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

Emily earned a BSc in Environmental Science from Royal Roads University. She has worked with a diversity of environmental entities in the clean technology industry, in social-environmental non-profits and in academic communities. As a scientist and visual artist, she combines her technical knowledge and creative approach to teach about unique pacific-northwest ecosystems and to explore the complex relationships between people and the environment.


Adam Huggins

Restoration Coordinator   Email

Adam holds a BSc in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria, as well as a Diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems.  He is primarily diurnal, operating at the intersection of ecological restoration, regenerative agriculture, and conservation.  Over the past decade, he has worked from central California to the north coast of BC on plant nurseries, restoration projects, permaculture farms, and remote field studies.  Currently, he maintains the GCA’s restoration projects and assists the Agriculture and Nursery Coordinator in maintaining the Forest Garden and Native Plant Nursery.  When the sun goes down, he retires to his den, where he produces the Future Ecologies podcast and reads books about plants.


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. Francis Xavier University, 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 and Interns

Tala Clark, Permaculture Technician

Tala has had a connection with Galiano Island her whole life and is now happily living on the Island full time. She is extremely interested in growing edible and medicinal plant sustainably and is excited to learn about these things over the coming summer months. With hopes of one day having a farm to provide organic, local produce to the people living on Galiano Island.

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.

Charlotte Matthews, Marine Conservation Technician

Charlotte graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.Sc. in Biology. Growing up along the coast of B.C. led her to study biology with a focus on marine ecology, conservation, and physiology. During her undergrad, she became an experienced diver while assisting research on feather stars in the Philippines and scientific diving in B.C. The diverse marine ecosystems in the Salish Sea have inspired her to work on protecting and monitoring critical habitats and species in this region. In addition, she continues to share the beauty and diversity of the ecosystems she studies through illustrations and photography.

Elanor Teel, Environmental Educator

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.

Ivy Genosko, Intern

Ethan Heckrodt, Intern

Raised on Syilx (Okanagan) traditional territory, Ethan is grateful to be living and learning in the Salish Sea. He is working towards fulfilling a BA in Environmental Studies and Geography and a diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems at UVIC. He came to the GCA to learn about and gain field experience in ecological restoration and regenerative agriculture and is thrilled to be working alongside such a dedicated group of people.