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.

Jennifer Stackhouse

Development Coordinator   Email

Jennifer moved to Galiano Island in 2018, and fell in love with the beauty, nature and the community.  She brings a background of over 20 years in business management and human resources experience and has a passion for organization and efficiency.  Outside of her position at the GCA you will find Jen teaching yoga or in her garden!

Cedana Bourne

Agriculture and Nursery 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

One Island, One Earth 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.  She is excited to be working on the One Island, One Earth Project and can’t wait to share the results.

Carly Bilney

Administrator  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

Olivia Cavanagh, Restoration Technician

Olivia grew up on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples (in Victoria), and has spent many weekends and breaks visiting the gulf islands by bike. Olivia is taking some time away from her BA in Geography and Indigenous Studies at UVic to gain field experience in ecological work on the coast. She is super grateful and excited to be working with such a knowledgeable team on this fall’s restoration projects. In her spare time Olivia can be found eating picnics at the beach, knitting, sewing, playing guitar, or starting too many craft projects to finish! 

Ivy Genosko, Ecotourism Technician

A forth year Geography student at UVic, Ivy feels lucky to be working as an intern at the GCA this summer – an opportunity she found through her Coastal Conservation course last semester! As an intern, Ivy is working across various fields including the education program, permaculture, and social media coordination. Living and working on such a beautiful island has always been a dream of hers, especially on Galiano as it is a place she has called home for many years with both her mother and aunt living on the island. After this summer Ivy plans to finish her degree at UVic, and hopes to carry along all of the knowledge she’s gained working with the amazing crew at the GCA.

Eric Hagen, Restoration Technician

Eric grew up in Wisconsin and recently graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Vermont’s Field Naturalist Program. Eric has a passion for understanding how ecosystems grow and change, and for learning how people fit in with the rest of nature. He is grateful to be at the GCA, putting his studies into practice alongside a fantastic team.

Sara Yeomans, Restoration Technician

Sara grew up exploring the wilderness of the west coast. She holds a BSc in Ecological Restoration and a diploma in Fish, Wildlife and Recreation from BCIT. Sara is interested in understanding how natural systems evolve and adapt over time and is passionate about protecting and restoring these systems. She’s thrilled to be working and learning with the GCA this summer. When not at work, you can find her cooking, sewing, or learning bird songs.