Bonnie Sutherland

Executive Director

Our ambitious Executive Director since 1997, Bonnie is the driving force behind the Nature Trust. Bonnie grew up in Kingston, Ontario and attended Lakehead University where she earned a BSc. in Biology & Natural Science, an HBOR (Outdoor Recreation), and a B.Ed., focusing on Biology & Geography. After working in environmental consulting, planning and management of provincial and national parks, and adventure and environmental education she came to Nova Scotia to get her Master of Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University. It was during her thesis work on ‘Enhancing Private Land Conservation in Nova Scotia’ that she crossed paths with the Nature Trust and the connection was instant. When not immersed in funding applications and program development, Bonnie is probably exploring the very wilderness she works so hard to protect. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, biking and skiing with her partner Sean and children Cian and Keira.


Tracy Clarke

Operations Coordinator

Born and raised on the outskirts of Halifax County, Tracy loved exploring the treasure trove of nature that surrounded her as a child; from catching frogs and fishing (and then setting them all free), to finding the perfect rock to perch upon or tree to climb, she never tired of her outdoor adventures. Tracy worked in the airline industry for several years before switching to a role in the for-impact sector for 14 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition from Mount Saint Vincent University. She loves to pass the time by cooking, reading or strolling through the Halifax Public Gardens with her grandmother. She’s thrilled to be a member of the Nature Trust team and supporting the conservation of land in our beautiful province!


Jessica Ferguson

Stewardship Coordinator

Jessica grew up around the lakes of Ontario admiring the turtles, tadpoles, and trees. Inspired by these early experiences, she was compelled to contribute to conservation. She attended Fleming College and completed two diplomas: Fish and Wildlife and Ecosystem Management. Since then, Jessica has spent the past decade researching endangered species, head starting turtles, working as an ecologist, and engaging in lots of public outreach. Jessica is especially passionate about the conservation of reptiles and amphibians, having spent much of her career focused on them. When Jessica isn’t working, you can still find her out in the woods, exploring the beauty that Nova Scotia has to offer. Botanizing, birding, and hiking with her dogs, Forest and Lola, are some of her favourite excuses to get outdoors.


Ross Firth

Director of Conservation

Ross brings a lifelong passion and commitment to parks and protected areas. He has over 25 years of experience working with organizations such as the U.S. National Park Service, Alberta Parks, Scotland’s Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and as an Executive with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Environment and Conservation with responsibility for wildlife and parks and natural areas. He holds an undergraduate degree from Acadia University and a Masters of Applied Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. In his spare time he can be found cycling, hiking, canoeing, cross country skiing or reading.


Barbara Haley

Leadership & Legacy Giving Senior Advisor

Barbara was born in Trinidad and was fascinated from an early age by the rich variety of bird and plant life outside her home. She moved to Canada at age 7, and has lived in the middle and on both coasts of the country. Barbara earned her B.Sc. from the University of Toronto and B. Ed. from Queens. She returned to Nova Scotia and spent four years at Saint Mary’s University, before following her passion for nature to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. In her spare time, she enjoys getting up before dawn to go birding.


Janine Jaffrey

Stewardship Technician

Janine grew up in the countryside of the northeast of Scotland, and graduated with a BSc. in Animal Biology in 2015. She then went on to work as a Ranger for the National Trust for Scotland, leading volunteers in conservation projects on mountain nature reserves and around castle estates. In 2017, Janine moved to Toronto to complete her Master’s degree in Environmental Science at U of T, after which she moved to a very small town in Saskatchewan to work for the Calgary Zoo’s captive breeding and reintroduction program for the endangered Greater Sage Grouse. A new comer to Nova Scotia, she spends her spare time exploring the province and going on camping adventures with friends.


Rich LaPaix

Conservation Biologist

Rich had the benefit of growing up on a small farm in rural Pictou County where he enjoyed the freedom to explore the woods and fields at an early age. His initial interests in natural places led him to an undergraduate degree in biology at Dalhousie University. Following this, he enjoyed contract work as an ecologist in Newfoundland, California and Oregon before returning home to pursue graduate work and employment for over a decade in support of the private, government, and non-profit sectors. In his spare time Rich enjoys seeking adventures throughout the province with friends and family and is typically found somewhere along the coast or in the woods with his sons Theo and Myles.


Lisa Matte

Director of Philanthropy & Engagement

Lisa is a proud Nova Scotian who grew up in the Digby area, exploring back roads, fields and coastlines with her family.  After completing a BSc in Biology from Dal, she had every intention of pursuing a career in either environmental science or dentistry, but the universe had other plans for her. Through a lucky twist of fate, she began a 25-year career in the not-for-profit sector, and has led teams big and small, near and far throughout Atlantic Canada in a wide range of activities from fund development, innovative projects, advocacy, programming, and volunteer engagement.  Her favorite part of working in the not-for-profit sector is the connection that comes from linking the passions and interests of supporters with the important work of the organization, and watching the amazing results that can happen as a result. When she’s not working, you can almost always find her outdoors somewhere, whether it’s tending her garden, or hiking or biking with her husband, Dan and their hound, Buster.


