Meet the Team
Winter and summer, spring and fall, our team of Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff in Saskatchewan is more like a family. Working together, all team members are dedicated to conserving wild areas and the many diverse species of birds, mammals, fish and amphibians that contribute to healthy, functioning and sustaining natural ecosystems...For now and for well into our shared future.
Meet NCC's Saskatchewan Region team:
Natural Area Assistant
Marla Anderson grew up in Regina, but has lived in four different countries. It was while working as a safari guide and large predator researcher in South Africa that Marla discovered her passion for conservation work. She returned to her roots to gain knowledge about Canada’s ecology. She obtained a diploma in wildlife and fisheries management from Lakeland College and a bachelor of science degree in environmental biology from the University of Regina.
In her spare time, Marla enjoys birding, hiking, photography and just about anything that takes her outdoors.
Natural Areas Intern
Kaitlin Baril grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and from a young age she has always had a great love for nature. Growing up, she spent most of her time outside exploring different locations across the country, whether it was mountains, prairies or cities while hiking, biking and camping. She is a wildlife lover and spent time working at a wildlife rehabilitation centre. She is extremely passionate about ecosystem conservation. Kaitlin is currently attending McGill university in Montreal, where she is working toward a bachelor of science degree in environmental biology.
In her spare time, Kaitlin enjoys baking, reading, photography, skiing, snowshoeing and hiking.
Acting Director, Campaigns and Major Gifts
Before joining the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Cody Barnett spent nearly a decade in marketing and fundraising roles in the corporate and non-profit sector. Cody’s passion for nature started young, growing up on a ranch on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border and exploring the North Saskatchewan River valley. Overseeing the development and communications efforts of NCC's Saskatchewan operations merges his personal interest with his professional life.
When he’s not helping people realize their philanthropic dreams, Cody escapes into nature — hiking, camping, canoeing or fishing.
Manager of Conservation Science and Planning
Matthew’s extensive knowledge of conservation science comes from his childhood, education and work experience. He grew up as a Saskatchewan farm kid, hopping between the grasslands and forests north of Saskatoon. During his master’s research, he looked at the effects of climate change on grasslands. Before joining NCC, Matthew worked for several years with the British Columbia Forest Service.
Matthew completed his bachelor's degree in agriculture, majoring in environmental science, and his master's in rangeland management.
Kayla Burak was born and raised in Alberta, but her heart has fallen for Saskatchewan. She spent her summers outside and her family made frequent trips to the mountains, but it was within the prairies that Kayla found her true calling.
Kayla's introduction to the Nature Conservancy of Canada was in 2009 when she was a conservation intern in Lethbridge. She has also gained work experience with numerous other environmental NGOs performing wildlife and species-at-risk surveys. Kayla completed her master of science degree at the University of Regina, where she studied the greater sage grouse. Most recently, Kayla managed the Saskatchewan Prairie Conservation Action Plan, where she discovered a passion for environmental education and engagement.
Program Director, Southwest
Before Mike worked for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), he volunteered for us. His first NCC project was in 2009 alongside his now-wife, Kayla. He fell in love with both the organization and the woman, and now works as an integral part of the NCC team.
Before NCC, Mike worked in the environmental consulting industry as a wildlife biologist, overseeing pre-disturbance wildlife surveys and habitat assessments to minimize the impacts of energy development on wildlife and species at risk throughout the prairies. Mike holds a technical diploma in wildlife and fisheries conservation and a bachelor of applied science degree in environment management, with a major in monitoring and environmental protection.
Alayna Chan is a geography student at the University of Saskatchewan. Originally from Saskatoon, she was instilled with a love of nature at an early age through family camping trips. Her passion for the environment grew during her high school outdoor school program, which allowed her to explore beautiful landscapes all over Saskatchewan. Alayna is excited to be working in the field and using GIS to contribute to the important conservation work that NCC is doing in Saskatchewan. When not working or studying, Alayna enjoys travelling, playing table tennis and reading.
Janie Du is from China and spent her first three years in Canada living in Ontario. She has two diplomas in accounting. Janie has called Saskatchewan home for almost nine years and has been working in the accounting field there. Growing up, her parents loved to take her on trips to explore China.
Today, she still loves to travel and spend time outdoors. Janie enjoys working with her amazing NCC colleagues, who share her passion for nature.
Conservation Science/LIS Coordinator
Ryan is one of the best companions you could take with you while birding in Saskatchewan. Highly knowledgeable, he spends a lot of his free time banding and studying birds for conservation research.
While growing up in southwest Saskatchewan, he became so passionate about ecology and the rich natural history of Saskatchewan's prairies that he spent much time exploring. This led him to pursue his honours bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Saskatchewan.
