Staff and board


John McDonnell, Executive Director – Ottawa Valley Chapter
Born and raised in rural west Quebec, John joined CPAWS Ottawa Valley as Executive Director in the spring of 2007. He holds a degree in forestry as well as in Canadian History and in political science from the University of Ottawa. He has a passion for the outdoors, having visited many of our national and provincial parks. In his spare time, he is restoring an 1840′s vintage log cabin located in the forests of his farm and he is developing a network of hiking and snowshoe trails on his property. Before joining CPAWS Ottawa Valley, John was Director of the Forêt-la-Blanche Ecological Reserve, a rare old-growth forest north of Buckingham, in the municipality of Mayo, Quebec. He serves on the board of several local organizations and has a passion for connecting people to nature.


Elena Kreuzberg, Conservation Biologist
Elena is a conservation biologist with considerable work experience in Central Asia and in Canada.  She has had a passion for biodiversity conservation since her childhood when she observed how industrial development can ruin nature. She worked as a researcher and manager in the protected area system of Uzbekistan.  Throughout her career, she has held numerous high level positions with conservation groups throughout Central Asia, where she initiated a multitude of conservation projects with great success.  Her contribution to conservation in Central Asia has earned her much recognition, most notably through the Zayed Conservation Prize for the Environment which she was awarded for her participation in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as well as through special recognition from the World Wide Fund for Nature for her contribution to endangered species protection.   In Canada, Elena had the opportunity to work with local communities while an employee of Nature Canada. Elena also upgraded her education in Canada obtaining a Master of Science degree from Carleton University, learning how to use modern, data based approaches in environmental studies. Elena joined CPAWS Ottawa Valley in April of 2012 to provide an analysis of the impact of roads on wildlife in Gatineau and Algonquin parks. She has since worked on numerous projects with the Ottawa Valley chapter.  Most recently she has been working on a project aimed towards engaging youth with nature.


Leah Viau, Road Ecology Techician


Leah Viau was born in Ottawa and grew up in the country outside of Merrickville, Ontario. While in high school she was employed by the Lanark Veterinary Clinic, Zellers, and the Ontario Society Preventing Cruelty against Animals (O.S.P.C.A). She graduated from Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute in 2011, then spent one year working at the Lanark Veterinary Clinic and Zellers. In the fall of 2012 she started her Bachelor of Science Degree at Carleton University with hopes of going to Guelph University after her undergrad for study in Veterinary Medicine. However, she had a professor in her first year general biology course who taught about conservation in some of the lectures which made her realize other interests of hers. After second year she dropped her specialization in cellular and molecular biology so that she could take courses more focused towards conservation and ecology, as she had discovered a new passion of hers. She graduated from Carleton University in February 2016, and is currently a Road Ecology Technician Intern with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society,Ottawa Valley Chapter. As part of the study for the road ecology program, she is collecting road kill and wildlife data along certain roads in Ontario and Quebec for the purpose of better mitigating the roads for wildlife. During her internship she is working first hand with Conservation Biologist Elena Kreuzberg.


Jesse Lever, Conservation Outreach Coordinator


Jesse Lever grew up in the Ottawa Valley and had an interest in the environment from an early age. For her bachelors, Jesse studied Anthropology and Biology from the University of Ottawa and has taken courses in ecology, conservation biology, animal behaviour and human ecology. Jesse recently graduated with a Masters in Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies from Trent University with her thesis: Tłı̨chǫ, Co-Management and the Bathurst Caribou Herd, 2009-2010 examining wildlife co-management in the Northwest Territories. In 2013 Jesse took part in a month long field course in the Northwest Territories to better understand northern issues and help direct her thesis research. She had the opportunity to spend time with Dene at their fishing camps, visited communities, met various experts, walked the land and listened to stories. Jesse has worked as a teaching assistant at Trent University and as video archivist for Students On Ice. In addition to her work with CPAWS, she is also tutoring at Nunavut Sivuniksavut and volunteering for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.


Board of directors


Stephen Knowles, Board Secretary; Member, Dumoine Committee; Member, Gatineau Park Committee

Stephen is currently retired after 35 years with the public service. He has worked for Parks Canada and the Procedural Service of the House of Commons. Among his many assignments was an interesting position as the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Environmental and Sustainable Development. It is through his work at Parks Canada that he discovered his affinity for the outdoors and the natural environment. Stephen enjoys canoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking and volunteer as a patrol for Gatineau Park. He lives with his wife Christine in Aylmer.

Stephen has been actively involved with CPAWS since its inception. In 1983, he joined the Ottawa Valley (Chapter’s) Board of Directors serving for six years as Secretary and Vice-President. After retirement he rejoined the Board in 2006 as Secretary. Stephen brings to CPAWS his knowledge of Parliament and governmental procedures and his interest in Quebec issues. Stephen is immensely proud of the work and achievements of CPAWS, and of the dedication of staff members and supporters.

Jay Morrison, President;  

Jay Morrison is a retired former senior manager in the federal public service specializing in performance management and accountability issues. He has been on the CPAWS Ottawa Valley Board for a dozen years and has been responsible for the Dumoine River campaign since 2005. Jay is also a board member of the Friends of Temagami and is the Environment committee chair for Paddle Canada and has extensive links to the outdoor recreation community. Starting in 2006, Jay paddled 8,000 km across Canada, from Les Escoumins, Quebec to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, to raise awareness of the threats facing Canada's wilderness. Jay lives in Wakefield, Quebec.


