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Staff

We are your Ontario Nature.

Showy lady's-slipper orchid, Wallwork Nature Reserve

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 30 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 and a graduate diploma in social responsibility & sustainability from the University of St. Michael’s college in the University of Toronto. 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 – Finance Director

A.J. Pilobello

A.J. is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a background in commerce and economics. He first joined Ontario Nature in 2019 and rejoined in 2024. He 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 Coordinator

Lisa Martell banding a saw-whet owl

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 husband and dog.

Kamran Minai (he/him) – Administrative Coordinator

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.

Penny He – Accounting Assistant

Penny graduated from York University with a master’s degree in financial accountability. With a background as an Accounting Analyst in the renewable energy and golfing industries, she brings a unique blend of experience and enthusiasm to this role. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring nature through hiking and cherishes quality time spent with family.


Conservation and Education

Smera Sukumar (she/her) – Conservation Science and Stewardship Director

Smera Sukumar

Smera directs the Nature Reserves and Conservation Science programs. She joined the team in 2016 and holds a MSc in biodiversity and conservation from the University of Leeds and a BSc in zoology from the University of Guelph. Smera works closely with volunteers, conservation partners, and researchers to deliver collaborative projects across both programs. Her love of Ontario’s wild species and spaces and the diversity of people and cultures in this province shape all aspects of her work. Smera has lived in four countries and travelled to over 40. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the outdoors, cooking, dancing, and cozying up with her cat.

Tony Morris – Conservation Policy and Campaigns Director

Tony joined Ontario Nature in 2024. He holds a MES from York University, where he focused on biodiversity policy in Ontario, and a B.A from Trent University with a joint major in Environmental Studies and Political Studies. Tony has over 10 years of professional experience with various government departments and agencies in Ontario and the Northwest Territories. He has a strong background in environmental policy, strategic planning, and land use and watershed planning at the provincial and municipal level. Outside of Ontario Nature, Tony enjoys cycling, reading, cooking, and exploring new places. 

Anne Bell (she/her) – Conservation Policy Advisor

Anne Bell, 2023, bio photo with downy woodpecker

Anne directed Ontario Nature’s conservation and education programs from 2007 to spring 2024 and is currently acting as a part-time advisor prior to her full retirement. 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. 

Christine Ambre (she/they) – Education Manager

Christine Ambre with a turtle

Christine started volunteering with Ontario Nature in spring 2015 transcribing data for the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas and joined the team that fall. Now the organization’s Education Manager, 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. 

Corina Brdar – Conservation Policy and Planning Manager

Corina has spent her career working in and for nature in Ontario and across Canada. She provides leadership for Ontario Nature’s conservation policy initiatives. Prior to joining Ontario Nature in 2022 she worked for the province as an ecologist for two decades, both in the field and on planning and policy. Most recently she expanded her expertise in strategic conservation planning while working at the federal level. Corina completed an M.Sc. in ecology at the University of Alberta and a B.Sc. in ecology at the University of Guelph. She has paddled watersheds that flow out of all sides of Ontario.  Her other vocation is sharing the practice of nature journaling with others. 

Marcus Maddalena (he/him) – Nature Reserves Manager

Marcus joined Ontario Nature as the Nature Reserves Manager in 2023. He holds both a Bachelors and Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Diploma in Ecological Restoration and Rehabilitation. Marcus has extensive experience in the conservation and rehabilitation of rare species populations and their habitats. Outside of Ontario Nature, you can find Marcus at the rock climbing gym that he co-owns, somewhere in a canoe, or on a trail with his dogs. 

Jenna Quinn (she/her) – Conservation Science Manager

Jenna joined Ontario Nature in early 2023, bringing over a decade of experience in the non-profit conservation sector. She holds a B.Sc in zoology from Laurentian University, a M.Sc in biology from Mount Allison University, and a M.Ed from Western University in curriculum development. Jenna is passionate about working in collaboration with others to tackle land stewardship, research, and conservation initiatives that advance protection of natural spaces in Ontario. She has extensive experience working in multi-partner research collaborations, conducting long-term ecological monitoring, and supporting community science initiatives. Jenna spends her free time volunteering with Waterloo Region Nature, playing games with friends and family, and cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Brittney Vezina (she/her) – Protected Places Project Coordinator

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.

Tharanya Ravikumaran – Nature Reserves Coordinator

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 Kip (she/her) – Protected Places Assessment Coordinator

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 environmental 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.

Graeme Smith (he/him) – GIS Coordinator

Graeme joined Ontario Nature in 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 at Laurentian University and a M.Sc. in environmental and life sciences at Trent University. His M.Sc. research focused on identifying suitable habitat for endangered salamanders on Pelee Island as well as locations for habitat restoration. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing board games and exploring the outdoors.

