Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors plays a vital role in the success of The Couchiching Conservancy

Together, they provide strategic direction and oversight on important issues and ensure that our work is on track and moving in the right direction. We are grateful to the entire Board, for all of their efforts and passion for the work that we do.

If you would like to get in touch with one of our Board Members, please contact Tanya Clark and she can re-direct your request.
Phone: 705-326-1620

Councils & Committees:

President - Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross was a high school teacher for 30 years at Orillia District Vocational Institute (ODCVI) before retiring. He hold a biology degree from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Toronto. An avid outdoorsman, Jamie enjoys canoeing, hiking, camping and skiing. He has volunteered for the Conservancy in various roles, working on the grassland restoration project on Bluebird Ranch, Passport to Nature and serving on a property monitoring team. He is also among the rugged few who have done the Carden Challenge on bicycle. Jamie says his proudest accomplishment is his daughter Liz McLelland, who served on the Conservancy board until 2015, when Jamie’s other proudest accomplishment, granddaughter Mary, came along.

Past President -Doug Christie

Doug is a partner in the law firm of Russell Christie LLP. Doug has delivered a number of papers and lectures on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada with respect to waterfront and recreational property.

Doug was the President and former member of the Board of Directors of Big Brothers. He is an elder in the Orillia Presbyterian Church; volunteers with Couchiching Jubilee House and the Couchiching Conservancy.

For many years, Doug was involved in coaching minor hockey and soccer. Doug has been an active member of the Orillia YMCA and served on the Board of Directors for 13 years. He has chaired annual campaigns and was the Chair of the Capital Campaign for the expansion at Skid Watson YMCA.

Doug and his wife Barb have lived in Orillia since 1973. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Doug was awarded the Order of Orillia in 2011. He played a crucial role in preparing the Conservancy’s new bylaws.


Treasurer – Jack Booth

Jack Booth is the owner of J.R. Booth CA Professional Corporation. Originally playing the role of auditor and then later acting as an accounting advisor, Jack has worked with the Conservancy for many years. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the organization and has the advantage of being well-versed in many of the nuances of running the Conservancy. An Orillia resident, he has served a number of community organizations, most recently acting as treasurer of the Lighthouse soup kitchen.

Director – Wendy Lowry

Wendy has been a member of the Conservancy since its inception & remembers the many meetings that her husband Si attended in the initial stages of its development. She is a retired physiotherapist and was instrumental in the creation of Professional Rehabilitation Outreach, which provided rehab services through the CCAC in Simcoe County. She has volunteered & held board positions over the years with school councils, the YMCA, Couchiching Jubilee House & Couchiching Conservancy. Most recently she was as a land steward with the Conservancy. Wendy loves yoga, hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, kayaking and canoeing and exploring the wilderness anywhere. She has paddled the Thelon River & the Nahanni River and walked across England. Wendy & Si live in Medonte in a straw bale house.

Director – Lisa Neville

Lisa has been working with the federal government for 15 years, mainly as an aquatic biologist in various locations across the country, including British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. She studied marine biology at the University of Guelph and holds a post-graduate diploma in environmental science from Capilano University.

Passionate about environmental stewardship, Lisa immediately contacted the Conservancy to volunteer when she moved to the Severn area in 2012. She is the property leader for the Roehl Wetland Reserve, member of the T. C. Agnew Nature Reserve property team, teaches the science portion of the water quality monitoring course, and has been known to stuff an envelope or two.

Lisa enjoys tending her gardens and the 4100 tree seedlings planted at her property in Severn. She is especially excited when moose wander through, sandhill cranes visit the wetland next door, milk snakes sun themselves in her rock garden, and the whip-poor-wills’ calls wake her at 2:00 a.m.

Director – Kathy Hunt

Kathy is a freelance marketing communications specialist, happily semi-retired, following a career in public relations and marketing. She enjoyed the opportunities her freelance career provided, especially with not-for-profit and public sector organizations.  Most recently she worked with Lakehead University during the opening and development of its new campus in Orillia.

She has been involved with the Couchiching Conservancy over the years, originally as a corporate member with her freelance business, KH Communications. She worked with the organization to help develop and produce the organization’s first newsletter, as well as promotional materials for special events and public awareness.

Kathy moved to Orillia with her family, husband Lance and three children, 30 years ago and loves the area, especially the opportunities for outdoor recreation. Her favourite pastime is exploring local trails, parks and waterways, preferably by canoe, kayak, rowboat, on skiis or by bicycle.

Always interested in promoting the benefits of the Orillia lifestyle, Kathy has volunteered with local festivals, the Orillia Community Development Corporation, the Terry Fox Run, and most recently as a member of the Games Organizing Committee for the 2018 Ontario Winter Games.

Director – Neil Gray

Neil has a B.Sc.(Univ of Guelph), M.Sc.(Warwick University, England), and Ph.D. (Univ of Western Ontario) in Biochemistry. He then went into Environmental Engineering; was an Ass. Prof. at University of Western Ontario.

After 5 years he shifted gears and went into industry, working on environmental projects (surveys, protocol development, remediation [air, land, groundwater and surface water]) for a Fortune 100 company in Canada, US and England. Throughout his industrial career (20 years) he maintained his academic connections, as an Adjunct Prof at Waterloo, Guelph, and Univ of Toronto.

For the last 9 years he has been leading a group of scientists for the Federal Government (CRA; Scientific Research and Experimental Development program for the Ontario Region); recently retired in November 2018.  He has published/presented over 120 scientific papers and holds a number of patents, covering everything from bioremediation to wind turbine blade design.

He belongs to the Carden Field Naturalists, Couchiching Conservancy, Hamilton Naturalists, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Scottish Ornithology Club and the Archaeological Society of Ontario (presently serving as the Secretary for the Toronto Chapter).

Director – Jane Bonsteel

Jane moved to Orillia 3 years ago and is mostly retired after a career in drinking water treatment; she is still involved in the Lake Ontario Source Water Protection Project for the Region of Peel. She volunteers with The Couchiching Conservancy as a water quality monitor and occasionally as an ambassador. She also participates in the Sundial Creek Working Group which is collaborating with the City to restore Orillia’s last cold water creek. Jane is a member of the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee and is active with Sustainable Orillia, Land and Water Sector.


Director – David A. Homer

For 25 years, David was the director of the Media Centre and cross-appointed to the Faculty of Fine Arts, teaching television production, at Toronto’s York University. During his academic tenure he also taught communications courses in the Faculties of Fine Arts and Education.  When not in the classroom, David could be found in major television production facilities around North America producing and directing television documentaries for various charitable organizations. Prior to his retirement, David spent seven years in the challenging position of Assistant Vice-President (Business Operations) for the University. Upon retirement, David and his wife Bonnie, moved to their beloved property on Lake Dalrymple, just east of Orillia where he spends a great deal of his time. David, a past president of The Conservancy, served 9 years as a director.