Mayne Island Conservancy Society

Our Board and Staff

Our Team

Mayne Island Conservancy Society board members and staff bring varied backgrounds and interests to the society. Combining knowledge and strengths from these backgrounds helps to make us a strong team while we work towards fostering harmony between nature and community on Mayne Island.

Our Directors

The Society’s Constitution and Bylaws mandate a Board of Directors with an Executive Committee. All Directors and Officers are elected for a term of two years with no limitation on consecutive terms. An Annual General Meeting is held each year in March; anyone may attend but only currently paid up members may vote in elections for the Board, adopt resolutions, make changes to the Constitution and Bylaws and approve the budget for the coming year’s operations.

2016-2017 Executive Committee

  • President - Malcolm Inglis
    A long-time visitor to Mayne Island, Malcolm retired here in 2010 from a long and varied career in information technology, having worked in the private sector and at all levels of government. On Mayne, Malcolm gets to indulge his love of the natural world by working on restoring the natural state of his own property as well as helping out with the Conservancy’s restoration and invasive-species removal projects. He also coordinates the production of the Conservancy’s annual newsletter.
  • Secretary - Ann Johnston

  • Treasurer - Alan Ryder
    After nearly 30 + years working in an accounting and IT environment in Vancouver Alan retired to Mayne in 2006. His first contact with the Conservancy was with the Broom Action Team;soon after he joined the Board, becoming Treasurer early in his term. Alan also enjoys working on the web site, assisting with the design of office procedures and installing/maintaining the Society's computer network.
  • Past President - Helen O’Brian
    Helen has lived on Mayne Island since 1998, a steward of one of the original Japanese farms and has been a director of MICS since year one. She has a MA in Children’s Literature, co-founded the Vancouver Storytelling Society and has recently published Fin’s Swim, a book on the Fraser River.

  • Past President - Bill Warning

2016-2017 Additional Board Members

  • Maggi Cheetham - Membership Committee Chair

  • Don Enright - Communications Committee
    Don Enright is Past President of the Stanley Park Ecology Society. He works as a freelance planning consultant in the heritage tourism industry, working with parks, sanctuaries, historic sites and museums to help them plan, execute and develop their communications and visitor experience strategies.

  • Deb Foote - Fundraising Committee Chair

  • Harold Kasinsky - Member at Large
    Harold taught large undergraduate classes in cell biology and biochemistry for 34 years in the Zoology Department at UBC. He is now retired but continues to study DNA-protein patterning in developing sperm nuclei of animals and plants. He also helps remove Scotch broom from the national park on Mayne.

  • Mike Nadeau - Mayneliner Liaison

Our Staff

Beginning in 2010 the Conservancy hired staff to execute the bulk of its project work under the direction of Leanna Boyer, our first Executive Director. Over the years, our outstanding staff has been a mix of summer students and staff working on year-round or term engagements.

Current Staff

Michael Dunn: Executive Director
Michael worked for 30+ years for Environment Canada, retiring in 2007. His experience was varied ranging from coastal mapping to wildlife habitat conservation. As a life-long learner and avid naturalist, he has been engaged in learning about and communicating the wonder and lessons of nature for over 40 years.

Michael had been president of the Conservancy up to the begining of April 2013 but has now undertaken the hands-on direction of the Society's activities and will answer emails addressed to

Rob Underhill: Biologist

>Rob joined the conservancy in September 2011. His previous work experience is varied and includes work in hospitality, landscaping, forestry, and resource conservation. Rob has an educational background in tourism, horticulture, and botany. He completed a certificate of Travel and Tourism at Kwantlen University in 2002, a certificate in Landscape Horticulture at Capilano University in 2004, and a B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Victoria in 2010. Before coming to Mayne Island, Rob managed an ecosystem restoration project for Parks Canada at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. He can trace his love of plants and nature to family vacations on Pender Island, and entering a plant collection in the Pender Island Fall fair when he was nine, in which he placed 2nd due to an incorrect spelling of “Arbutes menziesii”.

