Category: Person

Water First Staff: Jen Atkinson

Jen Atkinson


Jen is a graduate of Sir Sandford Fleming’s Ecosystem Management Program and has over sixteen years’ experience in the environmental and non-profit sector. Jen is an accomplished field technician, manager and educator with extensive knowledge in water protection, conservation, sustainability & design, finance management and collaborative program development.… Read More

Water First Staff: Cody Avery

Cody Avery


Cody has spent multiple years working in the environmental sector contributing to program management, water quality, and sustainable research. Cody’s experience working with students and community groups facilitating progressive change has abled him to work across Canada and in remote northern communities. Currently working in donor development and source water … Read More

Water First Volunteer: Jocelyn Andrews

Jocelyn Andrews


With a Master’s in Library Studies and over a decade of library systems experience, Jocelyne has more recently re-directed her database expertise to work with a variety of clients on the Salesforce platform. When she’s not in front of a computer, she can often be found hiking or paddling a canoe … Read More

Water First Staff: Hannah van der Wielen

Hannah van der Wielen


An avid outdoorswoman and lifelong student-of-the-land, Hannah has paired her experiential knowledge with degrees both in Ecology and Education (from the Universities of Guelph and Ottawa, respectively), to establish a consulting business focused on First Nations’ community capacity building. She brings to Water First her many years of experience living … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: Sue Chiblow

Sue Chiblow (Ogamauh annag qwe)


Ogamauh annag qwe is crane clan born and raised in Garden River First Nation. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 26 years in environmental related fields. She sits on council in Garden River First Nation and is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental Science at … Read More

Water First Staff: Ryan Osman

Ryan Osman


Ryan holds a Bachelor’s degree in an Environmental Engineering and a Master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Guelph. Ryan’s professional background includes work in the water resources department at the Hamilton Conservation Authority, research in hydrogeology and climate change, and was a teaching assistant at the … Read More

Water First Staff: Adrianna Bilinki

Adrianna Bilinski


Adrianna is an Ontario Certified Teacher, and a woman of Ojibwe decent from Beausoleil First Nation. She holds Bachelors degrees in History, Gender Studies, and Education. As an educator — both outside and within Water First — her primary focus is to raise awareness of the historical and current question … Read More

Water First Staff: Ashley Doucette

Ashley Doucette


Ashley has over 5 years experience in office management and is one of the first happy faces you see when you walk through the door. She brings with her the excitement to learn and the skill of organization, as well as many other skills to assist you in your journey … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisory Council: Murray McGregor

Murray McGregor


Murray McGregor is the Public Works Manager in his home community of Whitefish River First
Nation. As the Public Works Manager, Murray and his team provide essential services that allow
the public to live and thrive in their community. Murray has worked on various initiatives
including the construction of the … Read More

Water First Advisor - Jean Marie Colbourn

Jean Marie Colbourn


Jean Marie Colbourn is an experienced school teacher currently teaching at Christian Island Elementary School at Beausoleil First Nation. Jean is originally from Whitefish River First Nation and has taught in numerous Indigenous schools across the province, from James Bay to Georgian Bay.… Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: James Simon Mishibinijima

James Simon Mishibinijima


One of Canada’s foremost artists, Mishibinijima has created a unique body of artwork in North America and overseas. Mishibinijima began painting in his community of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory and over the years he has been awarded many first and best of show awards at international art exhibitions. He has also … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: Bill Assinewai

Bill Assinewai


Bill Assinewai is the Technical Services Manager in his home community of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island. As the Technical Services Manager, Bill has worked on various initiatives and programs including the construction of a new water treatment plant. Bill was an important advisor and partner of the first … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: Jeannette Corbiere Lavell

Jeannette Corbiere Lavell


Jeannette Corbiere Lavell is an Anishinaabe community worker from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory. She has dedicated decades of her life to raising the status of Indigenous women in Canada and has helped build strong support systems for women as a founding member and president of many organizations, including the Ontario Native … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: Deborah McGregor

Deborah McGregor


Professor Deborah McGregor is from Whitefish River First Nation. She joined York University’s Osgoode Hall law faculty in 2015 as a cross-appointee with the Faculty of Environmental Studies. Professor McGregor’s research has focused on Indigenous knowledge systems and their various applications in diverse contexts including water and environmental governance, environmental … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: Ray Moreau

Ray Moreau


Ray Moreau is the Infrastructure Specialist for United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising (UCCMM). Ray is from Michipicoten First Nation and lives on Manitoulin Island where he delivers technical services to UCCMM member communities. Ray was an integral part of the first Water First Internship on Manitoulin Island. … Read More

Water First Indigenous Advisor: Sue Chiblow

Sue Chiblow (Ogamauh annag qwe)


Ogamauh annag qwe is crane clan born and raised in Garden River First Nation. She has worked extensively with First Nation communities for the last 26 years in environmental related fields. She sits on council in Garden River First Nation and is currently pursuing her PhD in Environmental Science at … Read More

