WCS Canada

Our Staff

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Cheryl Chetkiewicz
Associate Conservation Scientist
Cheryl Chetkiewicz is a Conservation Scientist. Her current program of work includes cumulative effects, environmental assessment, land use planning and policy, monitoring at community and regional scales, and engagement with Indigenous Peoples across our programs in Canada. More recently, Cheryl led Ontario's Northern Boreal program where her work focused on conserving the boreal region in the far north in Ontario through applied and field research on fish and wildlife. Cheryl has a PhD in Ecology from the University of Alberta where she developed models to design wildlife corridors to conserve grizzly bears and cougars. Cheryl is a board member of the Ontario Association for Impact Assessment. In addition to her current work with WCS Canada, she has worked with governments, Indigenous Peoples, and interested stakeholders on wildlife management and conservation in Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and Peru.
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Justina Ray
President & Senior Scientist
Dr. Justina Ray has been President and Senior Scientist of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada since its incorporation in 2004. In addition to overseeing the operations of WCS Canada, Justina is involved in research and policy activities associated with land use planning and large mammal conservation in northern landscapes. Having worked for years in African and Asian tropical forests, North America has been her predominant geographic focus over the past two decades. Justina has been appointed to numerous government advisory panels related to policy development for species at risk and land use planning in Ontario and Canada. She was the co-chair of the Terrestrial Mammals Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) from 2009-2017 and is currently a member of the IUCN Taskforce on Biodiversity and Protected Areas. She has been editor or author of 3 books and numerous peer-reviewed articles, and is Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto (Faculty of Forestry) and Trent University (Biology Department) and Research Associate at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Constance O'Connor
Associate Conservation Scientist
Connie O’Connor is a freshwater ecologist and conservation biologist dedicated to finding conservation solutions for the globally important freshwater ecosystems of Canada’s boreal forests, and the people and the wildlife that rely on them. Connie leads WCS Canada’s research and conservation program in the Ontario Northern Boreal landscape. Some of her current program highlights include leading a lake sturgeon monitoring program in collaboration with Moose Cree First Nation; identifying priority areas for freshwater fish biodiversity using conservation planning tools; and applying research results to improve planning, management, and policy. Connie is also a member of the Freshwater Fish Specialist Subcommittee of COSEWIC, and an Adjunct Professor at Lakehead University. Before joining WCS Canada, Connie completed her PhD at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, where she used advanced telemetry and field physiology techniques to study how environmental stressors impact fish. Next Connie completed a postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University, where she was awarded the prestigious Alice Wilson Medal from the Royal Society of Canada for outstanding academic qualifications in science.
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Matthew Scrafford
Wolverine Conservation Scientist
Dr. Matt Scrafford is the Wolverine Conservation Scientist with Ontario’s Northern Boreal Landscape program. Matt works with government, industry, indigenous groups, and trappers to advance the understanding and conservation of wolverines in Ontario. Currently, Matt is using radiotelemetry and motion-sensor cameras in Red Lake to determine the effects of forestry on wolverine ecology at their southern range edge. Matt also is working with First Nations in Aroland and Slate Falls to document wolverine occurrence on their traditional land. He began his ecology career as an assistant on U.S. Forest Service wildlife research projects in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Along the way, he also worked wildland fire as a U.S. Forest Service Hotshot. He received his MSc at Montana State University where he studied the ecology of reintroduced beavers north of Yellowstone National Park. Matt received his PhD from the University of Alberta with a research focus on wolverine habitat selection, movement, foraging behaviour, and density in industrialized habitats in the Rainbow Lake and Birch Mountains areas of northern Alberta. This work was featured in the CBC Nature of Things documentary “Wolverine: Ghost of the northern forest”.
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Meg Southee
GIS Analyst and Spatial Data Manager
Meg Southee is the GIS Analyst and Spatial Data Manager for the Ontario Northern Boreal Landscape Program at WCS Canada. Her work focusses on harnessing the power of spatial information to address different research objectives for the terrestrial and freshwater research programs in Ontario. Using ArcGIS and the Python programming language, Meg develops geospatial tools and writes code to model environmental variables under future climate change scenarios. This information is used in tandem with human development cases to prioritize locations for protection of freshwater and terrestrial species. Meg has also created a series of story maps to highlight WCS Canada’s projects in a narrative and visual format, including one about WCS Canada’s freshwater conservation research and another about caribou ecology and mineral exploration impacts. Meg has worked with GIS and remote sensing technology for over 10 years and served as a board member for the Society for Conservation GIS. In 2017, Meg earned the distinction of Esri Certified ArcGIS Desktop Professional. She holds the following degrees: MSc. in Geography - Queen’s University, Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS), and BSc. Honours in Environmental Science - University of Guelph.
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