Our Team

Members of the MMLT board are volunteers who oversee the operations and ensure good governance of the organization.  They also actively participate in the delivery of programs. Board  members offer a wide variety of skills including financial, legal, ecological and conservation management, and fundraising.

If you have skills to offer and an interest in joining our Board, please contact us at admin@mmlt.ca

Don Johnston

Don Johnston

President

Don first experienced wilderness as a youth on canoe trips in the Quebec Laurentians. Later, as an architect working in the private, public and non-profit sectors, Don’s career focused on housing and the built environment as did his work as a community volunteer. Originally from Montreal, he and his wife raised their three sons in Ottawa before moving to Almonte in 2008 where they became engaged grandparents. After experiencing the serenity of Blueberry Mountain and with the encouragement of his friend and colleague Michael Macpherson, he applied to serve on the MMLT Board of Directors in 2017 where his experience with project management, fundraising and non-profit governance have proven useful. Over the last five years, helping MMLT pursue its mission has become an important part of Don’s life. When he and Georgina are not volunteering with MMLT, they enjoy hiking and biking and experiencing the beauty and wonder of nature.

Rob Rainer

Rob Rainer

Vice President and Chair of the Governance and Personnel Committee

Rob and his wife, Mary Lou Carroll, live amidst woodland and wetland in Tay Valley Township.  Rob has worked as an outdoor recreation instructor, a conservationist, and a social justice advocate, and over 1993-2014 held NGO leadership positions at community, regional, and national levels.  In December 2018 Rob also began serving his first term as an elected municipal counsellor.

Over 1997-1999 Rob was one of 15 Canadians and 180 people worldwide who participated in the sixth cohort of a unique, two-year international training program in leadership for sustainable development.  In December 2012, Rob’s efforts to combat poverty in Canada were recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Rob enjoys hiking, canoeing, cycling, snowshoeing, and wilderness travel.  In January 2013 he summited Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, on a fundraising expedition for the charity, Outward Bound Canada.

Bob Stearns

Bob Stearns

Secretary and Chair of the Property Stewardship Committee

Being enthralled with the natural sciences and having a deep interest in medicine, Robert began his career as an agricultural researcher working in the field of animal diseases and immunology. His drive to share his passion for nature, science and discovery ultimately led him from the laboratory to the classroom, teaching high school biology and chemistry in the Ottawa area for over two decades. A 3-year posting in Germany with the Department of National Defence sparked his move to international schools in Europe and Asia and a further two decades involved with school administration and construction projects. Now in partial retirement, he works as a consultant for the International Schools Services in Princeton, NJ. Robert shares his life with Yvonne, an impassioned, dedicated early childhood educator who taught in Canada, Germany and Hong Kong. Living in Almonte, they now enjoy spending their time hiking and canoeing, traversing the local countryside and waterways seeking the quietude of wilderness.

Stephen Kotze

Stephen Kotze

Treasurer

Care and respect for the land have been with Stephen a long time – from planting trees in northern Ontario to starting a tree nursery in southern Lesotho to help combat the effects of soil erosion, including an early interest in permaculture and many years of growing food, organically, for his family on his village lot. As a commerce graduate, he found a way to marry his vision for a more compassionate and just world, and his fundamental respect for all life, with his accounting skills! Consequently, he has worked in and for the voluntary sector for most of his life, including a short stint as Executive Director of the Canadian Environmental Network. He currently runs an accounting business that serves numerous not-for-profit organizations and small businesses. His mission is to build financial capacity and understanding, particularly in the non-profit sector, strengthening organizations and their long-term viability through improved financial management processes and systems.

Sheila Craig

Sheila Craig

Director

Sheila has been finding ways to spend more time with nature since she became a wilderness canoe guide for a charitable organization called Camp Outlook more than 35 years ago. A career in high-tech has never dimmed her love of the natural world. Over the past decade, Sheila has become an avid birder and nature photographer. She is currently a volunteer Principle Atlasser for the 5-year Ontario Bird Atlas survey. Sheila is a strong advocate for protecting our green spaces, and connecting people with nature so they are inspired to become caretakers of the precious world around them.  Sheila discovered MMLT through the rich birding habitat of High Lonesome Nature Reserve.  Sheila brings to MMLT experience with governance, managing complex projects, program governance, process improvement, and financial management.  Sheila lives in the west end of Ottawa near a patch of NCC greenbelt where she can frequently be found walking her dog and looking at birds.

Emily Giles

Emily Giles

Director

Emily’s favourite author and childhood hero growing up was conservationist Gerald Durrell. As a child she dreamt of traipsing through the jungle and searching for rare and endangered wildlife, just as he did. Emily pursued her passion for animals and studied zoology at the University of Guelph, and later went on to study conservation biology at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) at the University of Kent. She got to live out her childhood dream while completing her MSc thesis, as she studied bats deep in the jungles of Borneo and had the adventure of a lifetime!

Emily has worked hands-on with a wide variety of wildlife through jobs at wildlife centres, zoos, and captive breeding programs. For the past 15 years she has traded in her field clothes for a desk job at World Wildlife Fund Canada, where she works on issues related to biodiversity and climate change.

As a new resident of Perth, Emily is having a great time getting to know the local trails along with her faithful dog, Jake.

Art Goldsmith

Art Goldsmith

Director

Art’s boyhood interest in nature developed into an understanding of ecology and conservation. After a career in Parks and Environment Canada, which occasionally interfered with his studies of wilderness, Art is now dedicated to his own conservation and ecological studies.

You can follow Art and his exploits at: artnatureculture.blogspot.com

John Kittle

John Kittle

Director

John holds a BSc degree in Physics and MSc in Mathematics, specializing in computer science. John’s engineering career included 25 years in the aerospace/defence and telecommunications industries, plus 15 years as owner/operator of a small management consulting company in Ottawa. Since retiring in 2006, John has been an active contributor to environmental stewardship in eastern Ontario, including 3 years on the Frontenac County Green Energy/Strategic Advisory task force, 2 years researching and presenting environmental impacts of uranium mining to over 20 municipal councils, and 3 years on the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation fostering sustainable local business development. John has a long-standing interest in protecting lands and natural biodiversity from the spread of extractive industries, logging and other threats to our environment. He strongly believes that environmental stewardship plays a key role in our ongoing fight against climate change. John lives in Almonte and enjoys hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing and other outdoor activities. He is a frequent user of the MMLT trail system.

Simon Lunn

Simon Lunn

Director, Property Manager for Byrne Big Creek

Simon developed a fascination for nature and the outdoors as a budding young naturalist while joining his parents for bird banding expeditions and field trips through the wildlands & parks of Ontario and Nova Scotia. His graduation with an MSc. from Acadia University soon led to summer jobs with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Canadian Wildlife Service, & U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. His 30 yr. career included working as Park Naturalist & Planner, Visitor Services Officer and Ecosystem Scientist at national parks & sites across Canada including Kejimkujik, Cape Breton Highlands, Fundy, P.E.I., Waterton Lakes and the Rideau Canal. Simon’s many interests include photography, Citizen Science, hiking, snowshoeing, camping, canoeing, kayaking & travelling. He joined MMLT several years ago after a decade of volunteer work for the Rideau Waterway Land Trust. He and his wife Carolyn live near Smiths Falls.

Jennifer Schnarr

Jennifer Schnarr

Director, Chair of Fundraising Communication/Membership/Volunteer Engagement

Jennifer developed a sense of curiosity, passion and appreciation towards all aspects of nature at a young age. Since then, environmental conservation, respect and education to ensure the legacy of lands have become of particular importance to her. While at Carleton where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology, she became interested in the psychological benefits of Restorative Environments to our sense of well-being, self-awareness and positive mental health. It was Michael Runtz’s course in Nature History that helped her rediscover her sense of our connection with nature and its application to the psychology of well-being.

Prior to retirement, Jennifer worked for the City of Ottawa with Parks, Recreation and Culture, in Finance and most recently with the Ottawa Fire Services. In recent years, she has been actively involved with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) in areas of awareness, advocacy and inclusion for low-vision and blind individuals and communities.

