Leora Berman, Chief Operating Officer and Founder- “The Carver”
Leora Berman has a diverse and impressive background: She is a Strategic Project Manager, Soil and Water Technologist, has studied Economics, has diplomas in Fine Arts, and is a recognized leader in the social sector. She began in the “trenches”, with years in conducting hydrogeological, hydrological and wetland assessments; then she designed and delivered environmental remediation and restoration projects; and grew to developing and managing large-scale and multi-partnered projects across Ontario and for the International Joint Commission between Canada and the USA. Leora is the recipient of the 2019 Roland Michener Conservation Award from CWF, for exceptional work in wildlife research and conservation. The Land Between under Leora’s leadership was also the recipient of the Members of Parliament Award for work in the Haliburton, Brock, Kawartha Lakes Riding in 2014 and from MP Barry Devolin. Download Leora’s biography: Leora. Bio
Peter Alley was a Forefather of The Land Between effort. A retired business professor at York University, Peter dedicated the last 10 years of his life to making sure The Land Between region would be recognized and also valued. Peter’s formidable dedication not only ensured that the region received attention from the conservation sector, but his resolve that the region’s ecological function be fully understood, created a spirit of determination that is still animate in our work and initiative today. It was during the Ontario Living Legacy years, and as Peter had a summer cottage in Gravenhurst, that Peter began to sense that there existed a unique area situated between the Shield and St. Lawrence Lowlands. With remarkable persistence and perseverance Peter spent years in researching and gathering information but too, in his fortitude, Peter also inspired a swell of support. Peter’s wife describes him during that time as a “dog at the bone”. In addition to collecting many champions, Peter persuaded two land trust leaders, Ron Reid of The Couchiching Conservancy and Ian Attridge of the Kawartha Land Trust to take on a project that would characterize the ecological features of this landscape. It was shortly after this time, in early 2006, that Peter passed. Leora Berman was hired only three months prior to his passing, “Peter was the rock. Without this foundation I could not have carved and crafted the initiative that we have today.” Submitted by Leora Berman
I feel it most necessary to recognize this Nation and my friends therein also as co-founders in this initiative. Until 2019 I had referred to my role as CoFounder rather than founder, because while Peter Alley laid the groundwork, it was the invaluable contribution of First Nations that was so potent as to to imbue the charity with much more meaning and direction. It was only for the assertions of the First Nation members of the charity that I have taken the title as charity founder. Because, if it were not for their openness, charity, and willingness to trust me, The Land Between organization would not have the heart and strength that it does today. I feel humbled by this friendship and the kinship that has emerged. I feel humbled by it all. Miigwetch. Submitted by Leora Berman
The Land Between is fortunate to have a dedicated group of individuals to representing the common good.
The Council are made up of individuals that reflect the “common person” from across the region. The Council provides a grassroots perspective and the invaluable benefit of the “lived-experience”. The Council members are also cherished as autonomous and equal members, who are trustworthy and are respected for their integrity. The Council is responsible for the development of strategic directions and to ensure democratic and fair decisions are made by the organization.
The Land Between is a nationally registered charity where are bylaws ensure equality among all board members. There are no executive members and there are no committees of the Council. No Council members are paid for their roles. All are volunteer.
The Land Between honours the original Treaties of Canada and as such operates with 50% Indigenous peoples on our Council, and with one seat on Council that is delegated and not elected, to represent the Nation of the Traditional Territory in which we operate.
2020 Council Members:
- Tracey Taylor, Aanishinabe kwe
- Peter Carruthers
- Gary Williams, Aanishinabe
- Sandy Agnew
- Keith Hodgson, Treasurer
- Laurie Hockeday, Aanishinabe kwe, Delegate on behalf of Curve Lake First Nation
Each year we hire talented young professionals to deliver dynamic programs. Stay tuned for the staff of summer 2020
Danielle Lachance, is a Behaviour Change Specialist that has launched her own consulting firm and consults for the charity. She is a graduate from Trent University’s MSc psychology program, specializing in environmental psychology. Her research focuses on the influence the natural environment has on nature relatedness, well-being, and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours. For her master’s thesis, she studied the effects of nature immersion and outdoor education in different outdoor spaces (green versus blue space) on students’ mood and concern for the environment. Danielle is also currently an academic assistant in the psychology department at Trent, a research assistant in Dr. Lisa Nisbet’s Nature Relatedness lab. Danielle provides insight in to methods and approaches to facilitate stewardship behaviours and also leads research into effectiveness of programs and services that the charity offers.
I’m Sam Shappas, the Digital Communications/Online Education Coordinator with The Land Between. I graduated in 2015 from the Fish and Wildlife Technician program at Sir Sandford Fleming College, and since then have been working on field projects throughout Ontario and western Canada. I’ve primarily worked with birds in the past, but I also have experience with amphibians and mammals! I have always had a love for outreach and social media, so I’m excited to be a part of The Land Between team, and to have the opportunity to create educational material to share with the public.
My focus in this position is to create informational fact sheets about issues that affect our wildlife and natural resources in The Land Between region, along with accompanying videos. These fact sheets are geared towards people who live and recreate in The Land Between, but can be helpful for anyone anywhere! They include topics such as Outdoor Cats, Night Light Pollution, Proper Ways to Hold a Turtle, and more! I am also working on creating posts for our social media pages, as well as reaching out to outfitters and organizations across the region to help spread the word about The Land Between and our projects.