Soren Antosz, Vice- President; Chair, Gatineau Park Committee; Member, Outreach and Engagement Committee

Soren has travelled much of Canada, and has been a resident of BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.  He grew up in Kingston, and moved to BC to explore the West Coast in 2001.
Soren returned to Ontario and the Ottawa area in 2010 to join the Public Service of Canada as a Project Manager.  His interests include hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, and white-water/wilderness kayaking.

Soren joined CPAWS-OV as a volunteer after discovering the magnificence of Gatineau Park, and recognizing its need for legislative protection.  He currently is working on the campaign, and also designs and coordinates the annual CPAWS-OV Gatineau Park Calendar, a fundraising and awareness initiative of the chapter featuring the photography of local artists.  In addition to conservation, Soren is interested in energy policy and sustainable development.

Ken Brownlee, Treasurer
Ken joined the Board in 2013 and brings his experience in the business and outdoor communities to the Board. Ken serves as the Treasurer for the Board taking a leadership and supporting role in administrative matters for the Organization.  Ken is a Chartered Professional Accountant and Chartered Accountant, currently working in public practice with Welch LLP. He also has experience attending  and participating in Board as well as Audit Committee meetings for Public, Private and Not-for-profit organizations. Ken enjoys his time in the outdoors with his family in West Ottawa and at his family’s cottage on the Madawaska River System.He is an ardent supporter of outdoor education as a means of developing strong teams and individuals as well as leadership skills and conservation issues with respect to the areas great natural spaces.


Brian Roadhouse; Member, Outreach and Engagement Committee

Brian has had a life-long interest in the outdoors.  As a naturalist, canoeist, camper and cross-country skier he has been a regular user of provincial and national parks, and other wilderness areas.  He has an abiding curiosity about the geology, plants and animals of Canada, and the natural systems that sustain them.  He is retired from the federal public service where he worked as a program director and policy analyst in the public health and social services fields, and has skills and experience in strategic planning, collaboration with government and non-government organizations, and program management.  He lives, with his wife Betty, on a wooded property in rural Ottawa near Carp, where his closest neighbours are deer, raccoons and woodpeckers.  He has been a CPAWS member for 15 years, and is a member and supporter of other environmental organizations such as Ontario Nature and Ecojustice.   He joined the Ottawa Valley Chapter Board in 2014 to take a more active role in preserving and expanding protected natural areas throughout the region.

Diane Beckett
Diane assists non-governmental organizations, governments, the United Nations and universities in Canada and internationally to address sustainability challenges with a focus on integrated approaches that embed environmental and social considerations into decision-making. She has designed and implemented policies and programs, provided strategic advice, supported capacity building and organizational change, and developed and implemented initiatives to influence policy and increase public and professional awareness for more than three dozen organizations. This work has taken her across Canada and to almost a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Examples include developing a framework for a 5 year Myanmar national social and commercial forestry program for UNDP-FAO, and implementing advocacy activities for Nobel Peace Laureates who work to magnify the power and visibility of those working for peace, human rights and equality, as well as climate justice.


Nik Lopoukhine
Nik brings to the board deep conservation & ecological experience, including development of land mapping of ecosystems  (Waterton Lakes National Park, Gatineau Park, Pukaskwa National Park) and the first ecologic land classification efforts in Labrador (for Torngat Mountains National Park and Mealy Mountains National Park).  He retired from Parks Canada in 2005 as Director General of National Parks. During his career with Parks Canada he was responsible for leading the development of current fire management strategies, climate change awareness, and ecological restoration & monitoring.  After retirement from Parks Canada, he chaired for two terms the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and currently serves on the board of the US Wildlands Network.  Author of many publications, in 2012 he received the CPAWS Harkin Medal for lifetime achievement in conservation for promoting scientific discussion & conservation within Parks Canada and for promoting Canadian conservation & park values globally. As well, Nik was awarded the Golden Leaf Award by CCEA in 2013 and the Brandwein Institute Medal in 2014.

Nik is very familiar with CPAWS and looks forward to continuing to contribute to national parks and wilderness issues, including marine issues, ecological integrity, connecting the next generation to nature, and greater involvement with indigenous peoples.

Paul Lemoine, Board Member, Gatineau Park Committee


Paul was raised in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. He learned how to ski, skate, cycle and play hockey growing up in this beautiful region of Quebec. He also saw the terrible effects industrial pollution has on the region’s rivers, lakes and air quality.

Paul was educated in political science and public administration at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. He is currently retired after 33 years with the public service. For most of hiscareer, he worked for the Library of Parliament’s Information and Research Service. Through numerous assignments, he had an inside look at the workings of Canada’s parliamentary system. He also became keenly aware of the importance of legal protection for Canada’s parks and natural environment.

Paul joined CPAWS OV as a volunteer in 2013. His main interest was to gain legal status and protection for Gatineau Park. He is also interested in the Algonquin to Adirondacks Program that is trying to ensure connectivity and restore biodiversity in a large area between northern New York State and eastern Ontario from Algonquin Park to the Adirondack Mountains. He was elected to the CPAWS OV Board in 2014 and, as a result, has been able to take a more active role in the chapter’s campaigns and governance.

When not at his home in Gatineau, Paul can be found at his farm close to the extreme north western boundary of Gatineau Park. With his wife Sylvie, he enjoys gardening, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and recently, snowshoeing.

Sara O'Neill


Jane Maxwell 


Lese Turner