FULL TIME/PERMANENT STAFF
Executive Director – Wanda McDonald
Responsibilities: My role at the GRRB encompasses four broad areas: Personnel Management, Financial Administration, Board Administration and Liaison. I implement decisions made by the Board, ensure that GRRB staff follow the Board’s decision, oversee research, management and education programs conducted or funded by the Board, prepare the Board’s budget and monitor its expenditures, supervise office staff and prepare materials needed for Board meetings. I maintain working relationships with co-management partners, Renewable Resource Councils, the Gwich’in Tribal Council, various government agencies and adjacent land claim organizations.
Personal biography: I am a Gwich’in Participant and have lived most of my life in Inuvik. My daughter is Julienne Chipesia. Julienne is currently enrolled in a Law degree program at the University of Bristol, UK. I have been involved with the homelessness file for Inuvik and, more recently, have been cooking and serving food while the Emergency Warming Shelter has been closed over the summer months. I was elected as a Director for the Nihtat Gwich’in Council and Director at Large for the Aboriginal Sports Circle board. A few of my hobbies include creative writing, basic photography, scrapbooking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise.
Gwich’in Nation: I have had the pleasure of working with the Gwich’in Tribal Council for over ten years, under four Presidential administrations. I held the position of Chief Operating Officer and Manager Business Development. I have a good understanding of the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim from a regional and community perspective and understand the challenges and success of land claim implementation. I have been mentored by past leaders and elders to understand:
Territorial Government: I recently completed my employment with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) as the Regional Superintendent. During these seven years with ECE, I gained a valuable understanding of the importance of social and economic programming to help clients work towards self-reliance and more importantly, the call to serve our clients and at the same time build individual and community capacity.
Provincial and Private Sector: I worked for the BC Oil & Gas Commission and for a couple of oil and gas companies. This private sector experience has allowed me to understand the importance of consultation with First Nations and the economic opportunities available to First Nation companies.
I am very pleased to have the opportunity to work as the Executive Director for the GRRB. I look forward to making a positive contribution while fulfilling the mandate and vision of the Board with the support of the staff and strong working relationships with our partners.
Wildlife Biologist – Steve Andersen, B.Sc.
Responsibilities: I coordinate and conduct research and management of birds and mammals in the GSA.
Personal biography: I grew up on the family farm near Grande Prairie, AB. From a young age my parents took me hiking and camping, so I learned an appreciation for the land early on. When I went to university, I studied environmental sciences, earning a BSc in conservation biology. I went on to work on wildlife monitoring projects in areas as diverse as the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, the forests of New Brunswick and the Ts’udé Nil?né Tuyeta protected area near Fort Good Hope.
While at university, I began volunteering at the campus radio station as a reporter and producer for their environmental news program. Our show gained popularity and was picked up by stations from coast to coast, including throughout the NWT on CKLB Radio. I have also done media relations work for a number of non-profit organizations.
I began working for the GRRB in April 2020 and look forward to getting to know the people of the GSA.
Species at Risk Biologist – Kaytlin Cooper B.Sc. (Hon), M.Sc., G.Cert.
Responsibilities: I work with local communities, Renewable Resource Councils and the government (Federal and Territorial), assisting with the development of management plans and recovery strategies and administering species at risk programs and research projects in the GSA.
Personal biography: Growing up in the UK, I spent summers camping, enjoying the outdoors and travelling Europe with my family. This fostered my love for nature and visiting new places.
I studied Applied Ecology (B.Sc. Hons) and Habitat Creation and Management (M.Sc.) at Staffordshire University, researching the vegetation diversity of reclaimed urban areas and management techniques for limestone heathland. After my second year, I spent the summer in Canada volunteering with EarthWatch studying coastal ecology, explored Vancouver and Vancouver Island and knew that I wanted to make Canada my home. Upon completion of university, I moved to the south of England, where I worked as a park warden for the local government before moving to Vancouver, where I studied Environmental Impact Assessment while volunteering at Stanley Park Ecology Society as an eco-ranger and wildlife surveyor and at Western Canada Wilderness Committee writing reports on their campaigns. I returned to the UK for a few years and worked as a field ecologist for an environmental consultancy focusing on species at risk (amphibians, reptiles and bats), before moving permanently to Canada, first living in Vancouver and then in Northern Ontario where I completed a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Practice: Natural Resources Management from Royal Roads University.
I have lived in Inuvik since December 2014, spending four and a half years volunteering for various local organizations, including running the Inuvik Vet Clinic and as a Director on the Board for Inuvik Community Greenhouse and Arctic Paws.
Finance and Administrative Manager – Cheryl Greenland
Responsibilities: I provide financial and administrative support for the GRRB.
