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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.






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.





Donations, Communication, and Outreach Team:  


TanyaDevelopment Coordinator – Tanya Clark


My role includes: Membership, Monthly Giving, Passport to Nature, Carden Challenge, Charitable Receipts, Website, Monthly E-newsletter and more

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

Born: Barrie, ON (grew up in Orillia)

Indulgence: Junior Mints and yoga.

Your perfect day: Hiking with my dog Charlie in the sunshine, spending time with friends, playing games (my new favourites are Kings in the Corner and Sequence), dancing.

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 have been with the Conservancy since: November 2012

What I love about working here: The passion. People are very passionate about protecting nature and it is great to see their dedication.

Favourite place in the Couchiching region: Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve. A lovely walk along the Trent-Severn Waterway, and into the woods of Agnew.



JoelleEngagement Coordinator – Joelle Burnie

Find out what Joelle's favourite part about working for the Conservancy is & more

Born: Orillia, ON

Favourite quote: “you cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make” – Jane Goodall

Indulgence: Salt & Vinegar chips & thrift shopping

First Job: Apple Annies Shop & Gift Store (yes I ate a lot of fudge… no I am not sick of it) 

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

What you love about working at the Conservancy: working with the incredible staff and supporters; seeing the power of community and how it leads to collective action.

Favourite part about your job: meeting new people, hearing their stories, educating the public about the work we do and why it is important, and working with volunteers. 




Land Stewardship Team:  


David Hawke, Stewardship Program Manager

Ecologist – 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




Conserved Lands Manager – Dorthea Hangaard


Contact me about these Citizen Science Monitoring Projects: 

  • Water Quality
  • Frog Calls
  • Plant Inventories

About these aspects of Land Stewardship:

  • Volunteering on a Land Steward Team
  • Reporting a Property Maintenance Issue
  • Volunteering on a Maintenance Team

 And about grants and reports related to stewardship


Citizen Science Field Coordinator –  Toby Rowland


Talk to me about these Citizen Science Monitoring Projects:

  • Bats
  • The Carden Bird Blitz
  • Frog Calls
  • Reptiles
  • Salamanders & Vernal Pools
  • Whip poor will Surveys

And about the Landowner Stewardship Program


Ron Reid Carden Program Coordinator


Carden 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.