Our talented staff is dedicated to the protection of wild species and wild spaces. Together, with our members and supporters, we are the voice for nature in this beautiful province. We follow a credible, science-based approach to conservation and are committed to act with integrity.
Caroline Schultz – Executive Director
Caroline grew up in Ireland with a family that loved exploring nature, especially along the southwest’s wild Atlantic coast. She has over 25 years of experience in developing and leading conservation initiatives involving science, land securement, stewardship, and advocacy in Canada and the Americas. Caroline started her career as an ecologist, and quickly expanded her interests to organizational development and multi-partner collaboratives to achieve tangible on-the-ground conservation results. Caroline completed an M.Sc. in ecology at the University of Toronto and a Master of management degree at McGill University.
Sarah Hedges (she/her) – Managing Director
Sarah manages day-to-day operations to ensure that Ontario Nature achieves its objectives and mission. She joined Ontario Nature in August 2010 and holds a B.Sc. in environmental science from Queen’s University. Her previous roles at Ontario Nature include managing and coordinating several conservation and education programs. Sarah spends her free time at family cottages in Bancroft and Gananoque.
A.J. Pilobello (he/him) – Director of Finance and Administration
A.J. is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a background in commerce and economics. He joined Ontario Nature in 2019 and has previously worked for non-profit organizations in the environmental, international development and mental health sectors. He has also volunteered in the non-profit sector serving as a treasurer, board member and school mentor.
Lisa Martell (she/her) – Executive Assistant
Lisa joined Ontario Nature in May 2021. She is a graduate of Fleming College’s fish and wildlife technician program. Lisa’s enthusiasm for nature and wildlife started when she interned at the Toronto Wildlife Centre in high school and went on to volunteer as a wildlife rehabilitator in places as far as Perth, Australia and Edmonton, Alberta. Her true passion for ornithology emerged through her experience with the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory as the assistant bander and later volunteering as the secretary on the board of directors. In her spare time, she likes to cozy up to a new crochet project or book as well as explore nature with her fiancé and dog.
Kamran is a conservationist with a keen interest in the challenges involving nature conservation and development. Prior to joining Ontario Nature, he worked in the environment sector overseas mainly coordinating environmental assessments and biodiversity action plans in diverse ecosystems. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring natural areas and training dogs.
Conservation and Education
Anne Bell (she/her) – Director of Conservation and Education
Anne has been directing Ontario Nature’s conservation and education programs since 2007. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies and has over 30 years of experience working as an environmental educator, researcher and advocate. Anne loves to go birding, camping, swimming, cross-country skiing, and to play hockey with family and friends.
Julee Boan – Boreal Program Manager, Thunder Bay office
Based in our Thunder Bay office, Julee leads our northern programming. She works collaboratively with local conservation groups, Indigenous communities and organizations, and industry to seek environmentally responsible approaches to economic development in northern Ontario. She completed a Ph.D. in forest sciences with research focused on mitigating the impact of industrial logging on boreal caribou. She was formerly chair of the board of directors for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada. When she isn’t pounding the pavement advocating for environmental sustainability, she putters at her hobby farm and shares her love of the outdoors in northern Ontario with her son Simon.
Emma Horrigan (she/her) – Conservation Projects and Education Manager
Emma manages the Community Science and Nature Guardians Youth Program, and collaborative projects with agricultural and research partners. Emma completed her M.Sc. in arctic ecology at the University of Toronto and her B.A. in forest conservation. She has been involved in several community science research initiatives across Ontario, ranging from biochar to salamanders and turtle road mortality to agricultural pests. Emma has worked for the University of Toronto, Trent University and a community-based research centre in Haliburton County. Besides her passion for ecology, Emma enjoys cross-country skiing, birding and hiking.
Smera Sukumar (she/her) – Nature Reserves Manager
Smera works on both the community science and nature reserves programs. She joined the team in 2016. Smera holds an M.Sc. in biodiversity and conservation and a B.Sc. in zoology. Previous work includes studying cetaceans in Hong Kong and Taiwan and the effects of urbanization on bats in England. Smera is an avid traveller, having travelled to 38 countries world-wide.
