Rich Chapple, President
Rich’s passion for the BC marine environment started as a boy with a tin boat and a fishing rod. After financing his university years as fishing guide (and marrying the sister of three) Rich raised his daughters on Quadra Island while building a long career managing high-end fishing resorts. He jokes (in part) of mending his karma in subsequent years as Executive Director of the Pacific Salmon Foundation, Commissioner for Canada at the Pacific Salmon Commission and on many salmon conservation-based planning and stewardship bodies. He is convinced that the lessons learned from First Nations’ approach to sustainable resource use quite simply hold the key to the survival of our planet.
Aaron Heidt, Program Director
Aaron Heidt has extensive experience in planning, ranging from strategic land policy and marine use planning to working toward land use security and certainty for First Nations and wilderness tourism operators. He has been working with the CCIRA Nations to develop strategic marine use plans since 2007. Aaron is a full member of the Planning Institute of B.C. (PIBC) and holds a Master’s in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University specializing in Policy and Planning.
Cindy Hanuse, Administrator
Cindy began her interests in Watershed Inventory Projects as a volunteer Streamkeeper in 1996 in the Comox Valley and later worked for 5 years as an Environmental Technician in Stream Mapping and Habitat Restoration. Cindy went on for 6 years to work for the Homalco Indian Band in Salmon Enhancement and Bear Viewing, the Klahoose Indian Band in Shellfish Aquaculture (Clams and Oysters), Aboriginal Journeys Bear Viewing and Adventure Tours, with Wuikinuxv Nation as the Fisheries Manager, and implemented the Wuikinuxv Guardian Watchman Program. Cindy attended North Island College for Applied Business Technology Office Skills and Vancouver Island University for the Essential Field Skills Certificate Program.
Alejandro Frid, Science Coordinator
Alejandro Frid received his PhD in biology from Simon Fraser University in 2006 and has been a research associate with the Prince William Sound Science Center and the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Many of his ideas began to take shape while conducting field studies of sea turtles under risk of tiger sharks in Western Australia and while developing computer models of the behaviour of harbour seals at risk from sharks and killer whales in Alaska. He has also studied huemul deer in southern Chile and Dall’s sheep and caribou in the Yukon. Since 2008 his field studies have focused on lingcod, rockfish and other reef species in British Columbia.
Andra Forney, Lands Coordinator
For the past 10 years Andra Forney has worked with First Nations communities, government agencies and research institutes as a botanist and restoration ecologist. She has worked on projects related to traditional land and resource management. Most recently Andra worked for the Xaxli’p Community Forest (www.xcfc.ca) to carry out an eco-cultural restoration based approach to managing the forests in Xaxli’p Survival Territory. Andra has a Master’s degree in Ethnoecology from the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. In her work with CCIRA Andra looks forward to working with community members to rebuild strong, community driven systems for forest and land stewardship.
Gord McGee, Marine Planner
Gord McGee has worked on resource management issues with First Nations communities for over a decade. As a planner with the Provincial Government on the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement and the Sacred Headwaters, as a consultant with the Kuna First Nations in Panama, and now for the four Central Coast First Nations of CCIRA. Gord holds a Masters in Resource and Environmental Management (Planning) from SFU and lives in Vancouver, BC.
Tristan Blaine, Field Technician
Tristan has been working as a Field Technician and Commercial Diver since finishing his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Victoria. He is interested in underwater observation and image analysis in order to inform research and management decisions. Currently Tristan is working with the Central Coast Guardian Watchmen on stock assessment surveys, and spending as much time underwater as possible.
Madeleine McGreer, Fisheries Coordinator
Madeleine McGreer originally studied ecology to generate good research, but soon realized that good research must ultimately be applied to preserving and protecting the natural resources around us. She received her M.Sc from the University of Guelph in 2014, working with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resource on woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). She has since applied her analytical skills to fisheries research with the CCIRA and is eager to promote community-driven, ecosystem-based management as part of the CCIRA team.
Anna Gerrard, Marine Implementation Coordinator
Anna was born and raised on the coast of BC and her career has included time spent working on groundfish with DFO, conducting spatial analysis for the Provincial Government, and working on some of the biggest industrial projects in BC at the BC Environmental Assessment Office. Her academic studies focused on ecology and resource management, which led to her research at the School of Resource and Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University where she used traditional knowledge to study changes to herring spawning areas on the central coast. Anna has worked with CCIRA since 2016, and is so very excited to be working on the coast with four amazing communities to implement their marine plans.
Jean-Phillip Sargeant, Marine Response Coordinator
Jean has a passion for resource management and the marine environment. After graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in geography he spent time abroad to acquire a graduate degree in coastal and marine resource management. Jean has had the opportunity to work on the development of marine protected areas, cumulative effects and marine spatial planning over the past 5 years. Most recently Jean spent time as a Marine Planner for the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society. Jean is really excited to continue working on marine management as the interim Marine Response Coordinator for CCIRA.
Michael Vegh, Mapp Technical Support & Indigenous Laws Coordinator
Michael Vegh is from the Heiltsuk First Nation. After completing his Bachelor of Environment degree in 2018, he joined CCIRA to further his passion for Indigenous stewardship. Throughout his young professional career, Michael has held executive roles within numerous Indigenous organizations, completed multiple field biologist positions within his traditional territory, and has developed policy at both the National and regional scale to advance Indigenous-led resource management.