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CPAWS Trustees

Mike Robinson,

Mike Robinson is the principal of Michael Robinson Consulting, a management consulting practice advising boards and senior management on issues in the cultural sector. He attended the University of British Columbia and University College, Oxford, and holds degrees in Anthropology and Law. During his 30- year career in Calgary he worked as a senior regulatory compliance officer in the energy industry, a professor and research institute director at the University of Calgary, and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Glenbow Museum. From January 2009 until December 2014, he led the start- up of the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver, now a dynamic player in the local arts scene. He divides his time between Skelhp House on the BC coast and Vancouver, and writes a Sunday opinion column for Troy Media. He is currently working on a book about the process of thoughtful retirement. Mr. Robinson has chaired the boards of the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian Polar Commission, co- chaired the ImagineCALGARY sustainability process, and led the Calgary Bow Valley Centre Redevelopment initiative. In 2004 Mr. Robinson became a Member of the Order of Canada.

Alex Abboud

Alex Abboud has a passion for nature and the outdoors dating back to childhood camping and hiking trips throughout Canada. He lives in Edmonton and became involved with CPAWS in 2007, serving on the Northern Alberta chapter board from 2008-11, and as chair of the Northern Alberta board from 2008-10. He became a Trustee of the National organization in 2011, and presently serves as Chair of the Engagement Committee.  Alex has 10 years experience in communications, government affairs, and stakeholder relations. He is the Director, Communications & Fund Development for Homeward Trust Edmonton, a large non-profit in the human services sector. Previously, he worked at City Hall in Edmonton, and on post-secondary issues as Vice-President External of the University of Alberta Students' Union in Edmonton, then as Executive Director of Students Nova Scotia in Halifax. He has been an online contributor and blogger for local, national, and international sites on the topics of politics and urban development. In 2013, he was recognized by Avenue Magazine as one of Edmonton's Top 40 Under 40 for his contributions to the community. Alex is a marathon runner, and also enjoys hiking and cross-country skiing.


Laura Colella,
Chair, Litigation Committee

Laura is a lawyer and has been a member of the Quebec bar since 2005. In addition to her LL.B., Laura has diplomas in civil and commercial mediation as well as in special education. She currently works with the federal government, in the field of criminal and administrative law and has previous experience in civil litigation. Over the years, she has been deeply involved in her community, both in Montreal and in Ottawa. She has worked with numerous non-profit organizations with a social vocation, sitting on boards of directors and offering strategic and legal advice. Laura is a bilingual relationship builder, with extensive political and communications experience. Her focus is building a strong community through civic engagement.

Philippa “Pippa” Lawson
Chair, Governance Committee

Pippa is based in Whitehorse, Yukon where she works part time as a government lawyer and part time as a consultant on privacy and consumer protection issues.  Before moving to Yukon with her spouse in 2008, Pippa spent over 17 years as an Ottawa-based national and international consumer advocate, first as counsel with the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and then as founding Director of the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa.  Initially on the board of CPAWS-Yukon, she joined the National Board in 2010.  Pippa is an active outdoors person and is most happy skiing, hiking or paddling in the unspoiled backcountry.

Vincent Castellucci

After 45 years as a professor and researcher of neuroscience, Vincent decided to return to his first love, ecology.  Having discovered that CPAWS shares his values he joined the chapter board in Quebec. His background includes years of experience as department chair and vice-dean of a large faculty at the Université de Montréal, and as a member of several boards, including Brain Canada, a centre of excellence in neuroscience and granting body for millions of dollars in research, experiences which have enabled him to develop networks in the corporate, government and academic sectors.  This background has also provided Vincent with considerable experience in management and governance, and in fund-raising.

Bob Halfyard

A newly retired landscape architect, Bob brings extensive expertise and experience in planning, designing and managing parks and protected areas across Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Parks, Nunavut Territorial Parks and the Canadian Arctic.   His experience also includes directing the establishment of two large wilderness reserves and numerous smaller ecological reserves, and he has authored management plans for terrestrial and marine protected areas, reserves and parks.  Bob has served on a number of boards, often in an officer position, including the boards of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, the Canadian Council on Ecological Areas, and he is currently Vice President of the CPAWS Newfoundland Chapter.

Nikita Lopoukhine,
Chair, Conservation Committee

Nik brings to the board deep conservation & ecological experience, including development of land mapping of ecosystems  (Waterton Lakes National Park, Gatineau Park, Pukaskwa National Park) and the first ecologic land classification efforts in Labrador (for Torngat Mountains National Park and Mealy Mountains National Park).  He retired from Parks Canada in 2005 as Director General of National Parks. During his career with Parks Canada he was responsible for leading the development of current fire management strategies, climate change awareness, and ecological restoration & monitoring.  After retirement from Parks Canada, he chaired for two terms the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and currently serves on the board of the US Wildlands Network.  Author of many publications, in 2012 he received the CPAWS Harkin Medal for lifetime achievement in conservation for promoting scientific discussion & conservation within Parks Canada and for promoting Canadian conservation & park values globally. As well, Nik was awarded the Golden Leaf Award by CCEA in 2013 and the Brandwein Institute Medal in 2014.