Hi there! My name is Victoria Gee and I’m the new Digital Educational Coordinator for The Land Between. Over the next couple months, I’ll be creating turtley cool curriculum for Turtle Guardians. Ever wanted to know more information about Ontario’s turtles and where they live? How about going for a nature walk with your class and playing a game of BINGO? Can you help Tripod the Painted Turtle use math to determine how big his pool is for a pool party? Did you know that in North America there are 13 scutes on a turtle’s shell, and that Indigenous Peoples link these scutes to the 13 moons each year? Do you want to create change by conducting research into the turtle species at risk in your community? Stay tuned for that and more! All Turtle Guardian curriculum will be centered around place-based and inquiry-based learning to allow students to think critically about what they’re learning and how to apply their newly gained knowledge to real life. The curriculum will also be paired with fun videos that support each lesson and a sharing platform to show off your work.
My background is in Environmental Biology and I have previously worked in a Science Museum delivering fun filled science activities, but my heart has always lied with nature. That is why I joined the Turtle Guardian team to bring fun lessons about turtles and wildlife into your classrooms and homes. You can often find me wandering through a wetland or forest looking for signs of wildlife and taking pictures. I’m particularly interested in ecosystem health and love coming across a mushroom. I can’t wait to share with everyone the new curriculum – and just like a turtle on their birthday, you’ll be shell-ebrating all your new knowledge!
Daniel Grenon, is the Senior GIS Specialist for the charity. Daniel graduated from Nova Scotia Community College with an advanced diploma in Geographic Information Systems alongside having a BSc in Environmental Science from Acadia University. He hails from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and made the jump to Ontario to follow his passion and interests so he can contribute to the environmental and conservation field! Daniel loves sports, winning at board games and delicious coffee! Daniel works on Human Footprint mapping, suitable habitat models, conservation blueprint and priority mapping including hotspot sites for mitigating threats to turtles and other species at risk, and overall data mining and management.
Siena Smith is The Land Between’s Senior Conservation Program Coordinator with The Land Between focusing on Conservation Strategic Planning, Habitat Restoration, and Species at Risk Recovery. Siena has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of British Columbia and a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Assessment from Niagara College. She has worked in environmental consulting as an environmental monitor with AECOM Canada, and in biodiversity monitoring as an aquatic field technician with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. Siena is passionate about environmental conservation, cool plants, and all things outdoors. She is excited to be a part of the diverse team at The Land Between and to lead innovative approaches to wildlife and habitat conservation.
Jaime Kearnan, is the Communications Specialist, Graphic Designer and Content Creator for The Land Between charity, combining scientific research with art and design. She has a Bachelor of Science with a specialization in Zoology and a post-graduate certificate in environmental Visual Communication. Jaime has always loved animals and at 8 years old made the consequential decision to purchase a leopard gecko that she still has today, 17 years later. Jaime designs our posters, printed materials, logos and is also leads our Turtle Guardians Instagram.
Sarah Jackson– Indigenous Land Trust Communications and Outreach Coordinator
Joshua Beaver– Indigenous Land Trust Coordinator
Will Petrie– Turtle Conservation-Care Technician
The Land Between also employs amazing summer and contract staff who are remarkable youth that are emerging leaders in the sector and whose work is outstanding. We hope to add them to our permanent list of staff experts in the near future!
We have also worked with skilled and knowledgeable students from Fleming College and Trent University through Ulinks and other applied credit programs. We are truly grateful for their invaluable contributions to our efforts. You can visit the Discoveries pages on the website to see their work.
Past Employees-Current Volunteers and Contributors
Emma Halupka, is a former Senior Conservation Technician for the charity who is completing content and providing support for the Citizen Science for birds portfolio. Emma developed a majority of the portfolio for The Land Between. Emma currently resides in Nova Scotia. She is passionate about restoring natural systems in a way that builds community and honours Indigenous rights and knowledge. She has lived and worked throughout Canada, completing a BSc in Environmental Science at Dalhousie University and an MSc in Ecological Restoration at Simon Fraser University & British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her Masters project looked at quantifying and restoring physical attributes of old-growth forests in the Coastal Western Hemlock zone of BC. Through years of fieldwork planting trees, assessing biodiversity, and implementing restoration projects, Emma has grown a deep appreciation for the inter-connectivity of nature. She has helped to organize in both climate and social justice campaigns – and is grateful that this link between science and community is prioritized at the TLB.
Meredith Karcz, former Senior Conservation Technician, developed the Citizen Science portfolio for turtles- from Wetland Watchers to Road Researchers, Meredith designed all aspects for these programs and supported our more than 50 volunteers in 2020. Currently Meredith is completing a diploma in Ecosystem Restoration from Niagara College. As a big time nature-lover and seaweed geek Meredith completed an undergrad in biology and environmental science, and a Masters degree in intertidal community ecology. In her Masters’ thesis she looked at the impacts of seaweed harvest on the biological communities of rocky shores in Nova Scotia and Ireland. Meredith has experience teaching kids, youth, and adults. Meredith was also instrumental in our turtle egg incubation and release program! When she is not working, studying or supporting volunteers, she can often be found cuddling her rescue dog Ollie (who she adamantly refers to as her son), cooking vegan food, training for marathons, or working on an arts and crafts project.
MaryJane Proulx, Volunteer in communications and First Nation portfolio. Mary Jane is an Anishinaabeg/Scottish woman who’s work with The Land Between focuses on the incorporation of First Nations history and Traditional Ecological Knowledge in multiple projects across the landscape. Throughout her academic career at Trent University and Fleming College, MaryJane has been working to promote and support Indigenous perspectives as a researcher, writer and historian. She holds a Bachelor with Honours in History and Environmental Resource Studies, as well as a diploma in Ecosystem Management Technology. MaryJane has worked as an Artisan Interpreter and Tour Guide at the Canoe Museum for the past 3 years, carving paddles and teaching visitors about Indigenous-settler histories through the story of the canoe. She has also volunteered with Peterborough Green Up and the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative doing ecological work. MaryJane’s ultimate goal in both her personal and academic career is to bridge cultures through ecological problem solving and story-telling.