Board of Directors | Carolinian Canada

Board of Directors

The activities of the Coalition are directed by a Board drawn from a wide range of groups and interests. Board and Committees include representation from government, non-government, conservation, stewardship, education, agriculture, forestry, research and planning sectors. The Board meets 4 times annually and operates the organization according to a set of by-laws.

See Policie and Guiding Doccuments for More Information

Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting. Written nominations from members in good standing and seconded by members in good standing should be forwarded to 14 days prior to Annual Meeting.

    Members: The Coalition has two classes of members: Individual and Group. Please click here for more information.  The Board includes a balance of Individual and Group affiliations. 

    Carolinian Canada Coalition Board of Directors 2015-2016

    As of April 2016, the board includes:

    Don Pearson (Chair)

    Mark Helm (Secretary)

    Chris Turner (Treasurer)

    Dawn Bazely

    Kristen Bernard - Nature Conservancy of Canada

    Brian Craig - Long Point Biosphere Reserve

    Paul General 

    Jessica Kaknevicius - Forests Ontario

    Alistair MacKenzie - Ontario Parks

    Owen Williams - Ontario Invasive Plant Council

    Ron Wu-Winter

    Josh Wise - Ontario Nature

    Mari Veliz - Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

    Board Groups

    Essex Region Conservation AuthorityLower Thames Valley Conservation AuthorityOntario ParksForests OntarioOntario Invasive Plant Council


    Don Pearson


    Don Pearson joined the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority on January 1, 2013 following nearly 8 years as General Manager of Conservation Ontario, the umbrella organization of Ontario’s 36 Conservation Authorities. Prior to joining Conservation Ontario, Don spent two years as Chief Administrative Officer of the County of Perth. Don was the General Manager of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority for 22 years, where under his leadership the Authority earned a reputation for excellence and innovation in environmental management and community engagement. He is a member of the Boards of Ontario Heritage Trust and the Canadian Water Network; and has been a member of the Ontario Biodiversity Council and Trees Ontario since 2005. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Science Degree from the University of Waterloo.

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    Mark Helm


    Mark has always enjoyed the outdoors through activities including exploring the family farm, fishing, bird watching and nature photography. These have led him to an appreciation of the importance of nature and its preservation and restoration. Since retiring from the Ford Motor Company, Mark has become involved in several environmental organizations, including the Dorchester Mill Pond Committee, Friends of Meadow Lily and the Dorchester Watershed Action Committee. He has participated in tree and native flower plantings with public schools and a program to reintroduce the Purple Martin to a local golf course.

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    Chris Turner


    Chris Turner is an experienced financial leader with a broad range of skills and abilities. He has functioned at the CFO level in the Healthcare sector prior to his recent appointment as the Director of Finance and Administration at the Wilfrid Laurier University Students' Union. His accomplishments vary from improving organizational financial stability to leading organizational change initiatives. Chris's education includes a CMA designation, an MBA from McMaster University, and an Honours degree in Biology from the University of Waterloo. Chris lives with his family just outside of New Hamburg Ontario on a country property complete with a small wood lot that is enjoyed by all.

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    Dawn Bazely

    Dawn Bazely is a Professor in the Department of Biology, in the Faculty of Science and has served as the Director at York’s Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability since 2006. She will be stepping down in June 2014 after 4 terms totaling 7 years. Professor Bazely studies plant-animal interactions, from temperate to arctic regions, along with associated research areas, including invasive species, climate change impacts, forest dynamics, and fungal endophytes of grasses. She has done fieldwork in Scotland, England, Scandinavia, Newfoundland, on Hudson Bay, and throughout Ontario. Her publications number over 80 journal articles, chapters, and books and according to Google Scholar, her work has been cited more than 1660 times. Dawn has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in plant ecology, biological science, population biology, ecology and evolution, and ecosystem health. Her background is as varied as her interests: B.Sc. in Biogeography and Environmental Studies, M.Sc. in Botany and Ph.D. in Zoology. Her research on the effects of deer grazing and browsing in Carolinian forests in southern Ontario has engaged with students, landowners, government and NGOs including Ontario Parks, Parks Canada, Conservation Authorities, Carolinian Canada and First Nations communities. Her book with UBC Professor Emerita, Judith Myers: Ecology and Control of Introduced Plants: Evaluating and responding to invasive plants (2003) was recognized by the American Library Association as a Notable Title.

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    Kristen Bernard

    Kristen Bernard

    Kristen graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2006, Environment and Resources Studies and from Niagara College’s Ecosystem Restoration program in 2007. Kristen started her career in southern Saskatchewan working for Parks Canada in Grasslands National Park as a species at risk technician and later on as the Project Coordinator for the Frenchman Wood River Weed Management Area and Education Coordinator for the Prairie Conservation Action Plan. Kristen moved back to Ontario in 2009 to join the Norfolk Alternative Land Use Service project where she worked with farmers and private landowners to implement on farm stewardship projects in Norfolk County. Kristen began working for NCC May 2011 as an Administrative Officer, Executive Assistant and Relationship Manager and began her current role with NCC as a Program Manager for Southwestern Ontario in 2014.

