Rhiannon is a graduate student studying wildlife spatial ecology. She has worked with wildlife internationally and can be seen here holding a burbot on Moyie Lake in British Columbia. Rhiannon is interested in how we interact with and impact large mammal species through anthropogenic activities.
In 2020 Rhiannon co-founded Black Mammalogists Week in addition to working on various other DEI initiatives focused on field sciences across North America.
In addition to her professional work she enjoys hiking, mountain biking and snowboarding! Some of her favourite places to visit are Algonquin and the Valhallas in BC. She is an ambassador for Osprey packs and Oboz footwear.
Founder of Brown Girl Outdoor World
Demiesha Dennis (pronouns She/Her) is the Founder and CEO of Brown Girl Outdoor World. As an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for building community and representation in outdoor spaces, she shares her love for the outdoors through various adventures, while encouraging and inspiring others to step out and do the same. She is actively working to change present narratives regarding people of colour and their place and engagement in outdoor spaces.
When not navigating Toronto’s corporate jungle, she can be found fishing, bungee jumping, camping or hiking from coast to coast and doesn’t see herself stopping soon. With a community behind her working to make tangible changes, she is guiding others into nature and challenging them to “Change the Narrative Through Outdoor Adventure
BC Birder Girl
Melissa Hafting runs the British Columbia Rare Bird Alert website. She is also the founder of the British Columbia Young Birders Program, which aims to bring together youth of all races, sexual orientations, and genders for fun excursions into the natural world with a special focus on the world of birding. Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Melissa has a strong passion for wildlife conservation, is an eBird reviewer for the province and, loves to travel around Canada and abroad looking at birds.”
Contact Melissa at
Founder of Colour The Trails
Judith is a content creator, model and community activist who resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories of the ʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.
Through adventures and travel, Judith highlights her experience as a black woman that skis, hikes, camps, climbs, and explores. A former refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, she was raised in South Africa, Australia, The United States and Canada. Judith’s unique upbringing allows her to draw from diverse experiences and cultures.
Judith’s active participation in the outdoors brings to light the importance of representation. Through conversation and grace her work draws attentions to underrepresented minorities by changing the narrative that people of colour are not active participants in the outdoors.
Judith is the fellow at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. She is the founder of Colour the Trails, a community group that focuses on getting Black, Indigenous and People of Colour out in nature. Judith believes nature is for everyone.
DR JESSE POPP
Chair in Indigenous Environmental Science
Dr. Jesse Popp is a Chair in Indigenous Environmental Science at the University of Guelph. She is an emerging scholar and member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, and strives to promote inclusive science that embraces multiple ways of knowing while on her journey of learning and sharing. Her research and teaching weaves Indigenous and Western ways of knowing to contribute to the advancement of environmental and ecological science. Dr. Popp recognizes that the number of declining species across the globe are increasing, and in turn, jeopardizing ecological and cultural integrity. Dr. Popp’s interdisciplinary research uses a two-eyed seeing approach to investigate the causes and consequences of wildlife population fluctuations in ecosystems and to Indigenous traditional ways of life. Her work contributes to conservation, sustainability, and the progression of the natural sciences in the spirit of reconciliation.
PhD Student in Conservation Biology
Peter studies ways to predict and prevent species extinctions, with a focus on pollinators like bees and butterflies. Peter loves exploring the outdoors in Canada and beyond, and enjoys sharing his passion for nature and wildlife through photography.
DR EMILY CHOY
Post Doctoral Fellow
Dr. Emily Choy is a W. Garfield Weston and NSERC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Dr. Choy has worked in many remote areas across the Canadian Arctic; from Devon Island, Nunavut, to Kendall Island, Northwest Territories. Dr. Choy studies the effects of climate change on thick-billed murres, an Arctic seabird with a colony of 30,000 breeding pairs at Coat Island in Northern Hudson Bay, Nunavut. She is studying the physiological response of murres to Arctic climate change, specifically the effects of changes in prey availability on their energetics and warming temperatures on their performance and behaviour. She completed her PhD at the University of Manitoba on beluga whales as sentinel species of environmental change in the Beaufort Sea ecosystem in partnership with communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Northwest Territories. Dr. Choy was a Weston scientist on the Victoria Strait expedition in search of the lost Franklin ships, and is currently a Scientific Advisor for the W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s Northern Committee, a Fellow for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and a council member for the Association of Field Ornithologists. Dr. Choy is very passionate about science outreach and is currently partnered with Earth Rangers in their Northern Project to teach kids about the conservation of Arctic wildlife.
