2020 Board of Directors
Rick Levick | President
Rick served as the coordinator of the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project from 2007 to 2017. His initial involvement in this community-based initiative in road ecology was as the president of the Long Point Bay Anglers Association. As coordinator, Rick was responsible of all aspects of the project including fundraising, project management, financial administration and communications. He raised more than $2.7 million for the project which resulted in the installation of more than six kilometers of exclusion fencing and 12 wildlife culverts along the Causeway. These measures reduced the road mortality of turtles and snakes by nearly 80 per cent by 2015.
A “Long Pointer” since age 3, Rick brought more than 30 years of experience in public relations, project and non-profit management and science outreach to the project. He has a Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario and is accredited with the Public Relations Society of Canada.
Rick joined the Board of Directors in 2017
Valerie Hickey | Chair
Val is a workshop facilitator with a Master of Education and decades of experience designing and delivering high engagement consultations and meetings. She recently developed and delivered a Long Point World Biosphere workshop that brought members of the community together to provide inputs into the shared geospatial conservation database. Val also conducted a stakeholder and public engagement survey with recreational users of the St. Williams Conservation Reserve (SWCR). As a dedicated member of the Norfolk community, she has served on the SWCR Community Council, on Norfolk’s Routes to Roots Film Festival Board, and has delivered the Community Leadership course at Fanshawe College, Simcoe. Val is bilingual, and worked in organizational effectiveness primarily with IBM. Val’s passion is supporting initiatives that bring positive change to communities. Her interests are swimming, paddling, cycling and travel.
Brian Craig | Past President
Brian’s varied interest have led to careers as a musician with a southern rock band that toured Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, a teacher with the Oxford County Board of Education, a Senior Science Advisor with Environment Canada’s Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network and most recently until retirement as a Restoration Ecologist and Project Manager with Parks Canada. Brian sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association, the Carolinian Canada Coalition, and is the Past President of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve. He has degrees in Geography, and Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo, a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario, and Masters Certificate in Project Management from York University. Brian’s passion is working with community members in Norfolk County and the Long Point Biosphere to ensure social, cultural, economic and ecological sustainability for future generations. Norfolk County is the best place to live in the world!
David Simmonds, MBA CPA | Treasurer
David grew up in Tillsonburg and has enjoyed the Lake Erie waters and communities all his life.
After spending more than two decades with a professional accounting firm David created one of the first fully online and digital accounting firms in Canada. In early 2020 David sold his accounting practice to do some consulting with start up and high growth companies.
David has more than ten years of post secondary education including a college diploma in accounting, a university honors degree in commerce, a masters of business administration degree, and an accounting designation.
When David is not working he enjoys kayaking the Long Point area as often as possible.
John Everett | Assistant Treasurer
John Everett grew up in Dundas, Ontario. Growing up, his parents rented a cottage at Long Point starting in the 1950’s and in 2009 John purchased a cottage at Long Point; he has been a frequent traveler of “The Causeway” for over 60 years.
John received his Bachelor of Arts, major in Geology at University of Western Ontario in 1973; he has been a Certified General Accountant since 1987, and a Licensed Trustee in Bankruptcy since 1995.
In 2013, John’s wife Jan wrote a children’s book about him, “Johnny,” saving turtles crossing the busy Causeway Road. The surprising ending to the book parallels the goal of the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project (LPCIP). The Biosphere Foundation adopted the book to promote the message of the LPCIP and John became a member of that committee in 2013; in 2014 John joined the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Identifying and collecting fossils is one of John’s passions, along with saving turtles and promoting the message of the LPCIP by demonstrating to children “how to save a turtle crossing the road.” John tells anyone who will listen that his blood pressure drops 20 points every time he crosses the Causeway to reach his favourite spot in Norfolk County – Long Point.
Andrew Couturier| Director at Large
Andrew Couturier is a Senior Analyst with Bird Studies Canada in Port Rowan. He sits on advisory committees for a multitude of national and international conservation initiatives, directs Bird Studies Canada’s GIS Laboratory, and leads one of BSC’s signature national programs, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA). The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve, located at one of the premier bird migration corridors in North America, is among Canada’s most significant IBA’s, so Andrew’s appointment to the Board is a natural fit.
Andrew holds a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Guelph focused on landscape ecology, rural planning, and cumulative effects assessment. He has been with Bird Studies Canada since 1997, following brief appointments with Agriculture Canada, Parks Canada, and private consulting. His work is featured regularly in scientific papers, books, popular publications, websites, and field guides. A strong supporter of the non-profit sector, Andrew’s diverse interests include photography, nature, birding and music. He is delighted to join the Board and contribute to the next phase of its evolution.
Andrew joined the Board if Directors in 2017
Holly Anderson | Director at Large
Holly Anderson was originally from Hamilton with frequent visits to Elora, and a cottager of the Bancroft area. Holly is a life-long day hiker who has become well acquainted with the ebb and flow of natural waters. She moved to Norfolk County five years ago to enjoy the rural life and upon learning more about this area, took it upon herself to become a defender of the environment. As a seeker of beauty and truth, she views her life as a journey toward a deeper understanding of all things, but no matter where her life takes her, all paths keep taking her back to open waters and trails of Ontario which sustain life for all of us.
Holly joined the board in 2019 and brings with her the Cleaning Up Norfolk project as a vital program within the Biosphere’s mission.
Cindy Presant | Director at Large
Cindy Presant is a visual artist, her paintings and stone carvings featuring the flora and fauna of Norfolk County. Born in Guelph, Ontario, Cindy has lived in Port Rowan since 2015, after 22 years living in neighbouring Haldimand County. A keen naturalist, her first exposure to nature was as a child, while her family lived on a research station in Tanzania. What she experienced there sparked a lifetime interest in conservation.
