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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 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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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.
Claire Farrell
Ontario Northern Boreal Freshwater Scientist
Claire joined the WCS team in May of 2019 as the interim freshwater research scientist in the Ontario Northern Boreal Landscape program. Claire completed her BSc and MSc at Carleton University: working with the National Wildlife Research Centre of Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Lab. Her work examined local and landscape effects of forestry on threatened bird species in the boreal forest of Northwestern Ontario. During her degrees she was a multi-year recipient of the Donald R. Wiles Scholarship in Environmental Science and Carleton Prestige Scholarship. Her lifelong passion for conservation and biology in boreal systems is reflected in the diverse projects she has been a part of: including long term ecological monitoring, modelling cumulative effects in the Far North of Ontario, and performing aquatic research at the Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research in Thunder Bay. She has advanced ArcMap spatial analysis skills as well as ample field experience, spanning multiple taxa.
Research Gate
Jacob Seguin
Ontario Northern Boreal Field Technician
Jacob is the Field Technician for WCS’s Ontario Northern Boreal Landscape Program. He works closely with members of the lake sturgeon and wolverine research teams as he uses his field skills and scientific background to make science work in remote settings. This includes working side-by-side with First Nations collaborators and local trappers at the various field sites, equipment troubleshooting, contributing to scientific design, and downright getting dirty. Jacob completed a BSc Honours in Environmental Science and Biology at Trent University in 2015, and completed his MSc in Environmental Life Sciences at Trent University in 2019. His thesis research used simulated predation attempts to quantify transgenerational effects of perceived risk in hares. Jacob has worked over seven years in collaboration with Canadian and American universities as an assistant and field coordinator for field-based research. He has extensive experience in the southwestern boreal forest of the Yukon Territory, where he led field crews in the live trapping, biologging, and telemetry tracking of snowshoe hares and Canada lynx. He has also worked in boreal forest field sites across the geographic range of snowshoe hares from Maine to Washington.
Research Gate
Anna Machowicz
Wolverine Field Technician
As a wolverine field assistant, Anna works with Dr. Matt Scrafford to understand wolverine ecology in Ontario. She holds dual B.Sc degrees in Animal Science and Zoology from Michigan State University. Before building a dedicated wildlife research career, She spent many years working in veterinary medicine and the animal health industry. Anna is most interested in mammal conservation with a focus on mesocarnivores. She primarily spends her time in the field where she has worked with many species including various small mammals, California spotted owl, snowshoe hare, mule deer, river otter, bobcat, and coyote.
Hower Blair
Wolverine Field Technician
Hower Blair completed his Zoology degree at Laurentian University and his passion for wildlife research has given him experiences he would have never imagined. His career path led him to work with a variety of plants and animals, including several species at risk in Ontario such as foxsnakes and American badgers, gathering important ecological data for conservation efforts. On the west coast of North America, he worked on several islands with grey foxes the size of house cats! Now, he will work alongside Jacob, Anna and Matt up in the far north in Ontario to help expand the knowledge base of the elusive wolverine.

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