The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust is a group of citizens and neighbours working together to protect and steward Moraine properties for our collective benefit.
This is Your Land Trust
The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust is your Land Trust.
Our Moraine is crucial and ecologically sensitive land. Consider what just one acre of green space, covered with forest, wetland or open meadow does for you: cleans the air, cleans and regulates water, shelters wildlife, supports pollination, provides space for recreation, protects us from run-off and erosion, ensures dispersal of seeds, and more.
By protecting these vital and important lands, everyone will benefit from these natural features and all that they provide. That’s you, me and all of us. What will you do to help to protect our Moraine?
The lands that we protect on the Oak Ridges Moraine will grow in importance as more and more natural areas are lost. Because of caring donors like you, we can continue to protect land forever, ensuring that water will continue to be cleaned, trees and shrubs will continue to clean our air and shelter more birds and wildlife, and we will all benefit from the protected nature and greenspace.
With your support, we have been able to permanently protect 4,480 acres of ecologically important land on or near the Oak Ridges Moraine, but there is much more to protect, and we need your help.
Our team would love to hear from you if you have questions or ideas, if you would like to join our mailing list or if you are inspired to get involved.
Please Contact Us
Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust
18462 Bathurst Street
Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 4V9
Office Hours: 9AM – 5 PM, Mon – Fri
Together with our donors, we raise crucial funds to protect properties across our Oak Ridges Moraine. We promise to be open and transparent about how we raise our funds and where your money goes.
Thank you! Donors like you combining forces with foundations, corporations and government have made a difference! Here is where our money comes from:
Every gift protects land, saves habitat for species, and engages citizens in learning about the Moraine and Greenbelt. Here is where your money goes:
Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust
We envision that natural environments important to sustaining life are protected forever.
The Land Trust works to ensure a healthy ecosystem and natural environment that thrives forever, on and near the Oak Ridges Moraine.
Ethical Value Statements
The following values statements guide and inspire every decision and action at the Land Trust. We will:
- Maintain and enhance the trust of our community
- Collaborate with communities and partners for the common good
- Effectively steward our lands in perpetuity
- Be accountable for our results, decisions and resources
- Engage, influence, persuade and advocate
- Treat volunteers, staff members, donors and all others involved with the Land Trust with respect
- Celebrate successes in environmental protection
For more details about our long-term vision and plan, please view our 2018-2021 Strategic Plan PDF here.
You can view our ByLaws here
Board Member Listing
The Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust is governed by a Board of Directors. These helpful and caring volunteers lend their time, talent and expertise to provide leadership, raise awareness and support our efforts.
If you are interested in applying to become a member of the Board of Directors, click here for the job posting and application information.
Mike Charles, Co-Chair
Mike Charles recently retired after 30 years as an intellectual property litigator, primarily in patent cases, as a partner with a major Toronto based firm. He also has a Chemical Engineering degree, and is obtaining his Masters in Business Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, focusing on corporate governance. He also assists self-represented litigants with Pro-Bono Law Ontario, and has been active with Habitat for Humanity with a large recently completed project. He is committed to sustaining the outdoors, enjoys hiking, water colour landscape painting, travelling, and numerous other pursuits, and is a long time Appalachian Mountain Club member.
Sarah Chiasserini, Treasurer
Sarah Chiasserini, CPA, CA, BSc (Hons) is a Chartered Accountant and works as a Senior Manager in the audit and assurance department at BDO Canada LLP. She has over 15 years experience in public accounting both in Canada and in the UK. She serves private and public company clients in a variety of industries including mining, manufacturing and real estate.
Sarah was born and raised in the UK and came to Canada in 2005. She lives in North Pickering where she owns and operates a small private horse boarding facility. As well as being a certified English riding coach, she enjoys trail riding on her own horses, competing at show jumping competitions and hiking.
She is an active member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF), Equine Canada, Women in Mining (WIM), Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) and on the Board of a small NPO for a cooperative school in Brooklin. She has previous experience serving as a board member on equestrian clubs and associations in the UK.
A founding board member of the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust since its inception in 2000, Mary Dubé is typical of the spirit behind the creation of regional Land Trusts. Like many who take action on local and social justice issues at the grass roots level, getting involved leads to more. Environmental issues have always been a passion for Mary and that’s not just due to her proximity to the Moraine with a hobby farm in Uxbridge Township for the past 15 years. Believing that we are privileged to be able to stand up, speak out and take action, she is an engaged idealist who wants to leave the world a better place – because citizens working together can make a positive, lasting difference.
Brent Elson is Partner with KPMG’s Financial Institutions Audit practice. He has been with KPMG since 2000 and spent time in both Dublin, Ireland and London, UK. He leads the audit engagements of number of large banking and other financial services clients in the GTA. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, and has a Masters of Accounting from the University of Waterloo.
