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.


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.


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.


Joanna Skomorowski

Stewardship Coordinator

Joanna Skomorowski was born into a family that loved the outdoors and spent much of her childhood climbing trees, hiking and repeatedly asking, “What’s that?”.  She graduated with a B.A. from UNB’s Saint John campus before spending the next four years working in completely unrelated fields.  She finally decided that she loved fieldwork and decided to go back to school. After three years in Ontario at Fleming College, she emerged as a Fish and Wildlife Technologist.  Incredibly happy to move home to Nova Scotia, she spent three years on one of the provincial wildfire crews before coming to work for the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.  In their spare time, she and her husband, Matt, can be found exploring the woods or coastline (binoculars and botany book in hand, still asking “What’s that?”), birding or hanging out with their church family.


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.


Christina Nunn

Office 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 organisations, 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.


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.



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