Nik is very familiar with CPAWS and looks forward to continuing to contribute to national parks and wilderness issues, including marine issues, ecological integrity, connecting the next generation to nature, and greater involvement with indigenous peoples.

Amber Walker, Chair, Engagement Committee

Amber is a professional land use planner with a diverse range of policy and strategic planning experience, primarily focused in environmental planning, healthy built environments, and community sustainability.  While residing in Halifax, Amber has travelled extensively across Canada, living and working in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Northern Alberta as part of a military family. Amber previously held the position of Board President for CPAWS Northern Alberta, where she led the chapter through a rebuilding/re-energizing process over the past 3-4 years and acted on a volunteer basis as the chapter’s Executive Director during transition periods. In addition to her professional experience in conservation, Amber brings to CPAWS significant training and/or experience in board governance, human resources, fundraising, and financial management.

Lavinia Mohr,

Lavinia is a senior executive with an international NGO that works with secular and faith-based partners in 120 countries to promote communication for social change.  Over her almost 30-year career, she has worked in senior management positions with several NGOs at the local, national and international levels in BC, Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta.  Lavinia is Treasurer of the CPAWS Wildlands League board and also serves on the board of the Toronto Field Naturalists.  Fluent in French and Spanish, she brings to CPAWS a depth of experience in non-profit organizational and financial management, human resources and board governance.

Elmer Ghostkeeper

Elmer is a community leader, author and independent consultant on social, cultural, economic and political matters. He specializes in the partnering of aboriginal wisdom with western scientific knowledge for holistic learning. Based in Northern Alberta, Elmer is a councilor for the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlements Council and sits on an Elders Wisdom Circle. His significant contributions to the social, political and cultural fabric of the Metis community in Canada were recognized with an Order of the Metis Nation awarded to him in 2004. Elmer is a strong supporter of CPAWS and its vision for protecting 50% of Canada’s land and water mass. He is fluent in Michif (a blend of Cree and French) as well as English

Erik Val

Erik Val is a retired park planner from Yukon who is on the CPAWS Yukon board. He was director of the Parks Branch of the Department of Environment Yukon Government. He has a Master of Arts in Geography –resource management (U Waterloo) and a B.Sc. of science –Biology and Geography (McGill). He has over 30 years of experience in project, staff, budget and contract administration and management, aboriginal land claims negotiations and implementation, park planning, management and operations. He could make contributions in park and protected area planning, management and operations, natural and cultural resource management, public education, aboriginal land claims and macroeconomic assessment. He is bilingual.


John Grandy

John Grandy is a retired financial services executive and research analyst, based in Toronto. He is now dedicating his life to working with Canadian environmental causes. In addition to his work with CPAWS, John is a Director of the Ontario regional board of Nature Conservancy of Canada, Executive Vice President of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, and a director of Wildlife Preservation Canada. In 2013, he wrote Environmental Charities in Canada, the first research report on the Canadian environmental not-for-profit sector, on behalf of Charity Intelligence Canada. John was educated at the University of Toronto and at Oxford University.


Kwiaahwah Jones

Kwiaahwah (Kwi) Jones was born in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii on June 25, 1983, and is a member of the Naasagas Xaaydagaay clan on her Haida side, and the Ganada clan on her Nisga’aa side. She spent her childhood actively participating in her father and grandfather’s successful fishing business, much of this time living aboard the seiner Kwiaahwah. As a result of her childhood explorations, Kwi knows the Northwest Coast well, and Haida Gwaii (and especially Gwaii Haanas). As a result of her family’s fishing success, she also has had the opportunity to travel widely on family vacations in the South Pacific.

After completing her schooling in Haida Gwaii, Kwi began a decade- long series of mentorships and personal study in traditional Haida design and regalia making. In 2005 she won the prestigious Vancouver International Airport Art Foundation Scholarship. From 2007 to 2009 Kwi was a curator at the Haida Gwaii Museum at the Kaay Illnagaay Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate. During this time, she volunteered with the Haida Repatriation Committee, and worked with the Haida repatriation process. In 2009 the committee worked to bring 21 Haida to study the Haida Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and British Museum and begin negotiations for the return of ancestral remains and treasures. Her book Gina ‘Waadluxan Tluu: The Everything Canoe was published in 2010. That year she also became guest curator, and then curator at the Bill Reid Gallery (BRG) of Northwest Coast Art in Vancouver. Kwi held this position until April 2016, when she resigned to move home to Skidegate to pursue her artistic, cultural and business pursuits.

Kwi brings a Millennial indigenous perspective to all the work she does. She is renowned in the Vancouver Indigenous community for her political awareness, her dedication to giving back, and her artistic abilities in song, drawing, painting, and traditional Haida design. Her presentation at the Sam Sullivan Public Salon in 2014 is still discussed in the civic arts community, and her final curatorial work at the BRG, the landmark exhibition Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People captured the extraordinary energy of Haida Gwaii, both feeding the creative spirit, and inspiring all humanity with ceremony that expresses a profound connection to place.