Steering Committee

Our steering committee includes representatives from 11 different organizations across the province dedicated to various green infrastructure focus areas.

Conservation Ontario

logo-conservationONA 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

Ducks-Unlimited-logoA 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: Lynette Mader, Manager, Provincial Operations, Ducks Unlimited

Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

logo-greenbeltThe Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a charitable grant-making organization working to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect and grow natural features.

Representative: Kathy Macpherson, Vice President, Research and Policy, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

Forests Ontario

logo-forestONA 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: Stephanie Prince, Stewardship Coordinator , Forests Ontario

Green Communities Canada

logo-GCCA national association of community organizations working with homeowners, businesses, governments and communities to reduce their impact on the environment. GCC has more than two dozen member organizations in every region of the country, with combined annual revenues of $24 million, 600 employees, and more than 2,000 volunteers.

Representative: Sharyn Inward, Director of Water Programs, Green Communities Canada

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

logo-greenroofsA 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

logo-landscapeON_NEW2An 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)

logo-leafAn 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)

logo-oalaAn 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: Sheila Boudreau, Senior Landscape Architect, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Ontario Parks Association (OPA)

logo-OPAA 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)

TRCA corporate logoA 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: Ryan Ness, Humber River Watershed Specialist, Corporate Strategy Lead , 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

GIO Staff

Jenn Court headshotJennifer 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.  Michelle is on leave until May 2020. 

JOIN THE COALITION

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT TO REALIZE OUR VISION FOR THE CONSERVATION, MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS ONTARIO.

Our Steering Committee

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