People passionate about nature

Board of Directors

President - Jack Dubois: Jack was born and raised in Winnipeg, graduating from the University of Manitoba with a B.Sc. (Zoology/Botany) in 1972. He is recently retired from his position of Director of the Wildlife and Ecosystem Protection Branch, Manitoba Conservation, where he worked for ten years. Previous employers have been the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature and Parks Canada. Jack has been active for many years in community issues in Manitoba and has taken active roles on many boards including the Manitoba Eco-Network Inc., Wapusk National Park, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre, Churchill Northern Studies Centre, The Fur Institute of Canada, and the Manitoba Naturalists Society, as Nature Manitoba was known then. Jack and his family like to canoe and otherwise spend time in remote areas of Manitoba. He is also known to do a little hunting, fishing, spelunking and bird watching in his spare time, when not at their cabin on Hecla Island.

Executive Vice President - Sandy HayGlass: Sandy joined Nature Manitoba in 2014 and leads the Discovery Evening Program Committee. She has an Honours B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry from Queens University. Sandy loves working with people to get things done. She has 25 years diverse business and senior management experience at the Canadian Grain Commission. Since retiring, she chairs the 55 Plus Program Committee at the University of Winnipeg. Walking, enjoying nature, cycling, travel and growing plants are among Sandy’s favorite activities.

Vice President - James Whitelaw: James Whitelaw has a B.Sc. (Ecological Sciences) from the University of Edinburgh and a Ph.D. (Zoology) from the University of Liverpool. He was a staff scientist at the Royal Society Aldabra Research Station and worked on urban nature conservation projects in London. He was a member of the management committee of the Scottish Wildlife Trust (Tayside), on the regional committee of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, and was for seven years chairman and secretary of the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Tayside Branch, before fleeing back to Canada in 2004. James has been a Nature Manitoba member since 2004 and has greatly enjoyed the bird outings, indoor meetings and workshops. James is a keen birder and is interested in all aspects of natural history and environmental issues. He enjoys his family, his dogs, and his birding trips. He has been moved on by the military in Venezuela, detained by the army in Ecuador, and robbed at knifepoint in Gambia, and is looking forward to more birding adventures.

Treasurer - André Laberge: André joined Nature Manitoba in 1991 and has been involved in the Outdoor Committee, trip leader workshops, Victoria Beach cabin, and has previously served as treasurer. He has also been involved with the Mantario program as a committee member, trip leader, and contributed extensively to the rebuilding of the cabin. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, travelling, and has passed his love of canoeing onto his family. André attended St. Boniface College and is a certified financial planner who has been practicing for 20 years.

Secretary - Alain Louer: Alain has been a member of Nature Manitoba since 1996, attracted by his great love for the outdoors. He knew joining would lead to opportunities such as hiking the Mantario trail, and now feels the accomplishment of doing so. He went to the Mantario cabin for the first time, as a participant, during the 2001 summer program, the year the cabin rebuilding was completed. He chaired the Mantario Committee for several years, and is also active in the outdoor program with hiking, canoeing, skiing and snowshoeing. Although far from an expert, he enjoys the learning experience of our birding and botany outings, the Discovery Evenings, the Workshops and the Garden Tour. Alain is a government worker and has been a volunteer for the Union Nationale Française since 1994.

Past President - Donald Himbeault: Don joined Nature Manitoba in 2010, and since then has been active at many of the organization’s indoor and outdoor activities, as well as the board room where he currently serves as President. He is a Professional Engineer with a passion for the environment, sustainable living, and pursuing an active outdoor lifestyle. Don’s interests include cycling, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and also includes an innate curiosity for the scientific and historical aspects of our natural world. Don looks forward to sharing his prior experience with other boards and promoting the mission of Nature Manitoba.



Director - Lesly Andrews: Lesly joined Nature Manitoba in 1986 and worked on the Mantario and Outdoor committees. She greatly enjoys participating in physical activities and outdoor adventures offered by Nature Manitoba.  She has been a trip leader for many years and has been involved in Mantario’s Family Week. A long time resident of Winnipeg, Lesly has a BSc. in Environmental Science and is a Public Health Inspector CIPHI(C). She operates FoodSafe, a Manitoba based food handler training business. 

