At our April Annual General Meeting, two of our directors retired and three new directors were elected. Retiring were Alison Martin, our former Treasurer, and Don Enright. Our new directors are Jennifer Iredale, Michael Leeson and Robin Walsh.
Alison came to us a few years ago when our previous Treasurer, Alan Ryder, resigned his position due to serious illness. In her time on the Board, Alison managed a difficult transition to new financial software made all the more challenging by the very sad passing of Alan. She followed up with several incremental steps to digitize our financial activities, upgrade our financial statements, and just generally modernize our financial procedures. Alison also provides bookkeeping and Treasurer services to a number of other local charities, so it’s no wonder that she needs to reduce her workload somewhere. All the same, she has offered to continue doing our books and day-to-day financial processing as a volunteer bookkeeper: an offer we can hardly refuse! That kind of dedication and loyalty is much appreciated, Alison.
Don offered to join the Conservancy Board a few years before Alison, shortly after arriving to live full time on Mayne. And we are so grateful that he did. He did so much to make us a better organization that it’s hard to know where to start. He created the well-loved Oystercatcher, editing and publishing it every month from its inception. He implemented new membership and donor software and procedures. He brought his professional communication skills to improve the way we get our messages out, and his Board experience with other non-profits to challenge and support us to become much more professional in how we operate as a Board. As a very accomplished birder and naturalist, Don conducted a number of nature walks, and was a welcome leader in Michael Dunn’s annual bird counts. He did all of this while continuing to pursue a challenging full-time career. We are a much stronger, more professional organization than we were before Don arrived, and that’s a legacy that will endure. Thank you, Don!
You can see the professional profiles for our three new directors below, and I will say that these are only outlines of the accomplishments of these capable people. Each of them has already joined one or more Board committees and is making contributions. One of the most rewarding – and humbling – aspects of being the president of the Conservancy is the opportunity to work with such a great group of highly capable people. Welcome aboard, Jenifer, Michael and Robin.
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. On island, she sits on the Board of Campbell Bay Music Festival Society, and recent projects include curatorial work at the Mayne Island Museum and fundraising for the Ag Society’s 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 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.
In 2020 Robin moved to Mayne Island from Ottawa where he held senior positions in public relations at Oxfam Canada, on Parliament Hill, and with several business associations. Prior to retiring, he taught public relations for five years at Algonquin College. He has a degree in Political Science and a diploma in International Relations.
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. 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.