Candidates for 2020-2021 Board of Directors


Vice President






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Sarah Johnson

I am currently a third year PhD student at Simon Fraser University studying bumble bee ecology and conservation in British Columbia. I have a BSc Honours in Natural Sciences, where I examined how wing wear affects how much bumble bees can lift, and an MSc in Ecology, investigating the density-dependent effects of clearcut logging on bee-pollinated wildflower reproduction in the southern Alberta foothills of the Rocky Mountains. During the tail end of my masters, I was involved in the initiation of a large-scale research program in the prairies of southern Alberta, examining how the agricultural landscape impacts pollinator communities. I then led a native pollinator conservation program at Wildlife Preservation Canada for two years. I have been conducting ecology research on native bees in Canada for nearly a decade, working in Alberta, Ontario, and now British Columbia. I grew up in BC and plan to remain in the province long-term, and I am passionate about local and regional sustainability in bee conservation through collaborative ecological research. After working to lead the establishment of the NBSBC in 2019 and holding the position of president since our incorporation, I believe I have the experience and drive to continue as president into 2021, as we develop our society as the central hub for bee experts and enthusiasts doing meaningful work for native pollinators in the province.


Vice President

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Marika van Reeuwyk

Bees are a resource to the communities they serve. They work independently to support their individual needs by gathering pollen while collaboratively amplifying community resources through their actions. I believe that to address the complex problems faced by native bees in our province, we have a thing or two to glean from these creatures we admire, and that diverse and synergistic organizations like the Native Bee Society of BC are a step towards achieving this. Currently I work for the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA), managing habitat restoration projects, a native plant nursery and youth programs for BIPOC youth in East Vancouver. Behind the scenes at EYA, I’ve gained a strong understanding of the inner workings of non profit organizations, including project management, fundraising, communications, program development, volunteer coordination and event planning. At UBC, I completed a BSc n Applied Biology at UBC, where I majored in Plant and Soil Sciences. My undergraduate thesis was focused on exploring relationships between bee and floral communities in hedgerows at the UBC Farm and I was a regular volunteered in the collections at Spencer Entomological Collection in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. My bee adventures since then have been intertwined Vancouver’s non-profit and environmental stewardship community. I lead independent workshops for varied audiences focused on native bee identification, conservation and stewardship. I believe that we need to move towards weaving Western scientific practice with Indigenous ways of knowing to improve our relations with the natural world and make science more impactful, inclusive and accessible to everyone. I’m eager to continue as the Vice President of the NBSBC, and believe that my collaborative mindset, community-based connections and expertise will make me a valuable resource to support our society as we continue to grow.




Christine Thuring

With a background in environmental science and plant biology, my work portfolio weaves together an appetite for ecological understanding with an ambition to make the world a better place. While my career began in applied plant ecology, for the last 20 years I have worked predominantly in the urban context, often relating to living architecture and other forms of ecological landscape design.

I am a plant ecologist and my interests are centred around enhancing conditions for biodiversity in the built environment. I have always considered native bees to be my primary clients, both in research and practice.


I am a part-time instructor at BCIT Centre for Architectural Ecology, and consult through Chlorophyllocity. As a founding director, my first year with the Native Bee Society of BC involved co-editing the quarterly newsletter, and co-chairing the education and outreach committee.



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Chanta Ly

I love life and all of its forms. I am a nature enthusiast.  

Conservation and restoration are passions of mine, and I am naturally drawn to organizations that promote sustainability and advocate for continued research. I volunteer at and I am a member of Stanley Park Ecological Society (various surveys: water, beaver, bird, amphibian, bio-blitz, invasive species removal), and I am a member of Invasive Species Council of British Columbia. My interest in native pollinators was piqued by Brian Campbell, bee and native plants mentor, when he included lessons on native plants and native bees at Langara College (Sustainable Beekeeping 2015). Since 2015 I have grown a pollinator garden and I continually educate myself through reading science-based articles and learning to identify insects (often on  The amazement of surveying native bees which I have never noticed before has encouraged me to offer any administrative support that I am capable of to scientists, researchers, advocates, and enthusiasts alike, in the promotion of native bees.  My background is in administration. I studied at Canadore College 1999-2000. Previously I was a Property Manager and Leasing Coordinator, Assistant to Graham Rennie (then) President of Northland Asset Management Company (NAMCO) a division of Northland Properties. In this role I worked with the President to generate the annual budget for presentation to the President/Owner of Northland Properties, and to maintain the approved budget within its respective fiscal year; reviewed each year’s profit/loss statements, and requisitioned and approved cheque requisitions for all matters pertaining to rental buildings within NAMCO. Since June 2015 I have been working at a notary firm in east Vancouver. I generate closing documents for real estate conveyance and mortgages, which includes balancing each file’s trust account and generating trust cheques for signature. The above experience has been well suited to the position of treasurer, which I have held since incorporation of the society and hope to continue in 2020-2021.