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    Brian Craig

    Brian Craig was a landscape ecologist with Parks Canada, Southwestern Ontario Field Unit. His interests include biodiversity conservation, landscape restoration, and ecological monitoring. He is a Director with the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation and the Carolinian Canada Coalition. Brian joined the Carolinian Canada Board of Directors in 2007.

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    Jessica Kaknevicius 

    Forests Ontario

    Jessica Kaknevicius has worked at Forests Ontario (previously the Ontario Forestry Association) since 2009, building the organization’s education and awareness programs. Her current focus is to dispel myths and broaden the understanding of sustainable forest management. Above all, Jessica is passionate about directly engaging youth and the public in learning about forest resources. Jessica has previously worked in community tree planting and restoration work, sustainable forest management auditing and research. She holds a Masters of Forest Conservation and an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto, and is a graduate of the Young Conservation Professionals program.

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    Alistair MacKenzie

    Ontario Parks

    Alistair MacKenzie is a Wildlife Biologist and Naturalist with an honours Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology from the University of Guelph and a Master of Science degree in spatial ecology from the University of Toronto. He frequently contributes to Species at Risk recovery through participation in national recovery teams and active stewardship activities on the ground. Alistair is currently the Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park. Working with park visitors and external partners he protects and restores provincially significant ecosystems and the organisms they sustain, educates stakeholders and park managers about biodiversity and inventories and monitors many significant species. Alistair is involved in a liaison capacity with numerous academic researchers who use Pinery Park as their outdoor laboratories. He is a self-taught amateur graphic designer.

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    Owen Williams

    Ontario Invasive Plant Council

    Owen Williams retired in 2009 after 35 years with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as a biologist and program coordinator. Popular stewardship programs were designed and led by Owen that enabled over 600,000 people to complete over 21,000 projects. He helped organize four national stewardship conferences and wrote Canada’s Stewardship Agenda (2002). He was a founding member of the Ontario Invasive Plant Council and became Chair of the BoardHe is now Past President and continues to be active on the Board. His experience enabled him to become an entertaining speaker. Owen enjoys photography and canoeing, camping, hiking and travelling with his wife, 3 children and 6 grandchildren.

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    Paul General

    Paul General has been Manager of Six Nations Eco-centre and Wildlife Officer for over 20 years. He is a Member of Seneca Nation - Snipe Clan. He is multi-faceted, active in over 30 committees and working groups monitoring and contributing towards the protection and enhancement of our environment. He is also a painter, photographer teacher frequent guest lecturer and recipient of multiple awards including the Ontario “Medal for Good Citizenship”.

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    Ron Wu-Winter

    Ron Wu-Winter is the Watershed Forester at the Grand River Conservation Authority. He has significant experience both promoting and implementing forest management and stewardship projects in southern Ontario. Ron has a diverse work and educational background in biology, education and forest conservation – from teaching high school ecology in a small Inuit village on Canada's treeless tundra, to administering Ontario's Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program, to his current position overseeing forestry and restoration projects for approximately 25,000 acres of publicly owned woodlands.

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    Joshua Wise

    Greenway Program Manager

    Joshua Wise has been involved in the Greenway Program at Ontario Nature since early spring 2011. He holds a Masters of Environment and Sustainability from the University of Western Ontario and a B.A. in Geography from the University of Guelph. His work focuses on both promoting policy reform in Ontario and promoting stewardship within the agricultural community, through the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program. Joshua has been closely involved with the 2015 Co-ordinated Land Use  Planning Review, representing Ontario Nature on the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance Steering Committee and as lead with the Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership for 2015. Joshua led the development and writing of Ontario Nature’s Best Practices Guide to Natural Heritage Systems Planning, which focuses on municipal implementation of greenway planning. He also coordinates the Ontario ALUS Alliance, helping to facilitate the growth of the ALUS program into three new Ontario communities as well as lead on their communications efforts in Ontario. 

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    Mari Veliz

    Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

    Mari Veliz is the Healthy Watershed Supervisor at the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA), where she has worked since 2000. The ABCA is a watershed management agency with a 2400 km2 area of jurisdiction along the south-east shore of Lake Huron. Ms. Veliz has supervised the water quality and bio-monitoring program since 2002. She also develops and implements community-based watershed plans. Currently, she is working with local, provincial and federal partners to evaluate agricultural best management practices. Ms. Veliz has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Science from the University of Alberta.

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