Christine started volunteering with Ontario Nature in spring 2015 transcribing data for the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and joined the team that fall in administration. Now as the organization’s Conservation Education Coordinator, she oversees the Nature Guardians Youth Program, including the Youth Council and Youth Circle for Mother Earth projects. Christine grew up with a love of the outdoors and nature, which eventually led her to take a B.Sc. in earth sciences from the University of Waterloo. She has extensive experience working with youth at summer camp and volunteering with other environmental non-profits. Outside of Ontario Nature, Christine is a part-time video game brand ambassador, enjoys exploring the outdoors and is usually found sipping bubble tea around the city.
Brittney started as a volunteer with Ontario Nature in 2018, working on the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas. She holds a B.Sc. in zoology from the University of Guelph and an M.Sc. in conservation biology from the University of Kent. She has extensive experience in the conservation sector, including bird and bat monitoring in Ontario, grassland songbird research in Alberta and rural development research in Madagascar. Brittney has a strong interest in the human dimensions of conservation and believes conservation success is rooted in education, science and working collaboratively with community members. In her spare time, Brittney enjoys hiking, camping, knitting and seeing live music.
Prior to working at Ontario Nature, Tharanya worked at Conservation Halton, Hamilton Conservation Authority, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and Ontario Streams. She has a B.A. in bio-resource management (majored in Environmental Management) from the University of Guelph and has completed the ecosystem restoration program at Niagara College. Tharanya is proficient at Ecological Land Classification, Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network, habitat restoration, species at risk monitoring and invasive species management. She enjoys exploring the outdoors and trying out new food spots all over the GTA with friends and family.
Jenna joined Ontario Nature in the summer of 2021. Her work supports the Protected Places Campaign by providing visual communication of significant environmental features and conducting spatial analyses of protected places. She has graduated from the ecosystem management technology program at Fleming College and has earned a B.Sc. in environmental science from Trent University. Jenna has a deep passion for wildlife and the environment and can always be found in nature where she enjoys camping, cooking over fires, hiking and wildlife photography.
Jenna (also known as JC) joined Ontario Nature in 2021. Born and raised in southern Ontario, she feels most comfortable amongst the sugar maples, beech and white pines. In 2020, JC completed a M.A. of forest conservation from the University of Toronto where her research focused on restoring human-nature connection in urban centres through forest bathing. In her spare time, JC can be found hiking with her boxerdoodle pup, Stevie. She also loves to read, practice yoga, dabble in graphic design, make collages and tend to her vegetable garden.
Jake is based out of Thunder Bay which he has called home for the past six years. He completed his B.A. of outdoor recreation, parks, and tourism at Lakehead University in 2019, and a forestry technician diploma from Confederation College in 2021. Jake has worked in Ontario Parks for four years on the North Shore of Lake Superior, and with several environmental organisations running events and engaging the public. When winter hits, he is found camping in the snow, cross-country or downhill skiing, and enjoying the cool, crisp air of northern Ontario.
Melissa Thomas – Nature Reserves Ecologist
Melissa She holds a B.E.S. in environmental studies and geography from York University, and a diploma in ecosystem restoration from Niagara College. She has worked as a Wildlife Technician with a focus on Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians, and as a songbird rehabilitator at the Toronto Wildlife Centre. Melissa has a passion for education and engagement, and has worked in multiple outreach and education roles. When she’s not exploring nature, she’s reading or practicing dance.
Zira joined Ontario Nature in September 2019, after finishing a M.A. in urban animal road mortality at the University of Toronto. Zira has steadily been moving westward, having started off with a B.A. in biological sciences at the University of Oxford and an M.Sc. in conservation and biodiversity at Trinity College, Dublin. They’ve worked on various research projects across the world, including habitat restoration using large mammals and the ecological effects of war. In their new role, Zira will mainly be developing methods for more effectively targeting land for conservation. When not working, they’re often exploring the city, working on a writing project or watching wildlife.
Kristen Setala (she/they) – Community Science Assistant
Kristen joined Ontario Nature in November 2021. Kristen is a long-time bird lover from Thunder Bay who discovered her passion for the feathered friends while admiring Canada Jays at camp at a young age. She has an B.Sc. in biology from Lakehead University. Since graduating she has spent time volunteering at Thunder Cape Bird Observatory, working as a wildlife rehabilitation assistant at MARS Wildlife Rescue on Vancouver Island, and creating avian-inspired artwork. She is excited to share her passion with fellow birders and hopes to spark excitement in the bird-curious folks.