Brent loves cycling, hiking, golfing and cottage life.He lives at the edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine in Aurora, Ontario with his family, but is originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Brent’s objective is to help protect the natural environment of the Oak Ridges Moraine and encourage strategies and activities to manage its water resources in a sustainable way.
Kerry-Ann is a Member of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation and the Environmental Partnership Co-ordinator for Cambium Indigenous Professional Services (CIPS). She is proud to have been able to serve her Community for over 17 years working in various capacities such as by-law development and implementation, waste management, housing, environmental project co-ordination and management as well as serving a term on Council.
Over the past decade Kerry-Ann has dedicated herself to learning about and up-holding her responsibility as an Indigenous person to protect and preserve mother earth and at the same time dedicated herself to sharing this knowledge to ensure sustainability and balance for future generations. As a result of this work, she has gained International recognition and has been asked to speak across Canada, the US and Mexico on the importance of including the indigenous perspectives when pursuing efforts relating to the environment and climate change. Kerry Ann’s wide range of career experiences gives her a unique perspective that can be very valuable when assisting other communities and organizations wishing to find their balance of operations and environmental stewardship.
Deb Pella Keen, Co-Chair
Deb Pella Keen has lived and worked on the Oak Ridges Moraine since 2006. She recently retired as Director of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, a provincial agency that works to preserve the Niagara Escarpment as a continuous natural landscape through south-central Ontario and convenes the designation as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. She previously held senior management positions with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in Toronto, Aurora, Sudbury, and Peterborough where she led environmental planning, community engagement and natural resource policy and program development and implementation with a particular interest in engaging Indigenous Peoples.
Deb continues to pursue her passion for environmental stewardship by working with the ORMLT, the Canadian Council for UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Committee (biosphere reserve program), the Landscape of Nations 360° Indigenous Education Initiative and Plenty Canada, a non-profit that promotes social justice and environmental protection in the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. Deb holds a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) from the University of Toronto and enjoys exploring the out of doors by foot, paddle, bike or skis with family and friends.
Christopher Norris, Past Chair
Chris Norris is an accomplished professional with a diverse 20+ year career in the energy, aeronautical engineering, and financial services fields. Following several years of detailed design and analysis for one of Canada’s leading aerospace firms, he began management consulting and has worked in both the financial services and energy industry. He now leads the development of the renewable hydrogen business in Canada for a large multinational engineering firm.
He holds a B. Sc. (Engineering) from Queen’s University, an M. Eng. from McMaster, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University, and an LL.M in Energy & Infrastructure Law from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto (2021). He has been a licensed professional engineer in the province of Ontario since 2000. He lives in Aurora with his wife and three kids.
Isobel Ralston has lived and worked on the Oak Ridges Moraine for over 25 years. She received a Ph.D. in chemistry; her entire career was centred on pharmaceutical research and development. Isobel has lived in several countries and speaks four languages.
Over the past ten years, Isobel has been committed to environmental issues. She sat on the Board of STORM (Save the Oak Ridges Moraine Coalition) and is a member of RAYS (Ratepayers Aurora Yonge South). She is a co-founder of the MapleCross, a charitable fund focused on the protection of environmentally sensitive lands.
Isobel has backpacked, hiked and canoed in various regions of Canada (Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Yukon) and frequently cycles in Europe. She continues studies at The Toronto School of Art; her paintings have been exhibited in several group shows.
Kathryn Bakos is Director, Climate Finance and Science at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, where she assesses the impact of climate change on specific industry sectors and the broader capital markets. Kathryn is developing guidance to help investment professionals integrate climate change and extreme weather risk into forward-looking portfolio analysis to minimize associated risk. By extension, her research will influence companies to adapt to climate change in an effort to minimize risk/exposure. Kathryn holds an Honours B.Sc in Biological Science, University of Toronto, specializing in Environmental Science and is a candidate for the Master of Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo.
While obtaining the Canadian Securities Course certification, Kathryn initiated and developed a framework for integrating Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) factors into investment portfolios. Kathryn speaks frequently to professional audiences, and she is a guest lecturer to graduate students at various universities. Kathryn is a certified Scuba diver.
Rodney Yip has served on Boards of Directors and Executive teams for over 30 years. His roles include President, Treasurer, Secretary and general Board member. He has worked as a fundraiser, advisor, marketer and mentor.
Rodney worked at IBM Canada for 33 years and “retired” in 2015. After down-shifting for a month, he discovered a gear he never knew he had. Old passions reemerged. Projects such as pollinator habitat rehabilitation / creation, re-forestation, waste diversion and climate change came to the fore. No stranger to environmental issues, Rodney was involved in cleaning up the Don River, particulate analysis of the Gardiner Expressway environs, fish habitat monitoring and Save the Whales (yes, he was one of “those” people).
