What We Do

Through a diverse set of skills and experience, Stanley Park Ecology Society’s volunteer Board of Directors supports the organization to fulfill its mission as a leader in conservation and environmental education. 

SPES is governed under the British Columbia Society Act. Following a governance model, the volunteer Board sets direction through strategic planning; acts as a trustee of the organization’s assets ensuring it is well managed and fiscally sound; maintains legal requirements; and sets the standards of conduct for the organization. SPES is governed by a Board of Directors that includes members with expertise in education, ecology, and non-profit management.

Directors serve for a two-year term which may be renewed.

Who We Are

Tom McIllfaterick – President, Governance Committee Chair

Joined Board in October 2013

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 four years, primarily as a member of the invasive species removal team.

Rita Douglas – Vice President

Joined Board in October 2019

Rita retired from a career of community and international development that included working with Canada World Youth in India, Ecuador and Uruguay. A focus on creating opportunities for youth brought her to the YMCA of Greater Vancouver where she created youth employment programs, ways for newcomers to Canada to feel at home in Vancouver and Youth Peace Network which continues to bring young leaders from around the world to Vancouver for a three-month development program.

Volunteering creates and supports community, so she has sat on boards, baked cupcakes, made turkey dinners for newcomers, participated in all aspects of cooperative living and sold popcorn at Bright Nights. Being actively engaged in her community brings her great joy!

Genie Lam

Genie Lam – Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair

Joined Board in June 2020

Genie is a Chartered Accountant with over 10 years of progressive experience in the consumer goods industry. She has worked for one of Canada’s leading professional services firms where she led financial and audit engagements for private and public companies listed on TSX and NASDAQ. She has worked in Asia for several years and has helped take her company global through scaling operations, streamlining business processes, and establishing supply chain and sales partnerships.

Rebecca Bollwitt

Rebecca Bollwitt – Secretary, Marketing and Communications Chair

Joined Board in June 2020

Rebecca built her first website in 1997 and she has been blogging about life in BC since 2004 on Miss604.com. Over the last 16 years, Miss604.com has become the most award-winning blog in Western Canada with over 20 local awards, a national award from Notable.ca, and an international media award from Variety – The Children’s Charity. Rebecca has co-authored 2 books (Blogging to Drive Business 2010, 2012) and published 10,000+ blog articles about Metro Vancouver. Since 2013 Miss604 has partnered with SPES to offer a monthly guest-article series. She also crafts stories about arts, nature, events and culture in every corner of the province as a freelance writer. Rebecca has served on the Board of Directors of Variety BC since 2016 and is the VP, Marketing for the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame. She has called the West End home – and Stanley Park her backyard – for the last 15 years.

Judith MacPherson

Judith MacPherson – People Committee Chair, a Past President

Joined Board in October 2001

Shortly after moving to Vancouver while on a teaching sabbatical, Judith volunteered as a Stanley Park Ecology Society educator with school programs in 2000-2001 before joining the board. Judith 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 and the inaugural Above and Beyond Award from the Massachusetts Software Council Education Foundation, Inc. for outstanding efforts to enhance education through technology. She was presented the inaugural Ocean Educator 2018 award from OceanWise (Vancouver Aquarium), for leading her students in 17 years of twice annual shoreline clean-up education and learning opportunities.

John Gray

Joined Board in 1994

A native of BC, born in North Vancouver he 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. John joined the City of Vancouver in 1992, where he began his city career as a zookeeper. John later worked in Special Events and Filming facilitating the use of more than 200 plus parks and coordinating sport field bookings and picnics. John then took an active role in on site supervision, which led to the creation of the Vancouver Park Board’s Ranger Program, a program he designed and evolved into a team of more than 37 park rangers. John has also co-led the Vancouver Park Board’s Wildlife department looking after both habitat and conservation incentives, coordinating park partner involvement, and developing best management practices for species at risk, as well as overseeing Canada Goose, Starling, Great Blue Heron and Beaver Management programs.

John is currently the Manager of Animal Services for the City of Vancouver, supervising more than 30 Animal Control staff and overseeing the very busy Vancouver Animal Shelter. John is also a director of the City of Vancouver’s Emergency Social Services program and a team captain on DAT (Disaster Assistance Team). He is also involved with the Burrowing Owl Recovery Team of BC, a captive breeding program with 3 breeding facilities, responsible for bringing Burrowing Owls back to their native grassland habitats. John has also been showcased on several natural history productions including Discovery, and Suzuki’s Nature of Things for his work with Canada Geese.

Ian Van Den Dolder

Joined Board in November 2017

Ian currently practices law as an Associate with a law firm in downtown Vancouver, and advises on a range of transactional matters, with a focus on corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, and general commercial matters for both mature and start-up companies. Ian has assisted companies with reorganizations, financings, real estate transactions, incorporations and corporate restructurings. Ian enjoys connecting with nature by hiking the rugged landscapes of British Columbia.

