Nature Canada’s Board of Directors
Nature Canada is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors representing various provinces, regions, backgrounds and areas of expertise to help guide our organization. Policy resolutions proposed by the board are voted upon democratically by Nature Canada members during our Annual General Meeting.
RICHARD YANK – Chair
Richard Yank has recently relocated from Australia to Ottawa at the end of his career with Alcan Inc. He joined Alcan Inc after graduating with a B.Sc in Chemical Engineering. Yank held a variety of positions within Alcan and retired as the president of its bauxite and alumina operations in the Pacific Region. A former Nature Canada director, he is interested in wilderness and habitat conservation, biological diversity, and climate change.
SHEEFRA BRISBIN – Vice-Chair
Sheefra Brisbin is the Founder and President of Greenbridge Group – a Public Affairs Consultancy focused on environmental issues, located in the heart of Canada’s National Capital Region. Greenbridge offers a range of strategic government relations and communications services to a wide variety of clients such as: Environment Canada, NATO, Rotman School of Management, RISE, Siemens Canada, RX&D, GE and Mattamy Homes.
Sheefra began her career communicating the views of the energy industry on environment, health and safety issues. She was recruited by the Federal Minister of the Environment to serve as a Special Assistant, Conservation and Protection, Policy. She acted as an advisor on issues such as Climate Change and Ozone Depeletion and represented Canada at international meetings including the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). She also served as a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Industry Canada and the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.
In 2014, Sheefra was appointed to the Board of Directors of Nature Canada and invited to be a founding “Women of Nature”. In 2015, she was appointed Vice-Chair of the Board.
In November 2015, Sheefra travelled to Paris to participate in COP21 as a NGO delegate and in March 2016 she travelled to Manila, Philippines to train under former Vice-President Al Gore and become a certified Climate Reality Project Leader.
RÉAL BISSON – Director
Until October 2007, Réal Bisson was the National Coordinator of the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk with the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada. Prior to his last assignment, he served for one year as the National Coordinator of the Ecological Gifts Program of Environment Canada. Over the course of his career, Réal has also occupied a variety of positions linked to the conservation and enhancement of wildlife with the Quebec Regional Office of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Réal was received as forest engineer from Laval University in 1972. He has been involved as a volunteer with the direction of various non profit organizations related to heritage interpretation, community tree planting, birds watching and others. Since 2013, he is the current president of QuébecOiseaux. He is well aware of various challenges that a non governmental organization dedicated to nature must afford to better serve the community.
SABINE DIETZ – Director
Sabine holds a Baccalaureate in environmental & resource studies from Trent University, and a Master’s in Environmental Studies from U de Moncton, and is currently finishing her PhD in biology at UNB in Saint John. She has worked as program and project coordinator on biodiversity conservation & education projects since the mid 1980’s, as co-program lead of the Maritimes Important Bird Areas program in the late 1990’s, as Executive Director of a nature centre (2005-2010), and on climate change adaptation on various projects over the last 6 years. She is also co-founder of Aster Group (astergroup.ca), an environmental services co-operative, and sits on the Board of Directors of the NB Co-operative Enterprise Council.
She was not only instrumental in building Nature NB’s capacity towards becoming a fully staffed organization many years ago, but she has also been engaged on various volunteer level with the organization for well over 10 years, as magazine editor, treasurer, and for the last 3 and a half as president (now co-president). Her volunteer work is focused on building capacity in NB’s ENGO sector, and working and volunteering with a number of NBGOs, such as a local organization focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability (EOS EcoEnergy), and our provincial Environmental Network, which is likely the most active network in Canada. Sabine loves backpacking, biking, kajaking and canoeing, and cross-country skiing in the winter. Her and partner Roland Chiasson have to grown children, both of them at University.
SUSAN R. EATON – Director
Susan R. Eaton is a geologist, geophysicist, journalist and polar snorkeler. Since 2010, Susan has participated in eight expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic, studying climate change, ocean change and global sustainability issues. A former executive in several junior oil and gas companies, she currently consults to international energy companies and equity financiers.
Susan began her broadcast career as an on-camera reporter with CBC-TV. Today, she reports on science and technology, renewable energy, the environment and ecotourism. A member of the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, her articles and photographs have been published in American and Canadian magazines and newspapers.
A valued member of Nature Canada since the early 1990s, Susan has also volunteered for more than 25 years in Canada’s conservation sector, protecting Canada’s wild spaces and the animals who call them home. She’s a current Nature Canada Board Director and an active Women for Nature Caucus member. As the founder and leader of the all-female Sedna Epic Expedition—a multi-year project studying disappearing sea ice in the Arctic— Susan has led two polar snorkel and dive expeditions, exploring the offshore of Labrador, Greenland and Nunavut. Team Sedna’s sea women have delivered their hands-on, ocean outreach program in Inuit communities—using mobile aquariums populated with sea critters, underwater robots equipped with video-cameras, and snorkel safaris—with a special focus on empowering Inuit girls and young women, the future leaders of the North.
