ACER Alumni: Tyler Orsulak

Part four of ACER’s Where Are They Now? series, a celebration of our wonderful former employees, interns, volunteers, and other folks who have made our work possible. Written by ACER executive board member Elizabeth MacLean.

ACER Alumnus Tyler Orsulak sits smiling in front of a picnic table.
ACER Alumnus Tyler Orsulak sits smiling in front of a picnic table.

Tyler Orsulak’s career path is looking a little straighter now — diverse strands are weaving together nicely, and a direction is becoming apparent. When he started out at the University of Toronto, criminology was his chosen field. He says he wasn’t particularly interested in nature, but after enrolling in one environmental course, he developed a passion that routed him through an ACER internship and back to college after earning his degree for further environmental study. 

In the past year, Tyler has worked for the City of Hamilton, Ontario, in two rather different jobs. Before the pandemic closed many city facilities, he worked in the Recreation Department as a facility operator, involved in activity programming and procedures such as snow removal and ice maintenance. He also drove the Zamboni at the Valley Park Community Centre.

His current job as a Bylaw Enforcement Officer with the city has engaged his criminology expertise, enforcing tree and yard-maintenance bylaws. Recently, his focus has switched to COVID-19-related offences. He responds to complaints about large social and business gatherings and protest rallies that contravene current bylaws and safety regulations.

ACER Alumnus Tyler Orsulak during his 2019 internship, measuring a tree in the snow.
ACER Alumnus Tyler Orsulak during his 2019 internship, measuring a tree in the snow.

But Tyler’s interest in trees and forests is still as strong as it was during his ACER internship in 2019. This is when he first applied his theoretical knowledge to hands-on tasks of identifying and measuring trees with his DBH tape (“my go-to tool,” he calls it),  inventorying trees, and working with kids in Planting for Change programs at schools from Brampton to St. Catharines. For the Go Global biodiversity program, he prepared an update report on the health of trees in ACER’s Wiarton, Ontario planting, working several full days with his teammates in the forest. He credits these experiences with helping him develop self-discipline, responsibility, collaborative, and independent work skills, assets valued in every profession.

Tyler’s unusual blend of criminology, environmental education, and his work experience in both are converging in the next step of his career. In the spring of 2021, he is beginning his dream job that will bring it all into play — Environmental Enforcement Officer, working with local government, industry, and individuals to ensure the health and preservation of the environment. He’ll give his full professional commitment to this cause, but he stresses that every individual citizen has a role to play, in practices such as recycling, conserving energy and ensuring clean water and healthy forests. And forests can play their role in our lives, too. “Spend a few hours in the forest,” Tyler advises. “It’s a great way to de-stress.”