Douglas College > Programs & Courses > Faculties > Humanities and Social Sciences > Geography and the Environment > Geography Faculty & Staff > Michael McPhee
BA (hons) (Simon Fraser); MA (Simon Fraser)
Environmental Studies, Land Use and Environment Planning, Human, Economic, Regional Geography
Office: 3419C (New Westminster), B3187 (David Lam)
Phone: (604) 527-5202 (New Westminster), (604) 777-6008 (David Lam)
Fax: (604) 527-5316 (New Westminster)
I always had an interest in the world around me and a love for the outdoors. I had no intention of studying geography when I started my undergraduate degree. I had designs on being a lawyer or studying political science. However, due to some unforeseen events whereby one of my classes was cancelled, I ended up in a geography course on Europe. From the start I was hooked! Here was a subject that tried to incorporate all the things I was interested in - history, physical environment, politics, law and the environment. After completing my BA in Geography at SFU I was fortunate to work on a year long project in Port Alice on Vancouver Island, with then SFU geography professor, Dr. Bob Horsefall. While in Port Alice I became very interested in coastal environments and impacts of industry on our coasts. After traveling to Europe and working for an architectural and planning company in Vancouver (designing correctional facilities) for two years I decided to return to SFU to do a Master's Degree and to focus on environmental and resource management.
Following my MA I worked for 5 years at the Westwater Research Centre, UBC where I worked on a variety of very interesting resource management and environmental issues, mainly in coastal BC. I co-authored a book on salmon protection and the BC forest industry and wrote a book on the environmental, social and economic impacts of offshore oil and gas development. I also worked on energy issues and several issues affecting First Nations.
I started my own consulting business in 1980 and worked on environmental and land use issues throughout BC. From 1984-86 I worked with Environment Canada on an exciting new initiative - the Fraser River Estuary Management Program. From 1986-92 I was the Program Coordinator of this program. In 1992 I returned to full time consulting and with a partner, formed a company, Quadra Planning Consultants Ltd. specializing in environmental and land use planning and policy, strategic planning and program evaluation. In 1998 I was asked to consider a position at Douglas College in a new program - Habitat Restoration Program, teaching environmental studies. From 1998-2003 I taught in the program and then following the closure of this program I joined the Department of Geography and the Environment.
Over the past few years I have taken an interest in offering field schools and study abroad programs to Douglas College students. In 2008 I was part of a team that took students to China and in 2010 was part of the Belize Field School.
I see myself as a practicing geographer. I really enjoy being able to bring real life issues and solutions to my students and sharing with them some of the work I've been involved with over the years. I also like to point out to them that you can study something that you are passionate about and have a full and rewarding career doing all kinds of interesting things. I can't wait for the next adventure!