Graeme Smith (he/him) – Nature-based Climate Solutions Analyst
Graeme joined in August 2021. He was born and raised in Waterloo, where he looked for any opportunity to be out in nature. He has completed a B.Sc. in biology, with a minor in environmental studies and anthropology, at Laurentian University. He is currently completing an M.Sc. in environmental & life sciences at Trent University. His research focused on identifying suitable habitat areas for endangered small-mouthed salamanders on Pelee Island. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing board games and exploring the outdoors.
Teagan Netten – Conservation Projects Technician
Teagan joined Ontario Nature in April 2022, after finishing her B.Sc. in conservation biology and evolutionary anthropology at the University of Toronto. During her degree, she conducted a research project on red-backed salamanders. She grew up spending lots of time in nature, but only discovered her passion for studying reptiles and amphibians in university. She has experience working in the parks sector, including bat and reptile monitoring, habitat restoration, and science communication. Outside of work, Teagan loves reading, wildlife photography, hiking and gardening.
Alyssa joined Ontario Nature in June 2022. She completed a B.Sc. in Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor, and a M.Sc. studying insect physiology at Western University. Alyssa has diverse research experience studying narwhal movement ecology, Chinook salmon physiology, and insect physiology. She is passionate about sharing the importance of biodiversity and exploring the cross-section of art and science. In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys going for hikes, cuddling with her cat Poe, playing video games, and drawing.
Sarah Hasenack (she/her) – Wetland Conservation Intern
Sarah joined Ontario Nature in the spring of 2022 after completing her M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and B.Sc. in Ecology, both at the University of Guelph. Prior to her formal education, she grew up learning to love and respect nature during countless family camping, hiking, and canoeing trips all around Ontario. She has a passion for the conservation and protection of nature, and recognizes the importance of finding innovative ways of allowing humans and nature to coexist. In her free time, Sarah can often be found wandering local parks and hiking trails looking for birds, creating nature-inspired watercolour paintings, or cooking a delicious meal.
Noor Ahmad (she/her) – Youth Program Intern
Noor joined Ontario Nature’s Youth Guardianship Program in 2020 as a Youth Coordinating Circle member and actively helped organize the Youth Summit for Mother Earth. She became a Youth Council member in 2021 and was a panelist for the 2021-2022 Youth Guardianship Program webinar. Noor’s passion for environmental conservation stemmed from her involvement in the Friends of the Rouge Watershed’s Grey Tree Frog Apprenticeship Program with a focus on environmental advocacy, youth action campaigns and conservation education. She was heavily involved in school initiatives taking on roles such as a secondary school ambassador, leader in the environmental science club, and a member in domestic and international outreach programs.
Communications and Engagement
John Hassell (he/him) – Director of Communications and Engagement Editor, ON Nature magazine
John joined Ontario Nature in 2009. Along with his role in communications, he is the editor of ON Nature – Ontario Nature’s award-winning magazine. John has an M.A. in international development studies with research focusing on sustainable, community-based forestry and a B.A. in political science. He has worked in the non-profit sector for more than 15 years. John is a founding director of ReachUp, a charity that promotes healthy lifestyles in under-resourced communities. A sports nut, John has represented Canada at ultimate frisbee competitions. He loves wilderness expeditions with his wife and young son, AJ, and is fulfilled by his job helping protect the natural areas they explore.
Lisa is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she earned a B.Sc. in zoology and psychology. Prior to joining Ontario Nature in 2006 as the Volunteer for Nature coordinator, Lisa worked with the Vancouver Aquarium running their volunteer-based national shoreline cleanup program in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. Lisa also serves as a board director with the Electronic Child Health Network and is a member of the Family Advisory Network at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
Irene Milani – Database Coordinator
Irene oversees Ontario Nature’s growing member and donor database. Previously, Irene held various positions at the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, including natural heritage coordinator, project manager and special assistant to the Honorable David Crombie. Irene has a B.A. in urban studies and sociology.
Barbara MacKenzie-Wynia (she/her) – Regional Nature Network Coordinator
Barbara joined Ontario Nature in 2006 with a focus on Northern, Huronia and Lake Ontario North regions. She is a partner with Krystawyn Environmental Consulting, and owns BMW and Associates. Barbara was the director of communications with Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority for more than 20 years. As a proud farmer’s daughter, she continues to enjoy working with the rural and farming community in building bridges, trust and capacity. Barbara lives in Clearview Township where she enjoys gardening, traveling, and camping with her husband and two sons.
