Kawartha Land Trust’s (KLT) Board of Directors’ main objective is to manage the organization’s affairs by ensuring that KLT’s mission is at the forefront of all decisions and future development.
The Board of Directors reviews and approves recommendations from its committees in the areas of financial stewardship and risk management, human resources, monitoring key stakeholders, and overseeing community, education and advocacy.
Chair & Trustee
Paul Downs is the past president and previous owner of Nexicom Incorporated and Nexicom Systems Incorporated. Nexicom is a local telecommunication company with its head office in Millbrook, Ontario. Nexicom Systems is a supplier of telecom products to companies across Canada.
Paul was born and raised in the independent telephone industry. Upon completion of high school, Paul attended Lakeshore Teachers College and then Wilfrid Laurier University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then returned to the teaching profession and over a period of fifteen years was a teacher, Vice-Principal, and Principal. During those years, he obtained his Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from the University of Toronto.
Following the death of his father in 1978, Paul, along with his brother John, became involved on a full-time basis with the Nexicom companies. Since 1978, Nexicom expanded its service offerings and grew its staff from ten employees to over eighty.
Over a period of thirty-seven years, Paul served as President and/or Director of many Canadian and U.S. telecommunication associations. Additionally, he served over eight years on the Fleming Board of Governors, in roles of Vice-Chair, Chair of the Governance Committee, and Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. Paul and his family have properties in Millbrook, Mississauga, and the Township of Trent Lakes.
Vice-Chair & Trustee
Randy Northey is a business executive with over 35 years of legal, finance, and management experience. He helps operate a local Peterborough business, Health Care Relocations (HRC). Before joining HCR, Randy practiced commercial law at Peterborough law firm LLF Lawyers. Prior to that, he was a senior executive at a public real estate company based in Toronto.
Over the years, Randy has volunteered on a number of local boards, including Peterborough Housing Corp., Community Futures, and Art Gallery of Peterborough. He was raised in Peterborough and cottages on Mississauga Lake. Randy enjoys a broad range of outdoor activities, including alpine and Nordic skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, and running.
Treasurer & Trustee
George A. Gillespie is a Fellow Chartered Accountant and recently retired from a local accounting firm McColl Turner LLP. George was born and raised in Peterborough and is a graduate of Ryerson University with a Bachelor of Technology degree in Business Management.
George, with his wife, Ann, raised a family of four children and now has six grandchildren. Over the course of his career, George has volunteered on many local boards, including Community Futures, Peterborough Business Development Centre, and Fleming College.
George has also volunteered with the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants in Toronto and became a Fellow of the Institute in 2016. He is passionate about protecting our environment and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities. George was appointed as Treasurer of the Board of Directors in June 2019 and is also a Trustee of the Kawartha Land Trust.
Board Member & Trustee
Robert Brown had a career as a software engineer with a solid history of successful entrepreneurial start-ups and then moved into the global corporate world as senior management at Siemens in R&D and Business Excellence. Robert currently works with numerous community-based not-for-profits and provides support at his partner’s dental clinic.
As a lifelong environmentalist/conservationist, Robert is a strong advocate of protecting land and all the creatures that come with it. He enjoys a broad range of activities including gardening, pottery, cycling, skiing, hiking, and anything else outdoors no matter the weather.
Board Member & Trustee
Geri Blinick (she/her) has worked in the not-for-profit sector in environment, community health, housing and homelessness as a community developer, program manager, project manager, and researcher. Geri has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Biodiversity and a Master of Arts in Human Geography in which she worked with a First Nation to examine settler responsibilities in the context of ongoing access to Manoomin (wild rice) and Indigenous rights.
Geri is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work, and works at the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment where she facilitates cross-sectoral collaboration to improve tenants’ rights to healthy homes and children’s environmental health. Geri is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to walk in the woods, paddle, cross-country ski, garden, and read with her family and friends any chance she gets.
Board Member & Trustee
John Good brings years of experience in partnership development, community engagement, and government relations along with knowledge of stewardship and conservation programs, policies, and practices to his role as a Kawartha Land Trust Trustee and Director.
Prior to retiring, John was Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough. He has held positions with Parks Canada, Ontario Parks, and the Canadian Parks Council. He was also a volunteer Director of Otonabee Conservation and Otonabee Conservation Foundation.
Board Member & Trustee
Eric Howe has an educational background in economics/commerce and has worked as a senior executive for a number of manufacturing businesses including most recently Fisher Gauge, NEFAB, and Nobelgen.
