Past Project Team Members
Zoë Barrett-Wood joined the Water Sustainability Project as a summer intern from July to August 2009 to research the opportunities and challenges of urban rainwater harvesting. For September, 2009, she is returning to her fourth year of an Environmental Sciences degree at the University of Guelph, with an Environmental Geography major and Ecology minor. She has diverse interests, including water governance, urban planning, aquatic biology, film, acting, and journalism. She works for her university's Sustainability Office, writes a weekly environmental column in the school paper, and leads a group called Tap In! that works to minimize bottled water consumption on campus. Before beginning her work at POLIS, Zoë filmed a documentary on Canadian water issues. She had a wonderful time at POLIS and looks forward to future collaboration with the incredible people she met there.
Alyssa Boky is a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Victoria with an interest in applying business knowledge to create sustainable work environments. She has had past experience with implementing environmental initiatives at a school level, and is interested in the impact that resource management and policy design have on society as a whole. She began volunteering with the POLIS Water Sustainability Project in March 2013.
Rachelle was a summer student with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance from May to September 2016. She supported work on ecological governance with a focus on watershed governance and water ethics. In Fall 2016, Rachelle entered the final year of her Social Justice Studies Diploma at UVic, which builds on her Bachelor of Art and Design, Drawing and Intermedia from the University of Alberta. Rachelle has a strong interest in the connection between ecological governance and the post-human.
Savannah Carr-Wilson joined the POLIS Water Sustainability Project in February 2015, and brings an interest in water conservation, law, and governance. In April 2015, she completed her law degree at the University of Victoria, where she specialized in environmental law and sustainability. Savannah’s work with the Water Sustainability Project focused on conducting water policy and law reform research, with a specific focus on supporting the development of regulations under the B.C. Water Sustainability Act. She has worked internationally with the non-profit Welthungerhilfe and the Hamburg Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, and within Canada at Ecojustice. Prior to law school, Savannah completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at Jacobs University Bremen in northern Germany, where she majored in International Politics and History.
Shawn Courtney worked as a research assistant at the Water Sustainability Project from June to September 2009. His research focused on several areas: water scarcity and conservation initiatives in major Californian cities; the connections between Integrated Resource Management and effective water governance; and best practices in water supply management, pricing, and conservation. He also supported the communications and outreach efforts of the WSP. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Victoria, which led to a placement as an Intern with the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. He also provided media-monitoring services for POLIS on a volunteer basis in 2008. Just like Susanne, he likes to ride his bike everywhere.
Brad Densmore joined the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance in September 2010 and provides communications support to the Water Sustainability Project, articulating and disseminating policy research and providing capacity for outreach and engagement. Additionally, Brad is a contributor to Water Canada Magazine, where he provides a BC perspective on water policy issues. Prior to joining the Water Sustainability Project, Brad spent eight months working for the City of Campbell River’s Sustainability Department, where he contributed to public outreach initiatives and policy development. In 2011 Brad will be set to graduate from the University of Victoria with a BA in Political Science, and a Minor in Professional Writing and Journalism.
Sarah Dickie joined the POLIS team for a term position from June to September 2007, with some of her work focusing on the Water Sustainability Project. Sarah comes from a History and Linguistics background, and she had just completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Victoria. She has worked as a student mentor and community internship student with the Le,nonet Project at UVic, and also worked as a volunteer with UVic's Native Students Union.
Alicia joined the WSP in January 2016 to provide communications and research support through a work study position at the University of Victoria. Alicia is in her third year of studies at UVic, working towards a BSc in Geography with a minor in Economic Policy. She has always had passion for learning about human relationships with the environment, and been involved in a variety of initiatives through school and the greater community. As a result of these experiences, she has taken particular interest in the management of waste and water resources. Alicia spent the summer of 2014 working for Engineering and Environmental Services with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, gaining insight into some of the intense challenges facing sustainability on Vancouver Island. She is keen to join the community of people working creatively for environmental justice and resilience.
Dr. Keith Ferguson has a Law Degree from the University of Victoria. His focus is environmental law. He has worked in this field with the Government of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife, and with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund in Vancouver. While at UVic, Keith was a member of the WSP team and co-authored the research reports The Future in Every Drop (2004) and At a Watershed (2005).
Patrick Gilbride joined the POLIS team in January 2012 as a research intern, providing writing and communications consulting support. He also works as the Information and Social Media Coordinator for the RAIN program in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario. The RAIN program is the first publicly funded program of its kind in Canada that focuses on generating community action to take an ecological approach to stormwater management. Throughout his career Patrick has been active in the design of leading-edge communication channels that facilitate collaboration and reduce the carbon footprint of businesses and consumers. Patrick has a research focus on the role of strategic partnerships and open-source communities in fostering sustainability.
Elizabeth Hendriks was part of the Water Sustainability Project from spring 2009 to spring 2011. In her role as Water Governance and Policy Coordinator, she helped engage local governments in comprehensive water conservation planning. She also helped facilitate the WSP's Water Conservation Workshop Roadshow. Prior to working at POLIS, Elizabeth was a Research Associate with the University of Waterloo, managing “Building Toward Water Efficiency,” a two-year project that examined the role of the building industry in implementing water efficiency. She is actively involved with the Canadian Water Resource Association (CWRA) and Waterlution.