Along with her role with Ontario Nature, Melina also teaches a course at Centennial College on energy, environment and sustainable development. She has an MES from York University and a graduate diploma in environmental education, and her research focused on wildlife and macro-debris pollution. She has worked and volunteered for several environmental organizations including Wildlife Preservation Canada, Toronto Wildlife Centre, FoodShare, York Sustainable Enterprise Consultants and the Canadian Organization for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and dancing.
Lesley Rudy (she/her) – Nature Network Organizer
Lesley joined Ontario Nature in 2022. She holds a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Guelph, a diploma in Ecosystem Management from Fleming College and an M.Sc. in Biology from Queen’s University. She has diverse work experience including roles with government and not-for-profits in stewardship, conservation and granting. Lesley has owned and operated a gardening business for 8 years. She has been working on conservation and research of turtles in Kingston and area for the last 5 years. She is a member of several Kingston and area nature groups. She enjoys running, cycling, swimming, camping, hiking and gardening.
Noah Cole – Communications Technician
Noah has worked for Ontario Nature since 2011. He supports Ontario Nature’s communications team with web design, programming, outreach, photo research and day-to-day operations. He has earned certification in non-profit and voluntary sector management from Toronto Metropolitan University. Noah obtained a B.A. from the University of Guelph and refined his craft at The Western Academy of Photography. Noah is the author of Ontario Wildlife Photography published by Dundurn Press, a regular contributor to ON Nature magazine, a nature photographer, an accomplished naturalist, a Quetico Foundation trustee and loves the great outdoors.
Membership and Development
Kirsten Dahl (she/her) – Director of Development
Kirsten developed a love of nature and the outdoors spending summers at her cottage in Muskoka. She studied sociology at the University of Western Ontario and spent the better part of a decade living in different countries including Peru, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Since returning home, Kirsten has worked in the environmental sector with Greenpeace and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. She loves cross-country skiing in Algonquin Park, walking her dog in the woods, cycling through the wilds of Toronto and any chance to explore Ontario Nature’s nature reserves (12 and counting!).
Lisa Kamenar (she/her) – Annual Fund Manager
Lisa joined Ontario Nature in February 2022. Her love of the outdoors was developed early in life while growing up on a farm in southwestern Ontario. She has a degree in Business from Wilfrid Laurier University and has worked in the non-profit sector for over 15 years. She enjoys sports (especially baseball and basketball!), reading and exploring the great outdoors.
Kiran first joined the administration and development team at Ontario Nature in the summer of 2010 and rejoined as the administrative assistant in the fall of 2019, after staying at home to help raise her three children. Kiran has previously studied hotel management at George Brown and volunteers with local arts organizations. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, traveling and being outdoors.
Kayla Salive (she/her) – Grants and Donor Stewardship Coordinator
Kayla joined Ontario Nature in May 2021. Her love of nature started early, growing up with a family cottage on Pelee Island – a biodiversity hotspot in Ontario. After being inspired by the flora and fauna, Kayla pursued a B.Sc. in biology and later an M.Sc. in integrative biology with a focus on conservation biology. While working as a research assistant at Wilfrid Laurier University, Kayla’s work focused on assessing the threats and mitigation for a wetland plant species at risk in southwestern Ontario. In her down time, she loves to go hiking with her dogs and use nature to inspire her paintings.
Jennifer Ho (she/her) – Program Funding Coordinator
Growing up in the city of Hong Kong, Jennifer’s love of nature stems from watching David Attenborough’s documentaries. The wonders of the natural world have led her to pursue a B.A. and later a M.A. in environmental science with a focus on biodiversity conservation. Prior to joining Ontario Nature, she has worked as a research assistant in a tropical conservation biology lab studying the impact of light pollution on moth diversity in Hong Kong, communicated different environmental issues with the public while working as a gallery facilitator at the Royal Ontario Museum, and volunteered at the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada to help raise environmental awareness. In her spare time, she enjoys baking and exploring the world of food photography.
You can find employment opportunities with Ontario Nature on our Jobs webpage.
Please only handle wildlife if you have the proper training and permits unless you are helping the species off a roadway.