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Ontario Nature board and senior staff

Board of Directors



OTTO PETER has a degree in Biology from the University of Western Ontario. He is the past president of the Durham Region Field Naturalists and still serves as its program coordinator. He is currently the president of the Thickson’s Woods Land Trust, which owns almost 12 hectares of woods and meadow on the Lake Ontario shoreline in Whitby. Otto played a key role in preserving the Second Marsh Wildlife Area, and as a former employee with General Motors, GM’s McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Preserve. Otto volunteered for the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario and participates in the Oshawa and Pickering Christmas Bird Counts and in the Oshawa butterfly and summer bird counts. Otto and his wife Diane are enthusiastic world travelers, usually going to places where they can enjoy their favourite hobby, bird watching.


LYLE CLARKE is a long-time member of Ontario Nature, a keen canoeist and nature lover. He is a successful corporate executive and entrepreneur, with a 30-year career focused mainly on the environment and clean technology. He has extensive experience as a chair, committee chair, and director of a variety of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations.

Past President

KEVIN THOMASON has worked in the technology and marketing fields for Apple Computer, KPMG, Quarry Communications, and as the co-founder of a leading high-tech start-up recently acquired by Google. Back in 2004, concerned with rampant growth and the destruction of the Waterloo Moraine, Kevin volunteered full-time for three years to help develop a Greenbelt Plan and protect more than 10,000 acres of the most threatened and critical lands in Waterloo Region from development. Kevin continues to coach and mentor a number of technology startups, sits on the Board of Directors for several leading organizations, and pursues a variety of environmental initiatives locally and globally.

Secretary / Treasurer

KURT KROESEN is an experienced financial executive with an active interest in conserving global biodiversity. He has held senior financial positions with both industry and not-for-profit organisations. Kurt also has served on several boards. As a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto he is on the Environment Committee and Chairs the Audit Committee. While Kurt’s formal training and career path has been in the financial area, he has had a long-time interest in nature and the protection of biodiversity.

Regional Directors

Carolinian East – RON CORKUM, South Peel Naturalists’ Club

Ron holds a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Ottawa and is a retired environmental chemist. He is a long-time member of Ontario Nature with a keen interest in conservation issues. Ron has been a regular volunteer at the Toronto office of Ontario Nature since 2014. Ron is currently a board member with South Peel Naturalists’ club. He is a resident of Mississauga. Ron is a life-long nature enthusiast and enjoys camping, hiking, wilderness canoeing and running.

Carolinian West – ANITA CAVENEY, Nature London

Anita holds a degree in biology from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Her life-long love of nature was nurtured during her childhood and adolescence in South Africa. After graduating, she moved to England and worked in the Forestry Department at Oxford University until emigrating to Canada. Anita later graduated as a Medical Laboratory Technologist and worked in laboratories at the University of Western Ontario. Now retired, she and her husband, Stan, a professor emeritus in the Biology Department at Western University, own a 42-ha conservation property in West Elgin, close to Lake Erie. Anita is a past president of Nature London and serves on Nature London’s conservation action committee. She enjoys a hobby as a watercolour artist.

Great Lakes West – PETER KELLY, Nature Guelph

Peter lives in Guelph and is currently a member of the Nature Guelph executive having served as president from 2011-2014. He earned an Honours BSc. and MSc. in Physical Geography from the University of Western Ontario and spent twenty years at the University of Guelph studying the ecology of the ancient cliff-face forests of the Niagara Escarpment and co-authored three books on the topic. He also served as the first research director of the rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge and as executive director of the North American Native Plant Society. He is an avid photographer, traveler and active volunteer with several organizations.

Huronia – DOROTHY MCKEOWN, Nature Barrie

Dorothy has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph and an Accounting Diploma from Lambton College. She has spent most of her career  with Bell Canada in accounting. As a child, family vacations were spent camping, canoeing and hiking. Dorothy is the current president of Nature Barrie. She enthusiastically heads the eastern bluebird nest box monitors of Simcoe County, and was a negotiator in a new partnership for the Barrie Creeks Projects. She is also a member of Nature Barrie’s conservation group, is a spotter in the Christmas Bird Count, Chimney Swifts monitoring and Tiny Marsh BioBlitz. While hiking with family, friends and dogs, Dorothy enjoys encouraging people she meets to join nature groups. She looks forward to retiring in 2019, and hopes to do more volunteer work with Ontario Nature, and travel all over Canada, for months in each province and territory.

Ontario East – CATHY KEDDY, Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

Cathy carried out her M.Sc. studies in plant ecology at Dalhousie University, and during that time, became a co-founder of the Halifax Field Naturalists. She then spent more than 25 years as a consulting ecologist on projects from the Yukon to Nova Scotia. During an eight-year term in Louisiana, she became one of the founding directors of the Land Trust for Louisiana. Cathy was recruited as program chair by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists upon returning to Ontario. For six years she held that responsibility and was active with the group’s environmental issues committee, overseeing receipt of charitable status, and establishing a highly successful annual banquet. She is also on the Board of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, involved with ecological assessment of candidate properties, property inventory, and preparing guidance and procedural documents. Cathy lives with her husband in the woods of Lanark County, surrounded by an ecologist’s dream of forest, bears and fishers.

