Our Staff

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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 Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Cheryl Chetkiewicz
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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Gillian Woolmer
Director, 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.
Donald Reid
Emeritus Scientist
Don Reid retired from active duty with WCS Canada in May 2023, but remains affiliated as an adviser and while he publishes various scientific and policy investigations. Don led the Northern Boreal Mountains landscape program in northwest Canada (based out of Whitehorse, Yukon) from WCS Canada’s inception in 2004. With MSc (University of Calgary) and PhD (University of British Columbia) degrees, he spent about half his working life as a wildlife biologist with WCS, first as a contractor with WCS Global on the giant panda conservation program in Sichuan, China (1985-88), and later with WCS Canada. In northwest Canada, Don led WCS Canada’s involvement in strategic land use planning and establishment of new protected areas (Peel Watershed and Dawson Region planning), research on the influence of climate change on Arctic terrestrial ecology (International Polar Year 2006-2010, and Arctic Biodiversity Assessment), policy debates on environmental impacts of energy (large-scale hydro, and biomass) developments, conservation of wildlife on agricultural lands, lake conservation, and planning for impacts of climate change on ecosystems. His WCS field research in boreal Yukon has focused on river otters as indicators of aquatic ecosystem health, beavers as agents of change in riparian ecosystems, and spatial scale of forest disturbance as an influence on food webs where snowshoe hares are the dominant trophic species. He is currently exploring the origins and philosophical/cultural basis of the colonial-materialist world view so as to better understand its dramatic and sinister inability to provide a sustainable future for humans and Nature, and search for remedies.

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