With a BSc in Biology and a broad career in national and provincial Parks, conservation, and nonprofits including the Vancouver Aquarium, Patricia has been at the helm of SPES since 2004. A long term resident of the West End, she believes that inspiring local urban dwellers to reconnect with nature is fundamental to building constituencies for global ecological conservation. During vacations from SPES, Patricia is a river rafting guide in northern BC, Alaska, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. She has organized expeditions for National Geographic Society, Wildlife Conservation Society, and UNESCO World Heritage. She is a member of the Explorers Club, and sits on the transboundary Steering Committee of Rivers Without Borders.
Conservation Projects Manager
Maria is a wildlife biologist with 16 years of experience in both urban and remote settings. She has a wide range of skills pertaining directly to conservation and public outreach in a variety of sectors, from parks and stewardship projects to remote baseline data collection projects. Over the course of her career she has planned and conducted many field data collection programs in support of conservation initiatives. She has identified and managed conservation priorities and public outreach programs for a community-based municipal conservation area and served as an advisor to identify wildlife and habitat conservation needs, develop monitoring programs and directed mitigation efforts on a number of projects.
Public Education and Outreach Manager
Celina joined SPES in the winter of 2013. With infectious enthusiasm, she inspires people around her to connect to the natural world. She attended the McGill School of Environment where she learned about our amazing and vital interconnections we have with the natural world. Celina has worked as an environmental educator in numerous settings – from Ducks Unlimited’s flat, waterlogged reserves outside of Winnipeg to the mountainous Regional Parks of Metro Vancouver. But, she gets the most excited about creatively connecting people with the ecology of the west coast.
School Programs Manager
Dylan joined the SPES team in the late spring of 2015. He has a BSc from UBC and a BEd from SFU and has worked as an environmental educator with many non-profits in Metro Vancouver and elsewhere, including Evergreen, Science World, Catching the Spirit, Gently Down the Seymour, and RiverWatch. Dylan is passionate about the benefits of being immersed in nature and seeks to give students around Metro Vancouver memorable opportunities to explore, learn, and play in Stanley Park. When he’s not at work, you might see Dylan biking around the city and beyond, camping in our beautiful forests, or gardening and talking about compost.
Fundraising & Communications Specialist
Kathleen joined SPES in early 2014 following a 25 year career in natural history interpretation, radio and television production, and, most recently, exhibit development for science centres and museums in the Middle East and United States. In her role as Fundraising and Communications Specialist, Kathleen combines her scientific curiosity with her innate ability to translate complex topics into engaging stories and experiences – ones that she hope will encourage support for SPES’ important work. Having traveled the world for work and pleasure, this native Vancouverite is thrilled to be based in one of the world’s most beautiful and natural urban parks.
Urban Wildlife Programs Coordinator
Greg comes to SPES with a diverse background in education, biology and ecology. With a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and English as well as a Master’s in Education, Greg has worked as a biology teacher for a number of years in both conventional settings as well as in outdoor programs. He has experience with a variety of ecological field work including: bird monitoring, sea turtle conservation, and most recently, as a grizzly bear guide/naturalist. A passionate naturalist and teacher, Greg is excited to be a member of the SPES team and help Vancouverites live harmoniously with urban wildlife. Outside the office, you might find him hiking with his wife and two dogs, bird watching, or photographing nature.
Kari joined SPES’s Conservation team in spring 2016, a natural fit following her time as a dedicated volunteer with SPES’s Communications department and Special Invasive Removal Team. Kari’s passion for environmental sustainability and collaborative problem-solving lead her to receive her B.A. in Environmental Geography in 2015, and now drives her to connect people with nature through mindful stewardship and creative engagement. She has diverse experience in childhood recreation, environmental non-profit research, and customer service, and is currently a member of her local municipality’s Environment and Sustainability Advisory Committee. Originally from Calgary, Kari has spent most of her life living in and exploring BC’s coastal ecosystems, and can regularly be found on local hiking trails, at her community garden, or snapping photos of everything the province has to offer.