Martin Podolsky

Joined Board in October 2020

Martin is a Professional Geologist (Ontario) with an honours degree from the University of Melbourne and a Project Management Institute Project Management Professional with over 35 years of experience in the diamond industry, primarily with the De Beers Group. He has been involved in over 35 projects across six countries including Canada, Australia, South Africa, Botswana, the Peoples Republic of China and India, from grass-roots exploration through to mine Feasibility studies and Technical Services operational support, that required working under the international ISO 14001 Environmental Management and ISO 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Standards and Systems. Originally from Australia, Martin has been living in Vancouver since 2004 and is currently an Associate with a global consultancy mainly involved in the earth and water resource industries, working with the primary diamond group. Martin has enjoyed being a regular volunteer with the SPES Species Invasive Removal Team since 2017.

Martin Addison

Martin Addison

Joined Board in December 2020

Martin is a long-time resident of Vancouver’s West End and a passionate supporter of the ecology and well-being of Stanley Park. He is a recently retired fundraiser in the human services sector where he held senior positions as Executive Director at the Mood Disorders Association of BC, and, prior to that, was Chief Development Officer at St. John Ambulance and Vice President, Organizational Planning & Operations at United Way of the Lower Mainland. He has considerable experience in the business sector, governmental sector at all levels, and in the not-for-profit sector.

Martin is passionate about lifelong learning, human rights and the arts. This led to him studying sacred art in Rome for three months in the summer of 2016. Martin is an active skydiver, opera fan and student of Italian culture.

Jennifer Preece

Jennifer J. Preece

Joined Board in October 2020

Jennifer Preece lived on Vancouver Island as a child but after many years of living in the UK and the US she now lives in Vancouver with her husband. Jennifer is a professor and dean emerita at the University of Maryland where she was dean of the College of Information Studies (Maryland’s iSchool) for 10 years. She has a degree in environmental biology and a doctorate in educational technology. She is author of several books and academic papers including a co-authored book entitled “Interaction Design: Beyond Human Computer Interaction”, that is a leading text in universities across the world. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Citizen Science:Theory and Practice”. She is an educator and researcher and has taught students from high school through to post-doctoral level. Jennifer is passionate about nature and she enjoyed volunteering on shore bird and other bird counts in Stanley Park. She looks forward to deepening her involvement with Stanley Park Ecology Society.

Beth McKeown

Elizabeth (Beth) McKeown

Appointed March 17, 2021 to complete Natalie Cushing’s term; inaugural term will begin at the 2021 AGM

Beth is retired from a satisfying career in Human Resources for the federal government, with her most recent staff position being Director of Human Resources for the B.C. Region of Justice Canada. This was followed by a few of years of consulting work, mostly in the Yukon and in Nunavut. She is a graduate of SFU and has a post-graduate diploma for ESL instruction (CELTA). She values the importance of continuous learning, most recently on courses and private reading to complement her training as a volunteer docent at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown. Beth is also a director on a local board for the Arctic Arts and Cultures Society. She enjoys having Stanley Park in her backyard and particularly loves the fact that the park is linked to the ocean.

Stefanie So

Stefanie So

Appointed March 17, 2021 to complete Marisa Nichini’s term

Stefanie is a Chartered Professional Accountant who started her career with one of Canada’s leading professional services firms where she provided assurance and advisory services to several large public and private corporate organizations.  She currently works for a multi-billion-dollar private company providing a leadership role in analyzing technical accounting guidance, execution of accounting functions and reporting results, and process and controls improvements.  She also recently led a Finance Transformation initiative that transformed the way the finance organization delivers services to the business.  Stefanie is the Board Treasurer of her daughter’s not-for-profit daycare where she recently played a key role in relocating the daycare to its newly constructed home on Sea Island, preventing a permanent closure.  She looks forward to more outings at the Park with her husband and two daughters.

Siobhan Powlowski

Siobhan Powlowski

Appointed March 17, 2021 to complete Ron Goetz’s term; inaugural term will begin at the 2021 AGM

Siobhan has worked with a variety of social service and environmental charitable organizations across British Columbia, with focuses ranging from environmental education to disability support services. At present, she is the Executive Director of nearby Gordon Neighbourhood House, where she places great emphasis on supporting a sustainable relationship between people and place. Outside of work, Siobhan is an avid birdwatcher and takes great joy in exploring the life (big and small) within Stanley Park. She is looking forward to serving SPES in any capacity that she can.

Judy Hoang

Judy Hoang – Advisor to the Board, Past Treasurer

Joined Board from 2005 – 2017. Joined as Advisor in March 2017.

Judy is a Chartered Accountant that started her career with 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 where she assists in streamlining business processes to achieve business goals and creating value within the business and have also led a Finance Transformation initiative that transformed the way the finance organization delivers services to the business. 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. Born and raised in the Greater Vancouver area, Judy loves spending the weekends at the park with her husband and two children.

Join Our Board!

Our Board is comprised of caring individuals from our community. Board recruitment starts in June, and official nomination voting happens at the AGM in October. 

Requirements of Board Membership

  • Maintain an active SPES membership
  • Commit to the work of the SPES
  • Attend Board meetings and strategic planning sessions
  • Become fully informed about SPES’ mission as well as its organizational matters
  • Commit to volunteering at least six to ten hours per month
  • Attend the Annual General Meeting
  • Be informed of, and publicly support, the services provided by SPES and publicly support them
  • Agree to serve on additional committees as required
  • Support special events and participate in fundraisers

If you are interested to join us, please email us and share what skillsets you are interested to offer.