Raluca Hlevca joined the Water Sustainability Project in August 2014. Her work focuses on organizing and coordinating B.C. groups working on watershed governance, conducting focused research on water policy and law reform options and opportunities, and supporting the development and implementation of regulations associated with the B.C. Water Sustainability Act. Raluca's volunteer experience with the Canadian Environmental Law Association and her legal work at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs provide a valuable skill base for her work at POLIS. Prior to law school, Raluca completed a Master in Environmental Science at the University of Toronto.
Rodger Hunter was Water Sustainability Project’s Community Research Associate from 2013 to 2015. Since 2005, Rodger has worked as a management consultant with Vis-a-Vis Management Resources Inc. His areas of specialty include strategic and business planning, business/program reviews, governance, project management, and sustainable watershed management. Prior to becoming a management consultant, Rodger worked in a variety of positions with the B.C. provincial government, including Coastal and Wetland Specialist, Manager of the Habitat Conservation Fund, Manager of Economic Development Policy at Treasury Board Staff, Treaty Negotiator, Executive Director of Environmental Protection, and as an Assistant Deputy Minister. In July 2009 he was invited to work with the partners responsible for developing the Cowichan Basin Water Management Plan to establish a governance body (the Cowichan Watershed Board) to implement that plan. Since 2010 Rodger has served as the part-time coordinator of the Cowichan Watershed Board. He has an M.Sc. in biological sciences from Brock University and an MPA from the University of Victoria.
Sarah Jackson joined POLIS in May 2008 as a research assistant focussed on water governance and legislation. Sarah is currently studying law at UVic, with interests in environmental justice, sustainable development, dispute resolution and immigration law. She has an interdisciplinary background, with a Bachelor of Science in Global Resource Systems from UBC. She participated in an exchange and field studies in Australia, and worked as a researcher in Uruguay on a pilot project to evaluate water rights and distribution. She has work and volunteer experience in environmental education, and volunteers with the Victoria Intercultural Association. She is also a research collaborator with the law faculty as part of the ArcticNet project on climate change.
Heather Johnstone was part of the POLIS team from October 2002 to September 2003 in the capacity of Research and Administrative Assistant. Her work at POLIS involved a wide range of activities—from researching and producing written material for the University of Victoria Sustainable Campus Initiative, to assisting in organizational development activities. She also assisted with a number of publications from the Urban Water Demand Management project (now the POLIS Water Sustainability Project). Heather received her BA in Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria in April 2001.
Natasha Kisilevsky came on board with POLIS as a first-year law student at UVic from May to August 2004 to assist with the Water Sustainability Project. With two years of undergraduate science and math, a BA (McGill), MA (Toronto) and PhD work (UBC) in ancient natural philosophy and philosophy of science, and professional experience in publishing, she has been gathering research skills while making her way west across Canada. Fascinated by the intersection of science and social policy from an environmentalist perspective, she was ecstatic to be part of the POLIS team. Natasha is a commuter cyclist and avid mountain biker.
Robin Lattimer worked at the POLIS Water Sustainability Project in the summer of 2013, offering communications and project support. She continued her role at POLIS in a volunteer capacity as she pursued studies in water resource management through the University of Toronto’s Master of Science in Planning (MsPl)—Environmental and Community Collaborative Program. She completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree at Queen’s University in 2011, with a focus in Human Geography and Urban and Community Planning.
Carol Maas joined the POLIS Water Sustainability Project in late 2006, bringing her technical expertise in water and wastewater to the team. Carol completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in Chemical Engineering and Society specializing in water and wastewater engineering and the societal implications of technology. She has worked in the water and wastewater field for ten years in various capacities including consulting, research and development, and process engineering. In 2006, Carol completed her Masters of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo and has since been investigating appropriate technologies for water treatment and conservation at the POLIS Project. She was appointed in 2011 as a board member to Ontario's Water Technology Acceleration Project. Her current research focus is on the energy and carbon footprint of water use, application of alternative water sources such as rainwater harvesting and reuse, and regional and provincial water conservation policy.
Tony Maas joined the POLIS Water Sustainability Project in March 2003. He contributed to many of the WSP publications as a researcher, editor and author. As author of What the Experts Think: Understanding Urban Water Demand Management in Canada, he surveyed over 20 water experts with the goal of developing a deep understanding of the major barriers to demand management in Canada. Tony holds a diploma in Environmental Technology from Fanshawe College in London, Ontario and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. Currently, Tony is completing a Masters in Planning at in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo where his research focuses on water governance. In 2007, Tony accepted a position as a Senior Water Policy Advisor with the World Wildlife Fund in Ontario.
