Our steering committee includes representatives from 11 different organizations across the province dedicated to various green infrastructure focus areas.
A network of 36 Conservation Authorities: community-based watershed management agencies dedicated to conserving, restoring and managing Ontario’s natural resources. Conservation Authorities deliver programs and services totaling almost $300 million annually through more than 3,000 full time and seasonal, part time staff.
Representative: Deborah Martin-Downs, M.Sc., Chief Administrative Officer, Credit Valley Conservation
Ducks Unlimited Canada
A national not-for-profit established in 1938 whose mission is to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and grasslands to benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people. Our goal is to ensure abundant wetlands and waterfowl for generations to come while improving Canadian lives. Waterfowl are migratory. That’s why our conservation efforts impact diverse areas across the entire country—including your community.
Representative: Sean Rootham, Conservation Programs Specialist – Provincial Policy, Ducks Unlimited
A not-for-profit organization created through the merger of Trees Ontario and the Ontario Forestry Association (OFA). As a united voice, Forests Ontario promotes and supports forest restoration, stewardship, education and awareness, and encourages and supports landowners in their efforts to plant and manage their forests. Forests Ontario also creates a strong public presence advocating for abundant, healthy and sustainable forests.
Representative: Rob Keen, CEO, Forests Ontario
Representative: Kathy Macpherson, Vice President, Research and Policy, Greenbelt Foundation
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
A non-profit industry association whose mission is to develop the green roof and wall industry throughout North America. Members include green roof and wall professionals, manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, components suppliers and nurseries.
Representative: Steven Peck, Founder and President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities
Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association
An association representing 2,400 horticultural company professionals and 20,000 industry contacts. Members include landscape, maintenance and snow management contractors, landscape designers, lawn care operators, garden centre owners, arborists, nursery growers, interior landscapers, and irrigation and landscape lighting contractors.
Representative: Tony DiGiovanni, Executive Director, Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association
LEAF (Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests)
An award-winning, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of urban forests through planting, education and stewardship. LEAF engages more than 10,000 program participants and volunteers across the GTA each year.
Representative: Janet McKay, Founder and Executive Director, LEAF
Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA)
An association representing more than 1,400 landscape architectural professionals at various levels of membership. OALA’s mission is to promote, improve, advance and accredit the profession of landscape architecture by maintaining standards of professional practice and conduct consistent with the need to serve and to protect the public interest.
Representative: Terence Radford, Trophic Design
Ontario Parks Association (OPA)
A non-profit, charitable organization founded in 1936 with a membership consisting of professionals and companies working in operations, development, and management of municipal parks and open spaces sector across Ontario.
Representative: Paul Ronan, Executive Director, Ontario Parks Association
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
A conservation authority with a strong history in watershed management and leadership in applying sustainability practices. TRCA owns more than 40,000 acres of land in the Toronto region, employs more than 475 full time employees and coordinates more than 3,000 volunteers each year.
Representative: Noah Gaetz, Senior manager, Research and Knowledge Management, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Executive and Committees
Steering Committee Chair: Deborah Martin-Downs, Conservation Ontario
Steering Committee Vice Chair: Paul Ronan, Ontario Parks Association
Urban Forest Subcommittee Chair: Janet McKay, LEAF
Jennifer Court is the executive director of the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition. As an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of success in the environmental sector, Jennifer brings a breadth of experience in government relations, stakeholder engagement, partnership development and innovation design to her role at GIO.
Prior to joining GIO, Jennifer helped to create and launch Scout Environmental, and then led its not-for-profit arm, growing the business, overseeing the team, and designing award-winning environmental programs. She has over 10 years’ experience in the environmental space, working with diverse clients and partners across Canada, including Health Canada, Environment Canada, Department of Indigenous Services Canada, the City of Toronto, the Automotive Recyclers of Canada, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association, Efficiency Nova Scotia, the Kativik Regional Government, the Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council and many more. This experience is complemented by her interdisciplinary background in sustainability, research, design and education.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Design from the Ontario College of Art & Design, as well as a Master of Environmental Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Business & Sustainability from York University.
Ultimately, Jennifer is a problem solver who is driven to make positive change in the world. She is an avid reader, cyclist and crafter; she currently lives in Leslieville with too many books, but just the right number of cats (two).
Michelle Sawka is the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition Program Manager. Michelle is a senior research scientist for the Toronto Region Conservation Authority. In this role she supports municipalities in their green infrastructure and urban forest initiatives. She also manages the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition’s research, advocacy and communications to increase green infrastructure implementation across the province. Her past experience was in a more traditional infrastructure role where she was an urban transportation policy analyst and managed research in support of public transit agencies across Canada.
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WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO REALIZE OUR VISION FOR THE CONSERVATION, MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS ONTARIO.