Members of the Board of Directors and Co-Founder at The Starfish Canada's 2016 Annual General Meeting.

Members of the Board of Directors and Co-Founder at The Starfish Canada's 2016 Annual General Meeting.

Meet the Team!

The Starfish Canada is a volunteer run organization working together to celebrate and amplify the Canadian youth conservation movement.  Click below to scroll and meet our dedicated teammates.


Kyle Empringham - Co-Founder - Cofondateur

Kyle is a recent masters graduate of Simon Fraser University's School of Resource and Environmental Management (Burnaby, B.C.) and the Western Region Public Engagement Specialist for the David Suzuki Foundation. Kyle's passion lies in conservation initiatives and is happy to help other groups create excitement about their common goals. In his spare time, Kyle likes to ski, run, swim, and volunteering for nonprofits to further their common cause. 

Kyle est un diplômé récent de l’Université Simon Fraser, à la maîtrise en gestion des ressources et de l’environnement (Burnaby, C.-B.) ainsi que le spécialiste de l’engagement du public de la région de l’Ouest pour la Fondation David Suzuki. La passion de Kyle réside dans les initiatives de conservation et il est heureux d’aider d’autres groupes à créer l’excitation à propos de leurs buts communs. Dans ses temps libres, Kyle aime skier, courir, nager et faire du bénévolat pour des organismes à buts non lucratifs en faisant avancer les causes communes de celles-ci

Twitter: @kbempringham

Sujane Kandasamy - Co-Founder - Cofondatrice

Sujane Kandasamy is a recent MSc (Clinical Epidemiology) grad from McMaster University.  She also holds a BScH (Biology) and BA (Anthropology).  Her research interests are in Aboriginal health and early life determinants of chronic disease (with a social determinants of health lens). Sujane enjoys working with youth on hands-on biology and biodiversity work and strongly believes that with every positive step (no matter how small), we can build a clean, healthy future. 

Sujane Kandasamy est nouvellement dîplomée de la maîtrise en épidémiologie clinique de   l’Université McMaster. Elle détient également un baccalauréat en biologie ainsi qu’un baccalauréat en anthropologie. Ses sujets d’intérêts pour la recherche sont la santé autochtone et les déterminants précoces des maladies chroniques (avec les déterminants sociaux sous l’angle de la santé). Sujane apprécie travailler avec des jeunes sur des travaux pratiques au sujet de la biologie et de la diversité. Elle croit fermement qu’avec chaque étape positive (aussi petite qu’elle soit), nous pouvons construire un futur propre et sain.

Josh Gordon - Brand Manager

Josh Gordon is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator, and an Earth enthusiast. After completing studies at Sheridan College and St. Lawrence College, Josh pursued his love for graphic design and the environment by working with clients such as Parks Canada, Royal Botanical Gardens, Friends of Algonquin Park, and Conservation Halton (to name a few).  Josh has a intuitive sense for ensuring that brands, such as The Starfish, are presented consistently both visually and in the way they are communicated.

Twitter: @joshgcreative

Tomasz Wiercioch - Community Manager - Gestionnaire de communauté

Tomasz is an aspiring environmental communicator with an interest in youth empowerment and effective collaboration.  He has pursued his interests with various projects within his local community (Hamilton Harbour / Bay Area Restoration Council, Burlington Green), nationally (Canadian Forestry Service, Earth Day Canada, Parks Canada) and internationally (CoalitionWILD, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Wild10, the World Parks Congress). He aspires to connect people with nature and encourage a thoughtful collaboration on many scales that will better our planet. He also loves tea and travel.

Tomasz est un communicateur environnemental aspirant, avec un intérêt pour le développement de l’autonomisation des jeunes et d’une collaboration efficace. Il a poursuivi ses intérêts avec divers projets dans sa communauté locale (Hamilton Harbour – Conseil pour la restauration de la baie, burlington green) nationale (Service canadien de foresterie, le Jour de la Terre du Canada, Parcs Canada)  et internationale (la CoalitionWILD, l’Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature, Wild10, le congrès mondial des parcs). Il aspire à connecter les gens avec la nature et encourage une collaboration réfléchie, à différentes échelles, qui permettra d’améliorer le sort de notre planète. Il aime également le thé et les voyages.