Adam Mjolsness joined POLIS Water Sustainability Project as a research assistant in 2003. During the 2003/4 academic year, while completing his final undergraduate year in Biology and Environmental Studies at UVic, he assisted with the research and production of What the Experts Think. Most recently Adam researched water sustainability issues in the Okanagan region of BC and is co-author on A New Path to Water Sustainability for the Town of Oliver, BC - Soft Path Case Study (February 2007). When he's not moonlighting as a professional treeplanter, Adam's hobbies include improving his off-the-grid home in the Kootenays, exploring the Purcell mountains, and seeing new places on his touring bicycle.
Ben Parfitt is a long-time researcher and writer, specializing in natural resource management issues. He has written numerous award-winning investigative feature articles for magazines, and is the author of two books on forest and land-use issues—Forestopia: A Pracitical Guide to the New Forest Economy (co-authored with Michael M’Gonigle) and Forest Follies: Adventures and Misadventures in the Great Canadian Forest. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed reports on forest management and water and energy issues in his capacity as a resource policy analyst with the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA). He currently devotes much of his working time to the water-energy nexus as part of a joint research initiative between the CCPA and the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. He is frequently called on to provide commentary to media outlets, briefings to government agencies, and lectures and public talks on environmental and resource management topics.
Susanne Porter-Bopp joined POLIS in August 2006 after completing a Master of Environmental Studies degree at York University. Her work with the Water Sustainability Project at POLIS focuses on enhancing water conservation capacity in various communities across Canada through water soft path planning pilot projects and the development of practical tools for local governments, including Water Conservation Planning Guide for British Columbia's Communities. She is also leading Action H20, a multiple-year national project that seeks to develop leadership for water conservation in grassroots communities and local governments across Canada (in partnership with Sierra Club Canada and Sierra Club BC). As a current associate with Waterlution: A Water Learning Experience, Susanne coordinates and facilitates workshops on local water issues for youth and young professionals across British Columbia. Susanne is actively involved in community radio and other local media and likes to ride her bicycle everywhere.
Ellen Reynolds joined the Water Sustainability Project at POLIS as communications director in April 2004 after completing the Harvey Southam Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing at UVic. She has a BA from Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS and, prior to returning to university in 2002, she worked for over 10 years in the non-profit sector as a project coordinator, researcher and writer for organizations working on health, social justice and environmental issues. Ellen also has work experience as a journalist. She accepted a position as Communications Director at the Canadian Women's Health Network in the fall of 2007.
Megan Spencer began work with POLIS in May 2014, applying her research and administrative skills to the Water Sustainability Project and the Ecological Governance Now Project. She brings her experience in communications and public outreach for environmental and social justice organizations, honed through positions with Georgia Strait Alliance, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and African AIDS Angels. In April 2015, Megan completed her BA degree at the University of Victoria with a double major in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. She hopes to pursue a Masters degree in natural resource management, after taking time to explore environmental communications opportunities in her new home city of Vancouver.
Ellie Stephenson joined the POLIS team for a term from May to September 2009 while completing the final year of her BA in Environmental Studies and English. As a research and administrative assistant with the Water Sustainability Project, her work included researching and writing on best practices for soft-path water management and providing outreach support for the publication "Setting a New Course in British Columbia -- Water Governance Reform Options and Opportunities". She also works with an environmental education program for kids and volunteers for an adaptive recreation society.
Elizabeth (Liz) Wheaton provided secretarial and administrative support for all POLIS (and its predecessor, the Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law & Policy) activities from October 1996 to February 2004, at which time she moved to UVic's Law School. Liz can now be found "administering" the Law Graduate Program and, if not there, tending her cottage garden.
Jennifer Wong worked with the POLIS project from May 2008 to June 2009, after completing an undergraduate in Political Science that focused on the politics of fresh water at the University of Victoria. Jennifer has also worked as the WaterSmart coordinator at the Regional District of Nanaimo and assisted as a summer student on the Capital Regional District's Waterwise program. She was the 2008 recipient of the CWWA's Steve Bonk Scholarship. Jennifer has a passion for putting theory to work on the ground and researching innovative strategies for water sustainability.
Kathy Zaletnik joined the POLIS Water Sustainability team in 2005 after having completed a Master of Science in Water and Environmental Planning at the University of Toronto. Her undergraduate degree is in international development, with a focus on the environment. Kathy's research focused on water reuse within the framework of water soft paths. She has worked in Toronto’s municipal water department as well as at the international organization ICLEI, which works with local authorities on various environmental issues, including water. While at ICLEI, she participated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa. She also worked at the United Nations Environment Program in Mexico City. Kathy speaks four languages.
Ann Zurbrigg joined the POLIS Project in March 2006 and provides the general administrative and bookkeeping support on a part time basis. She works with the research associates and staff to ensure the efficient financial operation of the office. Before joining POLIS, Ann held administrative positions at the University of Victoria with the Aboriginal Liaison Office and the regional office of the International Development Research Centre. From 1999 to 2002 Ann was the project manager at the International Project Office of the Global Environmental Change and Human Security Project, an interdisciplinary research program based at UVic. She has been Board Treasurer since 1990 for a community NGO concerned with providing affordable housing and support for women and children who have experienced family violence. Ann received her MA in Sociology in 1988 from Carleton University. Her research focused on gender and equity issues in the workplace. After the completion of her Masters, she lived in Peru from 1988 to 1990.