Our team works to protect and conserve the ecological viability of the Comox Valley region. We are made up of dedicated volunteers, consultants, and a Board of Directors – all of whom are passionate and driven industry leaders. They work collaboratively with our community, local governments, individuals, landowners, and other stewardship organizations. You might say our team is the core of all that we do.


Lesley GirodayPresident
A retired lawyer, Lesley moved to the Comox Valley in 2020 to take advantage of the area’s abundant outdoor spaces and activities. She has a strong interest in community conservation work. She started the Elk Valley Conservation Society in Fernie, worked for the East Kootenay Environmental Society, negotiated the East Kootenay CORE land use plan, sat on the board of the BC-Yukon chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, served on the first coordinating committee of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, and is a director of the East Kootenay environmental organization Wildsight.
Nick PageVice President
Nick Page is a professional biologist with a broad range of experience in conservation planning in coastal B.C. Most of his professional work has focused on assisting local governments plan, design, and implement policies and projects to protect and restore biodiversity in urban areas. He grew up in the Comox Valley and recently returned after several decades based in Metro Vancouver. He lives on a farm near Seal Bay Park.
David StapleyTreasurer
David Stapley combines 19 years of experience and training in management, facilitation and community development to assist individuals and the organizations they work with to build healthy and sustainable organizations, businesses, workplaces and communities. He provides organizational development and staff training consulting services to NGO, government and businesses through his company, DS Consulting. David has also worked as the Program Manager for the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership, and has achieved many notable conservation successes through working in partnerships between local governments and the ENGO sector.
Janet GemmellSecretary
Jan and husband Jim lived a marine life on Cortes Island for 10 years, building and living on a float house. In 1994, after five years in Burnaby, Jan, Jim and their two daughters moved to the Comox Valley. Both have been active members of the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers for over 20 years. Jan is the current president of MCS. Jan has a certificate in landscape horticulture and worked at River Meadow Farms for 14 years. Currently employed as a community health worker, Jan’s love of botany, plant communities, wildlife and aquatic ecosystems makes her keen to help conserve land and sustain natural ecosystems for future generations.
Michael NihlsDirector at Large
Michael has been a CVLT Board member since 2015 and President since 2023. In addition, he currently serves as Chair of the Land Protection Committee. He retired from a career in local government as a parks professional in 2014, having served in various technical and management positions spanning 39 years in Kitchener, Ontario, the City of Coquitlam and as Manager of Parks with the Comox Valley Regional District. With an educational background in Conservation Management, Horticulture and Public Sector Management, Michael has skills and experience in land acquisition, parks and natural areas planning, environmental policy and regulations, horticulture and arboriculture, recruitment and development. Michael’s hobbies include bird watching, fly tying and fishing, camping, hiking, gardening and bridge
Neil TurnerDirector at Large
Neil is an executive contributor with extensive experience working within private businesses, governments, academic institutions, Tribunal Board, and environmental non-governmental organizations in Canada and overseas, for over 25 years. He has successfully delivered strategic thinking and practice to resolve complex environmental and natural resource project challenges. He has key expertise in: Program/Project management & Delivery; Strategic Planning; Environmental Impact Assessment; Environmental Management; Stakeholder Engagement; Conflict Resolution and Negotiation and Policy Development. Neil is passionate about effectively motivating teams to their full potential with extensive experience in communication with public, stakeholders, executives, and staff. When not involved in Board and consulting work Neil can be found either working on his Organic Farm, or volunteering as a Firefighter.
Pieter RutgersPast-President
Our long-serving President passed away due to cancer on April 14, 2023, in hospital in Comox, BC. We are so thankful for Piet’s time with our organization, and for the exceptional conservation legacy that he helped us to achieve. Piet spent most of his professional planning career with the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation retiring as Director of Planning and Operations. During his tenure, over 80 hectares of parkland were secured and over twenty kilometres of waterfront trails were added. In 2010, he moved to the Comox Valley and joined the Comox Valley Land Trust to apply his management, planning and land acquisition skills to help protect the Valley’s remaining sensitive ecosystems and encourage local governments to adopt sustainable planning and development policies. During his tenure, the lands that the CVLT protects in perpetuity increased from approximately 100 to 600 hectares.


Tim EnnisExecutive Director
Tim is a conservation biologist. He has over 20 years of experience working to protect and restore biodiversity in BC. Tim volunteers for the Steering Committee of the Coastal Douglas-fir Conservation Partnership, which works to protect and restore environmental values in the Salish Sea region. His work has involved extensive education and outreach components including national, provincial and local television, radio, print and online media. Tim is a fourth generation Vancouver Islander, and spends his free time mountaineering, back-country skiing, hiking, kayaking, hunting or mountain biking all over the Island and beyond.
Françoise Gervais Comox Valley Conservation Partnership Program Coordinator
Originally from Quebec, Françoise made the move to Vancouver Island in 2011. She fell in love with the Comox Valley and moved Cumberland in 2020. She is a self-taught wildlife and landscape photographer with a master’s degree in land use planning. She spent the first years of her career creating nature reserves. The spirit of adventure then led her to study one of the most unexplored places on Earth: the deep sea. She participated in numerous oceanographic expeditions, where she studied hydrothermal vents, submarine canyons and deep-sea species. Shortly thereafter Françoise went to the polar regions to work as an expedition guide. Since then she has dedicated her career to creating a deeper connection with nature and building a bridge between it and the people she guided.

Tanis GowerCommunications Specialist
Tanis Gower is a Biologist with a keen interest in local conservation efforts. She enjoys helping the CVLT and the member groups of the Comox Valley Conservation Partnership connect with the public about their important work. Tanis was born in the Comox Valley and migrated back with her family in 2012. She loves the Comox Valley community and the natural environment that thrives here.
Marcelle WheelerAdministrative Assistant
Raised on Cortes Island, Marcelle has carried a love of nature along a diverse academic and professional path. She completed a BSc in Linguistics and a BSc in Computer Science, followed by 7 years as a programmer for the music platform, Bandcamp. In early 2021, she left the tech industry to pursue her passion for the environment, and is thrilled to have found a new home working with the Comox Valley Land Trust and Project Watershed.

In her free time, Marcelle spends time walking, reading, doing yoga, and practicing botanical illustration with the cat on her lap.


Since our formation in 1999, the Comox Valley Land Trust has protected and conserved approximately 600  hectares of ecologically significant land and wildlife habitat. This success is thanks to the vision and generosity of our donors and partners. Your donation to CVLT goes directly to acquiring and protecting the natural wealth of the Comox Valley.

Background photo by Don Tait