Val is a biologist and ecologist by training who has developed unique expertise in the emerging field of Urban Ecology. He is a founder and former Executive Director of the Institute of Urban Ecology at Douglas College in New Westminster. He is presently Academic Administrator of the Restoration of Natural Systems Program at the University of Victoria. Val is a leading proponent of urban ecology and urban biodiversity who has written extensively and presented internationally on these topics. He is also an environmental educator who has conducted numerous community projects promoting nature in the city.
Stuart is a chartered accountant working primarily in the real estate sector. As well as being a partner with a large Calgary based house builder and land development company, he also provides ongoing financial business advice to a handful of small businesses and partnerships he is associated with. Stuart has been a participant, Treasurer and Board member with the Marmot Recovery Foundation since its inception. MRF has created a unique platform and funding model for the rejuvenation of the wild population from less than 30 marmots in 2004 to greater than 300 today.
Stuart lives with his family in North Vancouver, and is studying The Garry Oak Gardener’s Handbook to restore a portion of their land on Hornby Island to native plants and hedge rows.
Deanna Mathewson is the International Education Director at International Student Volunteers. Deanna started out with ISV in 2002 as a Project Leader in Costa Rica and knew right away that this was the perfect fit. Deanna earned an M.Sc. in Biology at the University of Victoria studying the role of bears and salmon in forest ecology along the Pacific Coast of BC. She relocated to the west coast of Canada from her home town of Montreal where she completed a B.Sc in Zoology at McGill University. After teaching biology and ecology labs at UVIC for five years, as well as an extensive background in wildlife resaerch, Deanna was fortunate to find the ultimate position with ISV for combining experiential education, incredible volunteer opportunities, cultural exploration, adventure, and travel. She is in awe of all animals (except spiders) and considers herself very lucky to have had close encounters with so much wildlife around the world. She is hopeful of one day swimming with whale sharks, and witnessing the extraordinary narwhals.
Susan is a retired ecology and conservation biology professor from University of Alberta, now living on Salt Spring Island. Her interest in Garry Oak ecosystems was piqued by her work with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy where she is part of the “Bring Back the Bluebirds” project (maintaining over 200 nest boxes) and where she works with private landowners on land stewardship. She lives in a Garry Oak ecosystem and has recently fenced a portion of her land that she intends to restore to its native condition. Her professional career focused on research on a variety of bird species in the boreal forest and working with forestry companies and agriculturalists to best conserve bird populations on working landscapes.
Alyssa is fairly new to the Island and the west coast having moved from Toronto at the end of 2015. She holds a BA in environmental science from Royal Roads University and completed her diploma back east. Her environmental interests are broad and include sustainability, conservation and climate science, where she hopes to learn more about through participating and working with the GOERT Board. During her time in Toronto she worked for an environmental non-profit as a project coordinator and is keen on developing those skills further. Her future plans involve going back to school to achieve her Masters and finding her niche within the island community. She looks forward to bringing her strengths of grant writing and coordinating to the Board and has a big appetite to learn much, much more.
Amanda moved to Victoria from Toronto in late 2015 and couldn’t be happier living on the Island. She completed a BA in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a Certificate in Environmental Conservation from the University of Guelph. She enjoys volunteering her time with various groups completing restoration activities in the Southern Vancouver Island area and loves exploring all that the Pacific North West has to offer. Her environmental interests include public transit sustainability, conservation and ecosystem restoration, which she hopes to learn more about through participating and working with the GOERT Board and volunteering in restoration activities. Her future plans involve taking courses to gain hands-on restoration skills and knowledge and helping the Board to increase public and private interest in conservation and restoration of the Garry Oak Ecosystems. Amanda is excited to join the Board and utilize her extensive experience in administrative processes, event planning, and project coordination.