WCS Canada

Our Staff

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Hilary Cooke
Associate Conservation Scientist
Hilary Cooke joined WCS Canada in 2010 as Research Associate for the Northern Boreal Mountains landscape. Here she is partnering with First Nation, territorial, and federal governments to identify priority areas for conservation and to fill information gaps for species and ecosystems of conservation interest, such as songbirds in valley-bottom habitats, with the goal of bringing science-based conservation solutions to resource management and land-use planning. Hilary began her career with WCS as a member of the North America Program in 1998, where she worked with WCS Researcher Dr. Steve Zack on riparian conservation issues in semi-arid regions of the western United States. Through field studies in Oregon, California and Wyoming, they linked healthy riparian bird communities with alternative riparian management practices used by private and public land managers. Throughout her academic and professional career, Hilary has been committed to developing and communicating science-based solutions for wildlife conservation in landscapes managed for resource use. Her research and conservation focus has been linking wildlife habitat ecology, primarily for birds, with best management practices in threatened or at-risk ecosystems. Her field studies have taken her from the high deserts of the western United States to the boreal forests of Canada. Hilary has a breadth of experience partnering with governments, industry, academia, private land managers, and non-governmental organizations. After earning a M.Sc. in Wildlife Management at Humboldt State University in 2002, Hilary returned to her native Canada in 2003 to complete a Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of Alberta.
Jason Rae
Bat Program Manager
As a member of our Bat Program team, Jason is responsible for providing management and research support for the program from his base in Nelson, British Columbia. Jason joined WCS Canada in early 2016 and spent a year in the position of Conservation Intern. Jason completed his BSc in Ecology at the University of Calgary, and a subsequent MSc in Environmental and Life Sciences (Ecology and Conservation Biology) at Trent University. His passion for the natural world and experience from two research assistant positions have led him to develop a diverse set of multidisciplinary skills used to collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data to address unique scientific questions. Jason has worked in the field and in laboratory studies across Canada, including the far North Atlantic. He is well versed in amphibian, insect, plant, and mammal taxonomic identification, and proficient with statistical analyses in R.
John Weaver
Senior Conservation Scientist
John Weaver is a carnivore conservation biologist for WCS based in Missoula, Montana with field programs in the western United States and Canada that are focused on large landscape conservation, wildlife connectivity and adaptation to climate change. Over the past 25 years, John has played many key roles in large carnivore conservation in the United States and Canada. His dissertation research was on the ecology of wolf predation in the high-diversity ungulate environment of Jasper National Park, Alberta. John has held leadership positions with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on endangered species and has served on several recovery teams, including for both wolves and grizzly bears. Over the years, he has perfected hair snaring techniques for lynx and bear surveys and invented a lynx lure that is now widely used. He has authored more than 20 scientific publications and served as a reviewer for five scientific journals. John has an academic appointment at the University of Montana. He is particularly interested in conservation strategies that address the resiliency mechanisms of vulnerable species.
Lila Tauzer
Research Assistant
Lila holds the position of Research Assistant with the WCS Northern Boreal Mountains Landscape based in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she is responsible for providing research and field support. Lila received a B.Sc. in Biology from Humboldt State University and an M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has worked for over 10 years as a field biologist and her experience reflects her diverse interests. Besides her most recent work investigating habitat associations of western boreal songbirds, she has assisted with research on amphibians in the California Sierra Nevada mountains; raptors in Kenya; rattlesnakes and plants in the Great Basin desert; sheep and wolves in the Canadian Rockies; and birds in the Amazon. She is interested in landscape ecology, ecosystem function and climate change impacts on northern fauna, especially birds.
Liset Cruz Font
Freshwater Postdoctoral Fellow
