About KLT

Our Team

Our organization is led by a volunteer Board of Directors and supported by committees that are led by volunteers and supported by staff. These committees focus on identifying and assisting land securement, long term land stewardship, and developing resources and opportunities to help enhance those goals.  We have also established additional specific land stewardship and advisory teams for lands we own and care for.

For 2017, the Board of Directors has planned seven formal meetings which include quarterly review of finances and all aspects of the organizations work.  In addition, an Investment and Finance & Audit committees have been established to assist the Board in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities related to finance, audit, risk management and internal controls.

There are at least sixty dedicated and experienced people on our operational committees, Board, Board Committees and staff.   This does not include partners like Kawarthas Naturally Connected collaborative, where KLT is the lead agency, partnerships with academic institutions including Fleming College Ecosystem Management & Restoration Program and Trent University Institute for Conservation Biology and volunteer groups including the Kawartha and Peterborough Field Naturalists, local business, nonprofit associations, cottage associations and private landowners for trail agreements and stewardship.

We continue to build our volunteer resources, supported by core staff as a primary driver to deliver on our mission.  In 2016, we recorded over 90 volunteers contributing more than 6,000 hours.


Board of Directors

John Desbiens, P.Eng., Chair

John Desbiens, a professional engineer who has been practicing consulting and engineering over two decades, is the new chair of the Kawartha Land Trust.

He is President and CEO of Cambium Inc., a Peterborough consulting and engineering company that provides expertise and services in environmental, geotechnical, and construction monitoring.

John has lived and worked in both North and South America while focusing his expertise on the protection of the natural environment and human health.

Throughout his career, John has consistently been conscious of the complex interactions between our built environments and the surrounding natural environment within which they are embedded.

Much of John’s work experience has been in support of dozens of municipal, provincial, and federal government initiatives that must balance a broad spectrum of interests and priorities.

He has been a member of the KLT Board of Directors since 2016.

John McWilliams, QC, Vice Chair

John McWilliams retired as Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of Nexen Inc., and brings over 30 years of experience in the international oil and gas business. He has played a leadership role in governance, ethics and corporate responsibility, including the development of the International Code of Ethics for Canadian Business. He is a former Director of Transparency International Canada, former President of the Canadian Petroleum Law Foundation, Founding Director of Bank West, Chair of the International Conservation Fund of Canada, and a Trustee and Director for Lakefield College School.

Cheryl Lewis, Past Chair

Cheryl Lewis has retired from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources where she held the position of Director of Applied Research and Development. Previously, she had worked as a Fisheries Biologist in Lindsay. She has been living in Peterborough since 1995. Cheryl enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, canoeing, birding, cycling and fishing and is pleased to join KLT’s efforts to conserve key natural heritage features in the Kawartha region.

Don Gillespie CPA, CA, C. Dir., Treasurer

Don is a recently retired financial executive with over 25 years as an Assurance Partner with Ernst & Young. He has a B. Comm. from the University of Toronto, a CPA from the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, and has a Chartered Director (C. Dir.) designation from the Directors College. He is currently serving as a Director at Peterborough Regional Health Centre and as a member of their Stewardship, Audit and Board Accreditation Committees.

Rick Kemp

Rick is currently Creative Director at BrandHealth Communications in Peterborough. He received his education at Durham College, and has been in the advertising business for more than 25 years. He has created memorable campaigns for a long list of blue chip clients, including P&G, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Unilever, Bell, GSK, and Lilly and Labatt’s. His work has consistently appeared in national and international award shows.

Eva Kennedy, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Eva Kennedy joins the Board after retiring from a career with the Ontario Public Service. She holds a B. Sc. in Biology from McGill University and a M. Sc. in Zoology from the University of Western Ontario. In her work for the Ministries of Environment and Natural Resources and Forestry, Eva held leadership positions in environmental policy, science and information management. . She has been an active community volunteer and served on the Board of Directors of the Peterborough Social Planning Council.

Ben Sämann

Ben Sämann has been the General Manager & Owner of historic Viamede Resort on Stony Lake since 2010. Prior to joining the Kawartha community, he was hotel manager at Sir Sam’s Inn and WaterSpa. He attended the Hotelfachshule Belvoirpark Hotel Management School in Zurich, Switzerland. In addition to being a generous donor to the Kawartha Land Trust – and architect of “Ben’s Challenge” to increase our monthly donors – Ben is a director of the Golden Rescue Charity and has served on the Board of the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation.

Securement Committee:

  • Mike Hendren, Chair
  • Linda Willcox-Whetung
  • Bill Crins
  • Neil Hayward
  • Fiona McKay
  • Les Selby
  • Marie Windover
  • Jeff Fitzgerald

Stewardship Committee:

  • Al Sippel, Chair
  • David Bell
  • Ham Keillor-Faulkner
  • Ralph McKim
  • Mike McMurtry
  • Evan Thomas
  • Donna Wales
  • Kristie Virgo

Development Committee:

  • Eva Kennedy, Chair
  • Ronald Awde
  • Marnie Clement
  • Ian Deslauriers
  • John Platt

Finance & Audit Committee

  • Don Gillespie, Chair
  • John Desbiens
  • Alec Gowland
  • Cheryl Lewis

Investment Committee

  • Don Gillespie, Chair
  • Rick Brooks-Hill
  • Doug Eberlee
  • Alec Gowland

Nominating Committee

  • Cheryl Lewis, Chair
  • Alec Gowland
  • John McWilliams
  • Bill Morris

Meet our Staff Team