Chris Pinkerton, Executive Director (he/him)
Chris grew up in Ontario camping and exploring the lakes and forests around home. Hise passions for the outdoors grew as he did, and he channeled them into his education and career choices. Chris studied Adventure Leadership & Outdoor Education at Laurentian University in Ontario, worked as a wilderness guide, fought forest fires, and taught outdoor education prior to his move to the Yukon in 2007. It didn’t take long for the natural beauty of the Yukon and its rivers and lakes to hook Chris, and for him to realize that he had found his way home.
Joining CPAWS in 2023, Chris brings with him many years of advocacy experience, a passion for the outdoors, and a love of our natural environment. He also brings relationships and insights developed from community connections and his work addressing northern food insecurity.
In his spare time, Chris can often be found hiking the trails, or in his canoe exploring the lakes and rivers around the Yukon.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: Anywhere on the water
Favourite outdoor activity: Canoeing/Paddling
Email Chris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Judith van Gulick, Operations Manager (she/her)
Growing up in the Netherlands, Judith always enjoyed being outside even though wilderness areas were few and far between. She has many happy memories riding her bike around, going nowhere in particular. In 2006, she visited the Yukon for the first time and quickly fell in love with the lifestyle that Whitehorse had to offer. She has been here ever since. Joining CPAWS Yukon in 2019, she brings many years of experience in office management, and is responsible for the chapter’s finances and all office administration.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: Any alpine meadow in Kluane
Favourite outdoor activities: Cross-country skiing, orienteering, backpacking & trail running
Ask me about: Being a member, volunteer, or donor
Email Judith: email@example.com
Randi Newton, Conservation Manager (she/her)
Randi joined the CPAWS Yukon team in 2017 as the chapter’s Conservation Coordinator. Originally from central Alberta, Randi was drawn to Whitehorse by the strong sense of community and endless opportunities to explore the Yukon wilderness. She studied Conservation Biology at the University of Alberta and has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University. Previously, Randi worked as a land use planner and contributed to a variety of projects, including official community plans, regional plans and green network plans. She also has experience working on conservation projects, including radio-collaring and tracking deer to reduce deer-car collisions, working as a field assistant on a study of mercury accumulation in Common Loons, and sampling lakes as part of a citizen-science water monitoring project.
Randi loves all things outdoors, whether it’s scrambling up a mountain, heading out hunting to fill the freezer, or paddling and fishing on one of Yukon’s many lakes or rivers. One of the best parts about Whitehorse is the abundance of people who feel the same way. When not outside, Randi can usually be found cooking or preparing for the next adventure.
Favorite place: Exploring ridges in the Ogilvie Mountains
Favorite outdoor activity: Hiking and scrambling
Ask her about: Conservation and land use planning
Email Randi: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joti Overduin, Outreach Manager (she/her)
Joti fell in love with the Yukon while here to visit a friend in 2008, and moved here for good one year later. Having grown up in Ontario, she was completely amazed that a place as wild and untrammelled as the Yukon still existed. Ever since then, she has been devoted to helping protect it’s beautiful wild spaces. Joti began her involvement with CPAWS in 2007 as a volunteer with CPAWS National and has since been a volunteer and staff member of CPAWS Yukon. In May of 2015 Joti became a mom, which has only increased her passion to protect the wilderness we have left and help connect both children and people of all ages to nature. Joti loves her work and feels extremely grateful for the many friends, mentors and co-conspirators she has met throughout the Yukon and NWT through her work on the Peel Watershed Campaign and other CPAWS projects. The enduring strength of the First Nations that call the Peel watershed home has been a particular inspiration to Joti, and she is proud to partner with them in defense of democracy, the Treaties and the irreplaceable Peel watershed.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: Although I’ve only been there once, the headwaters of the Hart River in the Peel Watershed have a very special place in my heart, pun intended.
Favourite outdoor activity: Exploring any nook in nature with my son, being on a river in just about anything, hiking up mountains, trail running and riding motorcycles.
Ask me about: Our work with Yukon and Transboundary First Nations, Land Use Planning, McIntyre Creek, the Peel Watershed, Outreach in general
Email Joti: email@example.com
Adil Darvesh, Communications Manager (he/him)
Growing up in Toronto, Ontario, Adil discovered his interest in nature and wildlife by exploring the web of ravines that expand throughout the city. His curiosity led him to pursue a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Guelph, where he found his passion for sharing the stories of people, plants and animals behind conservation efforts. He went on to complete the Environmental Visual Communications graduate program with Fleming College and the Royal Ontario Museum, where he worked closely with ROM curators and staff to help highlight the work they do.
