Board of Directors

Alaina Dowling – Vice President / Volunteer Coordinator

Alaina started her career with GWAS as a restoration technician summer student in 2017. After spending the summer working on the Gorge as well as living in the neighbourhood she fell in love and joined the board as a volunteer for the next season, working her way to Volunteer Coordinator and Vice President. Alaina has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology from the University of Victoria and currently works in Public Service. When not working, she can be found looking in tidal pools eager to explore the diversity found on our coast and sharing it with her unsuspecting friends.


Michelle Wood – Restoration & Education Advisor / Webmaster

Michelle joined the Gorge Waterway Action Society in the summer of 2018 when she worked as Nature House Interpreter. She has since completed her Bachelor of Science with a double major in Statistics and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria, and has continued to serve GWAS in various volunteer and employment positions, including Ecological Restoration Technician, Education and Outreach Advisor, and volunteer Webmaster. She has now returned to the board on a volunteer basis, focusing on co-supervising restoration and interpretation activities, maintaining the website, and assisting with anything else she can.


Jameson Clarke – Biology Coordinator

Jameson holds a B.S. in biology from Bucknell University (PA, USA) and a M.S. in invertebrate zoology from Duke University (NC, USA). His research specializes on the evolutionary ecology of deep sea arthropods and the evolutionary physiology of insect metamorphosis and pattern development. Jameson joined the GWAS Board of Directors in 2019 and worked as an Environmental Biologist for GWAS in 2020, then Biology Coordinator for the Youth Community Partnership program in 2021 while working toward a Restoration of Natural System Diploma at UVic and his RP Bio designation.


Erin Hogan – Deputy Volunteer Coordinator / Education and Outreach Advisor

Erin holds a Bachelor of Knowledge Integration from the University of Waterloo and an Adventure Tourism certificate from Westcoast Adventure College. During her Summer Student position with the Gorge Waterway Action Society as a Nature Interpreter, she combined her interests in science communication, youth outdoor education, and collaborative design. Erin has run environmental education programs in the Nature House, assisted with grant writing, and joined the other summer students on their biology and restoration projects. She continues to support GWAS by assisting with volunteer coordination and all things Interpretation.



Francis Recalma – Board Member

Francis grew up on the East coast of Vancouver Island on the Qualicum First Nations Reserve. His deep love for nature and the ocean has brought him to become more involved in environmental conservation. Francis moved to Victoria from Qualicum Beach to study Theatre and Anthropology at the University of Victoria. Currently, Francis is in the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program with the BC Public Service, and works for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. Francis also has experience in museum design from his time as an intern with Andre and Associates Interpretation and Design, and working with the Qualicum Beach Museum. Francis joined the board in January, 2017 and hopes to bring an indigenous perspective, and his design skills to assist GWAS in Nature House management and design.


Nicole Puckett – Board Member

Nicole completed her M.A with the department of Geography from the University of Calgary, where her research focused on volunteers in environmental organizations. She also holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Environmental Management. In addition to her work with GWAS, Nicole has volunteered with the World Fisheries Trust, the Toronto Humane Society, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and with a number of NGOs in Tanzania in both the environmental conservation and community development space.

Ashley Neilson – Board Member

Ashley is a recent graduate from the University of Victoria, earning a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Anthropology. Growing up on northern Vancouver Island she was initially drawn to coastal ecology and environmental monitoring, but has since ventured more into terrestrial work. During her work term with the Gorge Waterway Action Society, she worked on a variety of projects as a restoration technician, including maintaining and monitoring active restoration sites and initiating a new native pollinator restoration project, and continues to support GWAS as a member of the board.


Jillian Martin – Senior Volunteer

Jillian graduated with honours from the University of Toronto in 2014, with a double major in Environmental Studies and History. She volunteered in Toronto with Evergreen and the Toronto Environmental Alliance, and completed an internship with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. Jillian has moved to Victoria in order to return to school to pursue a diploma in Environmental Technology at Camosun College. She worked for GWAS in 2016, helping to revitalize the Nature House and increase the online presence of GWAS. Jillian has previously served the board as both the Outreach Coordinator and Board Secretary and worked as the Education and Outreach Officer at World Fisheries Trust.

Taylor Ball – Senior Volunteer

Taylor holds a bachelor of arts in geography and a masters in environment and sustainability both from Western University (London, ON) where she is originally from before moving to the Island in 2019. Her research specialised in creating pollinator gardens for seed cultivation, pesticide impacts on bumble bee abundance and wastewater effluents impact on stream metabolism. Taylor joined the biology project team in 2021 where she assists in the water quality monitoring project for the Gorge Creek and conducts beach seines along the Gorge Creek to identify aquatic species that reside in the Gorge Waterway. Taylor works as a wildlife biologist with a private consulting company conducting field work related to birds, amphibians, bears and snails.

Past Board Members and Senior Volunteers

Tiffany Recalma – Senior Volunteer (resigned)

Tiffany started with the Gorge Waterway Action Society in 2014 as the first summer student hired through the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Tiffany has now completed a double major in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria and works with the BC Public Service in the Environmental Assessment Office as the Manager of Divisional Operations. Tiffany joined the GWAS board in 2015 and has previously served as the Volunteer Coordinator and Vice-President, and assists with managing volunteers, summer students, restoration projects and HR.


Michelle Thompson – Senior Volunteer (resigned)

Michelle has a B.ES from the University of Waterloo and has an MSc from Albert Ludwig University and a MF from the University of Alberta. As a biological technician her work focused on collecting vegetation and water data at both Esquimalt Gorge Park and Cuthbert Holmes Park. She also assisted with other projects including; invasive species removal, native planting propagation, beach seining and forage fish egg sampling.

Kate Assenheimer – Senior Volunteer (resigned)

Kate is currently in her final year at the University of Victoria, studying geography and environmental studies. Her key interests lie in ethnoecology and exploring the relationships present between people and nature. Kate brought her studies and passion to the Nature House as a Nature Interpreter during summer 2021 where she worked on a variety of projects to support the Gorge Waterway Action Society. Kate has recently found some new interests in identifying birds, learning how to rollerblade, and canoeing. Whether it be through a cultural, scientific, or explorative lens; Kate is eager to continue learning and sharing with the public at the Nature House!

Henry Kamphof – Board Member (resigned)

Henry has recently retired after 36 years working in Canada’s social housing industry, in senior positions, with four different levels of Canadian governments. Presently he is serving as President of an affordable housing company, headquartered in Victoria, promoting an international patented technology. Henry also has served as an executive board member of the Canadian Housing and Renewal Association, and the local Capital Region Urban Development Institute. He served on the Gorge Waterway Action Society Board of Directors for over 20 years.


Holly Neate – Board Member (resigned)

Holly, born and raised in Victoria, has an undeniable passion for the ocean and its waterways, including the conservation issues that surround it. A degree in Biology and Earth & Ocean Science from the University of Victoria gave her experience in research, hands-on field work and the opportunity to teach people about the unique ecosystems that she calls home. After having volunteered and worked with World Fisheries Trust as the Education Coordinator for two years, she is now an Outreach Educator in Vancouver. Holly joined the GWAS board of directors in January 2015.