Twitter: @Wiercit / @CoalitionWILD

Steve Watts - Social Media Coordinator - Coordonateur des médias sociaux 

Steve Watts is pursuing his Masters in Communication Studies at McMaster University. Steve is a lifelong Hamiltonian who is interested in promoting the natural beauty within the area and finding ways to keep it green. He enjoys hiking, camping, and a fresh cup of coffee. Hamilton has exposed him to many environmental issues and debates which has encouraged him to become an active environmentalist. Currently, Steve is exploring how Hamilton is transitioning from an industrial city to a more sustainable one.

Steve Watts poursuit actuellement ses études à la maîtrise en communication à l’Université McMaster. Steve est un Hamiltonien de longue date qui est intéressé par la promotion de la beauté naturelle. Il aime la randonnée, le camping et le café frais. Hamilton l’a exposé à plusieurs enjeux et débats environnementaux qui l’ont encouragé à devenir un activiste environnemental. En ce moment, Steve explore la façon dont Hamilton se transforme d’une ville industrielle vers une ville durable.  

Julia on a Glacier!.png

Julia Shulist - Program Manager

Julia recently completed her Masters at the University of Waterloo in Environment and Resource Studies, focusing on residential electricity consumption.  She earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Math (minor in Anthropology), and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Geography and Environmental Studies from McMaster University. Her love of animals drives her to help create a more sustainable planet. She believes that change starts at the individual level, and wants to educate people about how they can help contribute to a more sustainable, healthy planet.

Ashley Mitton - Outreach Team Lead, Southwest Ontario

Ashley Mitton recently graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Wildlife Biology (minor in International Development). She has been involved with the Natural Leaders Alliance of Canada, Parks Canada, No Walls, and the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress to find new ways to inspire young people to get outdoors and be passionate about the environment. Her interests include environmental education and public outreach, and she enjoys hikes with her dog followed by hot chocolate.

Twitter: @mittonash

Joyce Yan - Administrative Assistant

Joyce is a recent M.A. (Global Development Studies) graduate from Queen's University and holds a B.A. (Political Science, International Studies) from Simon Fraser University. Her research interests focus on social and environmental justice issues and her Masters research focused on the intersection of climate change adaptation and the political economy of development. In her spare time, she enjoys everything that the B.C. west coast has to offer, but also loves to travel.

Jas Nanda - Administrative Assistant, Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25

While completing a BSc at McMaster University, Jas minored in Environmental Sciences and was introduced to biomimicry, spiking an interest in nature’s (already existing) solutions for a healthier planet. Jas is currently an MBA student at DeGroote and plays an active role on the DeGroote MBAs for Impact team. She thanks the family dog (Logie Bear!) for getting her to enjoy the great outdoors, even during the grizzly Canadian winter. 

Brianna Knowles - Social Media Assistant

After a few years away from the nest, traveling to places between Australia and Alaska, Brianna is currently studying Hospitality and Tourism at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She loves the water, especially cold water, and has spent thousands of hours under the water scuba diving. Her passion for cold weather activities extends to snowshoeing, building Quinzhees, and tobogganing in Ontario.  

Melanie Fox-Chen 

Melanie Fox-Chen recently finished her undergraduate degree in biology at McMaster University. Her undergraduate thesis focused on cancer research but she is also interested in sustainability and conservation projects. In her spare time, she likes to volunteer with animals and travel. Through The Starfish, Melanie hopes to inform her peers on relevant environmental issues and inspire them to protect their planet.

Stephanie Donison

A recent Print Journalism graduate from Sheridan College, Stephanie is striving to make a more sustainable planet by informing the public of environmental issues, and more importantly, solutions. She has volunteered on several organic farms throughout Europe, and also with Sheridan's Social Justice Club. In an effort to restore a quarry, she helped create an initiative that took her from Toronto to Newfoundland on her bicycle. When she isn't trying to help save the earth, you can find her cooking, listening to music, or doing yoga. 

Josh Brooks

Josh Brooks has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Geography and Environmental Management from the University of Waterloo. He has previously worked for the City of Hamilton's Community Outreach department working on waste diversion strategies for Hamilton Region as well as educating elementary students about environmentally sustainable practices. Passionate about history and the environment, Josh has travelled from Amsterdam to Istanbul in his never-ending quest to experience all that our planet has to offer.


