The Biodiversity Team

Caring for Nature: The Nex̱wlélex̱wm/Bowen Island Biodiversity Conservation Initiative

A delicate moth balance on a flower. Part of Bowen Island's rich biodiversity.

The Caring for Nature Steering Committee members include professionals with environmental, conservation biology, marketing, nature interpretation, planning and GIS backgrounds, as well as Bowen Island municipal councilors and staff liaisons. All our volunteers proudly call Bowen Island home.

Steering committee of Bowen Island residents

Alan Whitehead

Alan Whitehead
Alan is an avid naturalist and retired environmental scientist. He is a long-time director of the Bowen Nature Club, a founding member of the Bowen Island Conservancy, and has been volunteer warden of the Bowen Island Ecological Reserve since 1994.

Bob Turner
Bob is the Caring for Nature Initiative lead. He is a retired federal scientist and former mayor (2005-2011). He makes films about the Salish Sea region, was part of the team that achieved the Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound Biosphere, and is a board member of Bowen Island Conservancy.

Bonnie Brokenshire

Bonny Brokenshire
Bonny is an environmental professional with 25+ years’ experience. Her career has led her to remote areas of BC and abroad where she took part in an array of conservation projects. For the past 15 years, Bonny has pursued environmental protection through her work with local governments where she strives to include nature’s voice at decision making tables. 

Edward Wachtman

Edward Wachtman
Edward’s primary focus of his business career as a consultant—and the subject of his doctoral dissertation—was on the use of stories and storytelling to understand what motivates human behaviour. Since 2015 he has been instrumental in a number of research initiatives to identify what makes Bowen so special to its residents and visitors.

Erica Olsen

Erica Olsen
Erica is an ecologist, and currently a PhD student at University of Victoria in the Marine Ethnoecology Research Group. She is the Governance and Monitoring Lead with the Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound Marine Stewardship Initiative. Erica has worked with Indigenous nations and coastal communities to support environmental stewardship initiatives for over a decade. 

Jeff Matheson

Jeff Matheson
Jeff is a professional biologist dedicated to the stewardship and sustainable management of British Columbia’s diverse biological resources. He is a member of BIM’s Environment and Climate Action Advisory Committee and served on the board of the Bowen Island Conservancy.


portrait of John Dowler

John Dowler
John is a multimedia designer who has helped with Bowen Island environmental projects for many years. He works in photographyweb strategy & design, GIS map design, graphics, writing, video, music and other media. He developed several new maps of Bowen Island for this project, which appear on the maps page.


Louise Loik

Louise Loik
Louise is a journalist, author and environmental communicator.  She was one of the first foreign journalists allowed into Siberia to write about environmental issues and she continues to write about all things wild and wonderful, most recently with the book, The Beasts of Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island – A Discovery Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles. Louise is the director of communications for the Bowen Island Conservancy.

Paula Hay

Sheree Johnson
Sheree enjoyed a broad 40+ year career in marketing, sales, finance, leadership, and strategy development. She has been a well-known speaker, author, consultant, and business owner.  Now retired, Sheree is a dedicated volunteer on Bowen Island bringing her expertise to many of the island’s municipal and charitable committees and organizations. 

Tom Sisk

Tom Sisk
Dr. Sisk is an ecologist working on entwined science and policy challenges underlying conservation efforts during this period of rapid environmental change. He combines scientific and participatory processes to advance landscape design, improve forest and grassland management, and minimize the effects of human land use on wildlife and wild places. Tom is an Emeritus Professor at Northern Arizona University and Adjunct at Simon Fraser University.

Wendy Palen

Wendy Palen
Wendy is a Professor of Ecology and Conservation Biology at Simon Fraser University. She devotes her professional and personal time leveraging science to support groups tackling complex environmental decisions. Wendy and her research teams have worked on organisms ranging from frogs to salmon to caribou, and ecosystems including wetlands, rivers, and high mountain lakes.

Will Husby
Will is an avid naturalist and nature photographer. He is currently co-chair of the Bowen Nature Club and chair of Bowen Island Municipality’s Environment and Climate Action Advisory Committee. He runs his heritage interpretation and science community consulting business from his home on Bowen Island.

Bowen Municipality liaisons

Judi Gedye

Judith Gedye
Elected to BIM council and the Islands Trust in 2022, Judi has enjoyed life on Bowen with its trees and trails, ocean and wildlife for 4+ decades.  Commuting to a busy law practice for most of that time, she considers Bowen a sanctuary where clean air and water, friends and volunteer commitments balance a fulfilling work life.  “I’m honoured to be part of this Conservancy group and this important work”.

Sue Ellen Fast
Sue Ellen was elected to Bowen municipal council and Islands Trust in 2014 after much volunteering, including a stint as chair of the Bowen Island Conservancy. Her career spans wildlife biology, writing, television, and thousands of hours connecting children and families to nature outdoors in parks and nature centres.

Moth photo © by Will Husby

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