KHALIL GULIWALA – Director
Khalil Guliwala is a non-profit junkie with 6 years of communications and fundraising experience. Currently at the McGill University Health Centre Foundation (MUHCF), he previously fundraised for animals at the Montreal SPCA, and handled demographic data analysis and knowledge translation at the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH). In his free time he volunteers at non-profits, including Action Against Hunger (ACF), Artistri Sud, and Adoption Council of Canada (ACC). An avid reader, he measures the seasons by the number of book sales occurring (Fall is glorious!). He currently lives in Longueuil, Quebec with his wife, daughter, and three cats.
DR. RIAD MANSOUR – Director
Dr. Riad Mansour was born in Antinginuish, Nova Scotia and has been practicing medicine in Ottawa, Canada for the last 30 years. His love for nature can be traced back to his childhood memories of hiking in the mountains of Lebanon or enjoying the ocean playground of Nova Scotia. Dr Mansour believes in the important connection between health and nature and has dedicated his family practice to helping patients lead healthy and fulfilling lives. He believes in the value of connecting with nature and is an avid walker and hiker.
BOB PEART – Secretary
Bob is a biologist, and he has worked in the fields of parks management, land use planning and environmental education for nearly 40 years. Currently, Bob is Executive Director of Sierra Club BC. Previously he has worked for Parks Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, the BC Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, the BC Outdoor Recreation Council, the Royal BC Museum and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-BC Chapter. Bob has volunteered for numerous organizations related to these fields, such as the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and the Grasslands Conservation Council of BC. In recognition of his work and volunteer contributions Bob has been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the J.B. Harkin Conservation Medal.
WILLIAM (BILL) ROSS – Treasurer
Bill Ross is a business executive with Vercerta, a firm that specializes in risk management services, with particular focus on business economics and environmental issues.
In prior roles, Bill held executive management positions, specializing in Finance and Information Technology, with Enbridge Inc., a leading energy infrastructure manager; W.W. Grainger, a pre-eminent industrial distributor; and, Unilever, a global provider of consumer products.
Bill is a Chartered Professional Accountant, holds an MBA (with distinction) from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Stirling in Scotland.
Bill is also a Chartered Director and, most recently, is past Chair of the Board for Financial Executives Canada.
Bill is the current Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee for the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, whose mandate is to advocate economic and environment policies to promote sustainable development in the region.
As a keen participant in outdoor activities, Bill has a passion for the preservation of wildlife and their natural habitat. I am a regular hiker, cross country skier, long distance cyclist and runner who relishes the natural beauty of the outdoors.
CLIFF WALLIS –Director
Born in London, UK, Cliff moved to Calgary in 1957 and has lived in Alberta ever since. Cliff has operated his own Calgary-based environmental consulting firm, Cottonwood Consultants Ltd. since 1978. He is a Professional Biologist with a diverse background in protected areas, ecotourism, environmental assessment, species at risk, and environmentally significant areas. As a volunteer, Cliff has served on the boards of environmental NGOs nationally, provincially and locally. He has worked proactively with federal, provincial and regional government agencies, non-profit organizations, indigenous communities, local landowners, and businesses. Cliff has been involved with precedent-setting legal actions related to species at risk and environmental assessment. He has international experience working on environmental protection in Cameroon and China and in dialogues in international environmental fora. He is currently focusing efforts on Greater Sage-grouse recovery in Canada’s grasslands.
TUMA YOUNG – Director
Tuma Young was born into the Squirrel clan for the Rabbit clan and grew up in the Malagawatch First Nation. He was raised traditional by his parents, the late William Fred Young and Veronica Phillips, trapping, hunting, fishing and gathering for his family.
Tuma subsequently obtained a Diploma in Addictions Counseling (Dalhousie University), a B.A. in Mi’kmaq Studies (Cape Breton University), an LL.B. (University of British Columbia), and an LL.M in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (University of Arizona). He is currently completing his SJD (Dalhousie/University of Arizona).
Tuma became the first Mi’kmaq-speaking lawyer in Nova Scotia when he was called to the bar in 2001. He currently teaches as an Assistant Professor at Cape Breton University.
Tuma’s community involvement is extensive and includes the following activities:
- Board Member, Nova Scotia Bird Society
- Senator, Cape Breton University
- Pro Bono Legal Clinic, Cape Breton University
- Mi’kmaq Traditional Knowledge holder in plants, birds and medicines (Mi’kmaq Ethnobotanist)
- Member, Photographic Guild of Nova Scotia (particular expertise-photographing birds)
- Member, Canadian Water Network Research Project: Integration of Traditional & Western Knowledge for First Nation, Inuit, & Metis Water Management.