Gabriel Foley grew up on a small farm in southeastern Ontario. After receiving a diploma in fish and wildlife conservation from Sault College, he came west to work as an intern for the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) Saskatchewan Region. He completed a BSc honours at the University of Regina and an MSc from the same university, where he researched how common nighthawks use habitat. Gabriel then spent a year as a research fellow in South Africa studying how birds adjust their behaviour to climate.
In his spare time, Gabriel hosts a nature radio show, The Prairie Naturalist, and volunteers as Saskatchewan’s nightjar survey coordinator for WildResearch. He is an obsessive bird nerd, enjoys camping and fishing, and is passionate about conserving Saskatchewan’s natural areas and sharing his love of the Prairies with others.
Natural Areas Manager, Missouri Coteau
Kylie Garchinski grew up as a Saskatchewan farm girl, learning the operations of a working ranch at a young age. She was an enthusiastic member of the 4H and Canadian Pony Club. Her love of animals and nature led her to pursue an environmental sciences diploma, with a major in wildlife and fisheries conservation.
Kylie's favourite part of her job is working directly with nature and animals and focusing on the relationship between conservation and agriculture. Kylie first joined NCC as an intern, got hooked, and is now an experienced member of the conservation team.
Natural Areas Manager, Southwestern Saskatchewan
Natalie grew up near the Alberta mountains, and since moving to southwest Saskatchewan her connection to the area is invaluable. She mixes her knowledge of the community, love of nature and environmental knowledge in her work. She studied environmental science and holds a master's degree in sustainable environmental management.
Her hobbies include horseback riding, snowboarding, yoga and cooking. Natalie lives on a mixed farming operation near Claydon, Saskatchewan, with her husband and son, and large (and growing) list of animals, including dogs, horses, cows, pigs and cats.
Senior Development Officer
Vanessa Headford grew up on a farm near Kedleston, Saskatchewan, and had an overall love of animals and nature. After receiving her bachelor's degree in agriculture, majoring in animal science, Vanessa began a career with not-for-profit organizations, such as Canadian Western Agribition, Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership, and then STARS air ambulance.
Focused on sponsorship, sales or fundraising, it has always been about raising money to make a difference, and Vanessa is excited about the opportunities to do so at the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Vanessa lives near Dilke, Saskatchewan, where she and her husband enjoy a rural lifestyle at home and at the lake.
Maia Herriot is entering the last year of her degree in English literature and philosophy at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. She enjoys exploring the Maritimes during the school year, but her home is in the Prairies. The conservation of Saskatchewan’s native grassland is an issue close to her heart, and she is grateful for the opportunity to spend this summer supporting NCC in its conservation efforts in her home province.
Natural Areas Intern
Lisa Hurst grew up in the heart of the prairies on a farm near Deer Valley, Saskatchewan. She is now entering her second year of the conservation and restoration program at Lakeland College.
On the weekends you can find her baking, gardening and hanging out with her dogs.
Natural Area Assistant
Morgan Kanak is an applied plant ecology student at the University of Saskatchewan. Growing up, she spent her summers camping throughout Saskatchewan with her family. Exploring the natural wonders of the province left a lasting impression and motivated her studies. When Morgan's eyes are not on the ground searching for plants, she enjoys camping, canoeing and watching movies.
Stewardship Coordinator, Saskatoon Prairie, West Parklands, and West Boreal Transition Natural Area
Emily Little grew up in southern Ontario and moved to Saskatchewan in 2014. She joined NCC’s team in 2015, and her favourite days on the job are spent exploring Saskatchewan’s unique and beautiful natural landscapes. Emily has a BSc in ecological restoration and enjoys working on NCC’s grassland and forest restoration projects. She is very passionate about preserving the natural environment for current and future generations to enjoy.
When Emily is not working hard to conserve natural habitats she enjoys cooking, cycling, watercolour painting and camping.
Conservation Science/GIS Coordinator
Sarah loves the prairies and is passionate about the conservation of this unique habitat. Her master’s thesis investigated the effects of oil and gas development on prairie birds. Following her graduate degree, she consulted for Canadian Wildlife Service and Parks Canada on projects related to the conservation of grassland songbird species at risk. She has an MSc in biology.
In her spare time, Sarah enjoys birding, hiking, reading and belly dancing.
Natural Areas Intern
Elan Marsall is a conservation and restoration ecology graduate from Lakeland College in Vermillion, Alberta. She is now enrolled in the bachelor of applied sciences in environmental management program, taking the monitoring and environmental protection program. She is a graduate of the outdoor school program offered at Greenall High School, where she learned that she could take her passion for the environment and turn it into a career.