Cassie Gibeau

I am the co-owner and Education and Outreach Coordinator at Honeybee Centre, in Surrey BC. I create educational and experiential events that appeal to a broad range of audiences with a focus on bees and beekeeping. I work collaboratively with The City of Surrey on our Community Bee Garden project, an initiative that provides education about honeybees, native pollinators, and about ways community members can support bees. Prior to the honey bee business, I worked for the City of Burnaby for 19 years as a community developer and recreation programmer, mainly with preschool, youth and the 55+ populations, a role that taught me team work, organization and resourcefulness.  My Honeybee Centre adventure has encouraged me to start learning more about bees and our environment, and once I started learning about bees, I couldn’t get enough!  Over the past 5 years I have been taking every course and workshop I could get my hands on and eventually, in 2019, I found the NBSBC. I feel that my comfort and experience with presenting and communicating as well as my ability to work both independently and as part of a team make me a great candidate for Member-At-Large and the Education and Outreach Committee. I also look forward to learning from a group of bee enthusiasts that I truly admire.


Lincoln Best

I have been actively documenting the native bee fauna and its floral relations throughout British Columbia for more than 15 years. In the northwest, I work for the Ecologics Lab at UoCalgary as a Pollinator Taxonomist where we conduct landscape ecology research in large agricultural contexts using native bee data to understand the influence of landscape attributes on biodiversity and abundance. At Oregon State University, I’m the Native Bee Taxonomist for the Oregon Bee Atlas, the largest citizen science project of its kind, where hundreds of volunteers actively survey the state and produce tens of thousands of museums specimens of hundreds of species of native bees, sampled from over 800 flowering plant species, and counting. I’m working to curate the historical bee collection at the Oregon State Arthropod Collection, and provide taxonomic support to several other research labs and state departments. In BC I host the annual BC Native Bee Course, and other related specialty courses throughout the province. I collaborate widely in BC on research and education with various post-secondary institutions, NGO’s, First Nations, and artists.
I hope to bring my research, education, and outreach background to the NBSBC, and leverage my network to the Society’s benefit. There is enormous potential for the society to continue to provide strong science-based research, education, and outreach, and I hope to develop programming and projects that inform stakeholder groups and lead to landscape-based solutions to our environmental challenges. I look forward to serving the Society for another year, and will continue to engage a broad range of communities in order to create and share knowledge.

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Riley Waytes

Over the past year I have served as a director for the society and a co-editor on its newsletter. My intent as part of this organization has been to help provide connection between the society and its members, and to help educate the public about native bees. I would like to continue to work as a director of the NBSBC to promote interest in and education about native pollinators.

As a terrestrial ecologist with LGL Limited in Sidney, BC, I have worked with bumble bees and other insects to understand how industrial activities and reclamation impact their communities. I have an M.Sc. in Ecology from the University of Calgary where I examined the efficacy and contributions of native and managed pollinators to canola pollination. My undergraduate thesis at Kalamazoo College focused on the contributions of native bees to cranberry pollination. I have also worked on research projects in Michigan, California, and Alberta to understand how native plants and other landscape features in agricultural areas promote diverse native pollinator communities and how beneficial and pest insects interact with agriculture. I am a member of the Entomological Society of BC, the Victoria Natural History society, and an entomological volunteer with the Royal BC Museum. I am passionate about conserving natural areas and promoting native bee populations. As someone who lives on Vancouver Island, I can promote NBSBC activities on the island, and I am interested in the potential to collaborate with local and provincial organizations on NBSBC projects.


Leslie Williams

As the Director of Operations at The Sharing Farm Society, located within Terra Nova Park in Richmond, BC, I have been an avid and vocal supporter of increasing habitat and forage for native pollinators, especially native bees, within Terra Nova park.  I have collaborated with the City of Richmond and a variety of funders, including Vancity and TD Friends of the Environment, to plant pollinator fields and pollinator corridors.  I have facilitated workshops, camps, and tours at The Sharing Farm, during which I educated a wide range of people about the importance of native pollinators.  As Apiary Manager for Hives for Humanity in Vancouver, I have worked to increase knowledge of and appreciation for the crucial role of native bees, and their need for habitat and forage, especially within an intensely urban environment.  I am committed to increasing collaboration between beekeepers and native bee advocates, and furthering protection of these crucial wild species.


Martina Clausen

I am an agroecologist with a background in environmental engineering, originally from Switzerland. I completed my Master’s degree at the UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems where I was part of the Sustainable Agricultural Landscapes Lab. My research focused on the conservation of wild bee populations in agricultural landscapes. I collaborated with the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust, a non-profit organization, to investigate the value of different field margin habitats for wild bees and to help optimize conservation efforts in Delta. During my studies I co-supervised Marika'a (our current Vice President) Bachelor thesis and started to work with her on the development and experimental design for the 2017 Pollinator Citizen Science Program for the Environmental Youth Alliance, researching wild pollinators in urban green spaces across Vancouver.