Water First Staff: Marcie Snyder

Marcie Snyder


For over a decade, Marcie has led and supported projects that focus on health, environment, and community relations. In the course of her work, she has collaborated with a number of non-profit and First Nations organizations. Marcie holds a Ph.D. in Geography with a Collaborative Specialization in Indigenous Health.… Read More

Water First Staff: Simone Butters

Simone Butters


Simone is an Ontario Certified Teacher (qualified to work in the primary, junior and intermediate divisions), and an environmentally conscious citizen with a passion for social justice. While her specialization is in Science and Languages, she has also taught Geography. As an Outreach Instructor at Water First, Simone aims to … Read More

Water First Staff: Dillon Koopmans

Dillon Koopmans


Dillon holds Bachelor degrees in Geography and Education and has significant teaching experience in the junior, intermediate and senior divisions. He is also engaged as a teacher facilitator in several youth leadership courses, including Indigenous Leadership Gatherings, at the Ontario Educational Leadership Centre. Dillon is of Potawatomi descent with ancestral roots from … Read More

Water First Staff: Gayle Dennison

Gayle Dennison


With an extensive management and executive career in both public and private sector covering all aspects of Human Resources, enjoys the challenge and reward of bringing that experience to support and develop human capital within growing and dynamic organizations.… Read More

Water First Staff: Brenda Lapell

Brenda Lapell


With over 20 years of marketing and communications experience, Brenda has successfully developed online marketing campaigns and strategies for a variety of non-profits. She shares her vast experience to help Water First build effective public communications initiatives… Read More

Water First Volunteer Advisor: Bob Rae

Bob Rae


Bob Rae is a former Premier of Ontario and a former interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He now advocates for First Nations on a number of issues, including the right to safe drinking water.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Advisor: Jackie Pye

Jackie Pye


Jackie has been a teacher and guidance counsellor for 20 years and currently works as a consultant designing educational programs and curriculum. She has degrees in Biology, Physical and Health Education, and graduate degrees in Education and Environmental Studies. Jackie has written for Ontario Ecoschools, and is currently developing secondary … Read More

Water First Staff: Ellen Field

Ellen Field


Ellen’s Ph.D. is in Education with an emphasis on environmental learning; she is also trained as an intermediate and senior high school teacher in Environmental Science and Outdoor Experiential Education. Ellen has worked as an educational consultant with numerous environmental NGOs in Ontario and she currently balances working at Water … Read More

Water First Staff: Kristen Engel

Kristen Engel


Kristen runs her own bookkeeping business and brings 25 years of unique business experience working with entrepreneurs. This experience has given her great insight in assisting business owners and managers utilize accounting reports and streamlining organization.… Read More

Water First Staff: Ami Gopal

Ami Gopal


Ami has over 15 years experience and a proven track record in fundraising, resource development and marketing. She is excited to nurture relationships with Water First donors and develop customized strategies to meet their needs. … Read More

Water First Staff: Olga Kalomiris

Olga Kalomiris


Olga is an Ontario-certified teacher in the junior, intermediate and senior divisions, specializing in Geography, the Social Sciences, and Health and Physical Education. As an Outreach Instructor with Water First, Olga is committed to engaging and empowering youth, while raising awareness about First Nations water challenges.… Read More

Water First Staff: Jag Saini

Jag Saini


Jag has a background in chemical and environmental engineering and has experience with mining and environmental projects. Jag’s experience with cross-cultural work environments, including First Nations, together with his Operator-in-Training designation and volunteerism with Professional Engineers Ontario, position him to make valuable contributions to Water First’s work.… Read More

Water First Staff: Kendra Driscoll

Kendra Driscoll


Before working for Water First, Kendra was the Environmental Coordinator for Wahnapitae First Nation, and she also taught Environmental Science at Cambrian College. Kendra has a background in water quality monitoring and environmental chemistry. She completed a Masters of Chemical Science from Laurentian University in Environmental Chemistry and is a … Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Gary Pritchard

Gary Pritchard


Gary is from Curve Lake First Nation and is the Manager of Energy & Environment at Cambium Aboriginal, a First Nations engineering and technical consulting firm. He has worked with and travelled to over 280 Indigenous communities and has over 14 years of work experience regarding environmental assessments, policy, project … Read More

Water First Operations Volunteer: Ruth Ann Pearce

Ruth Ann Pearce


In 2010, Ruth Ann joined forces with her graphic designer & developer husband in order to create coloveration, an art and design company. Together, they cover the gamut of needs, both personal and professional for individuals, companies and not for profits locally, provincially and internationally.

