The people behind it all…


Paula was farm raised in Northern Saskatchewan, learning conservation early due to scarce groundwater, home-grown food, and inspiring parents. She then spent 13 years studying or working in Canada and abroad… as a biology field worker in the monsoon forests of Tanzania, co-creator and manager of a youth hostel in Zambia, an assistant Engineer in Turkey and a student at the University of Saskatchewan. After completing a Bachelors degree in Engineering, she worked at Environmental Consulting as well as humanitarian aid as a water and sanitation engineer in the conflict area of Gulu, Uganda. After 2 full years in Uganda, she returned to Canada, settling for a year in the consumer frenzy of Toronto with a couple of escapes to Churchill, Manitoba for polar bear seasons, before defecting to the beauty of Newfoundland where she worked for the Coast Guard.

Nothing quite satisfied her personal values for environment and conservation so she tried for one last wander abroad in Guatemala where, as an outdoor adventure guide, paradoxically appreciating and trampling the wild places in the world. She began thinking it was time to find more sustainable ways to live and work. She searched for a Canadian home and discovered Nelson. After moving here in January 2007, the decision to stay was an easy one.

“I believe we can improve the way we design and build.  Healthy and efficient homes can be commonplace.  Homes (and rentals) can be cozy and well designed and still be convenient and economical.  Pair that with choosing locations that are walking distance of work, green space, and recreation and we could all live happily ever after.”

Assistant Manager – 2009-2011

Born in the Yukon, Robin has been interested and involved in green building his whole life; from putting a nail through his finger at age 2, to his latest project of building an eco-house out of discarded pallets.  Robin recently graduated from UNBC with an MA in Environmental Studies.  He has experience in energy auditing, natural building and sustainable design and…he loves to chat.  Robin believes that it’s possible for every single person to do something to green their latest building project and with such a suite of options, it’s just a matter of picking the right ones.

Robin started working for the Building Tree in September 2009.  As per Robin’s grant through the Industrial Research Assistance Program, he works half-time for the Building Tree and half-time coordinating the activities of the Kootenay/Rockies Leaf of the Cascadia Green Building Council.

Moral Supporter and Web Designer

Maz started at the Building Tree as a friend in need – offering her creative eye for graphics and advertising in exchange for an office space where she could focus on her work.  She learned about the products and services at the Building Tree by overhearing Paula talk for the first weeks and months of operation and then began to take over the office from time to time.  Maz charms everyone by phone or in person and keeps all of us in the office entertained with her DJ skills.  Owing to her amazing metabolism, she also ensure that the smell of good food is constantly wafting from the kitchen.