After spending some time back in Switzerland, I have been living in Vancouver and contributing to the Society as a Member-at-Large for the past year. I love to initiate and collaborate on projects that support biodiversity and wild bees in particular, and believe that my experience, engagement, and enthusiasm will help continue to advance these initiatives in the years to come.


Jens Johnson

I'm currently continuing as a first year PhD student at UBC, where I'm working to better understand how local and landscape factors jointly mediate wild bee diversity. Specifically, I plan to expand manipulative experiments to quantify the relative effects and any interactions of floral resource distribution and soil pesticide application on ground-nesting sweat bee populations. I'm also studying the effects of urban habitat management practices on native bee communities. I hope this work both contributes towards fundamental ecological knowledge while also providing insights for bee biodiversity conservation. It would be great to continue to build on my experience and also contribute to public bee awareness and conservation opportunities as Member-at-Large and as a contributor to the Fundraising and Administration committees. I'm particularly interested in transferring my research grant writing skills to the non-profit sector, contribute through written blog posts as well, or in any way that the Society needs.


Paula Cruise

In my role as Garden Manager for Hives for Humanity, I oversee 9 urban pollinator-friendly gardens in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, working alongside community members to learn, teach and share in the joy of plant-pollinator relationships. With an educational background in environmental science and organic farming and horticultural practices, I approach plant care from an ecosystem sustainability perspective. I am passionate about continuing to learn more about identifying insect pollinators and creating forage and habitat for native pollinators primarily through a focus on Indigenous plants. I am an active participant in the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project and a contributor to the organization’s new Indigenous Pollinator Plant Map.

In my role as Garden Manager, I have successfully applied for several funding and grant opportunities and am interested in supporting the NBSBC through an application for charitable status. Although this will be a novel process for me, I am excited to work alongside more experienced colleagues on researching, writing, and editing tasks associated with the application.

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Jennifer Lipka

I am a first year M.Sc. student in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems at the University of British Columbia (UBC). I have a B.A. in Geography majoring in Environment and Sustainability. My academic interests are biogeography, GIS, and pollinators! In the summer of 2019, I received an NSERC URSA to conduct collaborative research with the PIEE and PCIGR labs at UBC to study how trace metal pollution is distributed across bumble bee populations in the lower mainland. I am interested in researching the relationships between plants and pollinators and how they are affected by pollution, climate, and land use change.

In the past, I have served as a board member of my community garden. From 2016 to 2019, I was an executive member of the Geography Students’ Association at UBC. These experiences showed how valuable it is to be a part of a community of people collaborating towards a shared interest. I was a general member of the NBSBC last year and I am interested in expanding my role by joining the Outreach and Education committee as a chair or co-chair! It would be an honour to be contributing member of this society to help share about native bees to the community and public!


Melissa Haynes

Native bees need our help and the public needs more education about their role, importance and how we can sustain and support them to thrive. As a communications specialist, sustainability advocate, Master Gardener and volunteer Butterfly Ranger with the David Suzuki foundation, I would like to support the society in educating the public to help our native bees.

I love British Columbia and nature almost as much as I love bees! This past summer, I led a project to build an urban demonstration garden that houses hundreds of native bees to bring awareness to these incredible creatures. Last summer, a neighbour on my street discovered some ground nesting bees beside their house. I identified the bees and implored them not to kill them. I offered to build a structure around the hive so their flight path wouldn't cross their path and they could cohabitate, but when I returned an hour later with materials, they had already sprayed the hive. It was at this time I realized the need for public awareness and advocacy for bees and I would very much like to help the bees and the Native Bee Society of BC fulfill their goals and build their membership.


Joshua Thompson

I have been pretty obsessed about bees and pollinators overall for about a couple years now and in that time I've learnt a lot and have become passionate about conservation and helping our environment so that our bees and the ecosystem at large can thrive. This has prompted me to start my own business this past June called "PlanBee Native Plants". My goal is to make native plants more accessible and help provide more ecological literacy to the general public since it seems a lot of relevant information requires a lot of digging. I also attend different invasive plant removals through different park associations such as Minnekhada and Burnaby Lake, as well as on my own free time in my surrounding community. I was already a member of the society, but was recently introduced to VP Marika who told me about the position and sparked my interest in it. I'd love to help support bees and meet other people with similar interests.


