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.

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.

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.

Stefanie So

Stefanie So

Joined Board in March 2021

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.

Chris Pavsek

Joined Board in October 2021

Chris has been a professor in the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU for the past 15 years where he teaches film history and courses on critical theory and the arts. He has recently completed a graduate degree in Resource and Environmental Management at SFU with a thesis on Indigenous Knowledge and environmental conservation. As a long-time teacher, he is very interested in SPES’s educational mission. Chris is also a filmmaker and is currently making a film about the ever-changing landscape of the state of Utah in the United States.

Indira J. Guha

Joined Board in October 2021

Indira was born in England, has lived in the Prairies & Scotland, and fondly remembers many Rockies and wilderness family trips. She takes a keen interest in animals and the natural world when she is not spending time in deal work. A focus on creating opportunities for young lawyers and newcomers led to guiding NFP’s Artists Legal Advice Services, and Skills for Change. She earned her law degree from the University of British Columbia, where she studied environmental law, and her English Literature degree from Queen’s University in Kingston. She is an IP lawyer, a founder and an executive producer.

Isabelle Groc

Joined Board in October 2021

Isabelle Groc is an award-winning writer, conservation photographer, book author, documentary filmmaker, and speaker focusing on wildlife conservation, endangered species, and the relationships between people and the natural world. With master’s degrees in journalism from Columbia University and urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she brings a unique perspective to documenting the impacts of human activities on threatened species and habitats.

Isabelle’s photography and stories have been published in magazines and news outlets all over the world. She is also passionate about engaging children and youth to experience the natural world and protect endangered species. She is the author of three non fiction children’s books, Conservation Canines: How Dogs Work for the Environment, Sea Otters: A Survival Story, and Gone is Gone: Wildlife Under Threat.

Isabelle has written and directed a dozen films on wildlife and nature. Her documentary, Toad People, has received international recognition including an Impact Panda Award at the Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, UK, the world’s biggest festival of natural history storytelling. Isabelle is a fellow of the Explorers Club and the Royal Geographical Societies of Canada and the UK. She grew up in France and now lives in Vancouver. She has enjoyed photographing the wildlife of Stanley Park for over 20 years.

For more information: visit her website isabellegroc.com and follow her on instagram: @isabellegroc.

Meaghan Lien

Joined Board in October 2021

Meaghan grew up in Richmond and has lived in Vancouver for the past ten years. She holds fond memories of family walks and bike rides around Stanley Park. She is passionate about the environment and was instilled with a love of nature and wildlife from her father.

She is currently completing her degree in Resource and Environmental Management at SFU and has spent the past four years supporting engagement with Indigenous communities across BC for various infrastructure projects.

On weekends she can be found outdoors hiking, gardening, or running around the Stanley Park seawall. She is excited about supporting the Stanley Park Ecology Society.

Haina Luo

Joined Board in October 2021

Haina is a post-secondary student at UBC, with academic interests in ecosystem restoration, resources evaluation, and geographic information system application on resources management. Haina majors in Master of Land and Water Systems, where she works on urban watershed management, aiming to mitigate watershed contamination caused by stormwater. For the past five years, she studied in the Faculty of Forestry at UBC and went on exchange at University of Copenhagen. During this time, she was able to collaborate with professionals from different fields and backgrounds. She enjoys volunteering at Stanley Park as a DIRT member and looks forward to getting more involved in the SPES board..

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.