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Staff

Ontario Nature staff © Noah Cole

Meet our Team

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 Masters of management degree at McGill University.

Sarah Hedges – 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 – 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.

Jennifer Ho – Administrative Assistant

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 bachelor’s and later a master’s degree 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.


Conservation & Education

Anne Bell – 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 – Conservation Projects and Education Manager

Emma manages the Citizen 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 Bachelor’s degree in forest conservation. She has been involved in several citizen 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 – Nature Reserves Manager

Smera works on both the citizen 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 – 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 – 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.

Stephen MacFarlane – Nature Reserves GIS Analyst

Stephen MacFarlane

Stephen joined Ontario Nature as the Nature Reserves GIS Analyst in September 2019, after finishing a Masters on urban animal road mortality at the University of Toronto. Stephen 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, Stephen 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.

Jackie Ho – 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.

Janice Lam – Protected Places GIS Assistant

Janice joined Ontario Nature in 2020 and holds a Master’s of forest conservation from the University of Toronto. She focused her capstone project on monitoring naturalization success at the City of Toronto’s tree planting events. Janice has worked for the City of Richmond Hill, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Infrastructure Ontario on numerous GIS projects. She developed her love for nature through volunteering at LEAF, City of Toronto’s Community Stewardship team and the Ontario Niagara Escarpment Monitoring Program. She is passionate about environmental conservation, enhancing urban green spaces and living sustainably. In her free time, she enjoys playing Animal Crossing, volleyball and hiking.


Membership and Development

Kirsten Dahl – 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. 

Portia Mohlmann – Major Gifts Manager

Portia joined Ontario Nature in the fall of 2014. She has a Masters in environmental studies from York University, and a certificate in fundraising and volunteer management from George Brown College. Before joining Ontario Nature, Portia worked for The Stop Community Food Centre and Daily Bread Food Bank. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Toronto’s many parks and libraries.

Kate Douglas – Senior Development Officer

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. 

Danielle Duchin – Major Gifts Coordinator

Danielle joined Ontario Nature in April 2018, to support ON Nature magazine. Danielle holds a B.A. in English from Acadia University. She joined the Ontario Nature team to complete her publishing certificate program with Centennial College. A Maritime native, Danielle grew up in New Brunswick. She developed a love and respect for nature growing up amongst trees, and on rivers and oceans. When she’s not knitting or cooking, Danielle makes sure to take a walk outside every day, rain or shine. 

Kiran Singhachaudhuri – 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.


Communications and Engagement

John Hassell – Director of Communications and Engagement

John Hassell 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 – 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 – 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 communication team with web design, programming, online outreach, photo research and the organization’s day-to-day operations. Noah has earned certification in non-profit and voluntary sector management from Ryerson University. Noah obtained his B.A. from the University of Guelph and refined his craft at The Western Academy of Photography. Noah is a nature photographer, an accomplished naturalist, a Quetico Foundation trustee and loves the great outdoors.

Miranda Baksh – Digital Communications Assistant

Miranda joined Ontario Nature in November 2020. Along with this role, she is the executive director of The Community Climate Council – a youth-led, environmental non-profit. She holds a Master’s of environmental studies from York University where she studied the opportunities and challenges of Instagram use in biodiversity conservation. She also researched ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and EcoHealth at York’s EcoCampus in Costa Rica and The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre in Belize. She is an experienced environmental educator and public speaker who enjoys hiking, yoga, and tutoring French in her spare time.

Please only handle wildlife if you have the proper training and permits unless you are helping the species off a roadway.

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

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