Board of Directors
Dave Robertson, President of the Board of Directors
Dave and his wife Judy were married in 1965. They were raised in Orillia and Foxmead respectively. Dave lived in Midland, Port McNicoll and Tay Township from 1967 to 1997. During that time Dave worked for RCA and Mitsubishi, in Midland, while he and Judy raised their three children. Dave’s role at RCA was as an equipment designer and Engineering Manager with Mitsubishi. During that period Dave spent time in the community as a Boy Scout executive, a Scout Leader, a Hockey Coach and Lacrosse Association executive and Coach.
When Mitsubishi closed the plant in 1997 Dave and Judy moved to the US where he worked for Panasonic and ATS until returning as retirees in 2011. At that time Dave began volunteering at the Wye Marsh. At the marsh, Dave is one of the many Swan Feeders and a member of the Sapsuckers (Maple Syrup Team) and the Outreach Team. Dave joined the board in early 2019. Dave says he is a passionate fan of the Wye Marsh and what it provides for the community and the public education and sustainability of our natural environment.
Nicole Horbatiuk, Vice President
Nicole Horbatiuk is Human Resources Client Manager at CAA Club Group. She has held various roles with the company since joining in 2012, supporting areas such as health & safety, benefits, pension and labour and union negotiations.
Nicole has had a connection with the Midland area for almost 40 years as it was previously her hometown. Nicole currently resides in Barrie, but still has family in Midland. Nicole has carried on the tradition of brining her son to Wye Marsh as her parents did with her and her siblings. Nicole has BA in Anthropology from University of Guelph and a past graduate diploma in Human Resources Management from Georgian College. Nicole joined the board as Wye Marsh as it holds a special place for her as multiple generations in her family have visited. In addition Nicole has a deep desire for wildlife preservation.
Melanie Dupuis, Secretary
Born and raised in Midland, Melanie has always enjoyed spending time at the Wye Marsh. Whether it was attending summer camp as a kid, exploring the trails, or feeding the chickadees, the Wye Marsh has always been a big part of her life. Melanie holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a Master of Science in Population Medicine; both from the University of Guelph. Currently, Melanie works as a Research Analyst at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and attending agility classes with her border collie, Echo. Melanie is passionate about the Wye Marsh and what it provides for the community and our environment. After joining the Board of Directors in January, 2020, she is now looking forward to the opportunity to be able to use her skills and talents to help give back to the Marsh.
Alasdair MacLean, Director
Alasdair has lived in Tay Township for 30 years. He worked for many of those years at one of the local automobile dealerships, and is now retied. Recently elected to the Board. Alasdair’s interest in conservation started at a very early age in England; he has been involved in local trail management for some years, and brings to the Board considerable knowledge of the Wye Marsh and its extensive trail system. Alasdair has been a long-time member and active volunteer with Wye Marsh for the past few years, including guiding canoe tours, hikes, and leading bannock roasting among other things.
Deborah Lovas, Director
Debbie has been on the board since May, 2018. After more than 50 years of being around, on or under Georgian Bay the dream of retiring to the area has come true.
Debbie holds an Honours B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Guelph. During school she worked as a Naturalist at Georgian Bay Islands National Park. However, most of her career was spent in business - a five year corporate stint and then opened two hospitality businesses in Toronto’s Harbourfront.
Once settled in Port Severn, she was naturally drawn back to Wye Marsh. Debbie believes that now, more than ever the need for humans to connect with, understand and appreciate nature is greater than ever and that being part of bringing one of nature’s wonders to our family and friends is a goal worth pursuing.
Jana Luker, Director
With a background in University Administration, upon retirement Jana Luker was drawn to Midland and the Wye Marsh, having spent much her childhood just down the road. Appreciating that the Marsh provides a wind & storm buffer, as well as wildlife nurseries, and flood control, she reasoned that it was a good time to give back to this local gem as well as to the wider community.When not on Georgian Bay sailing, Jana attempts triathlons and sings in the local Shout Sister choir. She lives with her long suffering spouse in Midland and misses her adult daughters terribly.