On his journey before working with CPAWS, Adil has hiked through the deciduous and boreal forests in Northern Ontario, canoed in the marshes along Lake Huron and helped rehabilitate wildlife in the Greater Toronto Area. In his spare time Adil can be found walking or biking along nature trails and taking pictures of wildlife and landscapes. He is also an avid sports fan and loves watching the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays.
Favourite place in the Yukon: Kathleen Lake
Favourite outdoor activity: Exploring a new trail
Ask me about: CPAWS Yukon projects
Email Adil: firstname.lastname@example.org
Malkolm Boothroyd, Campaigns Coordinator (he/him)
Malkolm Boothroyd grew up in Whitehorse and spent many childhood summers hiking and paddling through the Arctic wilderness of Alaska, NWT and the Yukon. Malkolm has been an activist since age eight, when he dressed up as a caribou calf and protested British Petroleum’s aspirations to drill for oil in the calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd. Ever since, he’s looked for innovative ways to take action on climate change and the environment. As a fifteen year old, Malkolm cycled from the Yukon to Florida as part of a fossil fuel free “Big Year”. In 2012, Malkolm helped to found the Peel Youth Alliance, a group of young Yukoners that used creative actions to call for the protection of the Peel River Watershed. Malkolm graduated from the University of Victoria with majors in Environmental Studies and Geography.
When not campaigning with CPAWS Yukon, Malkolm can be found taking photos of foxes, warblers and dippers around Whitehorse; or kayaking down the Yukon’s frigid whitewater rivers.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: Anywhere that Kluane Lake is visible
Favourite outdoor activity: Do I have to choose just one?
Ask me about: Porcupine caribou
Email Malkolm: email@example.com
Paula Gomez Villalba, Communications Coordinator (she/her)
Paula grew up in Colombia, Brazil, and British Columbia where she encountered the diverse species and landscapes that make up tropical and temperate rainforests. While her childhood focused more on city life, she explored her grandma’s farm and nearby trails as she got older, ultimately leading to a career protecting wildlife and their habitats. Paula holds a degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her work in wildlife conservation and research has taken her to Brazil’s white-sand rainforests, Saskatchewan’s prairies in search of dancing grouse, and multiple captive breeding and monitoring programs across Canada. Paula loves sharing stories from the field. She believes the outdoors is for everyone and hopes to empower others to similarly protect and engage with nature.
In her spare time, Paula enjoys reading, photographing wildlife, and volunteering with local bird monitoring programs. You can often find her on sniffing expeditions with her beagle at a nearby beach or hiking in the mountains.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: Twin Lakes, Tombstone
Favourite outdoor activity: Hiking
Email Paula: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephanie Woods, Conservation Coordinator (she/her)
Stephanie is grateful to be in the beautiful Yukon, joining the CPAWS team in spring 2023. She has a deep kinship with the wilderness and the array of life that are interwoven with the landscapes and peoples where she has been privileged to live, play and work across Canada. This lifelong connection and respect for nature has fueled her passion for the protection, conservation and where needed, restoration, of wild places. Stephanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Western Ontario and a Masters in Sustainable Environmental Management from the University of Saskatchewan. Stephanie has been working in the conservation field through a variety of different lenses for nearly fifteen years. She brings her expertise in parks and protected areas, human-animal interactions, ecological integrity and species at risk monitoring, active and innovative restoration including invasive species management, measuring strategic success as well as public behaviour change.
She is committed to the process of unlearning and relearning as she works toward holistic and inclusive conservation that braids together many ways of knowing including western science and traditional knowledge. Stephanie is passionate about, and a lifelong student of yoga, meditation practices as well as the healing qualities of nature-immersion therapies, and from time to time teaches trauma-sensitive yoga and guides in nature.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: High alpine meadows in bloom bring her great joy!
Favourite outdoor activity:so many, but most notably, hiking! I am also looking forward to coming back to my childhood roots of canoeing.