Audrey Morin - French Community Manager - Gestionnaire de communauté francophone


Audrey Morin studied leisure, culture and tourism at the University of Québec in Trois-Rivières. Born and raised in the countryside, she has always cared about the environment. This passion became more concrete while she was in university where she focused on sustainable tourism. She aspires to convince her generation to travel in a more sustainable way, while being in harmony with the communities and the environments they visit. This mission is what earned her a place on The Starfish Canada's Top 25 for 2015. Fervent promoter of the French language, Audrey has chosen to invest herself with The Starfish Canada to facilitate access to the programs offers by this organization for others French Canadians, whom, as her, want to share and amplify their passion for the environment.

Audrey Morin a récemment complété son baccalauréat en loisir, culture et tourisme à l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Ayant grandi à la campagne, elle a toujours eu un important souci pour l’environnement. Cette passion s’est finalement concrétisée davantage lors de son parcours universitaire où elle a mis l’accent sur le tourisme durable dans la plupart de ses travaux et implications. Elle aspire à convaincre sa génération à voyager de façon plus durable, tout en étant en harmonie avec les communautés et l’environnement des lieux visités. Cela lui a d’ailleurs valu une place dans le top 25 de 2015. Fervente promotrice de la langue française, Audrey a choisi de s’investir avec The Starfish pour faciliter l’accès aux programmes offerts par l’organisme pour les autres franco-canadiens, qui comme elle, ne demandent qu’à partager et amplifier leur passion pour l’environnement.

Sarah Jokhu

Sarah Jokhu holds an Honours Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto with a double major in Biology and Psychology. It was during that time she discovered her passion for sustainability purposes through leadership roles with Oxfam and Help Fight Ebola Canada. She is a member of ECO Canada as an Environmental Professional in training (EPt). Her passion for the outdoors is often experienced through runs in the park and biking.


Anna Dahonick - Editor

Anna is an interpreter currently working in Waterton Lakes National Park. She is prepared to do all kinds of silly things to help connect people to the natural world and help them appreciate their role in it.  Anna has a B.A. in sociology from the University of Victoria. She loves to get outside and hike, camp, run, bike, swim and compete in a triathlon or two. 


Shailyn Drukis - Editor

Shailyn Drukis is living in the Yukon Territory and has a particular interest in the role that protected areas can play in protecting biodiversity, especially protected area connectivity. She is also passionate about intergenerational conservation policy and connecting people to nature, and is one of the founders and Steering Committee members of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network - a network that she helped to establish through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity negotiations. Shailyn also has leadership roles within a variety of other organizations, including as a youth member of the Canadian Committee for IUCN Board of Directors. Shailyn’s research interests focus in the Kluane region of the Southwest Yukon, looking at obstacles to better addressing cumulative effects assessment on wildlife, and exploring the possibilities of capturing baseline wildlife data from park visitors and local citizens.

Twitter: @ShailynDrukis

Steve Kux - Editor, Sketchy Science Writer

Steve Kux is a masters student at Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environmental Management, as well as an avid hiker, climber, and canoeist. He likes to think of himself as a woodsman but everyone who knows him understands that his adventures are thinly veiled attempts to indulge the nature-nerd that lurks within. In his spare time, he enjoys reading about biology and physics as part of a diabolical plan to know enough to pass for a scientist. Steve has a healthy curiosity about the world around him and usually tries to avoid writing in the third-person. 

Roshane Miller - Editor

Roshane Miller is a Masters of Publishing candidate at Simon Fraser University. His background is in marketing, education administration, user experiences, and editorial practices. He is a lover of the theatre and film, and has experience in adapting film for the stage. He considers himself a friend of the Earth, and actively participates in projects geared towards its preservation. He is very interested in YouTube's sharing potential. Roshane hails from the beautiful island of Jamaica.

Twitter: @RoshaneM


Jessica Beketa - Secretary

Jessica holds a Bachelor in Business Administration with a certificate in Sustainable Community Development from Simon Fraser University. She is passionate about finding zero waste solutions and intrigued by the connection between waste, over-consumption and design thinking. She co-manages Repair Matters, which creates a repair community in Vancouver. She is also a project manager at Dossier Creative, a creative agency. In her spare time, you can find her biking along 10th ave, eating tacos, growing popcorn in her backyard, or sipping tea at a local cafe.

Twitter @jesbek

Joshua Cairns - Chair

Josh is a Master of Resource Management candidate at Simon Fraser University and the Executive Director for Embark Sustainability. Josh is passionate about finding solutions to climate change and empowering youth to be a driving force for catalyzing change. In his spare time, you can find him cycling or hiking somewhere in the beautiful wilderness of British Columbia.