Enhancing the Oak Ridges Moraine is a lifelong dream. The moraine is an important watershed, pollinator habitat and carbon sink. Rodney’s interest in wetlands, bees, trees and climate change all merge on the moraine.
Zhasmina Zheleva is currently a student in the Masters of Environmental Studies program at York University. She has a variety of experiences in student success and research. Zhasmina has been involved in roles at York including as Student Alumni Leader and Vice President of the Bachelor in Environmental Studies Student Association.
Most recently, Zhasmina held a role with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authorities where she conducted scholarly research on Tommy Thompson Park and continues to explore its human uses and the common areas of unfamiliarity/conflict for the public when considering conservation projects.
Her background lies in Business Management, specifically in Human Resources and Talent Acquisition. However, she is excited for her new career direction, as the natural environment is where her true passion is.
Jane Garthson, Secretary
Jane Garthson has been providing leadership services to Canadian not-for-profits and governments since 1992, after holding senior management roles in the Ontario government. Her focus areas are Interim Executive roles, governance, strategic planning, ethics and decision-making. Last decade, Jane provided consulting services to the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, then delivered strategic planning workshops for the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and attended in the first Standards and Practices training in Canada. She has served and supported other environmental organizations and deeply appreciates the importance of the Moraine in preserving our ecosystem and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Jane has served as Commissioner of the Ontario Racing Commission (a provincial regulatory agency), chair of the Ethics Practitioners Association of Canada, Treasurer of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association and Executive Director of the Ontario Equestrian Federation. She grew up with strong rural ties and now rides her Quarter Horse regularly on Durham Forest trails. She lives in North York with two cats and a pesticide-free edibles garden. Both Jane and her husband are amateur singer-songwriters and fantasy readers.
Patricia Short-Galle, Past Chair
A long time resident of the City of Pickering. Since 2001 and until her retirement as Regional Manager, Green Space & Outreach with Transport Canada in August 2007, Patricia led the federal Green Space initiative to protect approximately 7,500 acres, including the Oak Ridges Moraine portion of the federal holdings in Pickering as Green space for future generations. Patricia was a member of the Duffins Watershed Task Force, the Rouge Watershed Task Force, the Duffins/Carruthers Watershed Resource Group and the Rouge Park Improvement & Heritage Committee.
Patricia was appointed by the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority and is a member at large on the Walker Woods & Glenn Major Stewardship Committee focused primarily on the northern portion of Durham Region; and is a member of the Oak Ridges Corridor Park East – Management Plan Public Advisory Committee.
In addition to serving as the Chair of the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust and a member of the Fundraising Committee, Patricia serves on the Board of Governors for the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and was a member on the Board of Trustees for the United Way Ajax, Pickering, Uxbridge and Chair of the Community Investment Cabinet.
Jenna Siu (BScH, MSc) works for the Nature Conservancy of Canada as the Coordinator, Conservation Biology for Happy Valley Forest. She plans and implements land stewardship activities for this natural area on the Oak Ridges Moraine, as well as other properties on the in the area. Jenna holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Studies and Biology from Queen’s University and a Master’s in Biology from Western University, where she studied some of the effects that landscape fragmentation have on butterflies in southern Ontario. Since then, she’s worked and volunteered for a number of land trusts in Ontario, doing outreach, visitor management, working with species at risk, invasive species management and conservation planning.
Jenna developed a passion for the natural world and its conservation through her education and field experiences. She hopes to continue this work with the volunteers and staff of ORMLT by helping to protect the natural landscape and biodiversity on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Jenna lives in Toronto and in her spare time enjoys cooking, hiking and caring for her balcony garden.
The majority of Paul’s career has been working in Health & Safety and Environment divisions of major companies and ensuring compliance with the regulators and the social licence allowed by the local communities. His earlier formal education was in engineering technology in civil & resources followed by a bachelor degree in geography from Queen’s University and lately with a Masters degree in Environment and Business from the University of Waterloo. The education that he values the most and the reason for joining the ORMLT is his appreciation of the outdoors and the stewardship required to maintain it for future generations. Living in Toronto and within sight of the Humber River entering Lake Ontario, he witnesses the human interaction with nature on a small scale and understand the need to protect our natural environment.
Nicholas Trevisan is an Urban Forestry Planner with the City of Toronto, where he implements City tree by-laws and forestry programs. Nicholas worked previously as a consultant specializing in natural environment impact assessment, policy review, species at risk, ecological restoration and arboriculture. He received an Honours Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Ecology from the University of Guelph and a Masters degree in Sustainable Environmental Management from the University of Saskatchewan. Nicholas grew up on the moraine and was inspired by both the land and residents who worked to conserve it. He hopes to help continue this legacy of conservation through his work with the talented staff and volunteers of the Trust. In his spare time, Nicholas enjoys exploring the Moraine, camping, running, hockey and spending time with family and friends.