Elan is planning on following her passion into environmental education. She knows that the Nature Conservancy of Canada will help her expand her knowledge of the environment, and she is thrilled to help NCC engage the community in conservation this summer.
Acting Director, Engagement and Communications
Daphne May grew up in Saskatoon and loves to explore the natural habitat along the riverbank while biking or running. She also enjoys running races and plays both women’s and co-ed soccer. You’ll likely catch her on the sidelines too, coaching youth soccer.
Daphne has a bachelor of commerce degree. She spent 10 years in marketing and communications with Saskatchewan Polytechnic and seven years as a certified business counsellor with Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan. When she's not sharing NCC’s remarkable conservation stories or cranking out media releases, Daphne enjoys spending time with her family — Chris, Kayla and Brett — and going for walks with their dog, Rocky.
Acting Regional Vice President
Jennifer McKillop’s first introduction to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)( was when she visited our Old Man on His Back property in southwest Saskatchewan. She took her then five-year-old son there and fell in love with the property. She looked at the interpreter who got to spend the summer there and thought, “How does someone get a gig like this?”
Fast-forward several years, and Jennifer joined NCC to oversee all conservation operations in Saskatchewan. She previously worked as the executive director of the Landscape Stewardship Branch of the Government of Saskatchewan. She has a bachelor's degree in native studies and a master's degree in environmental design. Her career has focused on the human-environmental interface, with specific interest in First Nations consultation, public engagement and landscape planning.
Acting Director of Development
Growing up in Saskatoon, some of Verity Moore-Wright’s earliest encounters with nature were during visits to see her grandfathers, a small-town lawyer and physician, respectively. Wandering the dusty roads, grasslands and boreal forest surrounding their homes remain some of her fondest childhood memories. Years later, she fell in love with W.O. Mitchell’s book Who Has Seen the Wind because it reminded her of those magical experiences.
After adventures in northern Canada after high school, Verity pursued a political studies degree at the University of Saskatchewan. Following school, she discovered a passion for fundraising, beginning with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan and later with College of Medicine at her alma mater. More recently Verity found a new love for philanthropic work, focusing on conservation and especially grasslands (which she sees as the most important kind of health care for the future of humanity) with her role with a Saskatoon-based conservation agency, Meewasin Valley Authority. This work led her to her current role with Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Today, Verity and her family immerse themselves in nature as often as they can, out of love for its beauty and its healing powers, along with concern for what the future holds for the planet and for those, including her 14-year-old daughter, who will inherit it.
Carole Rae hails from Alberta but has called Saskatoon home since 2001. She is a graduate of Olds College, has a B.Ed and BFA from the University of Alberta, as well as a diploma in arts and cultural management from MacEwan University. With over 17 years of experience and her background in agriculture, education and fine arts, Carole is in a unique position to successfully manage and fundraise for several not-for-profit organizations.
When not serving the non-profit world, Carole spends time with her partner at their cottage in Manitoba’s Whiteshell, where they share their land with a plethora of wildlife, such as black bears, wolves, turtles, beavers, eagles, grebes, humming birds, loons...the list goes on. When Carole is not viewing these incredible gifts from her kayak or while hiking, she’s either taking photos or painting nature’s landscapes on canvas.
Natural Areas Intern
Ashley Sahulka is a Saskatchewan native who frequently spent her summers exploring the province’s vast landscape. Since a young age, she has had a passion for the outdoors and conserving the natural environment. This love for nature fuelled her studies and guided her to pursue an education in science. She is entering her fourth year at the University of Regina, aiming to obtain her bachelor's of science degree in biology. Her concentration is in ecology and environmental science, and she hopes to do her part in conserving nature for others to enjoy after finishing her undergrad.
In her spare time, Terri writes stories and poetry about nature, always moved by the way nature makes her feel and think. She’s committed more than 10 years to help the mission of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Admired and respected by all, Terri has previously worked as a ministerial assistant and legislation officer with the Government of Saskatchewan.
Waqas has managed all financial and accounting for NCC Saskatchewan for almost five years. Waqas is a Certified General Accountant who has worked in both England and Canada.
Acting Senior Director of Conservation
Cameron Wood’s experience in the environmental field has been about connecting the conservation sector with landowners and interested parties in order to make practical advances in conservation efforts across the Prairies. Before joining the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Cameron’s main work was in Alberta doing field work to improve management for riparian areas.
Cameron has a BSc in environmental practice, a post-diploma certificate in fish and wildlife technology and a diploma in renewable resource management.