Board of Directors

Malcolm Inglis – President

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.

Adrienne Brown – Vice President

Adrienne Brown is a Landscape Architect, garden designer and Mayne Island resident who believes in the importance of reconciling the biophysical aspects of a site with programming that addresses social and cultural requirements. The climate crisis has prompted her to better understand changes already occurring in the distribution of plant species in BC and threats to the quality of our soils.  Adrienne’s goal as a Director with the Mayne Island Conservancy is to help strengthen the human community, establish respect for and reciprocity with the natural world in all its glorious complexity, and to take advantage of the unprecedented number of opportunities for societal change we see today.

Nancy Gibson – Secretary

Nancy lived on Mayne Island part time for 15 years before moving here full time in 2019. She joined the Conservancy board because protecting the ecology of the island is important to her, and she wanted to volunteer alongside others with similar values. Nancy has been an amateur bird watcher and nature-lover for many years.  Her work experience has been varied: she has owned and operated several small businesses, and was a school librarian for a period of time. As well as being on the Board, she contributes ideas and articles to the Oystercatcher and Mayneliner newsletters, regularly helps with Conservancy events, and enjoys meeting new members at the Saturday market booth.

Helen O’Brian – Fundraising Chair

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 is the author of Fin’s Swim, a book about the Fraser River. Helen believes that through land conservation, mindful stewardship and education our planet will be a healthier place for all the life it supports.

Deb Foote – Director at Large

Deb came to Mayne Island in 2007, initially as part-time seasonal resident. It was not long before island life got the better of her and she became a part-time Surrey resident, focusing her time on Mayne Island based initiatives.

Deb’s passion for community and for the health of the environment, made her a natural fit for the Conservancy Board of Directors, currently serving as Vice President, Chair of the Programs Committee, and Secretary of the Governance Committee.

Coming from a background in the Distribution and Retail Organic Food Sectors, Deb has brought with her a diversity of skills and a willingness to apply them where they best fit.

Peter Robinson – Director at Large

Peter Robinson and his wife Kristine Webber own Hedgerow Farm, where they are combining sustainable agriculture and restorative land stewardship in their vision for the property. Prior to moving to Mayne Island, Peter led the David Suzuki Foundation through a decade of work focused on climate change and sustainability. Before his work with DSF, he was the CEO of both Mountain Equipment Co-op (when it was still a co-op!), and BC Housing. He began his career as a park ranger, during which he was decorated for bravery by the Governor General of Canada. Peter has a long history of humanitarian work, including monitoring prisons with the International Red Cross in Rwanda. He holds a Doctor of Social Sciences and a Master of Arts in Conflict Analysis and Management.

Doug Aberley – Director at Large

Doug and his partner Joan recently made a permanent move to Mayne Island after residing in Alert Bay for sixteen years. While in Alert Bay Doug concluded a forty-year career as a regional planner and town administrator in Northwest BC, educator at UBC, community-based mapping mentor on four continents, and bioregional planner with several Indigenous Nations. While the technical skills required for this work were acquired from universities in California, British Columbia and Scotland. It was through decades of grassroots practice in settler and indigenous communities that Doug achieved a far more important experience-based education.

Jennifer Iredale – Director at Large

As a guest on Straits Salish territory I am grateful to the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations for their generosity in sharing this beautiful place. Jennifer has a multi-generational connection to Mayne Island /SḴŦAḴ, sharing the family property at Campbell Bay since childhood and raising her children (along with sheep, horses, and a donkey) on the family farm. 

Jennifer’s career is as a heritage professional, curator and former Director of the provincial Heritage Branch where she worked on provincial, national, and local heritage initiatives. Currently Jennifer sits on the Board of Heritage BC and is involved in heritage and cultural projects in Victoria,  Mayne Island, and the Fraser Canyon and sits on the Campbell Bay Music Festival Society Board. Recent projects include curatorial work at the Mayne Island Museum and fundraising for the Ag Society Heritage Revitalization Initiative. Jennifer is interested in strengthening relationships with Indigenous people and organizations and exploring the intersection between Indigenous and Western knowledge around environmental conservation, land stewardship, and caring for the natural and human environment.

Michael Leeson – Director at Large

Michael was born and raised on Vancouver Island and has been a part-time resident on Mayne Island since 2009, living here full time since 2020.  His career has been almost exclusively working in the natural resources field with both the private sector and the provincial government. He has a Diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems from UVIC and a Bachelor of Science in Forestry (BSF).

Michael believes it is crucially important to help mitigate and manage the negative impacts of invasive species on local ecosystems, to help educate both residents and visitors on the importance of our collective impacts to these ecosystems, and to give back to and support our vibrant and very special Mayne Island community.

Robin Walsh – Director at Large

In 2020 Robin moved to Mayne from Ottawa where he held senior positions in public relations at Oxfam Canada, on Parliament Hill, and with several national business associations. Prior to retiring he taught public relations for five years at Algonquin College in Ottawa. He has a degree in Political Science from York University and a graduate diploma in International Relations from the University of Ottawa.

Robin has been a supporter of nature organizations at the national level and is an active volunteer with the Conservancy. His interest in the Conservancy is to be involved in helping conserve our local environment and to engage our community in supporting this work. He is currently Chair of the Conservancy Communications and Membership Committee.

His passion for nature means that you are likely to find Robin hiking, cycling, or bird watching somewhere on Mayne. He and his partner Michael are also keen gardeners and have added many native plants from the Conservancy nursery to their garden.

Conservancy 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 beginning of April 2013 but has now undertaken the hands-on direction of the Society’s activities and will answer emails addressed to ed@mayneconservancy.ca

Rob Underhill BSc RPBio – 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 BSc 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 biologist@mayneconservancy.ca

Katie Kushneryk – Stewardship Coordinator

Katie is an avid nature lover with a background in ecosystem monitoring and restoration. She has worked in public education and outreach in a variety of environments, from Galiano Island to Rwanda, and enjoys working with diverse groups of people. After graduating from the University of Victoria with a BSc in Marine Biology and Environmental Studies, she worked with Parks Canada to manage invasive species and document Species at Risk throughout the Southern Gulf Islands. Katie is passionate about environmental stewardship and is incredibly grateful to live and work in the traditional territories of the Coast Salish First Nations.

Gwen Janz – Ecosystems Technician

With a varied background in outdoor education, regenerative agriculture, and ecosystem restoration, Gwen enjoys advancing environmental stewardship both through scientific and community-based projects. Passionate about the interplay of social and ecological systems, she is beyond excited to support the Conservancy’s projects this summer and learn more about local ecologies. Originally from the North Coast of Germany, Gwen came to Canada to complete her BSc in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. After finishing her degree, she decided to stay in the area permanently as the beauty and rich ecological complexity of Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands fascinates her. Gwen feels deeply inspired by First Nations’ stewardship that has shaped these lands and waters since time immemorial, and she seeks to honour Coast Salish legacies by treading lightly on the land and giving back to the community.


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