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Staff Biographies

Amber Cantell
Director of Programs

Prior to becoming ReForest London's Director of Programs, Amber worked for five years as Project Manager for our naturalizations and aftercare programs, completing over 100 planting projects for our organization with the help of thousands of caring and dedicated Londoners who share her passion for trees. Amber is proud to have the opportunity to be working in her hometown as our Director of Programs, and is looking forward to the chance to increase ReForest London's impact in the community and help keep London "the Forest City".

Amber holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and a Bachelor degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo as well as a post-graduate certificate in Ecosystem Restoration from Niagara College. Amber has previously worked as a green building education coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax and as the Well Aware project coordinator for Waterloo Region Green Solution. She has also previously served as Vice-Chair of the City of London's Trees and Forests Advisory Committee.

Her favourite tree is Eastern Cottonwood.

 

Sheila Creighton

Partnerships and Marketing Manager

Sheila Creighton comes to ReForest London with 20+ years’ experience in marketing, communications and management and a passion for trees and helping the environment. A graduate of Sheridan College's renowned Media Arts program, Sheila also studied Commercial Photography and New Media at Sheridan. Born and raised in London, Sheila is glad to return to the Forest City after working predominantly in the GTA.

Sheila has worked promoting arts, heritage, tourism, healthcare and economic empowerment through municipal government and non-profit organizations locally, regionally, and provincially. Her work has included Communications Director, The Ontario Historical Society; Sr. Corporate Communications, Corporation of the Town of Oakville; Project Manager, Halton Healthcare Services Corporation; and Marketing Manager, Muskoka Tourism Marketing Agency.

A member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, Sheila is a published author of three books, many articles and countless photographs. She has a daily photoblog - imageryoflight.com - where a favourite subject is trees and nature. Sheila enjoys giving back to the community through her work on the Board of Directors for ATN. 

Her favourite trees are White Oak and White Pine.

 

Brianne Curry
School Program Coordinator &
Green Legacy Study Coordinator

Brianne is the School Program Coordinator and the Green Legacy Study Coordinator with ReForest London. Since the launch of the School Community Tree Challenge in 2014, Brianne has been fortunate to have worked with over 75 schools to support their tree planting and tree educational projects, to the tune of over 18,000 trees planted, grown, sold and given away in our community. Currently she is also coordinating a collaborative feasibility study which will explore large scale Tree Growing programs in our region. Brianne is passionate about outdoor and environmental education, and getting her hands dirty with kids. 

Originally from Nova Scotia, Brianne is now a proud Londoner of 18 years. She is actively involved in a number of community initiatives, including school councils, “Plant A Row, Grow A Row”,and Autism Ontario. She also sat on the Special Education Advisory Committee for the Thames Valley District School Board for four years. She loves veggie gardening, community, baseball, and nature walks with her kids in nearby Medway Creek. She holds both a Bachelor’s & Master’s degree in Geography from Western, having specialized in human geography, health geography, health promotion, and environment & health. 

Among her favourite trees are the Trembling Aspen and Silver Maple. 

 

Susan McPartlin

School Program Assistant 

Susan is ReForest London’s School Program Assistant. She completed her B.S. in Ecological Restoration from a joint program at Fleming College and Trent University. After graduating she worked in the Toronto Region planting native tree and shrub species in both urban and rural settings. This helped to improve the ecosystem’s health and increase biodiversity in areas where it was diminished. She has volunteered at Children’s Water Festivals on many occasions to help educate children on the importance of water conservation. Susan is excited to help educate children in the London area on the importance of forest ecosystems in their local community.

Susan is passionate about restoring our waterways and forests to a more sustainable state. She is helping to kick start that change by educating the youth of today on the importance of ecosystem health and on how they can make a positive impact to their local environment.

Her favorite tree is the Tulip Tree. 

 

Alex Meilutis
Project Manager - Park Naturalizations and Aftercare

Alex

Alex is ReForest London’s Project Manager – Park Naturalizations and Aftercare.  She holds a B.Sc in Biology and Environmental Science and a Master’s of Environment and Sustainability from Western University.  Upon finishing her Master’s degree, Alex worked for the City of London in both the Environmental Programs and Parks Planning departments where she focused on environmental outreach and community programs.  She then spent two years working for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as an ecologist for Ontario Parks and the Science and Research Branch where she worked on classifying ecosystems along the Great Lakes Shorelines. 

Alex is excited to be joining the ReForest London team.  She enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors with others, and is continuously exploring new hiking trails around Southern Ontario.

Her favourite tree is the Sycamore.

 

Kelsey Nicholls 
Community Engagement Coordinator

Kelsey is thrilled to join ReForest London as the Community Engagement Coordinator. She holds a Master’s Degree in Environment and Sustainability from Western University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Restoration Biology from Laurentian University. During her undergrad, her research involved characterizing plants grown to restore a mine site in her home town of Sudbury. She moved to London to attend Western, in order to expand her experience in community engagement and communications. Her Masters included a capstone study on ways to foster environmental action at the local level.

She first joined ReForest London as a volunteer and has over a decade of volunteering experience for various environmental organizations. Prior to joining ReForest London, Kelsey also worked in outdoor education for a conservation authority and in community outreach for the City of London’s Environmental Programs department.

Her favourite tree is White Pine.

Julie Read
Neighbourhood ReLeaf Coordinator

Julie Read is very excited to be joining ReForest London as the Neighbourhood ReLeaf Coordinator.  Julie was formerly the Community Programs Coordinator at the High Park Nature Centre in Toronto, where she helped everyone from babies to seniors foster a deeper connection to the natural world.  While at the Nature Centre, Julie coordinated a variety of programs, including Naturalist Clubs, Workshops for Adults, Homeschool Programs, Family Nature Walks and Special Events.  She also facilitated many stewardship programs in partnership with the City of Toronto Forestry Department and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in which participants removed invasive plants and planted native species.  In 2016, she developed and delivered a new program at the Nature Centre called Urban Naturalists, a biweekly Nature Club for adults.  Julie has led outdoor education workshops, guided hikes and forest therapy walks for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

Julie is a qualified teacher with a background in outdoor education, social justice and community-building.  She has extensive experience coordinating programming for individuals and families who may be experiencing barriers, such as people who are lower income, new to Canada and/or at risk youth.  Julie was raised in a house in the forest just outside of Komoka by two naturalist parents who took her birding in Point Pelee every spring (even before she could walk), proving her love of nature has been a lifelong adventure. Julie is a member of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario and has presented at their annual conference "Making Peace with Winter".  She is an avid naturalist with a particular interest in trees, birds, wildflowers and Indigenous history and knowledge.  Her other passions include camping, watercolours, yoga and music.

Julie's favourite trees are White Pine and Tulip Tree.   

                                                                                          

Dean Sheppard
Executive Director

Dean Sheppard is an environmental consultant owning and operating his own consulting firm since 1996, specializing in management processes and systems.

Not being able to decide between undergrad fields, Dean decided not to choose. He studied two degrees studied concurrently: Honours Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University and Honours Environmental Studies at University of Waterloo. Dean is currently working on a Masters of Public Administration at Western University where he also teaches a capstone project course in the Masters of Environment and Sustainability program.

Being active in making his community a better place for today and for tomorrow is a hobby and a passion. He has served on several City of London Advisory Committees and taskforces, including several years as Chair of the Ecological and Environmental Planning Advisory Committee. Other involvements include Trees and Forest Advisory Committee, Coves Sub-watershed Implementation Committee, Engage London and London Transit Commission.

Dean is an honoured recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for community service, has been nominated for the London Community Foundation’s Ivey Award of Excellence and has received an Award of Recognition from the Old South Community Organization for outstanding contribution to life in Old South where he lives.

His favourite tree is Hackberry.