Board of Directors | Carolinian Canada

Board of Directors

Carolinian Canada Coalition is a federally incorporated charity. The Board includes 9-18 Directors with a balance of Individual and Group membership classes representing diverse interests and sectors.  Directors may be elected by members or appointed by the Board until the next Annual General Meeting. 

Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting. Written and seconded nominations from members in good standing should be forwarded to 30 days prior to Annual Meeting. 

Updated September 2020 

Carolinian Canada Coalition Board of Directors

Board Groups

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


Chair – Dawn Bazely
Vice-Chair – Mari Veliz
Treasurer – Chris Turner
Secretary – Owen Williams
Past Chair – Don Pearson 


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.

Mari Veliz

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.

Owen Williams

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 in 2007 and became Chair of the Board. He is now Past President and retired from that Board in 2019. He also was involved in the forming of Carolinian Canada up to the time of it becoming incorporated and then returned to the Board a few years later and is now in his 3rd three-year term as a Director. His experience enabled him to become an entertaining speaker. Owen enjoys photography and canoeing, camping, hiking and traveling with his wife, 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

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 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 in Baden Ontario.

Don Pearson

Don Pearson recently retired as General Manager of the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, after more than forty years working in Conservation Authorities throughout Ontario. From 1981 until 2003, Don served as General Manager of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, where under his leadership the Authority earned a reputation for excellence and innovation. With the support of both Conservation Authorities, and the unanimous support of their member municipalities, the Thames was designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2000.

Following graduation in 1975, Don joined the Ministry of Natural Resources as a Resources Manager in Training at the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, followed by stints at the MNR Central Regional Office in Richmond Hill, Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, and the Ausable-Bayfield Conservation Authority. His career also included seven and a half years as General Manager of Conservation Ontario, during which time the Clean Water Act was proclaimed and the substantial work of preparing Source Protection Plans for nineteen regions was completed. He is a past Chair of the Boards of the Canadian Water Network, and Carolinian Canada; and also served on the Board of Ontario Heritage Trust; the Ontario Biodiversity Council; and Trees Ontario, now Forests Ontario.

Don earned a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario in 1998, and holds an Honours Science Degree from the University of Waterloo (1975).

Chris Hummel

Chris is an environmental lawyer at the law firm, Gowling WLG LLP. He represents municipalities, businesses, Indigenous and community organizations on a wide range of matters in the areas of environmental, land-use planning, energy, Indigenous and northern law. Chris graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science (B Sc) in Biology and Anthropology and a Bachelor of Education (B Ed). He taught high school in Toronto and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut before attending Osgoode Hall Law School and graduating with a joint degree in law (JD) and Environmental Studies (MES). As a law student, he worked at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association in Iqaluit, Nunavut. He is learning French and Inuktitut.

Vanessa Alsop

Vanessa Alsop has a Masters in Environmental Studies (York University), Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Surrey University, UK) and Bachelor of Science (Joint Hons) (University of London, UK). She began her work in conservation as a forester in Ecuador in 1987, working on the Rio Mazan Project - an Anglo-Ecuadorian project for forests and the people of the Andes. She has subsequently worked in marketing and communications (agency side) and also spent time as a biology teacher teaching in inner city schools in London, UK. In Canada she has worked in marketing (Faculty of Education, York University), provided professional development for teachers on sustainability, has been actively working with ENGOs such as, ACER (on the Board), EcoSource and Earthroots. Vanessa works as a Course Director at both OISE and YorkU Faculty of Education and in addition, has taught science and run the school sustainability program at the Dragon Academy for ten years and is now the school's Guidance Counsellor.

Nicole Baldwin

Nicole Baldwin started as Forest Ontario’s Restoration Programs Coordinator in September, 2019 and began her current role as Forestry Programs Manager in May, 2020. She grew up in rural Saskatchewan, moved to Toronto in July, and completed her MSc. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Saskatchewan in October. Nicole has always been passionate about the environment, having grown up surrounded by nature. Additionally, coming from a farming community, she has also always had an appreciation for effective resource management.
In her spare time you will find Nicole cycling, hiking, canoeing, and sailing. She has been a member of the Royal Canadian Navy for 8 years and has deployed both domestically and internationally as a Naval Combat Information Operator.

Brandon Doxtator

Brandon Doxtator is a bear clan member from the Oneida Nation of the Thames. Brandon currently sits on the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) Youth Council, as well as working for the Oneida Nation as the Environment and Consultation Coordinator. In 2016, Brandon served a two year term as an Elected Councillor for the Oneida Nation of the Thames, and ever since has been passionate about working with youth, and protecting and enhancing critical habitat within Southwestern Ontario. Through his school, professional and life experiences, Brandon is always interested in talking about Anthropology, History, Indigenous issues, Treaty and Inherent rights and Consultation practices and protocols.

Maria Ramirez

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.

Alistair MacKenzie

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.

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.

Kristyn Richardson

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 LPBLT, 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.

Dr. Michael John

Michael John retired in May 2018 from his positions as Division Head, Medical Microbiology at London Health Sciences Centre and Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Western University. Michael has worked as a Health professional on numerous local, Provincial and Federal Committees. Growing up in South Africa, Michael developed a love of nature. He has been a member of the Dorchester Millpond Committee since 1997 and has worked on habitat restoration, tree planting and turtle rescue for many years, learning from partnerships with UTRCA and Carolinian Canada members. He is also a member of The Nature Conservancy, Thames Talbot Land trust and World Wildlife Fund. Michael's interests include:
Nature Macro-Photography, Hiking, Kayaking, bird-watching, adventure travel with his wife and retirement time with his 2-year old granddaughter.

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