Sarah Hasenack (she/her) – Conservation Planning Coordinator

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.

Teagan Netten – Conservation Science Coordinator

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.

Melissa Thomas – Nature Reserves Ecologist

Melissa 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.

Nhu Le (she/her) – Nature Reserves GIS Technician

Nhu joined Ontario Nature in the fall of 2022. As part of the Nature Reserves team, she creates cartographic products for the Nature Reserves Program and manages the team’s land management database. Nhu holds a B.E.S. and a Diploma in Ecological Restoration and Rehabilitation from the University of Waterloo. When not making maps, she enjoys reading, crafting, and cooking.

Alex Bauman (they/she) – Conservation Science Technician

Alex joined Ontario Nature in May 2023. Alex has always had a love for animals and nature, and has volunteered on gopher tortoise surveys, plant and pollinator monitoring and seabird rescues. After a B.A. in psychology at New College of Florida and a graduate certificate in data analysis from the University of South Florida, they completed an M.Sc. in ecology and conservation at the University of Aberdeen with a focus on insect biodiversity. In their spare time, Alex loves taking walks, making art, playing video games and hanging out with their partner and cat. 

Kellsie Bonnyman (she/they) – Municipal Protected Places Assistant

Kellsie joined Ontario Nature in 2023 to support the Protected Places team towards meeting national goals to protect 30% of land and water by 2030. Prior to joining, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Studies (B.E.S.S.) at Trent University. She also holds a diploma in Ecosystem Management and an Indigenous Designations certificate from Fleming College. Kellsie participated in the South Africa semester abroad as a Conservation Intern, and has experience working on ecological restoration projects, sustainable agriculture farms, biomonitoring, and organizing environmental campaigns. In Kellsie’s spare time, they enjoy photography, canoeing, birding, and playing guitar. 

Baylana Hiebert – Wildlife Technician

Baylana joined Ontario Nature as a Wildlife Technician. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Environmental Science at the University of Manitoba. Previously, she worked as an Assistant Wildlife Biologist doing surveys for plant and bird species at risk, and enjoy volunteering as an assistant bird bander every fall. In her free time she likes to read, hike, and go birding. 

Erik Van Den Kieboom (he/him) – Wildlife Technician

Eric is currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree in ecology with the University of Guelph. He’s been a field technician for numerous organizations, where much of his work involved monitoring at-risk bird and reptile species. An avid birder, in Eric’s spare time he enjoys being outside looking for birds and other wildlife. 


Communications and Engagement

John Hassell (he/him) – Director of Communications and Engagement
Editor, ON Nature magazine

John Hassell Ontario Nature headshot

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.

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. 

Melina Damian (she/her) – Communications Coordinator

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 Rudy headshot

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. She has been active in a turtle conservation and research project in Kingston and area since 2016. She is a member of Kingston area nature groups and 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.

Rajinstan Kamalraj (he/him) – Communications Intern

Rajinstan joined Ontario Nature as a Communications Intern in May 2024 as part of his placement for the Environmental Visual Communications program run by Fleming College and the Royal Ontario Museum. Rajinstan has a B. Sc. in Biology from the University of Guelph and has grown his passion for the environment through his previous work with the Guelph Outdoor School. He aims to combine his previous experience in outdoor education with his skill in communication to create content that grows a love and appreciation for nature. In his spare time, Rajinstan enjoys going out for walks, playing sports with friends, and listening to music.

Illian Brasselet-Darracq (he/him) – Communications Intern

Illian joined Ontario Nature as a Communications Intern in May 2024 to further his expertise in promoting conservation through strategic communication. Originally from Paris and now based in Toronto, Illian has a strong foundation in environmental sciences from the Paris Institute of Earth Physics, coupled with specialized training in Audio Production from Recording Art Canada College, and Visual Communication from Fleming College. His recent role in the Fish Department at the Royal Ontario Museum has deepened his ability to craft compelling narratives for ecological monitoring. Illian aims to integrate his skills in photography, videography, illustration, and audio production to create impactful stories for the organization’s media platforms. Outside of the office, he is passionate about playing the piano, running, and hiking.


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.

Hayley Raymond (she/they) – Membership Coordinator

Hayley joined Ontario Nature in September 2022. She developed a love of nature and the outdoors while growing up in northern Ontario. Hayley studied Canadian Studies at Trent University and Arts Administration at Humber College. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter and enjoys looking for birds while walking her dog and spending time at her family’s cabin in Temagami in the summer.

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.

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