Jacqueline L. Scott is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, in the department of Social Justice Education. Her research is on the perception of the wilderness in the Black imagination. In other words, how to make outdoor recreation, and the broader environmentalism, a more accessible and inviting space for Black Canadians. She has written about her research for CBC, The Conversation, and the Greenbelt Foundation. She is an avid outdoor fan, and a hike and cycling leader for two outdoor clubs.
Paddle Like a Girl Founder
Tori is an avid backcountry canoeist who aims to share her knowledge and expertise with as many women as possible through her Paddle Like a Girl workshops. Her goal is to help make the outdoor space more inclusive for female paddlers.
My name is Charles Plaisir. I am currently finishing up a Master's degree in population dynamics of eastern grey kangaroos at Université de Sherbrooke. You probably guessed it, but my degree involved a significant amount of time down in Australia to observe my study species and properly frame my research questions. My passion for nature arose during two amazing trips to the Galápagos Islands, back in 2015 and 2016, where I discovered a hidden enthusiasm for science communication storytelling. Now about to tackle a high school teaching fellowship and Master's at UPenn, I am currently aiming to become a modern educator with a strong background in filmmaking and documentaries. Should you want to know more about me or my current work, feel free to reach out!
Thank you so much!
Julian Victor is a wildlife Filmmaker from Toronto who has worked on projects for National Geographic and has produced several segments on wildlife conservation for one of Canada's top morning show Breakfast television and CityNews on Citytv.
Julian is always on the lookout for diverse conservation stories to tell in order to awareness of our natural world and its inhabitants and how to preserve them. He has been particularly fond of wildlife thriving in our bustling urban environments.
Community Conservation Coordinator
Patricia is a nature lover at heart, and passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion within the conservation and environmental non-profit world.
As a natural community engager and an emerging leader in the Land Trust sector, Patricia is working at Kawartha Land Trust as their Community Conservation Coordinator. Her role encourages conservation from a uniquely hands on approach. From boots -on – the -ground stewardship projects with volunteers, to working with diverse and often hidden voices within the environmental field, Patricia is working hard to build community, increase access to nature, and making the outdoors a place for everyone.
Post Doctoral Fellow
Alys Granados is a postdoc at the University of British Columbia. She uses camera traps to study the impacts of human disturbance on mammals in North America and in the tropics. Alys enjoys hiking the most when with her dogs.
DR POOJA SINGH
Post Doctoral Fellow
I am an evolutionary geneticist from Botswana. My curiosity for nature began at a young age while exploring the wildernesses of the Kalahari desert and the Okavango Delta. This led me to pursue a BSc in genetics at the University of Cape Town that is located in the Cape Floristic Region, a beautiful biodiversity hotspot. And later a MSc in bioinformatics at the University of Pretoria during the omics revolution. I spent a lot of time during my MSc thinking about evolutionary concepts and ecological speciation, which led to a PhD in Europe working on the adaptive genetics of cichlid fishes from the East African Great Lakes. Now as a Postdoc at the University of Calgary, I study local adaptation to climate in conifers in North America. My interests span various aspects of adaptive evolution and the underlying genetic mechanisms, particularly at short timescales.
Tree Physiologist, co-founder of the Forestry Diversity Crew
Estefanía (she/ella) is a proud Latina, Mapuche, mom and Scientist at the Faculty of Forestry at UBC (FoF). Currently, she is a PhD candidate studying plants that have potential for restoring damaged ecosystems in mine settings. Estefanía is a co founder of the Forestry Diversity Crew: https://diversity.forestry.ubc.ca/ and a Graduate Academic Assistant of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at FoF, and among other initiatives, she hosts the Virtual Lunch in the Forest Webinar series: https://youtu.be/AEsHU83J8XI and Tunning into the Forest Podcast: https://anchor.fm/eamimo.
Estefanía loves to spend time with her family in nature and enjoys jogging and salsa dancing with her husband.