Jeremy Prahl, Chair, Stewardship Committee
Jeremy volunteered to lead the Stewardship Committee, a vital role in the ongoing success of the Wye Marsh. Jeremy is originally from the Midland area and currently resides in Wyebridge, having moved there from Horseshoe Valley eighteen months ago. Jeremy holds an Honours B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Guelph and a Diploma in Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Technology from Selkirk College. He has worked in the environmental field for over ten years and loves spending time outdoors. Jeremy stated that he joined the Stewardship Committee "to provide support for ongoing initiatives and help ensure the long-term viability of the Wye Marsh. My priorities include re-engaging our agency partners, prioritizing stewardship activities and promoting meaningful ecological research at the Marsh."
Natalie Majer, Director
Hailing from the Niagara Region, Natalie involved herself in activities that the landscape provided including hiking the Niagara Escarpment, rowing with her school teams on the Welland Canal, to working her summers with the Niagara Parks Commission along the Niagara River. With the intention of becoming a high school geography teacher, she made a complete career 180 trading her cartography maps in for a pair of police boots.
Joining the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) in the early 1990’s, Natalie completed postings and deployments all over the province in a variety of sectors and roles. She has focused the majority of her career in Central Ontario where currently she is stationed at the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment in Midland as a Staff Sergeant, Operations Manager. Natalie has enjoyed the local attractions and activities Simcoe County has to offer such as boating, cycling, skiing and has even attempted snowmobiling. She boasts that this truly is an area to enjoy any time of the year!
Having a sense of community and commitment to organizations, Natalie feels passionate about being steered to the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre. With a focus on leadership and partnership skills with area community members and tourists alike, she inspires action that levers the task at hand. As Natalie’s retirement looms on the horizon, she reflects back to her education and the desire to share and embrace the magic and curiosity of what could be learned outside the classroom in all seasons, no matter what age the student. Natalie is thrilled to be part of an amazing team of volunteers promoting and showcasing the Wye Marsh, its trail systems and its species that requires everyone’s protection and support.
Rebecca Cowie, Director
A passion for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and hiking introduced Rebecca to the Wye Marsh. Upon graduating from the Masters of Applied Nutrition Program at the University of Guelph Rebecca returned to the Midland area to work in healthcare and promptly obtained a membership to the Wye Marsh to enjoy outdoor activities year-round with a camera in hand alongside her family, and her Shetland Sheepdog, Cassie.
Prior to returning to the Midland area Rebecca worked as a post-secondary educator at Conestoga College; committed to developing educational materials and fostering a positive learning environment. With this experience Rebecca strives to assist with current education programs and development of resources available to visitors.
Richard Leavens, Director
Richard has moved to the Midland area where he is no stranger to Georgian Bay where he has spent a great deal of time of the last many years. He has returned from the Rocky Mountains where he was involved in tourism marketing and advocacy for tourism work in Banff and Jasper National Parks. He has degrees in Economics and Rural Planning and Development. He is very motivated in working with the Wye Marsh people and the many partners to ensure that the Wye Marsh continues to be the wonderful experience it is for visitors, and the excellent example of environmental sustainability.
Susan Molenda, Director
Susan is a newly retired Executive from Nestle Purina Petcare where she was the Vice President of Marketing, overseeing areas of strategic planning, product development, advertising, events and consumer research. She also had a unique opportunity to bring a not-for-profit Pet Experience Centre to life in 2004 -2014 called PawsWay In downtown Toronto.
Susan grew up in Penetanguishene, raised her 3 children in Newmarket and after retirement, as returned to the area full time, residing in Victoria Harbour. Susan is an outdoor enthusiast for hiking, biking, kayaking, boating, skiing and snowshoeing which brings her to the Wye Marsh often.
She is very keen to be of assistance to the Wye Marsh board where her time and skills can be dedicated to helping work towards its mission and to enrich the visitor experience that keeps bringing us back to the Wye Marsh.
Tim Martin, Director
Tim and his wife Karen moved to Midland in 2011. He is retired having worked in the IT industry for nearly 40 years. Tim specialized in the Canadian retail sector managing technical staff, large projects, and infrastructure. He rounded out his career as an experienced senior retail consultant. Tim also has a financial background.
Tim has been active in the community serving on the board of the Georgian Bay General Hospital for 3 years, and on the Georgian Bay General Hospital Foundation’s board for 2 years. He has also served on the board of a private non-profit family corporation for over 30 years.
Tim is very interested in wildlife conservation and has had a cottage in the Kawarthas for 50 years.