Personal biography: I was born and raised here in Inuvik. My parents are Alec and Elizabeth Greenland. I attended both the elementary and high school here and graduated from the Native Women’s Training centre in 1992. I also attended Mount Royal College in Calgary for a year.
Over the years, I have worked with many of the Gwich’in organizations, as well as the GNWT, gaining a wide array of office experience. I have always been interested in the environmental issues that are happening in the NWT and have been trying to educate myself in this area over the past few years.
As the Environmental Coordinator for the GTC’s First Nations Forestry program, I trained Gwich’in participants in Environmental Monitoring. I helped create the Environmental Monitors Manual, now the standard for this type of work. As Environmental Coordinator/Finance Clerk with IMG Golder in Inuvik, I worked on projects such as Bathymetry, Aquatics, Vegetation, Wildlife, Pellets, Traditional History and Archeology. I trained outside of Calgary in Terrestrial Biosciences and Aquatics techniques.
I have held a few other positions in the finance world, but I have been here at the GRRB since February of 2009. I enjoy being out on the land as much as possible, when time permits. I am an avid curler and have enjoyed this sport for many years.
Fisheries & Forestry Biologist – Sarah Lord, B.Sc. (Hon), Ph.D. Candidate
Responsibilities: I coordinate and conduct research and management of fishes and forests in the GSA.
Personal biography:I grew up in Vancouver, B.C. where I spent my childhood playing hockey in the winters, hiking and camping with my family in the summers. During my B.Sc. at University of British Columbia, I worked for the Botany Department and the Forestry Department, doing field research on plant community ecology and population dynamics at field sites at Kluane Lake, on Vancouver Island, and in the Rocky Mountains. In my final year, I carried out an undergraduate research project on the genetics of alpine songbirds. For my doctoral research at the University of Alberta, I continued working in the mountains, investigating contaminant accumulation in Common Loons and the fishes they eat in boreal forest lakes all the way up into the subalpine lakes of Jasper and Banff National Parks in Alberta. For the past three years, I was the laboratory manager and field program co-ordinator for an Arctic fisheries research group at the University of Waterloo, studying Arctic Grayling in barrenlands streams. I started working for the GRRB in January 2017. I am excited to assist the co-management team in both fisheries and forestry management in the GSA.
Environmental Coordinator – Jessi Pascal
Responsibilities: To bridge science and community knowledge by managing the review of regulatory applications, research licenses and other requests for GRRB advice or data. In addition, this position is responsible for managing the ongoing collection of harvest data, research interests and other community observations to contribute to management planning processes.
Personal biography: My mother is Inuvialuit (Gordon/Esau family) and my father is Gwich’in (Pascal/Pokiak family). Growing up in Aklavik, I spend a lot of my time practicing traditional values, hunting, fishing and spending time on the land all months of the year.
I graduated high school in 2014 in Aklavik and then went straight into the Environment and Natural Resources Technology Program in Fort Smith, NT. I then graduated from the program in Inuvik in 2018. I have previous work experience working with the Ehdiitat RRC as their coordinator for two years, resulting in accustomed relationships with the Gwich’in Renewable Resource Board and staff.
Additionally, I have an interest in media (creating documentaries, conducting interviews, etc.) about our traditional lifestyle up north. I am currently working on a documentary on the Traditional Knowledge of Aklavik and how Climate Change is involved in the changes that we are noticing today.
Office Assistant – Melanie Bonnetplume
Personal biography: I am a Gwich’in Participant who was born and raised in Inuvik. Before starting here, I worked at the Inuvik Emergency Warming Centre for three years. This is my first office job and I love it! It is a nice environment with friendly staff. Right now, I am digitalizing the entire library. When I am not at work, I am usually spending my free time with my daughter.
Records Digitalizing Technician – Charleigh Blake
Personal biography: Coming soon!
Summer Student – Hope McDonald
Personal biography: I was born in Inuvik NT, but raised in Fort McPherson. I just recently started working here as a summer student and I’m looking very forward to working with all the staff. Right now, I’m still learning as I go. In the future, I would like to work in an office just like this.
Webmaster – Chelsea Hermus
Responsibilities: I have been working with the GRRB on a casual contract basis since 2009. I coordinate and update the GRRB website and assist the Executive Director with communications materials on an as-needed basis. I have also worked for the GRRB on a contract basis as a Fisheries Biologist and Communications Manager.
Personal biography: A paleontologist and Web designer born and raised in Alberta, I have a wide variety of interests and skills. My career path has taken me many places, including research, teaching, editing, writing, laboratory coordination and several incredible opportunities to work from remote Northern field camps. I enjoy any chance I get to work with fish, both career-wise and as a hobby. I am currently living and working in Victoria, B.C.