Lori Weidenhammer

I am a Vancouver-based artist and educator originally from Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan. It is in this place, bordered by wheat fields and wild prairie, that I first became enchanted with bees. I am the author of a best-selling award-winning book called Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees published by Douglas and MacIntyre. For many years I have appeared as the persona Madame Beespeaker, practicing the tradition of “telling the bees”. I work as a community-engaged artist with students of all ages on eating locally and gardening for pollinators, especially native bees. On occasion, I like to dress up in silly costumes and talk to bees. I am passionate about creating and conserving habitat for native bees. I’d like my role on the board to be an advocate and a connector—someone who gets stakeholders working with each other to make a difference. As an artist and educator I’d like to help find create ways to engage the public and get them invested in joining our activities. I’d like to see scientists and artists working together to create a nuanced understanding of the issues we face as advocates for native bees.

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Valerie Huff

I am a restoration botanist and native plant conservation advocate with a keen interest in pollination networks. I live in Nelson BC and am a founding member (and current treasurer) of the Kootenay Native Plant Society. I am fascinated by complexity of plant-pollinator relationships, and am involved in numerous restoration projects with a pollinator focus.  


I’m interested in bringing a plant perspective and expertise to the conversation about native bee conservation. I strongly believe that they go hand in hand and am excited by the potential for cross-pollination.


Maureen Marriott

After a long career in administrative and marketing/communications roles at UBC and elsewhere, I am now in a phase of my life where I am trying to put my my skills, abilities and talents to use in activities that align with my principles and values. Over the past few years I have been volunteering with the Writers Exchange (literacy mentoring program serving vulnerable youth in elementary schools), Growing Chefs (in school program that teaches school kids about sustainable food systems), a national grassroots organization, For Our Kids, that advocates for climate change mitigation and strategies, and the Vancouver Greenpeace group for specific local events. At this stage in the Anthropocene, as the mother of five 20-something year-olds, I would love to welcome future generations of my family into my life but my kids are hesitant to bring grandchildren into this fraught and frightening world. I feel I have no greater purpose at this point in my life than to give back to nature and help to protect ALL life on this planet in whatever small ways I can, to work towards mitigation of climate catastrophe and give hope to younger generations. Bees and their complex communities were here way before humans evolved on this planet and have intelligence that we can barely fathom or understand, but need to respect and learn from. We humans have blindly endangered their existence and, in so doing, our own. I’d like to be a part of the solution to protect their future. 


Tyler Kelly

My interests in bees has grown organically over the last decade while working in the wildlife field. I was first introduced to native bees during a summer internship in Northern Washington, where we were asked to sample for bees as a part of a state-wide biological survey of the taxa. Needless to say I was hooked, and the following summer I assisted a graduate student study huckleberry pollination in Montana. I then completed my Master’s degree at Simon Fraser University with Dr. Elizabeth Elle studying plant pollinator networks and dietary specialization within Garry oak habitats from Vancouver Island to southern Oregon. I then continued as a research assistant at SFU studying the interactions of plants and pollinators, and through this position, have become familiar with the ecology and diversity of native bees within British Columbia. I am currently a researcher at the University of British Columbia where I am the laboratory manager for Dr. Claire Kremen's research group, Working to Restore Connectivity and Sustainability (WoRCS), where I manage a collective of experts in biodiversity and agricultural sustainability.

Considering the growing concerns about global insect declines and the extremely vital ecosystem services than native bees provide to, not only us, but also most terrestrial ecosystems, I believe that we need to actively make changes to our society to conserve and protect these species. I want to continue to be a part of that change, which is why I would like to stay on the board of the Native Bee Society of BC, transitioning from Secretary to Member-at-Large.

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Jen Woodin

I am an artist, designer, educator, meditation mentor and bee-enthusiast, aspiring to awaken kindness and wisdom within society. My creative process weaves together the craft of compassion, transformative social practices, object making, relationship building and contemplative technologies. My current creative collaboration includes co-founding the Hudson Valley Bee Habitat(HVBH). HVBH aims to utilize their expertise as artists, designers, and mindful educators to pollinate public engagement with bees, the environment, and each other in order to help both humans and bees thrive. 

I also led a non-profit meditation center in New York for several years, weaving together my love of nature, art, and contemplative practices. During that time I began to learn about the wonders of native bees and their relationship with food and farming practices. HVBH partners with various groups such as the YMCA Farm, Seed Shed, Catskill Interpretive Center, Kingston High School, and the City of Kingston, as well as teaching ecological art practices with University students.

Creating the Hudson Valley Bee Habitat gave me the opportunity to bring my experiences and new love of bees to a diverse population. I love to support humans in building connections to nature, themselves, and each other.  

In returning to the west coast I bring my enthusiasm for bees, nature, art and interspecies relationships to share.


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Ian Tait

My career includes extensive management and leadership experience with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations both large and small. Areas include strategic planning; fundraising; sponsorship; marketing; communication; public, government, community, media and Indigenous relations; coaching; and mentoring. I have had my own consulting business since 2007, and my current volunteer positions include president, Earthwise Society and founder and co-chair, Feed The Bees. My most recent employment was as executive director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce.