Mandy St. Germaine, Chair
Mandy’s work experience includes over 25 years in human resources in both the private and public sectors, and she possesses a passion for career coaching and corporate learning. Mandy is currently the Director of Client Success at OneSmartWorld (a private company that teaches the utilization of a common language and toolkit for thinking, problem solving and collaboration), where she excels at one on one coaching and developing creative and engaging training programs to help build capacity. Mandy also has extensive experience working with charities, both in a directorial and volunteer capacity. She became enamored with the work of OTCC back in 2012, when she accompanied OTCC’s director, Sue Carstairs, on a weekend radiotracking turtles at OTCC’s field site. She has followed OTCC’s progress closely ever since, and is delighted to be able to bring her considerable experience to their Board of Directors. As Chair of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, Mandy organizes and runs board meetings with efficiency, empathy and humour, and has created a wonderfully collaborative environment for the board to grow with. In addition, her broad experience in the area of human resources is an invaluable asset to OTCC as a whole.
Colin Cassin, OTCC Board Secretary
Colin has worked in environmental conservation at the community, regional and provincial levels for more than a decade. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Toronto and his undergraduate degree at Trent University. Colin began volunteering with the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre in 2010 as a Turtle Taxi Driver and Turtle Feeder and joined the OTCC Board of Directors in 2017.
photo by Jerod Foster
Nicole Richards, Board Member
Nicole currently works at the Royal Ontario Museum as Coordinator of the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity, where she works with a large team of staff and volunteers to provide Museum visitors with an understanding of the needs and means of conserving biodiversity.
Dr. Sue Carstairs
Executive & Medical Director
Sue graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1987 and completed a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife at the University of Guelph, prior to this. Wildlife conservation has always been her passion, and her goal has always been to utilize her veterinary skills in a project that has direct conservation impact. She worked for many years in private practice, and founded and ran her own hospital for a short time. She then began working for charities including Toronto Humane Society, and gradually narrowed her focus exclusively to wildlife, running the Earth Rangers wildlife hospital until its’ closure, and then working as a wildlife veterinarian at Toronto Wildlife Centre. Sue has also taught the wildlife course to veterinary technicians at Seneca College, since 2005, along with teaching a full wildlife medicine course to veterinarians and technicians, from 2006-2016.
Sue feels very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to take on the role as Executive and Medical Director of the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, since 2009. The direct conservation impact, combined with the ability to fully utilize her veterinary skills, makes this role her dream job. Sue feels privileged also to work with an equally passionate team of professionals.
Donnell Gasbarrini, MSc
Turtle Programs Manager
Donnell was very excited to join the OTCC team in 2016, as our Turtle Programs Manager. Donnell manages several of our conservation programs, including our three Volunteer Programs, Fieldwork Program, and Hatchling/Headstart Program. Donnell obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Science degree from Laurentian University. Her graduate work involved studying Blanding’s turtles in northern Ontario. She has worked with numerous at-risk species through institutions including the Toronto Zoo, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Vancouver Aquarium, and Jungle Cat World. Donnell has studied wild populations of various Ontario species in areas such as Manitoulin Island, the James Bay Lowlands, and in coastal wetlands in the Georgian Bay area.
Wendy’s first career choice was in the health care field. She spent a number of years as an RNA in Ontario then relocated as an RPN in the United States. Not one to back away from a challenge or the opportunity for growth and new experiences, she found herself in the position of supervisor followed by accepting the seat of the warehouse manager to a large distribution center located in Richmond, B.C. After the completion of successful endeavors in the west, Wendy returned to Ontario to embark yet another career. This time she chose Law and Justice. She graduated from Sir Sanford Fleming College with a diploma in Behavioral Sciences. She applied this with her desire to work with ” youth at risk” and held a position as head staff in closed custody group homes. With each door that is closed another is waiting to be opened. When Wendy opened the door and walked into the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center, she immediately knew that this is where she was meant to be – working as part of an incredible team of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals with a common goal: the protection, conservation, and rehabilitation of Ontario’s native turtle species and their habitat. The position of education and outreach coordinator has made a profound impact on her. Should you ask Wendy why she feels so passionate about the education program that she has been a part of these last few years, she would say ” I believe that all recovery efforts, no matter how small, can make a difference to the long-term survival of this ” species-at-risk”. Although human activity is almost completely to blame for the decline of Ontario’s turtle population, we also possess the power to ensure their survival. ” Education is power”.
Diana joined the OTCC as the new Administrative Coordinator in 2016 and considers this to be her dream job. In this position, Diana provides administrative assistance to the OTCC team and participates in fundraising and various OTCC activities and events. Previously, Diana gained her experience in administration and office management in Cambridge, ON, where she worked for several large engineering firms. She also held volunteer positions as newsletter editor and bookkeeper, and, while serving on the board of directors for a children’s’ camp, held the position of fundraising chair. Diana and her husband moved to the Peterborough area in 2016.
Nancy has over 30 years of experience working in the charitable sector in environment, community and social service organizations. She has held a variety of roles in fundraising, program and product development, marketing, communications, environmental education, and financial and project management. Nancy holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, Biology Option from the University of Waterloo, a Certificate in Magazine Journalism from Ryerson University, and an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University. Nancy has been involved with the OTCC for many years, and her passion for conservation and wildlife, her wealth of knowledge, plus varied and vast skill set, make her a vital addition to our team. The OTCC is honoured to have Nancy’s extensive experience to draw upon, and has already benefitted greatly from her work. Nancy has taken on the role of Grant Writer and also has taken on some higher level financial management. Her attention to detail, and excellent background knowledge and writing skills, along with her business and finance experience, make this role perfect for her.
Eva Lehvonen, RVT
Eva graduated from the Veterinary Technician program with Honours from Seneca College in 2009. She also completed the Advanced Wildlife Technician course and was inspired to learn more about wildlife conservation and in particular, turtle medicine. She has 7 years of experience working with a wide variety of research animals including rodents, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Eva has worked as a Registered Veterinary Technician in a small animal hospital since 2010. Being raised in the Peterborough area, it was a dream to complete her educational placement at the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre. Taught by Dr. Carstairs, Eva has been providing veterinary treatment to turtle patients since 2009. From cleaning tanks to nursing injured turtles, working alongside other dedicated staff, caring for hatchlings and ultimately rehabilitating turtles for return to the wild, she has fully enjoyed being a part of every turtle season. Eva feels very lucky to be able to positively impact the Ontario turtle population in such a rewarding environment.
Maureen Lilley, RVT
Maureen has been providing emergency care and medical treatments to Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre’s patients since 2009. A graduate from the Veterinary Technician Program at St. Lawrence College in 1999, it was during her time as a student that she fell in love with wildlife medicine after completing an internship at the New England Wildlife Center in Massachusetts. During her career in veterinary medicine, Maureen has worked with many species of animals – from cats and dogs to salamanders, turtles, owls, loons, and even lions and bears. With over ten years experience in wildlife medicine and rehabilitation, Maureen has worked and volunteered with many wildlife organizations such as Earth Rangers, Toronto Wildlife Centre, and Wildlife Preservation Canada. Maureen enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion for wildlife by lecturing at conferences designed for veterinary students and wildlife professionals; and she also regularly facilitates avian and reptile medicine workshops. Maureen feels very fortunate to work with such a dedicated team devoted to protecting Ontario’s turtle populations.
Britney Lobb, B.ScH, RVT
Britney graduated with High Honours from the Veterinary Technician program at Seneca College in 2015, and became a Registered Veterinary Technician shortly after. Prior to this, she achieved an Honours Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Animal Biology from the University of Guelph in 2013. Britney has worked for the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre since 2014, when she was hired on as a student veterinary technician. From her first days at the center Britney was hooked. Britney’s favorite parts of her job are seeing turtles that she has helped to care for be returned to the wild, as well as seeing the eggs incubated at the center hatch into adorable babies. In addition to working at OTTC, Britney is a full-time RVT at Cavan Hills Veterinary Services in Cavan Ontario. Britney has always had a passion for all types of animals, largely thanks to her upbringing on a 100 acre farm near Norwood Ontario, where the household always had a wide variety of pets. Britney currently shares her home with her fiancé Peter, as well as their hamster Pinecone and their two cats Tiberius and Charlotte.