Meet our Board

Patricia Stevens


Formerly a director in the President’s Office at UBC, Patricia holds a BSc from UBC and an MBA from SFU. She has a record of successfully managing fast paced and complex environments and is an innovative and results oriented problem solver. Patricia has a solid reputation for high ethical standards, reliability, and realizing corporate goals and objectives. With a great deal of previous board experience – especially in helping organizations with strategic planning and goal setting – Patricia is enthusiastic about working with SPES.

Marisa Nichini

Vice President

Marisa is a communications and education consultant with a keen interest in the natural world. She is a lifelong learner and enjoys storytelling and teaching. Marisa earned her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Western Ontario and her Masters of Arts in science education from UBC. Her early career with a regional airline gave her the opportunity to see many parts of beautiful B.C. from the air and the ground. She spent eight years at the Vancouver Aquarium – first as a volunteer, then as an educator, and made her transition to communications and public relations work while there. Thereafter, Marisa held a senior communications role in health care for 15 years and was recognized for issues management, media relations and strategic planning skills. A dedicated parent, she believes it’s important to instill the next generation with a sense of wonder; to help them value nature, respect one another, and understand the need to be good stewards of our world.

Brian Herrin


Brian was trained in and began his teaching career as a senior high school biology teacher in the southern Okanagan. Two years later he came to the Vancouver area where his assignments were teaching intermediate and middle school students.  His final teaching position was leading a pre-school in Whistler working with 3 and 4 year olds!  He is presently a part-time faculty associate at SFU and a summer instructor at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.  Throughout his career he has been an engaging and lively speaker in elementary schools and at local, provincial, national and international science conferences.  He has taught at both SFU and UBC and was a guest lecturer at the University of Victoria.  He is the only Canadian to receive the Chemical Manufacturers Association’s Catalyst Award for Exemplary Middle School Science Teaching. He has also received a Prime Minister’s Award for Science and Mathematics Teaching and was the first recipient of the BC Science Teachers’ Association Exemplary Elementary Science Teacher award.  He was a founding member of  Stanley Park Ecology Society and, along with John Gray, has served on the board for all of its 26 years.

Judy Hoang


Judy is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in delivering accounting, audit, and advisory services to clients. She worked for one of Canada’s leading professional services firms where she worked with several large corporate organizations, as well as providing assurance and advisory services to non-profit organizations.  She currently works for a multi-billion dollar private company.  She is experienced at working with clients, technical and business teams to provide and develop innovative solutions to potential and existing issues. Judy also holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia. 

Tracey Leacock

Tracey grew up playing in Stanley Park, and it is always at the top of her list when hosting visitors. She is currently a Project Manager in Art for Social Change in the Faculty of Education at SFU and has more than a decade of experience as a faculty member and academic administrator in education.  Tracey’s volunteer work has included conservation-related projects in a variety of locations from right here at home in BC to the far side of the planet – tracking lemurs through the forests of Madagascar.  She has served on the boards of nonprofit and co-op organizations in Canada and the US and is currently a member of the SFU Senate.  Tracey holds degrees in cognitive science (BA, SFU) and psychology (MA, PhD, Princeton), and is a certified Project Management Professional.  When not enjoying the urban-nature of Stanley Park, Tracey can usually be found hiking the local mountain trails or sea kayaking.

Judith MacPherson

Judith volunteered as a Stanley Park Ecology Society educator with School Programs between 2000 and 2001 before joining the board. She has extensive experience in environmental education initiatives and curriculum development through her collaboration with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS), as a founding member of the Hebert Arboretum, and with the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She was also the inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Environmental Education Award given by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education. An elementary teacher for over 20 years, she is currently a full day kindergarten teacher with the Vancouver School Board.

John Gray

A native of BC, John began his career working with the Orphan Seal Recovery team and later moved to the Stanley Park Zoological Society where he coordinated the education programs with the Stanley Park Zoo. He began his career as a zookeeper with the City of Vancouver in 1992 and later worked in Special Events and Filming. John then took an active role in on site supervision and created the Vancouver Park Board’s Ranger Program. He has also co-led the Vancouver Park Board’s Wildlife department, coordinating park partner involvement, and developed best management practices for species at risk, as well and oversaw management programs for Canada goose, starling, great blue heron and beaver. Currently, John is the Assistant Manager in Animal Control, director of the City of Vancouver’s Emergency Social Services program, and team captain on DAT (Disaster Assistance Team). He is also involved with the Burrowing Owl Recovery Team of BC. John has been showcased on several natural history productions including Discovery and The Nature of Things for his work with Canada geese. When John has a free moment, he enjoys hiking in the North Shore Mountains.

