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 Policies 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.

AGM 2019 Election Slate Coming Soon

Previous AGMs and Voting

Read Information and voting procedures for Carolinian Canada Coalition's Annual General Meetings, as well as previous meeting minutes, Here

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

As of May 2017, the board includes:

Don Pearson (Chair)

Dawn Bazely (Vice Chair)

Owen Williams (Secretary) - Ontario Invasive Plant Council

Chris Turner (Treasurer)

Kristen Bernard - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Paul General

Alistair MacKenzie - Ontario Parks

Mari Veliz - Conservation Ontario

Maria Ramirez - Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)

Kristyn Richardson - Long Point Basin Land Trust (LPBLT )

Heather Dawn Gingerich - Water School for Decision Makers

Board Groups

Nature Conservancy of Canada Ontario ParksForests OntarioOntario Invasive Plant Council Long Point Basin Land TrustOntario Nature Conservation Ontario Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association


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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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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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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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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Kristen Bernard

Nature Conservancy of Canada

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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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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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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Mari Veliz

Conservation Ontario

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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Maria Ramirez

Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)

Since 2016, Maria has been a Programs Analyst with the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA). The OSCIA is a grassroots farming organization that delivers a number of education and cost-share programs to the farming community. Maria coordinates the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP) and supports the delivery of many environmental programs including the Species at Risk Partnerships on Agricultural Lands (SARPAL) and the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI). She previously worked for the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and assisted the Environmental Programs Specialist in soil health and water quality best management practices (BMP) research. Maria is also a volunteer with the Thames Talbot Land Trust and ReForest London contributing to their stewardship and conservation efforts in and around the City of London. Maria has an honors Bachelor degree in Environmental Science from the University of Guelph and has lived in Carolinian Canada since she arrived from Colombia in 2005.

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Kristyn Richardson

Long Point Basin Land Trust (LPBLT)

Kristyn Richardson has worked at Long Point Basin Land Trust (LPBLT) since 2015 as the Program Manager and is responsible for overseeing the delivery of conservation projects such as acquisition of ecologically significant properties, habitat restoration on LPBLT's nature reserves, and engaging individuals in environmental stewardship. LPBLT's mission is to protect and restore restore functioning ecosystems in the Long Point Basin, an area located in the central Carolinian region. Prior to joining BSC, she worked as a Stewardship Biologist with Bird Studies Canada where she was involved in conservation and research projects targeted at aerial insectivores. Kristyn holds a Master of Natural Resources Management from the University of Manitoba and a Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto.

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Heather Dawn Gingerich

Heather is a founding member of the Water School for Decision-Makers (W1SD0M) that integrates Indigenous science with modern technology within an ecosystem health,Treaty renewal, economic development and reconciled legal framework of shared responsibility for Watershed co-management, primarily within the Great Lakes Basin. She has worked with both Indigenous and Settler communities throughout North America, Africa, Australia and Asia and was one of the first Children's Lands (a United Nations-endorsed methodology for environmental restoration and conservation in collaboration with children and elders) facilitators to be trained in English. She is a member of the AAAS Science & Human Rights Coalition, serving on the Information & Education Resources, Communication & Outreach and Welfare of Scientists committees, and has published widely in community news media, trade publications, UNESCO and Pearson Peacekeeping Centre on the topic of medical geology and free, prior and informed decision-making.

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