WCS Canada

Our Staff

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Gillian Woolmer
Director of Finance and Operations
While WCS Canada’s scientists focus on delivering conservation outcomes Gillian is responsible for ensuring WCS Canada is operating effectively, efficiently and sustainably, from financial management to human resources to regulatory compliance. Gillian comes to this role with a strong background in conservation with WCS. Since joining WCS in 2000, Gillian has led and collaborated on a diversity of projects, including; mapping the global Human Footprint, and rescaling this methodology to the Northern Appalachian Ecoregion, developing web-based conservation mapping tools, estimating rates of deforestation in Sumatra, mapping mandrill habitat use in Gabon, and the identification of wolverine range and caribou wintering grounds in Ontario. Gillian has a Masters degree in Geology and Mineral Exploration with extensive field experience ranging from the Highlands of Scotland and the mines of central Queensland, Australia, to the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile and a variety of gold exploration projects in Ghana, Mali and Eritrea. In addition, Gillian holds a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University, New York, an Advanced Diploma in GIS from the College of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Nova Scotia, and a certificate in Human Resource Management from the Social Economy Centre of the University of Toronto.Gillian has a Masters degree in Geology and Mineral Exploration with extensive field experience ranging from the Highlands of Scotland and the mines of central Queensland, Australia to the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile and a variety of gold exploration projects in Ghana, Mali and Eritrea. In addition, Gillian holds, and a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University, an Advanced Diploma in GIS from the College of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Nova Scotia, and a certificate in Human Resource Management for Not-For-Profits.
Gretchen Lescord
Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr. Gretchen Lescord is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the WCS Canada's Ontario Northern Boreal program examining contaminants in food fishes in the far north. Dr. Lescord's postdoctoral fellowship, co-supervised by Drs. John Gunn and Al Lock at Laurentian University, focuses on chromium which is a contaminant expected to be a growing concern in the far north of Ontario, as mining begins in the "Ring of Fire". This region is a crescent-shaped area of the far north that is rich in chromium and other valuable metals. However, monitoring chromium is a challenge because multiple forms naturally exist, including both nutritionally-essential (you'll find chromium in most multivitamins!) and toxic species. Dr. Lescord's project will focus on developing a laboratory method to differentiate these different types of chromium in food fish, which will enable monitoring of whether industrial activity increases the toxic forms, and will allow us to better understand impacts of chromium mining and smelting on the environment and human health. Dr. Lescord recently completed her PhD at Laurentian University, where she examined patterns of mercury contamination in food fishes from the Far North in Ontario. Her doctoral research was partly supported by a WCS Garfield Weston Fellowship.
Heather Gates
Conservation Assistant
As the Conservation Assistant with the Bat Program, Heather works with Dr. Cori Lausen to understand the distribution and winter ecology of bats in Alberta and British Columbia. Heather holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria. Before joining WCS Canada in 2014, Heather worked for several years as the head grower for a leading forest nursery.
Hilary Cooke
Associate Conservation Scientist
Hilary Cooke joined WCS Canada in 2010 as Associate Conservation Scientist for the Northern Boreal Mountains landscape of Yukon and northern British Columbia. Here she works with a range of partners, including First Nation, territorial, and federal governments, to enhance conservation of wildlife and wild places through regional planning, environmental assessments, and land, resource, and wildlife management. Hilary specializes in boreal ecology, forest management, avian conservation, and conservation planning. Since 2010, she has led several field and applied studies aimed at improving conservation and management of Yukon’s valley bottoms for key ecosystems, migratory birds, and species of conservation concern. Through relevant government initiatives Hilary continues to promote science-based solutions to improve conservation for wildlife and wild places across Yukon’s boreal mountains. Hilary began her career with WCS as a member of the North America Program in 1998, where she conducted field studies to inform riparian conservation on public and private lands in semi-arid regions of the western United States. 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. Her PhD research aimed to improve forest management for woodpeckers and other cavity users of old boreal forest. Hilary’s passion for birds and conservation can be found in her blogs published on Muddy Boots, Huffington Post, and Medium.
Jaime Grimm
Conservation Intern
As conservation intern, Jaime is responsible for supporting the WCS landscape programs, the KBA Canada initiative, and administering the W. Garfield Weston Fellowship Program. Jaime completed her MSc at McGill University, with a research focus on the conservation threats posed by aquatic invasive species. Her research involved comparing the ecological impacts of crayfish species and populations from disparate geographic locations and allowed Jaime to collaborate with scientists throughout eastern Canada, the northeastern USA, and Europe. She is a skilled field researcher with strong taxanomic expertise on marine and freshwater fishes and invertebrates.
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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.
Kelly Stoner
Program Officer, North America Program
As Program Officer, Kelly provides support to the North America Program in the fields of GIS and spatial analysis, communication and media, and program management. Before joining WCS in 2014, Kelly received a Master of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. For her master’s thesis, Kelly designed and launched a long-term monitoring program for lions and leopards in northern Tanzania with the African People & Wildlife Fund. Before her graduate studies, Kelly worked for a variety of wildlife non-profits, including the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, the Jane Goodall Institute Headquarters, and Conservation International, and held a Fulbright Fellowship to study large carnivores in Botswana.
Lila Tauzer
Research Assistant
Lila works as a Research Assistant in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she is provides field research and logistical support for both the Northern Boreal Mountains and Western Arctic programs. She is a keen naturalist with diverse interests in animal-habitat associations, landscape ecology and movement patterns and, especially, boreal bird conservation. Lila has a M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from University of Alaska Fairbanks and a B.Sc. in Biology from Humboldt State University (California). Although she is most knowledgeable and passionate about boreal-breeding birds, she has also worked with raptors in Kenya, sheep and wolves in the Rockies, rattlesnakes and plants in the Great Basin desert, amphibians in the California Sierra Nevada mountains, and macaws in the Amazon.
Liset Cruz Font
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).

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