Watersheds Canada staff
Robert’s conservation career started when a college internship earned him a full-time communications role at the OFAH. After 25-years with the OFAH, Robert now proudly joins Watersheds Canada as the Executive Director. Robert is the author of a national award-winning outdoors program. He was on the communications frontline on some of the biggest topics to face our natural resources. As a senior nonprofit association director, he developed major branding campaigns, introduced new corporate partnerships, and modernized revenue generation programs to support conservation. In 2009, Robert achieved “Certified Association Executive (CAE)” designation from the Canadian Society of Association Executives. Robert is a Public Relations graduate from Durham College, and a Skills Canada-Ontario alumni. He is an accomplished speaker and writer.
As a child, Robert’s passion for freshwater was developed along the banks of his hometown trout stream. Today, his family proudly owns heritage property near Peterborough where they produce maple syrup, manage forests, and host environmental field trips for high school students. Robert’s outdoor passions include fishing, backcountry camping, as well as hunting with his two boys and English Setters.
Senior Development Lead
Deborah will be working with Wintergreen Studios and Watersheds Canada as a shared Senior Development Lead. Deborah has had a lifelong connection to nature and the environment, though her professional journey has taken her through many other organizations and sectors – something she is today passionate about contributing to the environmental sector. Deborah has art and art history degrees from the University of Toronto and University of St Andrews, Scotland, and has worked in communications and fundraising for the health, arts, communications and charitable sectors over the last two decades.
Over the last few years, Deborah has resparked her love of nature by volunteering at the Toronto Wildlife Centre’s nursery and starting an environmental certification program through the University of Guelph. In her spare time Deborah can be found on a trail somewhere with her nearest and dearest, including her two senior dogs.
Habitat and Stewardship Program Manager
Melissa Dakers joined the Watersheds Canada team in 2015, after taking time to raise her two sons. During that time, Melissa was a very active member of the Mississippi Lakes Association, where she was the Water Quality & Lake Steward on the board of directors for twelve years. She was an enthusiastic member of the Mississippi Lake Plan Committee, where she has lent her expertise to the completion of the Mississippi Lake Plan, and was an active co-chair and member of the Environmental Committee.
Melissa studied Natural Resource Management at Guelph University and Ecosystem Management at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay. Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority employed her for 6 years directly after graduation, as a Water Quality Technician and Watershed Monitoring Supervisor. Liaising with other agencies, partners and lake stewards to promote and educate them on environmental practices is her passion. It is a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together.
Melissa lives and plays on Mississippi Lake with her husband and two boys, year-round. When not at home crafting, you will find her camping or paddling around in her kayak and always with a smile on her face.
Natural Edge Program Manager
Chloe Lajoie is an outdoor enthusiast who has been studying and practicing Environmental Stewardship since 2009. She attended Nipissing University and graduated with an Honours Degree in Environmental Biology and Technology. As part of her program, she also attended Canadore College and completed the Environmental Technician – Protection and Compliance Program. While completing her studies, Chloe was able to take part in the Undergraduate Research Conference in 2013, presenting her thesis on the effects of Forest Tent Caterpillar outbreaks on Trembling Aspen. In the past, she has worked at Ferguson Forest Centre and Lake Superior Provincial Park.
Chloe joined the team at Watersheds Canada in 2015 as a Stewardship Program Assistant and is now managing our Natural Edge Program, working with landowners to create resilient shorelands to better withstand the impacts of climate change. In her spare time, Chloe can be found having fun with family and friends, camping, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and trying out tasty new recipes!
Communications and Fundraising Manager
Monica is a passionate environmental
Freshwater Health Coordinator
Nicole Dubé has been passionate about water issues from a young age. Whether she was doing a pond study at a local conservation area or swimming in the Great Lakes, you could always find her in the water. Her love of nature led her to work as an outdoor educator with a school board and local conservation authority.
Nicole graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Master’s degree in Social and Ecological Sustainability and a specialization in Integrated Water Management. Her research focused on community engagement about flooding in the town of New Hamburg, ON. She is interested in engaging a wide variety of people in environmental issues through art and scientific communication. When she is not at work, you can find her camping or playing with her cat named Waffles.
