CCC Team | Carolinian Canada

CCC Team

Michelle Kanter - Executive Director

Michelle Kanter has held the position of Executive Director of the Carolinian Canada Coalition since 2003 and has been involved with the Coalition since its inception in 1984. With 30 years of experience in wildlife research and land stewardship, she has worked with a broad range of stakeholders around the world on innovative conservation partnerships to save, steward and seed important habitat and rare species. Since she started at the Coalition, programs have grown five-fold, thanks to a strong team of individuals and groups that focus on ecosystem recovery in southwestern Ontario. With a home base in Dorchester Swamp, she enjoys exploring nature’s role in healthy communities, photography, hiking and writing. She currently sits on the Ontario Species at Risk Public Advisory Committee.

Kathryn McLeod - Marketing & Communications Strategy Specialist

Kathryn is a forest wanderer, activator, innovator, traveler, and awkward dancer. She has a professional background in the private and not-for-profit sectors and is a pioneering business marketer specializing in Social Enterprise.

Her life and professional experiences have led her down a different path than most. A few years ago, she had an insane dream that would require her to leave her job, sell all of her possessions, buy a one-way ticket to Africa and risk everything. In 2012, she made that dream a reality by co-founding a web-based initiative geared towards raising the awareness of Global Citizenship. Was she scared? You bet! Confident that traveling around the world would broaden her mind? Absolutely!

After hundreds of days spent living the digital nomadic life, she is committed to sustainable community development through social innovation and meaningful change. Now, she's super stoked to join the CCC team and support the Go Wild Grow Wild Expo!

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 lostandfoundinnature.com

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.

Stefan Weber, MSc- Ecologist and PhD Candidate

Stefan is a plant ecologist and horticulturalist with a keen interest in rare native plants, seed conservation and ecosystem restoration. In addition to his role with CCC, Stefan is the director and co-founder of the Ontario Plant Restoration Alliance, a small not-for profit organization that helps create ex-situ 'Seed Conservation Orchards' to support the restoration of uncommon and threatened plants. Stefan is in the final writing stages of a PhD in Ecology at McMaster University, where he studies grassland restoration, invasion biology, and climate adaptation in wildflowers. He has also worked as a Botanist for the Toronto Botanical Garden, the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, and the St. Williams Ecology Centre. Stefan has propagated over 200 species of native plants from seed and curates several garden collections of these species in Norfolk County and Niagara region.

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.

Melanie Issett - Impact Evaluator

Melanie Issett graduated from Western University in 2020 with an Honours BSc Environmental Science degree and Honours Business Administration degree from the Ivey Business School. Since graduating, Melanie has been conducting research in support of the Deshkan Ziibi Conservation Impact Bond. In Fall 2021, Melanie will begin the Master of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management program at the University of Waterloo. Melanie is very passionate about collaborative solutions to our current social, climate, and biodiversity crises and the intersection between economics, ecology, and sustainability. Outside of work and school, Melanie enjoys spending time with friends and family, going on adventures, cultivating her vegetable garden, practicing yoga, and hiking.

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