He has been involved with Kawartha Land Trust as a volunteer for the past three years, including participating in stewardship activities on several properties and attending the 2017 retreat. He has served on a number of Boards, including the Peterborough-Hastings Trans Canada Trail Association Board.
Board Member & Trustee
Eva Kennedy joined the Board after retiring from a career with the Ontario Public Service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McGill University, a Master of Science in Zoology from the University of Western Ontario, and has taken the NFP Governance Essentials Program at the Rotman Institute of Management.
In her work for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and Forestry, Eva held leadership positions in environmental policy, science, and information management. She has been a lifelong community volunteer and served on the Board of Directors of the Peterborough Social Planning Council and the Lakefield Animal Welfare Society.
Past Chair & Trustee
John McWilliams is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and Queen’s Law School. His work experience was largely in the international energy business, retiring as Senior Vice-President, General Counsel, Nexen Inc. He has played a leadership role in governance, ethics, and social responsibility, including the development of the International Code of Ethics for Canadian Business.
He is Past Chair and Director, International Conservation Fund of Canada, Trustee of Lakefield College School, and a Director of Calgary Arts Academy. John and his wife, Susan, summer at Stony Lake, are avid birders, and passionate about conservation. In 2020, they donated the 32-acre McWilliams Family Property to Kawartha Land Trust.
Past Vice-Chair & Trustee
Al Sippel spent 32 years with the Ministry of Natural Resources where he worked in several biology and management positions. After retiring in 2009, Al spent over nine years on KLT’s Land Stewardship Committee, including three years as Chair of that committee.
He is past Vice-Chair of KLT’s Board of Directors and has been a member of the Board since 2019. He enjoys gardening, bird watching, reading, cooking, and travelling.
Trustees are active champions and ambassadors of Kawartha Land Trust (KLT). Trustees primarily support the organization and its Board of Directors in their fulfillment of KLT’s mission. They are responsible for the election of Board of Directors, approving amendments to the by-laws, receiving audited financial statements, and approving the appointment of the auditor.
Along with our Board of Directors, the following are additional trustees:
Chris Appleton is a retired lawyer and a seasonal resident of Sturgeon Lake. He has extensive legal and business experience, especially in real estate and commerce. Chris has been volunteering with a number of community groups since 2010, including Kawartha Conservation, several City of Kawartha Lakes committees, Kawartha Lake Stewards, and Fenelon Falls Arts Committee.
He was Chair of the Kawartha Land Trust Fundraising Committee for the successful campaign to raise funds to support the donation and ongoing maintenance of Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island.
Doug Eberlee has worked in the financial services sector for more than 35 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Engineering) from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration from Ivey Business School.
Doug’s two sets of grandparents began cottaging in the Kawarthas and Kawartha Highlands in the 1950s. Today, he and his family continue that tradition on a property that faces the timeless, limestone-layered shoreline that marks the north end of Kawartha Land Trust’s Big (Boyd/Chiminis) Island. Doug serves on the KLT Investment Committee.
Don Gillespie is a retired financial executive with over 25 years as an Assurance Partner with Ernst & Young. He has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto, a CPA from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, and has a Chartered Director Designation (C.Dir.) from the Directors College.
Don is a member of KLT’s Finance and Audit Committee, Vice-Chair of Fleming College, and Chair of the Audit Committee of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.
Chief Keith Knott grew up in Curve Lake and has devoted his life to the community as an employee, committee representative, councillor and Chief for over forty years.
He was married to his late wife Bubbles for sixty-two years, is a father of five, and is a Papa to twelve grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is a prominent figure in the Peterborough area as a champion of First Nation People and an active volunteer in community projects.
Chief Knott is a recipient of the Order of Canada, an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Trent University, and has received the Paul Harris Pin from Rotary International.
Chief Knott has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Anishinabek Nation. He has successfully negotiated land claims and has
been instrumental in construction projects such as Curve Lake’s Health Center, Small Business Centre, and non-denominational Church.
Chief Knott has received recognition from Selwyn Township, Township of Trent Lakes, City of Peterborough, and the County of Peterborough. He served eleven years on the Ontario Geographic Board and eleven years on the Peterborough County and City Board of Health.
Chief Knott is also a recipient of the Civic and Leadership Award from Trent University, as well as an honourary Alumni.
Chief Knott works with municipal, provincial, and federal governments and sits on committees and working groups with the Anishinabek Nation, Mississauga Nation, and the Chiefs of Ontario.