Email Stephanie: email@example.com
Anne Mease, Community Outreach Coordinator (she/her)
Anne Mease úuzhi
(My name is Anne Mease)
Whitehorse, Yukon Zhū níhni
(I live in Whitehorse)
Tsʼéhkinnuk ne Hudan, ts’in Hucha Hudan, ts’in Ihyę Handyát
(I am Crow Clan of the Selkirk First Nation in Pelly Crossing)
I was born in Whitehorse, Yukon and raised between Pelly Crossing and Whitehorse. I belong to the Selkirk First Nation and I was raised with the cultural values and traditional ways on the land by Ihtsi Suze and Ihtsun Jessie in Pelly Crossing. I spend as much time as I can harvesting various plants and berries and making them into creams, medicines or tea. I am on a journey of leaning my Northern Tutchone (SFN dialect) language and I am inspired by how strong our language is intact today. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology/Archeology/Native Studies (2003, UofS – High Honors/Most Distinguished Graduate) and a Master of Arts (2009, UofS) in Native Studies with a focus on Yukon Land Claims and Self-Government. I previously worked for CPAWS Yukon as the Outreach Coordinator from 2017-2021 and I am so happy to be back in the Yukon and back doing what I love at CPAWS Yukon.
Laurence Fox, Campaigns Coordinator (They/Them)
Originally from a small farm in Southern Ontario, Laurence grew up between the forest and the fields and never once went to bed with clean hands; they can saddle a horse, catch a fish, cook a puffball mushroom, change a tire, clean a wild turkey, or deliver a breech birth calf (although they would strongly advise against attempting them all at the same time). Coming to the Yukon “for a summer” in 2012, they fell in love with the place and simply never left. Joining CPAWS in 2023, Laurence brings a decade of working as an environment and social justice reporter in the territory to the campaigns team.
Always busy, Laurence also is working on a MFA in Creative Writing with the University of British Columbia and chugging away on a book about the climate crisis. When they aren’t reading, writing, or talking about caribou conservation, they can be found fishing for pike with their poodle, Audrey. They are proudly part of Yukon’s queer and trans community.
Favourite Wild Yukon Place: Quiet Lake
Favourite Outdoor Activity: Fishing/Foraging
Ask Me About: Land Use Planning, Caribou, Whacky Animal Facts
Favourite Wild Yukon Place: The sights and smells around Wolf Creek
Favourite Outdoor Activity: Chasing my friends and getting lots of love
Ask Me: Who’s a good girl?
Favourite Wild Yukon Place: The dog park with all my friends!
Favourite Outdoor Activity: Playing tag and sniffing all the flowers
Ask Me: Who’s a good girl?
Aiden Duncan, Conservation Intern (he/him)
Aiden is a 2-Spirit Cree/Métis summer student coming to the Yukon from Winnipeg. Growing up he did not have the chance to learn his culture, as his family was affected by residential/day school. He started learning about his culture and reconnecting at age 11. He taught himself how to bead, powwow dance, and many other artistic aspects of his culture. However as he got older he realized what the most important part of his culture was to him. And it was something he had known and loved even before he knew his culture; nature. From a young age, he loved camping, swimming, hiking, exploring and most of all: animals. Aiden believes that protecting the land and beings that live on it is the most important part of his culture. Because of this he now tries to educate others about the importance of the relationship between culture and our environment. It is very important to him to teach people about what the environment means to him, how his culture and beliefs motivate him, and how they can find what motivates them to care for the environment.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: I have only been in the Yukon for three days now, but so far I have hiked a beautiful mountain close to home following the Boogaloo trail.
Favourite outdoor activity: Powwow dancing, hiking, biking, camping, swimming, and canoeing.
Email Aiden: firstname.lastname@example.org
Candace Dow, Community Outreach Coordinator (she/her)
Candace grew up in the mountains of Alberta with a strong passion for the Outdoors and wildlife. This served as the base for going on to Nait’s Forest Technology and Biological Sciences-Renewable Resources Programs and then on to a Tradtional Ecological Knowledge Certificate.
Being Aseniwuche Winewak, ᐊᓯᓂᐊᐧᒋ ᐃᐧᓂᐊᐧᐠ, (Cree for Rocky Mountain People), Candace is connected to the land through life and work in the mountains. Candace went on to follow in her ancestors footsteps and built a Guiding and Outfitting business with her partner, 2 kids and 25 horses, south of Daylu (Lower Post BC). Candace is excited to work as the Community Outreach coordinator and keep exploring the Yukon’s land, people and stories which keep them alive. Candace is very excited to learn more about the wildlife and medicinal plants in Chasan Chua –(McIntyre Creek) area.
When Candace isn’t out on the land with her family, dogs and horses, she can be found guiding Yoga and Eco Adventure trips around the Yukon and Northern BC with Northern Nomad Outdoors.
Favourite place in the Yukon: Northern Nomad Ranch
Favourite Outdoor Activity: Winter camping, skiing , horseback trips
Ask me about: Community Outreach and anything tree related!