Contact Rob at

Lauren Underhill: Contractor
Lauren joined us to work on our Stewardship Program. Lauren is already familiar with many of MICS initiatives through her volunteer work with us in 2011-2012. Her education was focused in Criminology and Anthropology, while her work experience has been primarily within the environmental sector. Before her term with the Conservancy, which was completed at the end of March 2013 Lauren worked for the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in both environmental assessment and maintenance, and for the CRD, also in the area of maintenance. Her interests in native plant propagation, food preservation, volunteering, outdoor activities were a good fit with what is needed in the stewardship arena. We were very pleased that Lauren rejoined us at the beginning of 2014 to continue valuable work in advancing the Conservation Action elements of our Community Stewardship project. Lauren completed her formal engagement as Stewardship Coordinator in May 2014 in response to the demands of a then oncoming "happy event." Lauren continues to be available foe specific assignments, notably in creating and managing the Conservancy's Annual Nature Photo Contest.

Abbie Sherwood: Ecosystems Intern 2017

Abbie is Gulf Island bred girl from just across the way on Salt Spring Island. She is a second year student in the Environmental Technology program at Camosun College and is enthusiastic about local conservation. Abbie is an avid aspiring naturalist that can't get enough of the outdoors. She spends as much time as she possibly can under the water SCUBA diving and exploring the beaches and shores of the West Coast of BC. Abbie feels incredibly blessed to be able to call the West Coast of Canada her home and is thrilled to be here exploring Mayne this summer as part of the Mayne Island Conservancy. She thanks you for welcoming her onto your beautiful island.

Izaiah Sheerin: Ecosystems Intern 2017

Izaiah is a fourth year student in the UVic Geography and Environmental Studies program with a strong interest in education and conservation. His previous work experience includes roles as a teaching assistant, kayak guide, research assistant and sustainability analyst. Outside of work he enjoys exploring the outdoors, playing music and sharing meals with friends. He is thrilled to be a part of the Conservancy and to spend the summer on Mayne Island.

Past Staff

Stephanie Hurst: Ecosystems Intern 2016

Stephanie is a recent graduate of the Environmental Technology program at Camosun College, and has applied to UNBC’s Forest Ecology Management Program for the coming fall. Stephanie has a bubbly personality and loves to discuss anything related to the great outdoors. She has a soft spot for everything to do with mycology or botany of the local Gulf Islands. Keep your eyes peeled for a wool sock toting, charismatic red head during the summer months and be sure to say hi!

Contact Ms. Hurst at

Grayson Mortimer: Ecosystems Intern 2016
Grayson is a second year Environmental Technology student from Camosun College. Originally from Ontario where he finished a Bachelor Degree in Social Psychology, Grayson moved to the west coast to pursue a career in the environmental field. He is an avid wildlife photographer, hiker, biker and snorkeler. He hopes to use his time on Mayne to explore the many marine and terrestrial ecosystems the island has to offer as well as learn different types of plant species. Stay on the lookout for Grayson during markets and community events, and be sure to say hello!

Contact Mr. Mortimer at

Carly Palmer: Ecosystems Intern 2015
Carly is a summer co-op student who has recently completed her second year of the Environmental Technology program at Camosun College. Her love of nature started at an early age, doing streamkeeping work with her dad in the Comox Valley and absorbing some of her mom’s knowledge of native plants on family hikes. Carly’s previous experience includes work in the service industry, landscaping, and some environmental consulting work. She is looking forward to working with the Conservancy and enjoying a beautiful summer on Mayne!

Contact Carly at

Leanna Boyer: Contract Biologist
Leanna completed a BSc majoring in biology (marine) and anthropology (2001) and an interdisciplinary MA (education, geography, environmental studies) focusing on learning and social change in the BC Community Eelgrass Network (2006). She was the lead author of three articles published in international peer-reviewed journals. Leanna has trained approx. 12 community groups to map and monitor eelgrass habitat since 2002, has volunteered on 3 eelgrass restoration projects in Saanich Inlet, has worked as an assistant biologist on eelgrass compensation projects, has worked for 2 non-profit organizations as an eelgrass mapper and data manager, has volunteered and worked as the Data Entry Coordinator for the Seagrass Conservation Working Group, has trained and supported community groups to manage eelgrass data, has participated in forage fish workshop hosted by SeaChange Marine Conservation Society (winter, 2008), has designed a step-by-step data entry manual for community groups.

