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Showy lady's-slipper orchid, Wallwork Nature Reserve

We are your Ontario Nature. 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 – Executive Assistant

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 explore nature with her fiancé and two dogs or cozy up to a new crochet project or book.

Michelle Shahoud (she/her) – Administrative Coordinator

Michelle joined the Ontario Nature team in July 2021. She brings several years of administrative experience with her and has worked for other environmental non-profit organizations. Michelle studied Environmental Policy and Practice at the University of Toronto and currently volunteers with the Toronto Mindfulness Community and as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Healthy Environments Network. She adores smelling like campfire, a lazy paddle in a canoe, and is an enthusiastic, yet amateur, photographer. Michelle immerses herself in the silence, stillness, and beauty of nature whenever she can.

Conservation & 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 almost 20 years of experience working as an environmental educator, researcher and advocate for government and non-profit organizations. Anne loves to go birding, camping, swimming, and skiing and to play hockey with her husband and two young daughters, Kestrel and Castilleja. 

Julee Boan – Boreal Program Manager, Thunder Bay office

Based in our Thunder Bay office, Julee leads our northern programming as our boreal program manager. She works collaboratively with local conservation groups, First Nations, 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 woodland caribou. She is currently sitting on the board of directors for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Canada, and is a member of Ontario’s Forest Carbon Technical Working Group. 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 & 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 a total of 38 countries world-wide.

Gabriella Zagorski (she/her) – Nature Reserves Coordinator

Gabriella joined Ontario Nature in May 2020 as the Nature Reserves Coordinator. Gabriella holds an M.Sc. in Biology/Ecology and Evolution from Laurentian University and specializes in Ontario herpetofauna. She has worked for Royal Botanical Gardens, Scales Nature Park and The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority on numerous wildlife conservation projects. In her free time, Gabriella enjoys hiking, reading, camping and playing volleyball.

Christine Ambre – Conservation Education Coordinator

Christine started volunteering for Ontario Nature in spring 2015, then joined the administration team that fall. In her current role, she oversees the Nature Guardians youth program and various conservation 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 University of Waterloo. She has extensive experience working with youth at summer camp and volunteering with other environmental non-profits. In her free time, Christine is a part-time video game brand ambassador and promoter who also enjoys exploring the outdoors and learning new technology. 

Brittney Vezina (she/her) – Conservation Projects 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.

Jackie Ho (she/her) – Protected Places Coordinator

Jackie started with Ontario Nature in 2012 as a member of the Youth Council and rejoined in 2020 in her current role. She graduated in 2019 with a B.A. in integrative biology from Harvard College, where she divided her time between tree-ring research and recruiting students into conservation work. She has worked on several conservation initiatives abroad, from teaching in Uganda to mangrove restoration in Suriname, and has volunteered with the Toronto Zoo and Toronto Wildlife Centre. Growing up in Toronto, Jackie’s love for nature grew from frequent visits to the zoo and family road trips around Southern Ontario. Her hobbies include skating, baking, exploring trails, and spending too much time on public transit.

Zira MacFarlane (they/their) – Nature Reserves GIS Analyst

Stephen MacFarlane

Zira joined Ontario Nature as the Nature Reserves GIS Analyst 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.

Keeva Fitzpatrick (she/her) – Nature Reserves Intern

Keeva joined Ontario Nature in April 2021. She grew up spending her summers in Lions Head, ON located along the Bruce Peninsula. Keeva would spend her days catching frogs and swimming in Georgian Bay which developed her love for conservation of Ontario’s natural species and lands. Prior to joining Ontario Nature, she studied Environmental Science and Biology at Trent University and Ecosystem Management Technology at Sir Sanford Fleming College. In her spare time, she enjoys attending concerts, being active with her two dogs, and spending time with family and friends.

Alice Dabrowski (she/her) – Conservation Projects Intern

Alice joined Ontario Nature in April 2021. She is a graduate of Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration Graduate Certificate program. Following her passion for ecosystem dynamics and biodiversity conservation, Alice will continue her studies this Fall through the University of Guelph’s Master of environmental science. Alice began volunteering in the environmental sector in 2019, and has worked with various community groups including the Royal Ontario Museum, Royal Botanical Gardens and Conservation Halton’s Volunteer Core. She has a growing interest in fungi and plant identification. Her hobbies include exploring nature, thrifting, and adding to her indoor plant collection.

Sophy Wu (she/her) – Youth Program Intern

Sophy has been an active Ontario Nature Youth Council member since 2018, leading advocacy group members to draft letters to provincial ministers and leading workshops and teams at the annual youth summit. She is recently graduated from Havergal College where she engaged her entire high school community with her leadership in dance and sustainability. Born in Montreal and raised in Shenzhen, Sophy is proud of her female Chinese Canadian identity and has discovered her passion for environmental conservation and urban sustainability by participating in academic and experiential programs across the world.

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, cycling through the wilds of Toronto and any chance to explore Ontario Nature’s nature reserves. 

Kate Douglas – Annual Fund Manager

Kate joined the membership and development team at Ontario Nature in the summer of 2018. Growing up on a lake in Central Ontario, she has always loved to fish and explore nature. Kate volunteers for numerous non-profit organizations in Toronto that support health care and the environment. She is on the path to obtaining a fundraising management certificate at Ryerson University. Kate has previously studied fashion arts and business at Humber College, and office administration at Georgian College. In her spare time, she enjoys canning the annual fall harvest, baking, gardening and the outdoors.

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 Hon. David Crombie. Irene has a B.A. in urban studies and sociology. 

Kiran Singhachaudhuri (she/her) – Gift Administration and Memberships Coordinator

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 Master 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.

Communications and Engagement

John Hassell (he/him) – Director of Communications and Engagement

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, an ultimate Frisbee charity that promotes healthy lifestyles in under-resourced communities. A sports nut, John also enjoys travelling and going on outdoor adventures with his wife and young son, AJ. 

Lisa Richardson – Nature Network and Communications Coordinator

Lisa oversees Ontario Nature’s network of more than 150 community and conservation groups, and is associate editor of ON Nature magazine. She 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.

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. 

Melina Damian (she/her) – Communications Coordinator

Melina Damian

Melina is Ontario Nature’s communications coordinator. She 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 different 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.

Noah Cole – Communications Technician

Noah Cole, photo credit to Amar Maharaj

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 Ryerson 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.

Vince W. Nogueira (he/him) – Communications Intern

Vince has been with Ontario Nature since Spring 2021, writing magazine articles and blog posts with a focus on the intersection of environmental and Indigenous issues. His Indigenous family heritage is something close to his heart. He has a B.A. of Environmental Science from Carleton University with a focus in sustainable farming. Born and raised in Ottawa, Vince spends much of his free time cycling, volunteering with community organizations, and writing music with his band.

Maya Davidson (she/her) – Communications Intern

Maya has been with Ontario Nature since Spring 2021. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in media, information, and technoculture with a minor in geography and the environment at Western University. Maya has special interests in biodiversity conservation, Indigenous issues and sustainable farming. She has been a birds of prey specialty program counsellor with Conservation Halton as well as social media manager at a Toronto nursery. With a love for all living creatures, Maya is also a wildlife photographer and freelance writer who is at home in the forest.

You can find employment opportunities with Ontario Nature on our Jobs webpage.

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