Our Staff

Note: Staff emails are full name separated with dot and end with ‘@olta.ca’

Alison Howson

Executive Director

Alison is our Executive Director. Alison has been a passionate supporter of land and environmental protection for many years. Before joining OLTA, she held positions leading teams focused on protecting habitats and species in the context of sustainable development and changing land use policy in the private sector. Her career experience includes leadership in business and financial development, team building, and operations. Alison started with OLTA in 2014 as the Species at Risk Specialist (SAR). She focused on delivering technical training and working one-on-one with local land trusts to develop targeted SAR action plans to inform their conservation work. As Director of Programs, Alison supported this program along with a number of new initiatives, including improving standards in the development of Conservation Easement Agreements, data management and land securement strategies.

Alison has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology and a Research Masters in Ecology and Environmental Management. She has 20 years of experience working in the field of conservation and natural heritage protection, in both for-profit and not-for-profit positions. Alison lives in Toronto with her family and spends as much time as she can hiking, biking, and spending time outdoors.

Phyllis Lee

Member Services Coordinator

Phyllis has been OLTA’s Member Services Coordinator since August 2008. Her responsibilities include organizing the annual conference, managing OLTA’s external communications and maintaining the office and related information. Phyllis has worked in the not-for-profit sector since 2002. Her experience includes event management and outreach projects. Prior to this career change, Phyllis held numerous senior management positions within the Reuters Group, both in Toronto and London, UK. Phyllis lives in Limehouse, on the Niagara Escarpment with her husband Glenn.

Morgan Roblin

Director of Conservation Science

Morgan is OLTA’s Conservation Science Manager. Morgan holds a BSc in Ecology from the University of Guelph where she completed a thesis focused on the impact of the Algonquin Park logging industry on arthropod biodiversity. Morgan has also completed a post graduate certificate in Ecosystem Restoration from Niagara College. While completing her studies, Morgan attended Ontario Biodiversity Summit in 2015 as a youth delegate and helped to form the Emerging Leaders for Biodiversity, a network for youth interested in the conservation of Ontario’s biodiversity.

Prior to joining OLTA, Morgan worked as Conservation Coordinator for the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, coordinating stewardship activities including invasive species management, species at risk monitoring and trail maintenance. She also coordinated outreach events such as bioblitzes, workshops and festivals.

But when the work day ends Morgan keeps on going, volunteering her time with the Hamilton Naturalist Club’s Community Peregrine Project and Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative.

Mikayla Johnston-Clayton

Program Coordinator

Mikayla is OLTA’s Program Coordinator. Mikayla holds a Master of Environmental Science, specializing in Conservation and Biodiversity at the University of Toronto. Prior to this, Mikayla completed a BSc. in Zoology at the University of Guelph. During her studies at the University of Guelph, Mikayla participated in an Arctic Ecology field course in Churchill, MB, where she completed an independent research project exploring variation in spider community compositions with changes in vegetation density. In her spare time, Mikayla enjoys reading, skiing, hiking, and visiting her family’s cottage near Haliburton.

Erinn Todd

Grant Administrator

Erinn is OLTA’s Grant Administrator. She holds a Master of Environmental Science from the University of Toronto, specializing in Conservation and Biodiversity. She also completed a BSc. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. Erinn has done several stints in the field, including as a Volunteer Coordinator in Cuba for a marine research project, as a research assistant in northern Ontario studying the impacts of logging on small mammal ecology, and an independent research project in the Peruvian Amazon on ant feeding ecology.

Before coming to OLTA, Erinn worked as the Operations Manager at Green Venture, managing residential energy efficiency programs, bookkeeping, and their demonstration EcoHouse. In her free time, Erinn co-runs a recreational performance dance company and enjoys reading, yoga, traveling, cooking, hiking, and volunteering.

Jessica Obodoechi

Education and Training Manager

Jessica is the Education and Training Manager at OLTA. She is a certified Environmental Professional in-training (EPt ) in Education and Training and holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Planning and Management from IHE Delft, Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands. Her thesis research was conducted on the potential to mainstream the nature-based concept of Blue-Green Infrastructure into urban planning policy to support green space conservation and enhance urban climate resilience and livability.

She is motivated to get involved in conservation and sustainability efforts because she is passionate about natural resource management. Before joining OLTA, Jessica has worked on several water and infrastructural community development projects in the public and non-profit sector, with experience consulting with diverse stakeholders, performing environmental monitoring and compliance, and coordinating training and community engagement.

