Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Board of Directors

>>Board of Directors
Board of Directors2018-11-07T12:43:27+00:00
John Borst
Susan Higginbotham
Lionel Johnson

Brian Lawson

Brian Lawson has enjoyed a lifelong interest in the outdoors, including hiking, camping, canoeing and bird watching. Previously a member of the Hamilton Nature Club and Greenpeace, Brian practiced law in Ontario for many years before retiring to Salt Spring Island. His career in law focused on civil litigation, employment and labour law. In his professional capacity he provided legal and strategic advice to the boards of directors of a number of associations. He has also served on a variety of community boards, such as the boards of the Hamilton Public Library Daycare, the Dundas Foundation and most recently Viva Chorale! Society. Since moving to Salt Spring Island, he continues to enjoy hiking, bird watching and singing. He is committed to community involvement.

Dave Secord

Dave Secord moved to Salt Spring in 2015, where he operates a small consultancy, Barnacle Strategies. An intertidal ecologist by training, he has divided his career between academia and foundation philanthropy. At Tides Canada, he founded and led a strategic grantmaking team focused on environmental and social solutions in several regions of Canada. Before that, he oversaw conservation granting in Alaska and BC for the Wilburforce Foundation. He has been active in affinity groups including the Arctic Funders Collaborative, Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network, and Consultative Group on Biological Diversity. Prior to that, as a professor and university administrator for 12 years, he guided diverse environmental research and educational partnerships. He has been a Fellow of the International Canadian Studies Institute and the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, and retains faculty appointments at Simon Fraser University and the University of Washington. He lives in the south end of Salt Spring with his spouse Amy Adams and cats Eleanor and Franklin.

Gail Bryn-Jones

Gail loves taking kids into nature, and bringing nature to kids. A teacher on Salt Spring for almost 30 years, and a wilderness guide through BC for over 10, her passion and care for the outdoors comes from a lifetime of canoeing, backpacking, sailing and skiing. Gail did her undergrad and professional years at UBC, and in 2015 a Master’s degree in Language and Literacy at UVic. Her experience as an educator includes teaching middle school French Immersion, and being Administrator at the Centre School. Now you can find her teaching water monitoring of Ganges Creek or describing beaver habitat at the Blackburn reserve to Grade 4&5 students in her nature-based class at SSI Elementary.  Gail began volunteering with the Conservancy a decade ago on the Education Committee. Since then she’s seen you at an AGM, a fundraiser, or a bat or bird talk, and probably washed your coffee mug, too. Last year, she helped with Blackburn creek restoration and painting the storage shed.

Katharine Byers

Katharine began her career as an elementary school teacher in the UK. A decade in the classroom created the perfect opportunity to explore a growing passion for connecting students with the outdoors. Expanding her knowledge and complimenting her work experience, Katharine completed a Masters in Environmental Education at Oxford University. Her teaching experience continued in North Carolina before a move to Vancouver, where Katharine co-founded Naturebag Eco-Activities, a small social enterprise company that aimed at reconnecting families with nature. She moved to Salt Spring with her family in 2009 and was quick to engage with the community as a member of the board of Transition Salt Spring and as a school board trustee. Today, Katharine can be found working as an elementary school teacher in the local school district as part of the nature-based programme, engaging students with the natural wonders of this beautiful island we call home.

Kees Ruurs

Even as a young boy growing up in The Netherlands, Kees knew that he wanted to work in nature, helping people enjoy and appreciate their natural surroundings. Since receiving a Masters degree in Park Management, Kees has had an extensive career, which has led him to Alberta, the Yukon, to Oregon, and now to Salt Spring. Before retiring in the summer of 2013, Kees served as Parks and Recreation Manager with PARC and CRD Senior Manager. Together with his author wife and their extended family, he lives on an acreage where they run a booklovers’ bed & breakfast, Between the Covers. Ever since his teenage years, Kees has been involved in volunteer organizations. Kees is excited about applying his passion for bringing people and nature together, while serving on the board of the Conservancy.

Linda Gilkeson

Linda earned a Ph.D. in Entomology from McGill University in 1986, then moved to British Columbia to work for Applied Bio-Nomics Ltd., a company that produces biological controls. From 1991 to 2002 she worked for the provincial government, promoting programs to reduce and eliminate pesticide use. She was head of the provincial State of Environment Reporting Unit for the next six years. From late 2007 through 2011, Linda was the Executive Director of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy. She now devotes her time to writing books, teaching and consulting. As a private consultant, Linda is a regular instructor in the Master Gardener programs in BC and is busy year around giving workshops on pest management and organic gardening. She also currently leads a popular citizen science butterfly training program at SSIC, first offered in 2017, and she volunteers for the Conservancy in other ways from time to time.

Sam FitzZaland

Sam FitzZaland is the co-owner and general manager for Green City Builders on Salt Spring Island. He was the builder for the Conservancy’s multi-use, energy-efficient building, completed in 2015.  Sam is passionate about green building practices and is incorporating energy-efficient elements into his building projects. Sam earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He then worked as a project manager for an affordable housing developer in Oakland, California. He has worked in a management capacity on large residential housing developments in Silicon Valley (116 townhouse units), and for the Whistler Athletes Village for the 2010 Olympics (90 units).  He moved his young family and business to Salt Spring in spring 2013. A lover of the outdoors, Sam enjoys sailing, biking and hiking.