WCS Canada

Our Staff

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Emily Darling
Research associate
Emily Darling is a marine ecologist and conservation biologist motivated to find conservation solutions for coral reef ecosystems and the societies they support. Emily is currently a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina where she is leading a large collaboration of scientists to identify climate refuges for coral diversity in the Indo-Pacific. She also leads a global coral reef fisheries monitoring initiative with WCS Marine to promote shared monitoring tools and data management for improved fisheries outcomes. Emily completed her PhD at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada where she won the Governor General's Gold Medal for distinction in doctoral research. She was a recent plenary speaker at the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress and will be featured in the journal Nature on moving towards effective protected areas at the World Parks Congress. Find out more by following her on Twitter @emilysdarling or at her website www.emilysdarling.com.
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.
Jacob Seguin
Ontario Northern Boreal FieldTechnician
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 B.Sc. Honours in Environmental Science and Biology at Trent University in 2015, and completed his M.Sc. 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.
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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
Jason is responsible for providing management and research support for the bat program from his base in Nelson, British Columbia. Jason joined the WCS team in early 2016 after completing his MSc at Trent University examining the interactions between predation risk and disease exposure in amphibian tadpoles. Jason’s previous experience includes work as a research assistant examining traditional ecological knowledge of polar bear ecology in Northern Quebec, and estimating the local harvest of resources from 5 communities in Northern Labrador. He currently manages WCS Canada’s North American Bat Monitoring Program in British Columbia, focusing on securing knowledge of bat species diversity and relative abundance through wide-scale acoustic monitoring, roost surveillance, and netting inventories. Among other projects, Jason also contributes to the bat team’s work locating and investigating the habitat where bats choose to overwinter, and modelling white-nose syndrome survivorship prior to its arrival in Western Canada.
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
Kelly leads the Wildlife Conservation Society Bison Program in its effort to restore wild, free-ranging bison to tribal lands in the American West. Kelly’s work focuses on human-wildlife conflict, applied conservation research, strategic communication, and organizational efficiency, and has taken her to Tanzania, Botswana, and Namibia. Kelly completed her Master of Environmental Science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Villanova University. From 2011 to 2012 Kelly held a Fulbright Fellowship to Botswana, and she has been honored with awards from the National Science Foundation, Villanova University, and the Philadelphia Zoo. Kelly was a fellow in the 2015 – 2016 class of Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders.
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