Alicia Fontaine joined SPES in April 2015 as the Eco Ranger/Creatures of the Night Coordinator and stepped into her Volunteer Coordinator role soon after. Obtaining her BA in Environmental Geography from SFU, Alicia moved to rural Alberta where she spent two years working for a Watershed Planning and Advisory Council. Prior to that she delivered and facilitated wetland education programs with the BC Wildlife Federation, and rehabilitated wildlife for the Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C. Additionally, Alicia conducted ecological integrity monitoring for Parks Canada in Kootenay and Yoho National Park, where she became very familiar with amphibians, terrestrial birds, and wetlands. Throughout her three years as an environmental educator, Alicia has been fortunate enough to work with a diverse group of people and wildlife, including ring-tailed lemurs, long-toed salamanders, and brook trout. After spending several years in the boreal forest, Alicia is glad to be back in her home town of Vancouver, where she can spend her spare time hiking, camping, and exploring our beautiful coastal ecosystems.
Ariane joined the SPES team in April 2015 following the completion of her Master’s degree at the Université de Montréal. During her studies in Biology, she took as many opportunities as possible to immerse herself in exciting projects. This included a student exchange in Reunion Island, participating in conferences, and scientific scuba diving. For her Master’s degree, she investigated the skeletal development of feather stars with her field work taking place at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island. Soon after graduating, Ariane left her hometown of Laval and her mother language of French to come to Vancouver. She loves skiing, mountain biking and playing drums. Ariane is convinced that nature can inspire anyone who gives it a chance.
Emily joined SPES’s team of Environmental Educators in the fall of 2016, following two dedicated seasons as an Eco Ranger, among a variety of other SPES volunteer roles. With a BA from UBC in Geography: Environment & Sustainability, and Sociology, and a certificate in Creative Writing from SFU, Emily is particularly interested in the societal narratives we tell about the environment. She brings a varied approach to SPES’ Environmental Education team, with experience in scientific field research, environmental education, and creative writing mentoring. As a life-long Girl Guides of Canada member and leader, being immersed in the forests of coastal BC is where Emily first found her passion for the environment, sustainability, and wildlife. She is excited to facilitate that connection between students and nature in beautiful Stanley Park.
Hailing from the tropics of the Philippines, Dannie brings the experience of birds and geckos in the house and camping in the rainforest. Moving to BC opened doors for her love of biology, first with UBC’s Natural Resource Conservation B.Sc. program followed by bird surveys in Ladner, fending off polar bears in the high Arctic, and all manner of invasive species wrangling in between. Her first stint in nature interpretation was a work term at A Rocha Canada, and the tireless work of connecting people with nature stuck with her since.
Dannie joined SPES mid-2016 and is thankful for the loveliest workplace in the world. In her spare time, she reverts to a bookworm, tackles the yarn arts, studies creation care theology, and learns obscure martial arts.
Lauraleigh is of Coast Salish, Interior Salish, and Carrier First Nations descent. In spring 2016, Lauraleigh joined SPES via her environmental monitoring practicum. She passionately offers us her invaluable indigenous life experiences and integral teachings about Coast Salish historical interpretation and relevant present day interpretations to directly facilitate positive relationship building and ecological stewardship practices. She also generously shares a wealth of local flora and fauna use, teaching us how to nurture ourselves with nature, whether it be medicinal or practical, to harmonize our wellbeing with the natural world… and for this we raise our hands to express our “Coast Salish” appreciation.
Eco Ranger Coordinator
Julia joined SPES in the spring of 2016 after graduating from the University of Victoria with a double major in Environmental Studies and History. She is passionate about the environment and enjoyed learning about ethnoecology and natural history at UVic. During her undergrad, Julia worked for a variety of environmental and social not-for-profits. This has given her a wide range of experience, all the way from facilitating environmental education up north in her hometown of Fort St. John, to working with a homelessness and poverty advocacy group in Victoria. She received her first introduction to living in Vancouver while doing communications and outreach for one of the province’s recycling programs. This included travelling all over British Columbia from the Skeena-Queen Charlotte, to the Okanagan, to the Kootenays. These adventures have given her a deep appreciation of our ecologically diverse and beautiful province. Julia is thrilled to be back in Vancouver, exploring the city, mountains, and coast.
Gregory comes to SPES from the rigorous and exacting environment of a chartered accounting firm. Prior to that he was working for a non-profit organization as their head bookkeeper. Gregory is inspired by the ecological work that SPES performs for Stanley Park, especially the restoration of natural habitat such as improving waterways for salmonids. Gregory brings a wealth of operational expertise to SPES and is thrilled to be working for an organization that is making a positive difference to the environment. His interests include hiking, sight-seeing and archery.