Natural Edge Regional Coordinator
Chantal Lefevre has always loved nature and exploring the outdoors, because of this, she explored a career that can benefit what she loves. She graduated from Fleming College with an advanced diploma as an Environmental Technologist and then obtained her BSc. in Environmental Science from Trent University, finishing her educational career in 2020.
Chantal has experience working with Quinte Conservation Authority, Thousand Island Watershed Land Trust, and municipal and provincial governing agencies. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, hiking, and swimming with her dogs. Chantal is excited to bring her knowledge and enthusiasm to the Natural Edge program.
Bookkeeping, Administration & Fundraising Support
Watersheds Canada Board of Directors
Biodiversity Indicators Lead, Environment and Climate Change Canada
Executive Director, Saskatchewan Association of Watersheds
PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, and Secretary of the North American Youth Parliament for Water
Lauren is an ecologist with interests in aquatic ecology, urban ecology, and conservation science. She holds a HB.Sc in Environmental Science and Biodiversity & Conservation Biology from the University of Toronto. Currently, she is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her PhD work focuses on water quality and land use impacts to aquatic biodiversity. Specifically, she researches the impacts of freshwater salinization on aquatic species (including Species at Risk) in rivers across the Greater Toronto Area.
Outside of her PhD work, Lauren is actively involved in the youth and young professional water sector through her position as the Secretary of the North American Youth Parliament for Water. Lauren feels a deep connection to water and splits her time with her family (including her water-loving Labrador retriever) along the shores of Lake Ontario, the mighty St. Lawrence River, and the beautiful lakes of Hastings Highlands Ontario.
Mary Ellen Stoll
Retired Manager, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Mary Ellen has been a Director with the Watersheds Canada Board since 2015, and has been Board Chair for the last 5 years. She has board member experience from three other organizations in the non-for-profit sector. In 2015, Mary Ellen retired from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources after a 30-year career in natural resource management that took her across the province of Ontario in a variety of roles.
She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies, Wildlife Conservation (York University) and an Honours B.Sc. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management (University of Guelph). She currently lives in the Frontenac Arch Biosphere on the shores of Lyn Creek not far from Brockville, Ontario. Early on in her career, Mary Ellen worked for the Ontario Lakeshore Capacity Study and walked both developed and undeveloped lake shorelines in the Muskoka-Haliburton area. This experience left an indelible impact on her understanding of how cottage development can impact shorelands.
President of the Paudash Lake Conservation Association
Mike graduated from York University, and after a short career playing hockey in Europe entered the life insurance business. During the next 43 years, he built up a large employee benefits and pension company which became a public company in 2007 and was sold to a private banking firm in 2020, at which time Mike partially retired from the industry. He currently sits on four environmentally related Boards, including Watersheds Canada since 2023, and has always believed that volunteering and giving back is a duty that everyone should undertake. He lives in Uxbridge, Ontario and cottages in the Haliburton Highlands with his wife, four children, and nine grandchildren.
Professor, Environmental and Resource Science/Studies at Trent University
Tom is an ecologist with particular interests in fisheries, fish habitat, wetlands, co-management, community development, traditional knowledge, watershed restoration, historical ecology, biodiversity, restoration ecology, and related environmental problems. His Ph.D. was in fisheries ecology, in the Department of Zoology, University of Toronto. Since 1983, he has been a professor in what is now the School of the Environment, Trent University, chairing its predecessor for nine years. He helped to develop and taught in 14 undergraduate and three graduate degrees at the university and is currently Coordinator of the B.Sc. in Ecological Restoration. Relevant to the A/OFRC, he had a key role in the creation of the Indigenous Environmental degrees (B.A./B.Sc.) and related Institute. For the past 30 years he has been involved particularly in the development of the community-based research and education options at the university.
Most of Tom’s research has focused on problems in the binational Great Lakes basin, although he worked in both the Northwest Territories and South America on issues relating to Indigenous involvement with natural resources and the management of watershed and aquatic resources. His research has related notably to community-based aquatic science, especially the rehabilitation of lakes, fisheries, and wetlands. He has served on the boards and management committees of various non-governmental organizations, including a long-standing role on the Committee of Advisors for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. These organizations have focused mostly on natural resource management, ecological restoration, and community development.