Working for the Lower Grand River Land Trust in Cayuga, Cindy helped secure the donation of the 607 ha Ruthven Park estate (now a National Historic Site) in 1994. Previous employment included contracts with the City of Niagara Falls, Parks Canada, and the Toronto Board of Education. She has presented shows of her artwork for the past 26 years.
Cindy holds diplomas in Parks & Forest Recreation Technology, Nature Interpretation, and Culinary Management. She is currently a Director on the Board of the Norfolk Field Naturalists, and belongs to Artists By The Bay. She became a member of the Biosphere in 2019, and joined the Board in 2020.
Amanda Houze | Director at Large
Amanda grew up in rural Southwestern Ontario, spending summers in Long Point for almost thirty years. Her family now shares a cottage, and she can be seen boating on Lake Erie, paddle boarding on the Old Cut, or walking on the beach.
Amanda holds a Bachelor of Education degree from Brock University and Master of Adult Education degree from St.Francis Xavier University. In her current position with Canada Life, she plays a pivotal role in the successful creation, implementation and measurement of learning resources, engagement strategies and change management plans. She has a passion for education and the environmental sustainability of the Long Point area.
Elaine Ho | Director at Large
Elaine is our only long-distance Board member, having moved from the Waterloo Region to Northern Ontario in 2020. Before joining the Board, Elaine connected with several Board members during her PhD research, which looks at ways to improve the design of river and freshwater estuary monitoring and management programs by incorporating accessible public and Indigenous engagement processes from the start. Elaine is part of the Collaborative Water Program at University of Waterloo in addition to Global Water Futures, a nationwide research initiative representing the largest university-led investment in water research in history. She is affiliated with the Canadian Rivers Institute, has her own environmental consultancy and is the Director of Training and Consulting at Synergy Sustainability and Development Group. A certified Project Management Professional, Elaine has a tendency to juggle multiple projects simultaneously, including coordinating development projects in a remote Kenyan Maasai community and representing the voices of women and academia on the international Facilitation Group for Action for Sustainable Development. In 2019, Elaine’s research won the “Our Water – Our Life – Most Valuable Resource” award from the Canadian Water Resources Association and in 2020 Elaine was nominated for the national Clean50 Emerging Leaders award for co-authoring Generation SDG, a national resource for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in Canada. In her spare time, Elaine enjoys watching hummingbirds and Sandhill cranes, hiking the Northern Ontario wilderness with her family, canoeing and photography.
Sandy Jukes | Secretary and Administrative Coordinator
Sandy brings a wealth of not-for-profit experience from her former positions with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada). Her role is to support the Board of Directors in an administrative role and to work with community partners to attain sustainable tourism and development.
Unlike the other directors and staff of the Biosphere, Sandy is a relative newcomer to Norfolk County. Having a keen interest in natural environs and their inhabitants, she and her husband made the decision to leave the “big city” of Hamilton and move to Port Rowan where they could immerse themselves in all the ecological beauty this area has to offer. She brings a newcomer’s perspective to the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainability of community development within the core area, buffer zone, and outer transition areas of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve.
Sandy can be reached at email@example.com
Cynthia Brink | NatureHood Program Coordinator
Cynthia Brink from Chateauguay, Quebec grew up among a family of naturalist and outdoorsmen. Spending most of her developing years exploring her natural world and traveling with her family to exotic places like Peru, Cayman Island and Manaus, Brazil.
She is a mother to four feral children that now resides in Norfolk. With her passion for the natural world she has spent many hours in the field with her children homeschooling them through the use of their surroundings. In her spare time, she works as Administrative support to the St. Williams conservation reserve. She has also worked as the Nature Educator for Nature’s Calling Environmental Education teaching outdoor education and providing interpretive programs to the Provincial Parks in Haldimand and Norfolk areas.
Cynthia joined the Biosphere Reserve in January 2017 as the new NatureHood Coordinator.
Conscious of her impact on the environment Cynthia is always busy making improvements to achieve the goal of a low carbon foot print. Cynthia also enjoys what the Carolinian life zone has to offer in natural attractions. You may cross paths with her while hunting, fishing or harvesting wild foods to feed her family in the hope to be self-sustainable. Always learning and improving herself she continues to take classes on herbology and passive solar home building.
Tara Carpenter | Conference Manager
Tara Carpenter has had a love of nature and the outdoors from an early age thanks to growing up on a Norfolk County farm and regularly engaging in wildness camping trips with her family as a child. Having traveled many parts of the world for 17 years extended Tara’s knowledge of the natural world and her love for this earth we call home. The most memorable experience of her travels was being a deck hand on a sailing ship exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Australia for 6 years. Now being a mother to a very active, creative, and outdoors-loving eight year old has inspired
Tara to encourage other parents and their families to get outdoors. Writing the column Out of the Ordinary for the magazine Live Small Town enables Tara to express her passions through writing. Delivering family outdoor events and curriculum based school programs at Whistling Gardens, one of the “Amazing Places” of Norfolk, has given Tara the opportunity to put her passions into action. It is her enthusiasm for the great outdoors, conservation, sustainability and education that motivated her desire to volunteer for the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve.
She is a recent graduate of the Adventure Expeditions and Interpretive Leadership Diploma program at Fanshawe College, Simcoe Campus. Tara is also a manager and river guide with the Grand River Rafting Company and the executive director of Grand River Outdoor Wilderness Education.
Tara manages the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation Research and Conservation Conference.