Email Candace: email@example.com
Maegan Elliott, Conservation Coordinator (she/her)
Maegan was born and raised in the Yukon, and her love for the outdoors began as a child with many extended back-country horseback trips with her family. She left for Alberta in 2012 to follow other interests, but the Yukon’s wilderness areas drew her back after a few years. Those wild spaces inspired Maegan to pursue a career in environmental science, and in 2020 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Conservation Science, majoring in Northern Systems. Maegan has also spent time as a wilderness tour guide, animal care giver at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, research assistant for several Yukon-based research projects, and she’s worked for an environmental consulting agency. More recently, Maegan has started a Master’s degree in Conservation Biology, and her research will involve looking at the effects of surface disturbance on Northern Mountain Caribou. In her free time, Maegan can usually be found on horseback, exploring the Yukon with her dog, hunting with her husband, or working on their property.
Favourite wild place in the Yukon: The Ruby Range
Favourite outdoor activities: Hiking, horseback riding, birding, and canoeing
Ask me about: Conservation science, McIntyre Creek, cumulative effects, and surface disturbance.
Email Maegan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Swystun, Chair (she/her)
Heather has a passion for wilderness and all that it has to teach. One of Heather’s most influential conservation experiences was being a part of a Porcupine Caribou campaign. Heather facilitated a canoe trip with Gwich’in youth down the Bell/Porcupine River. The large gathering with Old Crow community members at the confluence of the rivers, showed Heather the power of conservation campaigns and their lasting impact on indigenous youth.
Heather brings over 27 years of experience living north of 60. Like many, Heather, has gained a wealth of knowledge from Indigenous friends across the north. An Environmental Scientist, Natural Resources Manager, and Outdoor Educator by training, Heather is committed to supporting the incredible work of CPAWS staff.
Joel Luet, Vice Chair (he/him)
Joel has been living in the Yukon for 20 years, a CPAWS board member since 2006 and committed environmentalist for most of his life. He has had the good fortune to travel in some of the wild places of Canada and the Yukon and knows in his head, heart and gut that we need to keep as much of the remaining wild areas as possible as they are for the future of the planet.
Barb Buyck (Treasurer)
Born and raised in Mayo, Yukon, I belong to the Wolf Clan of the Na’cho Nyäk Dun First Nation. We are one of three Northern Tutchone communities in central Yukon.
My mother was a strong advocate/teacher of our culture and traditional values, encouraging our family members to learn the skills needed to survive and thrive on the land. My Mother was a Storyteller, and as such, we learned much of our traditional ways through her shared stories and traditional teachings. These teachings were a big part of our lives.
Our native language was not taught as it was frowned upon, and people were fearful (and often threatened) towards speaking it. Many of our tradition ways of life were hidden and lost during these times.
My mother was a Knowledge-Keeper, and it was important to her that our family was taught the ways of our people. We were fortunate to practice and live these teachings out on the land, and we were taught how we look after the land, and how it looks after us.
Following in my Mother’s footsteps, I am a Knowledge-Keeper, and I learned to adapt to today’s world, and how to walk in both worlds.
I am very grateful for all the teachings that have been taught to me through my Mother’s traditional stories, hunting and gathering’s, and through people working together. I am proud of our traditional culture and I continue to learn and practice these values, ensuring that I too share this knowledge with my family and my Nation, so that future generations can continue living our traditional practices, ways of doing things, as it was taught to me, and of which still serves us today.
I enjoy spending time out on the land with my children and grandchildren.
Sandy Johnston, Secretary (he/him)
Having spent the last 40 years living, working and exploring the Yukon, Sandy has a deep passion for the land, water and air and have a good understanding of the challenges of conserving them. He was raised in Peterborough, Ontario and from an early age, ventured out on the land with his grandfather, parents and two sisters in their vintage Peterborough cedar strip canoes. As a teenager, his summers were spent canoeing the backwoods of Ontario and Quebec guiding trips in Algonquin and La Verendrye parks.
In 1972, he and his partner Lois moved North and made Yukon their home, eventually raising two boys. Sandy’s work as a biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada from 1972 until 2010 carried him to all corners of the Yukon, including projects along the north coast of the Yukon, and in the Yukon, Alsek, Tatshenshini, Taku, and Stikine watersheds. He was deeply involved in the twenty-year Canada-US negotiations leading to the Pacific Salmon Treaty and Yukon Salmon Agreement. His work also gave him numerous opportunities to work with First Nations and implement the UFA.