He continues to use his traditional knowledge
to ensure that the voices of Indigenous people are heard and respected.
Cheryl Lewis had a career with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, starting as a fisheries biologist in Toronto and Lindsay and retiring in 2010 from the position of Director, Applied Research and Development.
Cheryl lives in Peterborough. She enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking, birding, and cycling. She has served on KLT’s Securement Committee and is a past Chair of the Board of Directors and the Governance and Nominating Committee.
Blair Mackenzie retired in 2012 following many years of acting as a corporate general counsel in the Canadian media industry. Upon retirement, Blair and his wife moved to Lakefield.
A summer resident of Stony Lake, Blair is well-connected to the Stony Lake community. He has served as a board member or board Chair for a variety of charities.
Rudy Massimo has considerable expertise in the fields of external relations, fundraising, and leadership development. He has held senior leadership roles at several Canadian independent schools, including Shawnigan Lake School, Lakefield College School, and Bayview Glen.
Rudy was CEO of Outward Bound Canada, President of Peak Adventures Inc., and the Executive Director of Camp Kawartha. He recently launched Rudy Massimo & Associates, an international consulting firm.
Rudy is currently the National Volunteer Chair of the Principal Gifts Cabinet as part of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s $100 million campaign to Accelerate. Rudy received his Bachelor of Arts from Concordia University and his Master of Arts in Leadership from the University of Guelph. When he is not working, you are likely to find him hiking on local trails, cycling around Peterborough, or at home making his famous pizza.
Following a career in international development, Ralph McKim and his wife, Jean, returned to Canada, built their home on the Oak Ridges Moraine, and began restoring 260 acres of woodland, wetland, and pasture to a more natural state.
In 2011, they committed their property, known as Ballyduff Trails, to Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) protection through a Conservation Easement Agreement (CEA). In 2021, Ralph and Jean donated 150 acres of the property KLT to protect in perpetuity. The transfer of a further 70 acres is in process.
Ralph has been involved with KLT since 2003, serving as Chair of the Kawartha Heritage Conservancy for several years and subsequently as a member of various KLT committees.
Roz Moore began her career as a social worker, but later turned to environmental work, including environmental planning, policy, and monitoring. She began volunteering with the Kawartha Heritage Conservancy in 2005 and is a past chair of the Board of Directors.
Roz has been actively involved in the Kawarthas Naturally Connected collaborative, and is a founding member of the Environment Council for Clear, Stony and White Lakes.
Bill Morris is a graduate of Western University (Ivey) and received his CPA while with KPMG. For many years, Bill has been Chairman and CEO of The Stewart Group, a fifth-generation family enterprise, with diverse global operations.
Bill and his wife, Betty, moved to Peterborough in 1998 and have been active community volunteers, with many organizations. At present, the Morris’ spend most of their time in Collingwood, enjoying all four seasons of outdoor activities, within easy reach of their family cottage on Georgian Bay.
Gary Pritchard is a Conservation Ecologist & Indigenous Engagement/Placemaking Specialist from Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario. He is the founder of 4 Directions Conservation Consulting Services.
Gary loves to connect and educate through nature, especially with wildlife photography and storytelling. He believes we can all make conscious decisions on how we impact Mother Earth and the next seven generations. He spends much of his time educating the youth about “All Our Relations,” his favourite students being his two children.
Gary often acts as the bridge between the Indigenous Community and the western style of governance, having successfully collaborated with many stakeholder groups, institutes, government agencies, Indigenous communities, and political organizations to address environmental concerns and identify practical solutions.
Kate Ramsay is a Trent Graduate, retired shepherd, and a community volunteer. She has served the Board of Governors at Trent University, the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough and a host of organizations from agriculture to the arts, community policing to conservation, environment, education, children’s mental health and victims of violence in governance or advocacy roles.
Kate supports Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) because she has had a lifetime of interest in environmental stewardship and KLT is the organization best situated for her to contribute time and resources to encourage perpetual protection and enjoyment of key natural areas.
Evan Thomas is an environmental consultant focused on federal aquatic species and habitat protection policies, programs, and public outreach. He previously enjoyed a 30-year career with the Ontario government as a senior manager of provincial fisheries and wildlife programs, as well as field positions as a manager and biologist in northern and southern Ontario.