Cynthia McLaren-Lloyd

Donor Relations Coordinator

Growing up in Prospect Bay, Cynthia “Cyndy” McLaren-Lloyd has had a deep appreciation for nature and the beauty around us ever since a young age. Some of Cyndy’s fondest memories are of rocks and the ocean, playing among wild blueberries, lupins and lady’s slippers, and going on family picnics and camping adventures, even during the winter months. Cyndy has over a decade of experience working extensively in Alberta’s non-profit sector, including Red Deer’s prestigious Women of Excellence Awards and several campaigns for fund development and community building. In 2020, Cyndy’s love of family and the ocean called her home to Nova Scotia, so she made the cross-country trek with her best friends: her cat, Albus, and dog, Stanley. For Cyndy, being able to help preserve the unique beauty of the province her parents made home is a way to honour them and their love of Nova Scotia. A proud mother of two, Cyndy works every day to make the world a better place for her kids.  


Christina Nunn

Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Christina has had a passion for the outdoors since she was a child, and exploring this amazing province is one of her favourite pastimes. This interest in the natural world led her to earn a Diploma in Water Resources Technology and to work as an environmental technologist. She also has extensive experience in the non-profit sector and adult education. Always passionate about volunteering, she has served with various organizations, including as a board member of a farmers’ market, as well as participating with the Nature Trust at events and on a campaign team prior to becoming a staff member. When not exploring local trails or paddling on her SUP, Christina can be found experimenting in the kitchen and sharing meals with family and friends.


Dyan O'Dell


Dyan grew up on a small hobby farm in Blaine Lake, SK where she enjoyed playing with all the animals and learning the value of hard work. After spending a few years in volunteer work across the country, Dyan and her husband decided to call Nova Scotia home. With an accounting background, she enjoys contributing to Nature Trust as a bookkeeper and assisting with our mission of protecting and preserving Nova Scotia’s natural beauty. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, camping and exploring the beautiful spots across the province.


Megan Pagniello

Land Conservation Lead

Megan is of settler decent and lives and works in Mi’kma’ki, the unceded, traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq. Megan moved to Kjipuktuk (Halifax) for school, trading in the hustle and bustle of a big city for the ocean and salty air. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, with Honours in Environment, Sustainability and Society and Political Science, alongside a Master of Resource and Environmental Management. Megan has always had a love for the natural world and biodiversity, which was strengthened further during her internship with Nature Conservancy of Canada. Before joining the Nature Trust team, Megan supported the establishment of the first Mi’kmaw-led land trust in Nova Scotia – one of the first Indigenous-led land trusts in Canada! – which is an experience that she is immensely proud and honoured to have been a part of. When Megan is not working, you can find her exploring with her pup, Kona, at the barn riding her horse, or cuddled up with a book.


Keith Spafford

Landowner Outreach Lead

Keith hails from the South Shore of Nova Scotia where a passion for wild places and the species that inhabit them was instilled at an early age. He has spent most of the past decade in sales for the marine science sector where he worked closely with researchers to plan and implement marine species tracking projects. He is excited to be able to apply these skills to the work of the Nature Trust. He holds an undergraduate degree from St. Francis Xavier University. When not at work he can be found scouring remote streams for brook trout or exploring with wife Amanda, his two daughters, Maggie and Isabelle, and his boisterous black lab Finnigan.


Devin Sturge

Marketing & Communications Specialist

Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Devin grew up surrounded by picturesque coastlines, thick forests and unique wildlife, instilling in him a love for the outdoors at a young age. After completing a Diploma of Business Management (Marketing) from College of the North Atlantic in 2016, he moved to Halifax to complete a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. Through invaluable work terms and post-graduation professional experience, he became passionate about applying his skills in the non-profit sector. Devin is excited to work with the Nature Trust, to be able to learn more about the wild lands across Nova Scotia while simultaneously helping support the organization’s mission to protect our province’s outstanding natural legacy. In his free time Devin enjoys running or hiking along trails, checking out new restaurants with friends, reading or catching up on his favourite reality tv shows.


Nick Wilkinson

Database Coordinator

Nick joined the Nature Trust team in May 2010 as the Assistant Office Co-ordinator. Although he was at one time headed for an academic career in medieval history, Nick’s passion for the environment and his love of music have since steered him in a much different direction. He is excited to be involved in helping to protect and preserve Nova Scotia’s beautiful natural places. When not working at the Nature Trust, you can find him out hiking, cycling, taking photographs or playing music.


Sarah-Jean Zettel

Stewardship Field Assistant

Sarah-Jean grew up in in a rural town in southern Ontario where her love of nature began, she spent much of her childhood playing outside with her friends and camping with her family. Her appreciation of the outdoors led her to an undergraduate degree in biology, following this she worked on wetland conservation in Nova Scotia before returning to Ontario to pursue her graduate degree in Environmental Science with the University of Guelph. Now back in Nova Scotia she fills her spare time hiking, camping, and spending time with her friends.



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