Sidey Deska-Gauthier, Director (she/her)
Sidey first moved to Yukon four years ago where, like many before her, she fell in love with its mountains, rivers, and forests. Sidey holds a Master’s degree in political science from the University of Guelph and is currently working in community-based research and community economic development with the several Canadian post-secondary institutions and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun. Prior to pursuing a career in research, Sidey was a wilderness canoe guide for 8 years, and led youth-development trips across Canada. She passionately believes in the capacity of land-based experiences to empower youth and to inspire agency, self-reflection, and empathy as they transition into adulthood. As a board member of CPAWS Yukon, Sidey is excited to apply her passion for protected spaces into a focus on collaborative conservation.
Jill Pangman, Director (she/her)
Jill has over 30 years of experience as a wilderness guide, outdoor educator, biologist, naturalist, and conservationist. Her passion is in exploring wild places and sharing these experiences with others. She recognizes the capacity of wilderness sojourns to rejuvenate and inspire, and to deepen our connection to the natural world as well as to ourselves. She found an outlet through board positions at various Yukon NGOs organizations as well as through her company Sila Sojourns, to speak out on behalf of the natural world. She has done this through active engagement in protected areas campaigns, lending a conservation voice to tourism industry concerns, or through sharing her insights, and laughter, with fellow wilderness travelers.
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Bobbi Rose Koe, Director (she/her)
Bobbi Rose Koe is Teetl’it Gwich’in (meaning People of the headwaters), was raised in Fort McPherson (NWT) and now resides in Whitehorse. She found her passion for the Gwich’in way of life on the land; the culture, traditions, values, stories, history and people by just being out on the land with her family and friends – where she feels at home and lives her best life. Once, while attending a meeting about the Peel Watershed with her grandfathers, Robert Alexie Sr. and Abraham Koe Sr., Bobbi Rose was encouraged by them to speak for Gwich’in people, the people out on the land, the land, animals, fish, water and the future generations. Since then, she’s been advocating for environmental issues, especially concerning the Peel River Watershed and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
In 2015, she paddled the Wind River with CPAWS Yukon and four other youth. Inspired by the journey, Bobbi Rose and her fellow paddlers created Youth of the Peel Society: an organization committed to hosting canoe trips in the Peel Watershed and sharing on-the-land experiences with other youth. Bobbi Rose believes every youth should experience being out on the land, spending time with their elders and learning as much as they can. She is the owner and operator of Dinjii Zhuh Adventures, a company that provides customized on the land programming to youth and communities, and employs Indigenous guides. Bobbi Rose is known for her stories, her laughter, her passion and care for each and every person she meets, esp. making sure her clients are well taken off.
Eric Val, Director (he/him)
Erik has worked for Inuit and First Nations organizations and the federal and territorial governments in Ontario, Northern Quebec, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. With degrees in biogeography and resource management, Erik has undertaken community based research in Inuit land use, offshore fisheries/petroleum management and socio-economic impact assessment.
He has worked for Parks Canada in various positions including Chief of Socio-Economic Research (Ontario) and Superintendent of Nahanni National Park Reserve. He has also worked for the Yukon Government as the Director of the Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (YPAS) Secretariat and as the Director of Yukon Parks, where he oversaw the operation of Yukon campgrounds and guided the implementation of park management plans for Tombstone and Fishing Branch Territorial Parks until he retired in 2011.
Ceileigh Burns, Secretary/Treasurer (she/her)
Ceileigh (she/her) was raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. She grew up in a family of fisherpeople and has been fish obsessed since she was toddler. Ceileigh moved around different parts of the Pacific Northwest, eventually moving to the Northwest Territories for a summer contract… and stayed for 8+ years. She moved to Whitehorse in February of this year and has fallen madly in love, the combination of the northern community and the mountains appears to be the perfect blend. Ceileigh has a Technical Diploma in Recreation, Fish and Wildlife and has been working in the environmental sector since 2012. Both in conservation education and environmental consulting. Ceileigh loves to work with people.
Charlotte RentMeister, Director (she/her)
Charlotte was born and raised in the backcountry of the Yukon Territory, exploring the rivers and the mountains for as long as she can remember, and is passionate about making sure the Yukon stays wild. She graduated from the University of Ottawa with a BSc with Honours in Environmental Sciences in 2018 and is currently working at a local environmental consulting company. In September 2021, Charlotte will continue her education, starting her MSc in Biology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Charlotte became a board member in 2020 with a special interest in gaining a better understanding of different environmental approaches from multiple perspectives.