Jude Grass

Jude has had a lifelong interest in all aspects of natural history and has worked as a Senior Naturalist for both BC Parks and the Greater Vancouver Regional District. She is actively involved in Nature Vancouver as Board member and Chair of the Birding Section Committee and with Nature BC as Coordinator for the Lower Mainland Region. Jude is also involved with the Wildlife Trees Stewardship program (WITS) and is a representative to Invasive Plant Council of BC, BC Field Ornithologists, Biodiversity Centre for Wildlife Studies, and the BC Breeding Bird Atlas. She is the Program Coordinator for the Birds on the Bay and Beyond Program which promotes nature related activities in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, and sits on both the BC Oregon Spotted Frog and the Western Painted Turtle Recovery Teams. Jude feels strongly about the role of nature education and the need to provide programs that enable participants to appreciate and protect the natural environment around them.

Tom McIllfaterick

Tom was born and raised in Vancouver, and fondly remembers family picnics and swimming lessons at Lumberman’s Arch. He earned an honours degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa, and has recently retired from a career as Executive Director and Board member of national not-for-profit organizations. Tom has been involved with SPES as a volunteer for the past two years, primarily as a member of the invasive species removal team.

Leora Fenner

Leora is a marketing and communication professional with extensive experience managing successful marketing strategies, communication projects and social media initiatives. She earned an honours degree in Marketing Management from the University of Guelph. Leora’s interest in Stanley Park led her to join the board in October 2011. She is excited to use her expertise to assist with SPES’s marketing and fundraising activities. Her favourite Stanley Park activity is taking an early morning bike ride around the sea wall.

Pierre Cenerelli

Pierre is currently Executive Director at the Graduate Student Society of Simon Fraser University. Between January 2012 and September 2015, he was the University and Government Relations Advisor for the Alma Mater Society of UBC Vancouver. He received a Ph.D. in Comparative History from Brandeis University. In 2001 he began a decade long career at the Quebec government as an International Affairs Advisor fostering increased scientific cooperation between Quebec and international researchers. Since 2006 he has also served as a director on a number of different non-profit organizations.

Pierre’s fascination for nature in general and birds in particular began in childhood. When he moved with his family to the Vancouver area in 2011 he naturally decided to start volunteering for SPES as a member of its monthly bird count. Thanks to this volunteering opportunity, he rediscovered his love of birding and wildlife photography.

Terry Lee

Terry is currently a Finance Manager with Ipsos Reid, one of the world’s largest marketing research agencies.  She has been in the accounting industry for over 8 years and her previous experience includes being a Controller for a global digital agency.  Terry is a Certified General Accountant who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.  Born and raised in Vancouver, she can often be found outdoors attempting to stay active. She is excited to be a part of Stanley Park Ecology Society.

Helmut Hager

Helmut grew up in Vienna, Austria and lived in Hong Kong before moving to Vancouver. He has 18 years of HR experience with a focus on recruitment and talent acquisition. He worked predominantly in the hi-tech industry and was a Talent Solutions Director for a telecom company and a Director of Talent Acquisition for an international analytics corporation. During his career, he managed enterprise-wide projects, was responsible for strategy, performance review and succession planning in a high-performing culture. Helmut has previously served on the board of a non-profit organization. In his free time, he enjoys travelling and a variety of sports and outdoor activities. Stanley Park has frequently been a destination for Helmut and his family.

Stephen Partington

At the age of five, Stephen immigrated to Canada, hit the bush to explore all the wonders of nature and joined the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Academic studies in botany, toxicology, agriculture, pathology and microbiology led Stephen to a healthcare career in diagnostic kit development, marine drug discovery, pharmacokinetics and applied microbiology. Post-graduate conservation and education efforts by Stephen as co-chair of the Vancouver Natural History Society conservation committee, chair of the Boundary Bay Conservation Committee and appointee to the District of North Vancouver Parks Advisory Committee led to Stephen being awarded The Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in recognition of significant contributions to compatriots, community and to Canada. Stephen was also awarded the Davidson Award for Conservation by the Vancouver Natural History Society. Since retiring, Stephen has served three years on the board of the Friends of Cypress Provincial Park Society and has made strategic contributions to the Boreal Centre for Bird Conservation, The Nature Trust of BC, WildResearch and the Stanley Park Ecology Society. Stephen has had an interest in conservation and education in Stanley Park since the 1990s.