GCA Staff

Chessi Miltner

Executive Director   Email

Born and raised on Galiano, Chessi feels privileged to now work to protect and steward its lands and waters. He holds a MSc in Geography and a BA&Sc in Environment from McGill University. His research has focused on a range of topics, from waste management technologies in urban environments, to traditional agroforestry practices in the Amazonian jungles of Peru. He is an avid kayaker, and has introduced tourists and locals alike to the beauty and ecological diversity of the Salish Sea for over 15 years as a kayak tour guide. When not at the Millard Learning Centre, Chessi is likely to be found outside exploring Galiano’s wild places with his young son and dog.


Martine Paulin

Development Coordinator   Email

A resident of Galiano for the past 30 years, Martine holds a B. Sc. F. degree in Forest Resources Management from UBC. She is also a Red Seal Chef with a varied background in Law, translating, kayak guiding, and has several years of experience working for non-profit organizations and managing/owning various businesses on the island. She is an outdoor enthusiast who loves camping, sea kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, biking and exploring nature with her dog Snoop, husband Christian and daughter Lili Jasmine. Playing music with friends, foraging, pottery, gardening, photography, fermenting and experimenting with food are some of her lifelong passions.


Cedana Bourne

Sustainable Food Systems Coordinator   Email

You can find Cedana with her hands in the soil at the Native Plant Nursery and the Millard Learning Centre’s Forest Garden. Cedana is in her element when saving seeds and nurturing plants through each stage of development in the cycle of plant life. Cedana is an herbalist who grows or wildcrafts the plants for the formulas she creates for her apothecary. Cedana is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who appreciates a delicious, locally grown, whole foods meal.  She is a passionate preserver and loves to incorporate wild foods into all kinds of tasty creations from baking to bubbly brews to fermented concoctions. 


Emily Francis

Education Coordinator   Email

As the Education Coordinator, Emily facilitates the GCA’s environmental education programs for local and regional kids and adults. With a background in Environmental Science (BSc. Royal Roads University) and science-communications Emily is an avid “nature-nerd” who is keen to (over)share her knowledge about marine and terrestrial ecosystems on Galiano Island. 


Adam Huggins

Restoration Coordinator   Email

Adam is the Restoration Coordinator for the Galiano Conservancy, as well as a Sessional Instructor for Ecological Restoration in Continuing Studies at the University of Victoria. He holds a BSc in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria, as well as a Diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems.  Over the past decade, he has worked from central California to the north coast of BC in plant nurseries, on restoration projects, and in remote fieldwork.  He produces and co-hosts the Future Ecologies podcast, and is also an avid backpacker, musician, and naturalist.


Ria Okuda

Environmental Educator   Email

Ria was born and raised on Galiano; she then went across the country to Montreal where she studied at McGill University. After graduating with a BSc in Biology, Ria’s love for travel took her to many parts of the world where she gained experience in different cultures and field studies. She has now returned to beautiful Galiano to raise her family and share her passion and enthusiasm for education, conservation and Galiano’s community.


Michelle Thompson

Conservation Coordinator   Email

Michelle has a BES from the University of Waterloo with a diploma in Ecological Restoration and a Masters of Forestry from the University of Alberta.  In the past Michelle has worked on carbon sequestration projects, social impact projects and restoration projects.  Michelle‘s work and schooling have taken her to Germany’s Schwarzwald (Black Forest), Northern Alberta, West Africa and Southern Sweden. She is passionate about conservation, systematic change and public access to greenspaces. 


Carly Bilney

Administrator (outgoing)  Email

Carly has been a lifelong visitor to Galiano and she and her partner, Sean, decided to move to the island full-time when their daughter was born in 2017. She holds an MA from UVic, a BA from St.FX, and a certificate in journalism from Langara College. She is especially interested in the BC Treaty Process and First Nations territorial issues and her four-part series titled “Treaty Troubles” was published in The Tyee in 2012. She is passionate about the mission of the GCA and feels grateful to work among inspiring people from whom she is constantly learning.


Ken Stauffer

Bookkeeper   Email


GCA Seasonal Staff

Kendall McLaughlin, Restoration Technician

Sophie Dickson-Otty, Restoration Technician

Riley Cameron, Ecotourism Technician

Erica Lee, Marine Conservation Technician

Cass Strain, Education Technician

Clara Reid, Sustainable Food Systems Technician