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
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 our air, cleans and regulates our water, shelters wildlife, supports pollination, provides space for recreation, protects us from run-off and erosion, ensures dispersal of seeds, and more.
The task of protecting these vital and important properties is not just for landowners, but for all our neighbours who enjoy these natural, public benefits. That’s you, me and all of us. What will you do to raise your voice for our Moraine?
Lands protected today grow in importance as open spaces decrease. Because of caring donors like you, water will continue to be cleaned, trees and shrubs planted today will grow and spread and clean more air, shelter more birds and wildlife and provide more green space for everyone to enjoy.
Our team would love to hear from you if you have questions or ideas, if you would like to join our mailing list or request information, or if you are inspired to get involved.
Did you know that 90% of the Moraine is in private ownership?
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.
Here’s where our money comes from:
Here’s where your money goes:
Please Contact Us
Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust
18462 Bathurst Street
Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 4V9
You can also join the conversation on Facebook!
Stewardship & Outreach Technician
Board Member Listing
We are 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.
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.
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.
Christopher Norris, Chair
Chris Norris is an accomplished professional engineer and management consultant with a diverse 15 year career in the energy, aeronautical engineering, and financial services fields. Following 7 years in detailed aerodynamic design and analysis for Canada’s leading jet engine manufacturer, he changed gears and began management consulting with one of Canada’s banks. He now acts as an independent consultant in the energy and utilities sector.
From work with the Graduate Students Association’s board and executive at McMaster to teaching English in the Ecuadorian rainforest, his volunteer work is also diverse. He currently volunteers with Engineers Without Borders and Junior Achievement.
He holds a B. Sc. from Queen’s University, an M. Eng. from McMaster, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. He has been a licensed professional engineer since 2000. He lives in Aurora with his wife and three kids, and enjoys sailing, organic gardening and hiking on the Moraine.
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.
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.
Bio coming soon!
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.
Deb Pella Keen
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.
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.
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.
Michael Zahra is the President of Staples Business Advantage Canada, and was previously President of Yahoo Canada and Schlumberger RMS Canada with prior engineering positions at Motorola and Alcatel.
He was previously on the Board of Governors of Junior Achievement and the Board of Directors of Computers for Schools and has been involved in activities with Habitat for Humanity, Mississauga Food Bank, YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs.
Michael has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto, an M.B.A. in International Business from City University, Seattle and a P.Log from the Logistics Institute. Michael is a native of Toronto and is a world traveller and published photographer having photographed in 50 countries.
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.
Bio coming soon!
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.
Leanne Stevens is a Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Hallmark York Group in Aurora, specializing in residential real estate in York Region. Prior to joining the real estate profession, Leanne spent 25 years in the technology industry, with 20 of those years at Toshiba Canada. As Vice-President of Sales for the Notebook Computer Division, Leanne’s team of sales professionals managed the Commercial, Government, Education and Reseller business in Canada. Leanne and her husband Richard have lived in Oak Ridges for 17 years, and have been actively involved in the school, volunteer and sports communities with their two sons.
A love of the green space on the Moraine and a desire to protect it for FUTURE generations, is what drew Leanne to the Land Trust.
Jamie Windle, Treasurer
Jamie Windle is a Senior Manager with BDO. Prior to his current position Jamie served with Ernst &Young in both Ottawa and Southampton, England advising clients on mergers and acquisitions. He led the audit teams for a number of clients including large foreign subsidiaries of SEC registrants, London Stock Exchange listed and private companies. Jamie also serves as a Consultant to a small owner-managed business in Carleton Place, assisting in one-time projects and on-going management functions.
A graduate of Wilfred Laurier University Bachelor of Business Administration (Hon.), Co-op Option, Dean’s Honour Roll, Jamie also holds designations as a Chartered Accountant and Certified Public Accountant.
Residing in the Credit River watershed, Jamie looks forward to contributing his expertise to the Trust while learning more about protection of the environment at the community scale.
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