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Pitcher plant flower
Pitcher plant flower

The Couchiching Conservancy

Mailing Address

Box 704
Orillia, ON L3V 6K7

Office Address

1485 Division Road West
Orillia, ON L3V 0X6

General inquiries

Tel: 705-326-1620
email us

Stewardship inquiries

Tel: 705-326-4643

email Stewardship Program Manager





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Mark BissetExecutive Director – Mark Bisset


Learn about Mark's most rewarding experience & more

Favourite phrase: What you gain in the meat you lose in the potatoes.

Indulgence: boats and sailing magazines

What I wanted to be when I was a kid: Explorer

What I love about working at the Conservancy: The privilege of doing work that is aligned with my personal values.

Favourite thing about my job: The sense of hope it gives me.

Most rewarding experience: Leading a group of Grade 1 students through the old growth of Grant’s Woods and seeing them taste the air, touch century-old white pines and marvel at the life in a decaying stump. When a white-tailed deer broke cover and bolted through the forest, the moment was perfect.

When you’re not at the Conservancy, what do you do with your time: Mess around in sailboats, canoe, camp, cycle, garden, read, ski, snowshoe, swim, weep for the Toronto Maple Leafs and occasionally build things that refuse to be level.





David Hawke, Stewardship Program Manager

Stewardship Program Manager – David Hawke


Learn what Dave's favourite part of his job is & more

Born: Between the eras of indoor plumbing and ipods

Last purchase: Gas, before that food, before that gas, before that food, before that gas…

Favourite word/phrase/quote: “May the beauty of Nature always surprise and delight you!”

What I wanted to be when I was a kid: Indian Scout

Favourite place I have visited: a big open rock surface overlooking a beaver pond in the depths of Severn Twp

Favourite season and why: October: fall colour, no bugs, cool weather

First job: cutting French fries at JM&Js restaurant (Orillia)

What you love about working at the Conservancy: being outside, the great co-workers, the fabulous volunteers, the steadfast donors (really, it’s all true!)

Favourite part about your job: Being on the land, and being around when pizza is brought in for meetings

Favourite place in the Couchiching region: where ever there are rocks and trees and beaver ponds




Sitting atop Ragged Rapids at the Ron Reid Nature Reserve.

Citizen Science Project Manager – Dorthea Hangaard


Learn about Dorthea's role at the Conservancy

Protecting habitat has been my passion since we entered the 21st century.

Contact me about Citizen Science research projects on our properties including Monitoring of:  Properties, Reptiles & Amphibians, Water Quality, Species-at-Risk, and invasive species.







TanyaDevelopment Coordinator – Tanya Clark


Find out what Tanya's perfect day would be & more

Born: Barrie, ON (grew up in Orillia)

Favourite quote: Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. Anthony J. D’Angelo

Indulgence: Junior Mints and buying music on iTunes.

Your perfect day: Hiking the Lookout Trail in Algonquin in the Fall, spending time with friends, playing games (my new favourites are Apples to Apples and Sequence)

Favourite place I have visited: New Zealand! I was there for a month in 2011. I did the Tongariro Crossing, one of the top ten hikes in the world and also hiked on Franz Josef Glacier. I absolutely loved it!

Fondest memory: Seeing my mom for the first time after travelling for four months (yaa…I cried).

Before working at the Conservancy: I was working in health care administration for two years (I know…totally different than land conservation). I was responsible for planning large scale events and some human resources work such as social events and website work.

What you love about working at the Conservancy: The passion. People are very passionate about this issue and it is great to see their dedication.

Favourite part about your job: Meeting new people and protecting what makes this area special.

Favourite place in the Couchiching region: Grant’s Woods. I love the walking trails.





Ron Reid Carden Program CoordinatorCarden Coordinator – Ron Reid


Find out what Ron's superpower would be & more

Born: Chesley, ON, over in southern Bruce County

Indulgence: Escaping the office to go birding

Unverified claim to fame: “The Bird House Lady’s Husband”

If I could change the world: I would have every one of us wake up to the real and present danger posed by climate change.

Your perfect day: Exploring a pristine stream by canoe with Janet, on a perfect sunny and bug-free day.

What I wanted to be when I was a kid: A farmer

Favourite place I have visited: Kenya

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Telescopic vision for zooming in on distant birds

Favourite season and why: Spring – the renewal of hope

Fondest memory: Camping beside a remote rapids in Wabikimi Wilderness Park

First job: Scrubbing ponds and feeding ground liver to trout at a fish hatchery

Before working at the Conservancy: A natural heritage consultant for 20 years

What you love about working at the Conservancy: The feeling of being able to make tangible accomplishments in protecting nature

Favourite part about your job: Meeting people of all sorts, finding innovative ways to make projects happen

Favourite place in the Couchiching region: Granite barrens south of Severn River

What has been your most rewarding experience at the Conservancy so far? Bringing Grant’s Woods into our ownership, and converting the house to office space.

When you’re not at the Conservancy, what do you do with your time? Birding, canoeing, building birdhouses.





courtney-bakerAdministrative Assistant – Courtney Baker


Find out what Courtney's perfect day would be like & more

Favourite phrase: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” –Oscar Wilde

What I wanted to be when I was a kid: Archaeologist!

Indulgence: Travel (It is impossible to choose a favourite place, but Palau, Cambodia and Iceland are all in the running.)

Perfect Day: Sleep in to the sound of rain. Eat a big breakfast. Go hiking, eat a picnic, see some good birds and wildlife. Then in the evening eat a fancy dinner, read a book, then watch a movie with my partner.

What you love about working for the Conservancy: Feeling like I can have a real positive impact on the environment. Meeting great people from all over the Couchiching region and empowering and encouraging them to do the same.