Liset’s research focus is on applying advanced ecological modeling techniques to understand the impacts of climate change and future development scenarios on lake sturgeon populations in Ontario’s Arctic watershed. Liset completed her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with focus on Aquatic Ecology and Limnology at the University of Toronto. She uses a combination of field and laboratory experiments to understand the effects of climate (and climate change) on the behaviour, spatial movements and dynamics of fish populations, as well as the implications in management and conservation. Liset’s Master’s degree focused on the age and growth of fish and she has many years of experience with marine fisheries management having worked as a Fisheries Scientist in the Caribbean (Cuba).
Marilyn Katsabas
Office Manager
Marilyn Katsabas grew up in Toronto, Ontario and came to WCS Canada on a part-time basis in the fall of 2007. Marilyn has 20+ years administrative and bookkeeping experience previously working in both large corporate and small business environments. Marilyn has contributed to various community volunteer programs in the Toronto area.
Martin von Mirbach
Director of Conservation Strategy
As Director of Conservation Strategy Martin plays a critical role in moving WCS Canada’s science to conservation action with an understanding of policy and decision making environments in Canada. Martin completes his Master's Degree in Philosophy at York University in Toronto. He has been active as a conservationist since the early 1990s, and has been Coordinator of the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Network, Sustainable Development Chair at the Centre for Forest and Environmental Studies, National Conservation Director at the Sierra Club of Canada, Vice President of Forest Stewardship Council Canada and Director of WWF-Canada's Arctic Program.
Matthew Pine
Postdocoral Fellow
Matt is a Mitacs Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Victoria, in partnership with WCS Canada and Jasco Applied Sciences. After completing his PhD in Marine Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, he worked in industry as an acoustician in New Zealand and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Chinese Academy of Science's Institute of Hydrobiology in China. His work focuses on the distribution of fish species in the western Canadian Arctic, with a particular focus on a keystone species, the Arctic cod using passive acoustic monitoring. Part of the aim to better predict the potential impacts of anthropogenic noise and environmental changes on fish distributions through statistical and acoustic models. This work will be the first to investigate the ecoacoustics of Canadian Arctic fish and will provide essential data relevant to indigenous food security and long-term acoustic datasets needed to inform effective management
Matthew Scrafford
Wolverine Conservation Scientist
Matthew Scrafford is the Wolverine Conservation Scientist within Ontario’s Northern Boreal Landscape program at WCS Canada. Matthew works with government, indigenous groups, and trappers to advance the understanding and conservation of wolverine in Ontario. Matthew has experience with the U.S. Forest Service as an ecological research assistant in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem on projects ranging from vegetation surveys, to beaver, grizzly bear, moose, wolverine, and snowshoe hare research. He received his MSc at Montana State University studying the ecology of reintroduced beavers north of Yellowstone National Park. After completing his MSc he worked for Environmental Defense Fund on the effects of climate change on wildlife, the restoration of meadow wetlands in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the restoration of wetlands within the Mississippi River delta. Matthew received his PhD from the University of Alberta with a research focus on the habitat selection, movement, foraging behaviour, and density of wolverines in industrialized habitats in the northern boreal forest of Alberta. This research required worked closely with indigenous groups, trappers, and NGOs. During his PhD, Matthew received two fellowships, a W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellowship from WCS Canada and an NSERC CREATE-EI.
Meg Southee
GIS Analyst and Spatial Data Manager
Meg Southee is the GIS Analyst and Spatial Data Manager for Ontario's Northern Boreal Landscape Program at WCS Canada. She has worked with GIS technology for over 10 years and in 2017, she earned the distinction of Esri Certified ArcGIS Desktop Professional. Prior to joining WCS in 2013, Meg worked as a GIS Data Analyst to delineate watershed boundaries along the Canada/USA border under the direction of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and in collaboration with government organizations from both countries. In 2010, Meg obtained her MSc in Geography from Queen’s University, where her research focused on ecological land classification and soil moisture modelling in the boreal forest of Ontario using digital elevation models derived from LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) remote sensing data. Meg also holds an Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Nova Scotia and a BSc. Honours in Environmental Science from the University of Guelph.

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