Lake Ontario North – CARA GREGORY, North Durham Nature

Cara has an Honours B.Sc. in Environmental Science, with an area of emphasis in Environmental Conservation and Recreation from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. She has worked six seasons as a Nature Interpreter/Naturalist in the Natural Heritage Education division of Ontario Parks. Since 2004, she has been with the Durham District School Board Outdoor and Environmental Education Department, working at both Nonquon and Duffin’s Creek Environmental Education Centres as an Outdoor Environmental Education Instructor. She is Vice-President of North Durham Nature, Co-Chair of the Scugog Environmental Advisory Committee and a board member of the Friends of Nonquon. Cara and her husband, an avid bird watcher, combine their love of travel and nature together, visiting different eco-tourism destinations around the world.

Northern East Region – FRANCO MARIOTTI, Sudbury Naturalists

Franco has been interpreting the natural world and the natural sciences to people of all ages for most of his life. During the 32 years of employment at Science North he developed content for exhibits, public programs and presentations. Franco is involved with numerous environmentally-based community and provincial groups. He is passionate about communicating the wonders of the natural world, is an avid naturalist and a world traveler. More recently he has become involved in the production of documentary films dealing with environmental issues and acts as a naturalist and guide for One Ocean Expeditions in both polar regions.

Northern West Region – Vacant


BRIAN BORNSTEIN is President/Founder of Symbiotic Partnerships Inc. and Director of Symbiotic Living Inc. He graduated with a B.A. and B. Comm. and worked in public accounting, followed by a career in the corporate sector; before starting his own insurance brokerage company. Brian has been actively involved in numerous charities/organizations including the Symbiotic Ecofund, The Duke of Edinburgh Award (past board member), Concerned Citizens of King (past board chair), Scouts Canada (cub and scout leader). He contributes personal funds and raised funds for various environmental charities and hospitals. Brian and his wife recently designed their environment-friendly, carbon positive home in downtown Toronto; which features a green roof planted to provide habitat and food for pollinators.

JOANNE BROWN began a career in financial services after graduating from Trent University, and has enjoyed various roles from Business Analyst in corporate finance to Performance Consultant in global risk management. Joanne currently has her own consulting firm and specializes in strategic learning and development initiatives. Joanne has lived most of her life in Oshawa/Whitby and has been actively involved in those communities with various not-for-profit organizations such as Durham Community Foundation, YWCA, and Friends of Second Marsh. She has been a concerned environmentalist for many years and is pleased to bring her passion and energy to Ontario Nature and looks forward to collaborating with volunteers and staff to support the excellent work that Ontario Nature engages in.

DOUG CROCKER graduated with a Master’s degree in Economics from Queens University. He has worked as a research economist, financial risk manager, derivatives expert, investor and businessman. Currently, Doug chairs the Advisory Committee at 18 Asset Management and is President of a small real estate development company. In addition, Doug has published several academic articles and books on economic and investment issues. During his time in Grey County, Doug has become a concerned environmentalist with particular interests in fresh water systems, plastic pollution and preservation of our natural world, and is currently pursuing a certificate degree in limnology; the study of fresh water systems. Doug is an avid sailor, canoeist, hiker and road biker.

LESLEY LEWIS immigrated to Canada from South Africa 33 years ago. She has worked as an administrator at the University of Toronto for most of those years, and currently is Assistant Dean (Academic) at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Canada has offered a cornucopia of opportunities for Lesley to enjoy nature — she has hiked the Canol Trail in the North West Territories, many parts of the Bruce Trail and has canoed or kayaked countless lakes and rivers. For several years she volunteered with the City of Toronto on land restoration projects in the Brick Works, spent two summers as a Volunteer for Nature, and has participated in several Bird Counts in Toronto. Now, she lives on a small property in Grey County, and has started a naturalization project there and participates in the Backyard Bird Count.

ANDREW REEVES is an award-winning environmental journalist based in Toronto. In addition to his work with Ontario Nature, Andrew is also a contributing editor at Alternatives Journal and an environmental columnist for This Magazine. Andrew is currently writing a book about Asian carp in North America as part of the Master of Fine Art in Creative Nonfiction program at University of King’s College in Halifax.

CASEY RICHARDSON-SCOTT is a lawyer at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto, specializing in the area of tax law. A portion of her practice is devoted to assisting charities with obtaining and maintaining registered charity status. Casey obtained her Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from the University of King’s College in Halifax and her Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Western Ontario. Casey’s appreciation of nature began at a young age, having the opportunity to spend her summers on canoe trips in northern Ontario. Starting with a 2 day canoe trip at the age of 8, Casey worked her way up to leading canoe trips ranging between 20 and 50 days, traversing over 1,000 kilometres through Ontario and Quebec. She has also lived and volunteered at an ecological reserve in the Andean cloud forest in Ecuador. Casey has recently been introduced to the world of bird watching. In her spare time, she loves to get outdoors for a hike or a paddle.

DAN SHIRE is a recently retired (after 32 years) Information Technology Consultant for IBM Canada. He has a biology degree from Queen’s University. He and his wife Karen have been long-time members of Ontario Nature, and are volunteers for the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) and the Toronto Zoo. Dan is currently the VP for the Thickson’s Woods Land Trust and the Communications Director & Newsletter Editor for the Pickering Naturalists. In 2000 Dan and Karen purchased about 100 acres of mixed forest within the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve that was slated for logging. They worked with the local Thousand Islands Watershed Land Trust to protect the property in perpetuity with a conservation easement, safeguarding habitat for nesting and migratory birds, reptiles like the gray ratsnake, amphibians and orchids.

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