Jessica also volunteers as the Vice President of Connecting Environmental Professionals (CEP) Toronto, a non-profit organization that brings together environmental professionals to collaborate and learn, ultimately driving sustainability and climate action. In her spare time, she enjoys learning new things, trying out new healthy recipes, going to parks, and playing challenging games like escape.

Katya Kozina

GIS Technician

Katya is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, where she earned an HBSc in Earth Sciences, Geography, and GIS. During her final year, she conducted a GIS-based research project to analyze temporal changes in the flood risk of the Don River watershed. She is currently pursuing a certificate in Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Management.

She is particularly passionate about environmental issues regarding climate change, urbanization, and the health of wetlands and forests. Previous fieldwork experience in Central and Eastern Ontario contributed to her passion for natural landscapes and their conservation. In her free time, Katya enjoys forest bathing, baking, painting along to Bob Ross, rockhunting, and road-tripping with her family.

Oluwatoyosi (Toyosi) Bakare

Nature Smart Program Manager

Toyosi is the Nature-smart Program Manager at OLTA. She is a certified Environmental Professional in-training (EPt). With a M.Sc. in Environmental and public health from the University of Salford, Manchester, Toyosi has developed a strong background in conducting research, analyzing data, and formulating strategies to address environmental challenges.

Before joining OLTA, Toyosi’s career as an environmental consultant spans over six years during which she has collaborated with government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private companies. Her expertise lies in assessing the impact of various human activities on ecosystems, identifying potential risks, and providing valuable recommendations for mitigation and conservation measures.

Toyosi has been actively involved in promoting sustainable practices and raising awareness about the importance of preserving the environment. With her keen analytical skills, combined with her ability to effectively communicate complex environmental issues to diverse audiences, she works with ActionGX, a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage children and adults to love and take better care of their community and the earth through environmental education and participation.

Toyosi’s work has contributed significantly to the development of innovative solutions to pressing environmental problems. She has successfully collaborated on projects related to climate change adaptation, renewable energy development, waste management, and ecosystem restoration. Through her research and analysis, she has helped organizations make informed decisions that balance environmental sustainability with societal needs. When Toyosi is not working, she enjoys reading, researching about teas, learning about random facts, going on retreats, and playing online games with her family.

Rachel Young

Conservation and Restoration Technician

Rachel is OLTA’s Conservation and Restoration Technician. She holds a degree in Environmental Sciences and Ecology from the University of Guelph and is an Environmental Professional in-Training (EPt) with expertise in Fisheries & Wildlife and Natural Resource Management. Rachel also earned a certificate in Urban Forestry and Natural Environments from Fleming College.

Before joining OLTA, Rachel worked as a Research Technician at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, processing arthropod samples for DNA sequencing and identification. She also served as a Program Instructor with Conservation Halton, delivering educational programs on natural and cultural heritage.

Rachel conducted fieldwork in Belize, studying kleptoparasitic seabird behavior, and led a research project in Newfoundland focused on heathland ecology and culturally significant plant species. She co-authored a published literature review emphasizing the vital role of culture and community engagement in conservation. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys hiking, camping, and canoeing with her dog.

Rebecca Weigand

Engagement and Communications Coordinator

Rebecca is OLTA’s Engagement and Communications Coordinator. A long time educator, she has a Masters degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, in which her thesis focused on outdoor and environmental education. She recently completed a certificate in Professional Writing and Communications. Prior to joining OLTA, she supported communications at For Our Kids, a national network of parents advocating for climate justice. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys looking for opportunities to create upcycled treasures, reading, and exploring parks, ravines, and green spaces in the city with her family.

Jim Rutten

Granting Coordinator

Jim is OLTA’s Granting Coordinator. He joins OLTA with a background in Business Administration and Rural Leadership, and with over 20 years of experience working within the Community Economic Development field. He has worked in numerous communities across Canada including Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Cape Breton, and within the GTA.  

Jim has worked in the private, public and the not-for-profit sector in various capacities. He has been involved in a wide range of projects that have focused on community-based dynamics related to local food system development, land management and conservation, poverty alleviation, mental health and addictions, and early childhood development. His work has been recognized with national, provincial and regional awards.  

Jim lives in Guelph with his wife and two children. In his free time, he can often be found wandering the wooded trails along the Eramosa and Speed Rivers.