging from helicopter skids, while furiously clipping cottonwood tree tops for flowering branches.  These formed the basis of a large cottonwood collection in BC and provided flowering branches to several poplar partners in BC and Washington State. These were the glory days of the BC poplar era.

Mike lived life to the fullest and was always ready to get involved and assume leadership roles in several volunteer organizations.  Some readers might remember Mike from the IPS VI post-conference tour in 2014; he was involved in organizing the Vernon portion of this tour.

Cees van Oosten

Nanaimo, BC