Within the Peterborough community, he has served on the boards of the Peterborough Symphony Orchestra, Habitat for Humanity, and supported the United Way. He has been a volunteer with Kawartha Land Trust (KLT) since 2012. A former member and Chair of the Land Stewardship Committee, Evan currently serves as a Trustee. He was the Lead Property Steward of KLT’s Ingleton-Wells property for over ten years and helped develop KLT’s Stony Lake Trails network. He and his partner, Ann, enjoy outdoor activities with grandkids, cycling, kayaking, hiking, photography, and global travel.
Tony Tilly was President of Fleming College from 2004 to 2018, a time of growth, new partnerships, internationalization, and campus renewal. His appointment at Fleming College followed a career in teaching and academic leadership at Seneca College.
While at Fleming College, Tony served on various college-related boards (Colleges Ontario, with a role as chair; Colleges and Institutes Canada) and also on Peterborough-based boards (Innovation Cluster; the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough) and campaigns (United Way of Greater Peterborough).
A particularly rewarding board role involved the founding years of the Kawartha Heritage Conservancy (now Kawartha land Trust) and then a Trustee role with KLT.
Tony and his consulting partner, Sonia Crook, were particularly happy to work with KLT on the development of the 2023-2030 Strategic Plan, a rewarding task in the context of current consulting work on strategy, governance, and organizational development.
Kawartha Land Trust’s (KLT) lead stewards play an incredibly important role in managing, monitoring, and caring for KLT-protected areas.
Lead stewards act as the main points of contact for our protected properties and keep the Stewardship Team updated on any emerging issues. They act as a liaison between Kawartha Land Trust and our visitors, while also keeping tabs on trail conditions, species at risk sightings, existing and emerging invasive species, vandalism issues and much more. Lead stewards can play an active role in restoration efforts, lead guided hikes, and plan projects with guidance and assistance from KLT’s staff and volunteers.
Becoming a lead steward will put you in contact with KLT’s network of conservation-minded professionals and allow you to connect more deeply with lands right here in the Kawarthas.
If you have a special connection to a Kawartha Land Trust property and would like to become involved as a lead steward, please email Hayden Wilson, Land Stewardship Manager, at [email protected] for more details about the role.
John Kintare joined Kawartha Land Trust as its Executive Director in 2019. John has over a decade of non-profit management experience from across the country and brings a broad spectrum of experiences from organizations and communities large and small. A permaculture enthusiast, he is dedicated to integrating elements of complex systems to provide benefit both to the ecosystem and the humans who rely on it.
John holds an Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and is a devoted lifelong learner. In November 2022, he was elected as an Ontario Land Trust Alliance (OLTA) Governor for a three-year term. John lives with his family in Bobcaygeon.
Thom Unrau is the Director of Community Conservation at Kawartha Land Trust. Thom has worked at KLT for five years and has played a key role in growing the impact of the Land Trust.
He has experience working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada in one of their priority natural areas in King City and has participated in a wide range of conservation work spanning from Northern Ontario to South Africa.
He believes that “land is the answer” to many of the biggest challenges we face and that we can rise to this opportunity by making conservation relevant and inclusive to all.
Anna Lee is the Director of People and Operations. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science and Biology from Trent University. Anna‘s early experiences involved working in the field of Outdoor Experiential Education in centres in British Columbia and Ontario. She has since pursued a number of interests and professional development courses in accessibility, fundraising, grant-writing, accounting and evaluation.
Most recently, Anna was the Project Manager for the Council for Persons with Disabilities, has volunteered with a number of organizations including Camp Kawartha and served on the Board of the New Canadian Center and the Youth Emergency Shelter. Anna lives with her family on the Indian River near Warsaw where she enjoys paddling, hiking and exploring natural spaces on a regular basis.
Hayden Wilson is the Land Stewardship Manager at Kawartha Land Trust. Hayden is an endlessly curious person with a passion for the conservation of our native species and spaces. Previously, he worked for the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station where he facilitated projects on the park’s flora and fauna; however, Hayden has a particular fondness for herptiles, bats, fungi and rare plant communities.
He specializes in species at risk monitoring, outreach, land management and holds two diplomas from Fleming College’s Environmental Technician and Environmental Technology programs.
Hayden spends as much time as possible immersing himself in the wetlands, forests and barrens of the Kawarthas via meandering canoe trips and long hikes. He strives to protect and enhance ecosystems to allow them to be more resilient against the effects of climate change.
Jeff is the Landowner Outreach Officer at Kawartha Land Trust. He holds an HBSc in Biology from Trent University, as well as both a Fish and Wildlife Technician Diploma and a Fish and Wildlife Technology Diploma from Fleming College.