In April 2013 Leanna handed over the day to day direction of the Conservancy and its staff to spend more of her available time on Project work and in 2015 she maintains an occasional contract relationship with MICS shoreline endeavours.

Contact Leanna at

Olivia Gray: Ecosystems Intern 2014

Olivia is a summer co-op student who has joined us on Mayne Island, to help with terrestrial stewardship - a part of our conservation action initiative. Currently enrolled at the University of British Columbia in the Faculty of Forestry, the fourth year student is completing her undergraduate degree in Natural Resources Conservation with a focus in Science and Management. Olivia has previously worked in research and conservation in British Columbia, Costa Rica, and the Eastern Nevada desert.

Laura Adlakha: Ecosystems Intern 2014
Laura is a native of Nova Scotia and has finished her 3rd year of her degree in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC. Laura is very excited to be starting her co-op work term with the nice folks at the Mayne Island Conservancy Society. Her past co-op job was a 4-month term in Revelstoke, BC, where she worked in the Stewardship division of the Ministry of Forests. Laura loves sustainable living, looks forward to the "Gulf Island Lifestyle" and is hoping to see Orcas!

Rheanna Drennan: Summer Intern 2013
Rheanna is an exotic from rural Alberta who prefers mild winters, dry summers and marine-riparian landscapes, beginning her Vancouver Island life 10 years ago as a kayak guide in Johnston Strait. Rheanna finished a BSc in Biology at UVIC with a focus on marine ecosystems, returning to complete a Geography degree with course work in ecology, botany, environmental studies. Her recent focus has been on GIS techniques and their applicability to conservation and protected areas management. She has been expanding her knowledge of the mapping tool ArcGIS and has been involved in analysis and solution development as a volunteer with the Raincoast Environmental Organization to map Salish Sea ecosystem services.

Rheanna divided her time between terrestrial stewardship and marine shoreline care projects and assisted with our bi-weekly appearance at the Farmers Market. She organized sales of our native plants and coordinated restoration events at Henderson Hill every other week. On the marine side Rheanna continued the Conservancy's kelp work, promoting eelgrass awareness within our boater community.

Erin Ward: Stewardship Coordinator 2012

Erin recently visited us on Mayne and took up an assignment with the Conservancy. She has a Degree in Geography and Ecological Restoration, a Diploma in Organic Land Care and 3 years’ experience as an Environmental Project Coordinator. We are grateful to her for the work undertaken on Henderson Hill, and particularly for leading the Broom Action Team in the removal of broom from Bennett Bay.

Chris Fretwell: Stewardship Coordinator

Chris began working with MICS as an intern in the summer of 2010, and then became MICS first Stewardship Coordinator in 2011; doing much of the hands-on work for the forage fish surveys and kelp mapping that summer, as well as drafting a kelp-mapping manual to be used by other community groups in the region. In December 2010 Chris completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science at the University of Victoria. Previously Chris worked as an ecological monitoring technician for Parks Canada in Terra Nova National Park, Nfld. Some of his other interests include food security and music. Chris considers Victoria home but has spent much time on Mayne since he was a child, and although moving on to other challenges he hopes to maintain a long-term connection to this island.

Miriam Isaac-Renton

Miriam has long been interested in conservation and enjoys sharing her knowledge: one of her first awards was a high school award, rewarding her involvement in environmental issues and for helping to raise community awareness. She pursued her interests by completing a B.Sc. in Natural Resources Conservation from the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia. After graduating in 2008, she worked as a field research assistant in the Gulf Islands, helping to identify plant species and conduct surveys in patches of the endangered Garry Oak and associated ecosystems. Miriam no longer has an ongoing role in the project though her expertise in the photopoint monitoring has her returning to the island from time to time

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