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CCC Team

Michelle Kanter - Executive Director

Michelle Kanter is Executive Director of Carolinian Canada, since 2003. With 35 years of experience in wildlife research and conservation, she has worked with diverse species and stakeholders from the Carolinian Zone to the arctic and Australia. She specializes in cross-sector solutions for healthy ecosystems on complex landscapes for a green and just economy. She currently sits on the Ontario Biodiversity Council and lives in the Dorchester swamp where she found her love of nature as a second generation European settler.

Samantha Whiteye - Indigenous Leadership Director

Samantha Whiteye is a community leader from Eelūnapéewi Lahkéewiit. She is very passionate and dedicated to her work within Southern Ontario and the Indigenous Communities she actively serves. Samantha comes from grassroots immersed experiences which she utilizes her lived experience and understandings to create space, advocate and lead conversations centering on Truth and Reconciliation. Leading with an ethical two eyed seeing approach Samantha demonstrates leadership as a changemaker in the environmental sector.

Samantha is very knowledgeable and connected to her Lunaapeew/Lenape culture as she continuously weaves the medicine and teachings into her work and daily lifestyle. She is also passionate about ancestral seed sovereignty and hopes it helps build bridges back to identity for her people.

Over the past year Samantha has worked closely with Carolinian Canada Coalition and continues her work in a new role as Indigenous Leadership Director to help shift the narratives in conservation.

Tristan Bentley - IT Systems Coordinator, Webmaster

Tristan Bentley is a visual artist, web designer, and teacher. The Internet is synonymous with communication in today's society. As the webmaster and eco-news editor for the Carolinian Canada Coalition since October 2010, Tristan brings his diverse educational background to bare in helping the Coalition move forward technologically. Camping, hiking, and canoeing since childhood, Tristan also feels very at home in the natural settings of the Carolinian Zone, and feels that CCC is the right place to be in order to help protect all of the things in nature that he loves.

Ben Porchuk - Carolinian Zone Ecologist

Ben Porchuk has over two decades of experience in wildlife biology and ecology, non-profit management, environmental consulting, and sustainable living. Working with rural threatened ecosystems in southern Ontario and in densely population urban centres, Ben has become both a highly experienced practitioner on ecological systems recovery and an strong agent for restoring urban ecology to greater resiliency. Now living in a densely populated area of a London, Ontario, Ben's property consists of over 150 species of native plants, including a wetland, all visited by many rare species of wildlife, seldom observed in the downtown of a city.

Follow Ben's Blog at

Lisa Boyce - Administrative Assistant

Lisa Boyce has lived in London, Ontario since the age of eight when her family moved from Hastings, England. After attending Fanshawe College in London for Accounting, Management and Business, Lisa opened her own business, Boyce Business Services, to use her skills and aid other small businesses with their management, bookkeeping and administration needs. Lisa and her husband Warren continue to raise their children Matthew and Alexandria in London and enjoy hiking, camping and bicycling so they can teach their children to enjoy and take care of this fabulous country we live in.

André Vashist

I am committed to shifting dynamics of power, equity and inclusion by transforming organizations and partnerships into networks and ecosystems. As an ecosystem facilitator of multi-stakeholder collaborations that nurture reconciliation, regeneration and resilience, I design and implement complex solutions between government, academic, business, finance and nonprofit sectors.

Melissa Taylor-Gates (she/her)

​Melissa Taylor-Gates believes foremost in empathy and compassion for those in the world around us. Her work centralizes around power inequality and authentic communication, often working with teams to improve processes and deepen community connections. She strive to foster safe spaces where people can learn from and care for each other in a holistic way. She has a Masters degree in Library and Information Science and a Certificate in Project Management from Western University.

Outside her work, she is a storyteller, archer, tea-lover, feminist, writer, and gamer.