With family roots at Flower Station and in the Clayton area, Jennifer is a resident of Kanata where she enjoys time spent with family and on walks at local nature trails and ponds. Jennifer writes that she is extremely pleased to be joining the MMLT Board and working to further its mission.

Cathy Keddy

Cathy Keddy

Director, Property Manager of KNS, Poole NS, and Salamander Forest

Sadly, Cathy Keddy passed away on the morning of October 14th. Cathy inspired all of us who work with Ontario Land Trusts by her love of the natural world, through her teachings, and her tireless efforts to conserve nature. Cathy served on the Board of Directors of three organizations sequentially: the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, Ontario Nature, and then the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT). She helped to add several natural areas to the MMLT portfolio, including Keddy Nature Sanctuary, Salamander Forest, Poole Family Nature Sanctuary, Byrne Big Creek Nature Preserve, and most recently, Marble Woodlands. We know she had many others in mind. MMLT and our partners are committed to redoubling our efforts to add properties to attain her vision of wildlife corridors in the Mississippi and Madawaska River Basins.

Rienne Moore

Rienne Moore

Conservation Coordinator - Staff

Hello Everyone! I am thrilled to be a part of the MMLT team and community and look forward to seeing familiar and new faces around town. A little about myself; I was born in Almonte and raised in Carp, where I spent much of my childhood outdoors learning and playing on family acreage and farm. I was gifted with years of incredible experiences thanks to the wide variety of skills and professions within my family and their generosity in sharing it with the next generations. From tapping maples, planting and managing ever-changing floral and vegetable gardens, and learning how to fell trees – I had many opportunities to explore and learn, which led me to develop a passion for all things green.

I chose to study Environmental Science and went on to become a graduate of the Ecosystem Management Technician Program at Fleming College. I have called Ontario home for most of my life but have also lived in the Rockies, the Maritimes and spent time exploring much of the in-between. I have worked for Ontario Parks in the Natural Heritage Education Program and Parks Canada in Resource Conservation and have held a variety of other jobs that provided me with chances to discover, learn and meet extraordinary people. Pre-covid times, I spent a year in New Zealand travelling, exploring, and working as a Horticulture Technician in the cherry orchard industry. Most recently, I worked as a Greenhouse Manager and Horticulturist where I learned more in-depth about growing, maintaining and selling greenhouse crops.

I am a back-country adventure enthusiast and enjoy a good paddle, hike, and camping. I spend my free time wood-working with my partner, creating and crafting with natural materials and going for walks with our pup- Otago.

Thank you for welcoming me to the team here at MMLT and I know we can accomplish great things together.

Emily Moynes

Emily Moynes

Conservation and Communications Assistant - Staff

Hi everyone! My name is Emily and I’ve been working with MMLT since the summer of 2021 – first as an intern and now as the Conservation and Communications Assistant.

I have always had an interest in the outdoors and a passion for nature as I spent lot of time during my childhood at my grandparents’ place, north of Havelock, Ontario. The property around their house included ponds, forest, meadows, and trails throughout. I was often found in the ponds with my rubber boots and a net – attempting to catch minnows and frogs! Growing up surrounded by nature truly instills a greater understanding and appreciation of it. This is what motivated me to pursue Environmental Science in my post-secondary studies.

I graduated from Carleton University in the spring of 2021 with a BSc in Environmental Science, concentrating in Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conservation. Throughout my schooling I had the incredible opportunity to work with many knowledgeable and well-connected faculty members to author publications in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society and Frontiers for Young Minds. I also completed an honours thesis project on the interesting topic of insect body toughness. Ask me any questions – I’d love to talk about it! In my free time you’ll find me outdoors – going for walks and sightseeing, taking pictures of interesting clouds, or biking in the Ottawa area.

EMERITUS COUNCIL

MMLT has an Emeritus Council of retired directors whose knowledge and experience supplements that of the Board of Directors.

The Emeritus Council is comprised of:

Howard Clifford

Debbie Duffy

Ted Mosquin

Mary Vandenhoff

Judy Watts

ANNUAL REPORTS