Ruth Ann and coloveration reside

Read More
Water First Operations Volunteer: Michael L'Ecuyer

Michael L’Ecuyer


In 2010, Michael joined forces with his artist & illustrator wife in order to create coloveration, an art and design company. Together, they cover the gamut of needs, both personal and professional for individuals, companies and not for profits locally, provincially and internationally. Michael’s main focus is editorial, web and … Read More

Water First Volunteer Advisor: Jim MacPherson

Jim MacPherson


Before joining Water First, Jim practiced commercial law in Toronto from 1972 until his retirement in 2010. Jim’s previous community volunteerism has spanned a variety of roles, such as President of the University of Toronto Schools Parent Association, President of the Brazil-Canada Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of Lawyers Associated Worldwide; … Read More

Water First Volunteer Advisor: Murray Richardson

Murray Richardson


An Associate Professor of Geography at Carleton University, Ottawa, Murray’s research focuses on watershed hydrology and mercury sensitivity, and spans geographic regions from southern Ontario to the Canadian arctic. Murray actively incorporates community engaged scholarship practices into his research at every opportunity.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Advisor: Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson


An Associate Professor of International Development & Political Science at the University of Guelph, Craig’s research and field work has been conducted with the Canadian, UK and Swiss International Development Agencies on numerous aid projects.… Read More

Water First Staff: Riva Dawson

Riva Dawson


Riva’s extensive experience with bookkeeping spans nearly 30 years. With both commercial and non-profit experience, she previously worked for McDonald’s Ronald McDonald House Charities. She also runs her own independent bookkeeping business, Better Bookkeeping Solutions.… Read More

Water First Staff: Jesse Wright

Jesse Wright


Jesse’s professional background includes extensive work as a wilderness fishing guide and environmental educator. His work at Water First focuses on fish habitat restoration in partnership with First Nations communities. He holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies from York University.… Read More

Dan Mongrain


Dan’s Algonquin heritage, roots in the Kipawa region of Quebec, and knowledge of the Temagami area inform his extensive outdoor experience. He works as a community coordinator, fishing guide, educator, and has participated in various collaborative partnerships including mercury studies in fish and fish habitat restoration projects at Temagami First … Read More

Water First Operations Volunteer: Brad Holden

Brad Holden


Brad’s experience and Bachelor degrees in Geography & Education allow him to bring a wealth of knowledge to classrooms. Brad spent a decade working as a community journalist and has experience teaching outdoor education.… Read More

Water First Staff: Ted Stableforth

Ted Stableforth


Ted was a Principal in the Simcoe District School Board for 10 years and a teacher for 25 years. Ted brings to Water First a wealth of educational and and administrative experience and a passion for educational program development and school outreach.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Advisor: Jonathan VanderSteen

Jonathan VanderSteen


Jonathan was an engineering professor at the University of Guelph before he joined Water First to address First Nations water challenges. He has extensive experience related to civil and mechanical engineering, humanitarian engineering, and instructional and training program design.… Read More

Water First Staff: Carli Lang

Carli Lang


Carli’s Ph.D. research in parasitology brought a community-based water sampling program to rural Panama, for greater understanding of the intersection between human and environmental health. At Water First she applies her experience and passion for water and community engagement in her work with First Nations communities.… Read More

Water First Staff: John Millar

John Millar


John has extensive experience in First Nations engagement and non-profit management and has collaborated with nearly 50 Indigenous communities over the last 14 years. Throughout his career he has worked for and partnered with a variety of non-profit organizations focusing on community development, drinking water systems, environmental projects, education and … Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Heather Murphy

Heather Murphy


Heather specializes in water treatment engineering at Temple University. Previously, she was a research fellow with the Canadian Public Health Agency and also worked with UNICEF managing large-scale projects bringing water and sanitation resources to over 1000 communities in the developing world.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Teza Lawrence

Teza Lawrence


Teza is an award winning television and film producer and co-founder of Amaze Film & Television, working with YTV, HBO & Disney among others. She balances the bright lights of the entertainment industry with the bucolic pasture of her Duntroon farm.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Eric King

Eric King


A recognized leader in adolescent mental health therapy, Eric is Director of family programs at the Pine River Institute, a therapeutic boarding school. Eric also runs a private practice and he teaches at the University of Toronto in the Department of Child Psychiatry and the Faculty of Social Work.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Edward H. Kernaghan

Edward H. Kernaghan


Ed sits on the boards of four publicly listed TSX Companies, is President of Kernwood Ltd., a private investment holding company and has over ten years experience working in the financial markets. Ed also has a passion for science and the environment, having completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Ian Heaps

Ian Heaps


An entrepreneur with 20 plus years in building brands and sales through creative marketing and communications initiatives, Ian is co-founder of Blundstone Footwear Canada. Starting with one store in 1994, Blundstone’s distribution has grown to over 600 locations across Canada.… Read More

Water First Volunteer Board Member: Leah Hagreen

Leah Hagreen


With a background in environmental consulting and program management, Leah’s experience and skills inform her passion for education and water, both at home and abroad.… Read More