Jeff has been an outdoorsman and naturalist his entire life, passionate about educating and sharing his appreciation for the environment. He began his career with the Resource Conservation, and Realty departments for Parks Canada, Trent-Severn Waterway, gaining experience in both conservation and environmental assessments, as well as landowner permits, and public education.
Kawartha Land Trust’s Database & Office Administrator, Alissa Paxton, comes to Kawartha Land Trust with over 15 years of experience in administration at local non-profits, most recently as a Development Associate at the YWCA Peterborough Haliburton.
Alissa loves hiking and gardening and is currently on a mission to learn more about wild edible plants and mushrooms.
Rachel Barrington is the Partners in Conservation Coordinator. She holds a BSc in Environmental and Resource Science from Trent University and a post-graduate certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Algonquin College.
For the last decade, Rachel has worked for several environmental organizations including conservation authorities, environmental consulting firms and Ontario Parks. She is invested in protecting species at risk and balancing land use to support human needs while preserving ecological integrity.
Outside of work, Rachel can be found horseback riding, birding, gardening, or hiking with her dog and cat.
Sam Clapperton is the Land Research Coordinator at Kawartha Land Trust. She holds an HBSc in Environmental and Resource Science from Trent University and an advanced diploma from Fleming College in the Ecosystem Management program.
Sam has experience working with conservation authorities, Parks Canada, and consulting firms to implement species at risk monitoring, ecosystem restoration and outreach. She is passionate about data-driven decision making in conservation and believes strongly in the power of GIS as a conservation tool.
Outside of work, Sam enjoys developing her naturalist skills. She has a strong interest in lichens, herptiles and birds and can be found paddling wetlands and hiking forests accompanied with her binoculars, field guides, and dog in tow.
Oriona Rendon is the Donor Relations Coordinator at Kawartha Land Trust. She holds a Diploma of Social Service Work and was the sole student of her class to graduate with an Indigenous Perspective Designation.
She has lived in the Kawartha Lakes area for the majority of her life and has always had a huge passion for the environment. In her spare time, she loves taking walks in nature or finding places to sit and admire the natural beauty of the land.
As an Indigenous woman, she sees the care for the Earth as both a way to connect with her culture and a responsibility as a human being. She looks forward to connecting with community members as we all work together to protect the land we love.
Dani Couture (she/her) is the Communications Manager at Kawartha Land Trust. She has 19 years of communications, administrative and project management experience in the not-for-profit, arts, and higher education sectors. Most recently, Dani was the Advisor, Registrarial Communications, in the Office of the Registrar at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.
She is grateful to be able to support the important conservation work of KLT’s dedicated staff and volunteers by sharing and telling their stories.
Elliott Groen is the Sustainable Forestry Coordinator in a shared position with the Ontario Woodlot Association and Kawartha Land Trust. He is RPF in training with Scope and a certified Tree Marker, Managed Forest Plan Approver, certified Seed Collector, and holds a Forestry Technician Diploma from Sir Sandford Fleming College.
Elliott brings previous experience working in forestry on crown and private lands, as well as working for not-for-profits and is passionate about balancing and optimizing the diverse values of forests and landscapes. Outside of work he is learning about varied interests and enjoys growing food, biking and playing music.
Megan Greenwood is the Land Stewardship Technician at Kawartha Land Trust. Her passion towards the environment led to a degree within the Ecosystem Management Technician program at Sir Sandford Fleming College and through this educational pathway she strives to learn more about the natural environments within KLT’s properties.
Megan has gained experience through working with Ontario parks for five years. During that time, she improved her species identification and land stewardship practices. While in the field, she is passionate about ecological integrity, biodiversity, and ecology restoration. Within the last year, she has stewarded many private properties and has enjoyed working with landowners to create a vision for their special lands.
In her spare time, you can find Megan in her garden, reading identification books, hiking, and using her chainsaw wherever it is needed.
Tanner Stevens is a Canadian Conservation Corps (CCC) participant joining Kawartha Land Trust this fall as an Intern.
Tanner comes from Avonlea, Saskatchewan, where his love for animals and the land led to his degree in Animal Bioscience from the University of Saskatchewan and his participation in the CCC program.
He has always been especially fond of the prairies and the mammals, birds, and plants of the region, but is very excited about his time here in the Kawarthas.
In his free time, Tanner can often be found outside camping or hiking with his binoculars and a camera roll full of plants. He cannot wait to explore more of the area and is busy familiarizing himself with this whole new world with every opportunity he gets.
Sé is in the KLT office once per week. For financial inquiries please email [email protected].