Director - Christian Artuso: Christian Artuso has a Ph.D. in Environment and Geography from the University of Manitoba. His thesis examined how Eastern Screech-Owls are affected by human population density. Christian works for Birds Studies Canada, managing Manitoba projects such as the Golden-winged Warbler Survey and the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas. Christian joined the Nature Manitoba Board in 2008, chairs the Manitoba Important Bird Area program and is involved with the Manitoba Chimney Swift Initiative and the Manitoba Avian Records Committee (MARC). Christian regularly leads bird outings and participates in numerous bird surveys such as the Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey (MNOS), Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and Christmas Bird Count (CBC). He has published many articles on Manitoba’s avifauna and recently received the Cliff Shaw Award for outstanding contributions to the Blue Jay. Christian is passionate about conservation and committed to public outreach, regularly giving presentations at venues ranging from schools to scientific conferences. Christian enjoys traveling and wildlife photography. He has photographed over 3,600 species of birds and his photos appear in many magazines and books. His website is

Director - Joe Leven: Since his retirement from Manitoba Hydro in 2006, Joe Leven has been giving back to the community by volunteering. He is currently Secretary of the Nature Manitoba Board of Directors and the organizer of the Garden Tour. He also has delivered Meals on Wheels for many years as well as sitting on the Meals on Wheels Board. Joe also tutors English to new immigrants through the Immigrant Centre. Joe enjoys being outdoors, walking, cycling and gardening, and he maintains the world's main website for Turtle Stamp Collecting.

Director - Les McCann: Les is currently retired after 30 years as a welfare officer for the Province of Manitoba. His major involvement now is a variety of activities with Nature Manitoba, with whom he is currently past president of the board. Apart from the board Les is involved in most activities of Nature Manitoba including the Outdoor Program, the Mantario Program,the Discovery Evening and Workshop Program, the Kiosk, as well as being on the committees related to Environmental Action, the Nominations, and the Bridging the Gap Programs. In Headingley, Les enjoys being part of the trails committee and he and Helen conduct a 4H program in Outdoor Living.

Director - Maria Mitousis: Maria is a lawyer in Winnipeg and a partner at her firm who enjoys volunteering in the community. The need to “escape” the office and to celebrate the outdoors led Maria to join Nature Manitoba and participate in many of its wonderful birding and hiking programs.  As a relatively new member of Nature Manitoba, she has learned that it is never too late to learn about our responsibilities to our environment and community. Maria is so pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the organization by joining the dedicated group of volunteers on Nature Manitoba’s board. The members of Nature Manitoba are truly welcoming, generous and “passionate about nature”.

Director - Rommel Molod: An avid outdoors person, Rommel regrets not joining Nature Manitoba sooner, but he thought the Manitoba Naturalists Society was a technical group involved in the science of nature. He has a passion for fishing, hiking, cycling and since the summer of 2010, canoeing. He hopes that one day he will learn to cross country ski so that he can join the winter ski trips. In his free time, he volunteers at a community bike shop in the city’s west end. He immigrated to Canada in 2007 and since has been working with the Province of Manitoba and currently as an air quality specialist. He has a Master in Environmental Management degree from the University of San Francisco.

Director - Marika Olynyk: Marika is an environmental educator and ecologist. She holds a Masters in Natural Resources Management, and has worked as an ecologist in the areas of pollination, avian, and prairie ecology. Marika currently works with Parks Canada and is a co-founder of Urban Ecology Winnipeg. She has a background in community engagement and is passionate about developing meaningful ways for people to interact with the natural world. In her spare time, Marika loves hiking, camping, and canoeing, and enjoys exploring new places across the province.

Director - Karen Smith: Karen E. Smith (PhD, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy, University of Manitoba) teaches language and literacy across the content areas in the Faculty of Education undergraduate and graduate programs, following many years of experience in schools as an administrator, consultant, and K-12 teacher. Karen started her career in the publishing and music industry. From there she became a teacher (K-12), divisional music coordinator, and later an administrator for over 20 years. Her next career move was to take her doctorate in literacy and become a researcher/professor. Lately, she has been writing children’s books and songs informed by literacy research and her interest in nature deficit disorder/literacy connections. Steve the Urban Rabbit & Earl the Great Gray Owl are 2 of her children’s books. For the past 20 years she has been a digital literacies researcher, storyteller, musician, and children’s book author. She is an elected board member of Nature Manitoba and is fully dedicated to connecting literacy and nature.


Download a copy of Nature Manitoba's Bylaws here.