Kristin Cheung

Kristin Cheung has been working in the cultural sector for ten years in publishing, theatre and visual arts. She is on the board member of numerous small arts organizations and is the currently the Development Officer at the Contemporary Art Gallery. She is passionate about building community through culture and creative projects. 

Devon Deckant - Member Relations Officer

Devon Deckant completed his Masters studies at the University of British Columbia in social-environmental interactions, an area which has kept him intrigued for many years. His prior experiences include environmental curriculum development and education, invasive species mapping and control, volunteer coordination & trail construction. His greatest joys in life include a good breakfast and sleeping outside.

James Hoffele - Governance Officer

James holds a Masters in Resource Management from Simon Fraser University and is working towards his Project Management Professional Certification. As an Environmental Coordinator at the Port of Vancouver, James supports the planning, implementing, and operation of strategic environmental initiatives relating to air quality, greenhouse gas management, energy management, corporate social responsibility and sustainability reporting. He is an avid snowboarder and loves legumes.

Mandy McDougall - Editorial Officer

Mandy is a proud Hamiltonian living as a Vancouverite, currently completing her Masters degree in Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.  She is working with the Environmental Toxicology Research Group to study the behaviour of emerging environmental contaminants in various food webs.  Her biggest goal is to help bridge the gap between science and policy, especially when it comes to the regulation of environmental contaminants.  When not 'science-ing', Mandy can be found in ballet class, crocheting, and enjoying Vancouver's beaches with a good book.

Twitter at @mandyrmcdougall

Camille Mohn

A trained actress and self taught jewelry artist, Camille is now studying Geography at UBC. She has spent four months working with the Galiano Conservancy Association on environmental restoration, invasive species management planning and raising native plants. In her spare time she explores B.C.'s beautiful coastline (usually by kayak). Future plans involve preserving and restoring B.C.'s wilderness.

Fauve Strachan - Treasurer

Fauve Strachan, a native of Calgary, Alberta, is currently pursuing her Masters of Environmental Toxicology at Simon Fraser University. Her research focuses on toxicity of chemicals used in salmon aquaculture to non-target marine organisms. She is passionate about the environment, toxicology and sustainability. In her spare time she enjoys reading books on popular science, hiking, scuba diving, climbing, running and relaxing with friends and family. 


  • Sam Colbert - Master of Journalism Student, Ryerson University
  • Lauren Crickmore - former Education Programs Coordinator, Earth Day Canada
  • Elyse Curley - MEC Outdoor Nation & BC Community Coordinator, Mountain Equipment Co-Op
  • Kieran Dowling - Information and Outreach Programmer, Alberta Parks
  • Caitlin Hill - Communications & Fund Development Coordinator, Pacific Parklands Foundation
  • Jennifer Tan - Environmental Sustainability Consultant, VanCity
  • Meaghan Langille - Environmental Management Graduate Student & Non-Profit Young Professional, Niagara Sustainability Initiative & Engineers Without Borders Canada
  • Grant Linney - Actively retired outdoor and environmental educator
  • Mary Lovell - former Door Fundraising Manager, Greenpeace Canada
  • Jeremy Moorhouse - Senior Analyst, Clean Energy Canada
  • Ryan Moran - Marketing Communications Specialist, factor[e] design initiative
  • Emilie Novaczek - Outreach & Science Communications, Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership
  • Peter Ormond - Environmentalist/Engineer/Playwright, Eco5 - Creative Green Projects
  • Jackie Peat - former Development & Communications Coordinator, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society - BC Chapter
  • Alex Pogacean - Associate, ScotiaMcLeod
  • Chris Reid - Executive Director/Co-Founder, Shifting Growth
  • Chris Rider - Executive Director, BYTE Yukon
  • Eric Shelson - Brand Manager, Consumer Goods
  • Nick Smith - Health Promotion Project Coordinator, Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Mike Soron - Executive Director, Sustainable SFU
  • Katie Stiel - Project Manager, Environment Hamilton
  • Kate Whalen - Senior Manager, University Sustainability and Director, Sustainable Future Program
  • Rachael Wraith - Communications Professional & Yoga Teacher

Want to make a difference with The Starfish Canada?

We are looking for passionate, creative volunteers that can develop their skills while contributing to our cause. See our opportunities page for details.