OUR MISSION: ACER supports communities, government agencies and corporations in taking action to reduce biodiversity loss and strengthen climate resilience by increasing and monitoring urban and riparian zone forest canopy.

Our Team

The programs of ACER are led and executed by a number of extraordinary and talented individuals who make up the staff, a science advisory council, and board of directors

Staff

Alice Casselman – Founding President

Having been a teacher for 35 years and the science department head for the majority of those years, Alice Casselman’s experience in the field of forestry is extensive. Casselman worked for the Toronto Region Conservation Authority for 20 years and was a member of several writing teams for the Etobicoke Biology Curricula and Outdoor Education and Resource Documents. Alice was a founding member and chair of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario, founding director and assistant instructor of the Canadian Outward Bound Wilderness School, and founding teacher of Etobicoke School of Arts. In 1984, Casselman received the Chairman’s Award from COEO. She also has served on the Board of Directors of the Carolinian Canada Coalition. Casselman has received numerous awards for her work. 

Sadia Butt – ACER Program Manager and Forest Ecologist

Sadia is a recent Ph.D. graduate in Forestry from the University of Toronto, whose areas of research include climate change, environmental science, earth sciences, urban forestry, and agroforestry. She is the author of several papers on forestry and climate change, including South Central Ontario Forest Biodiversity: Monitoring Plots Analysis. In 2015, Sadia received the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award for dedication and enthusiasm about forestry.


Science Advisory Council

Heather Auld

Currently the Principal Climate Scientist for Risk Scientists International, Health Auld worked with both Environment Canada and the Department of National Defence in climate science, change and weather forecasting, training, and stakeholder consultations for 32 years. Ms. Auld has served on both the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expert groups. In Canada, Ms. Auld is the main climate science advisor to Canada’s National Codes Commission.

Steve Columbo

Steve Colombo consults on issues concerning forests and the environment, specializing in climate change impacts, carbon sequestration, and adaptations to increase forest resilience to climate and other stresses. He has a Ph.D. in forestry and for 35 years was a research scientist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.  He authored over 150 articles and co-edited two books: Regenerating the Canadian Forest: Principles and Practice for Ontario and Conifer Cold Hardiness.

Marianne Karsh

Marianne Karsh is a forester and research scientist with a passion to help connect people with the earth. After obtaining a Masters in Forestry from the University of Toronto, Marianne has worked as a forest research scientist in Canada, The United States and Iceland. As a senior scientist for Environment Canada, specializing in biodiversity and climate change, she authored/co-authored numerous scientific publications, including a chapter in Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainability in the Americas: Impacts and Adaptations [Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press] and Climate Change and Biodiversity: Implications for Monitoring, Science and Adaptive Planning [Environment Canada].

Don MacIver

Nobel Laureate Don MacIver was a senior Environment Canada Scientist for many years and is one of Canada’s leading scientists who worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with U.S. vice-president, Al Gore. He co-chaired the World Meteorological Climate Conference in 2007. He is currently Mayor of Amaranth, Dufferin County Councilor and Vice-Chair of the Credit Valley Conservation Board.

Madelyn Webb, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Madelyn Webb develops community approaches to environmental issues. Originally trained as a freshwater scientist, Madelyn’s work focuses on building community through education, training and practical projects to enhance the social and ecological development of individuals and contribute to the protection of our air, forests and water. As an entrepreneur, Madelyn has been President of Webb & Associates Inc. for more than a decade. Her specialty is facilitating multi-stakeholder and diverse groups to understand their shared goals and build on community knowledge for recycling, watershed management and forest stewardship. She holds a B.Sc. from McGill, an M.Sc. from the University of Toronto and an MBA from York University. She trained as a facilitator with the ICA (Institute for Cultural Affairs, Canada) and received her TESL certificate from the TDSB.

Sadia Butt

See bio above.


Board of Directors

Alice Casselman (1987- )

See bio above.

Sonya Wieler (2015- )

Sonya Wieler most recently worked for IDEXX Reference Laboratories, a worldwide leader in veterinary diagnostics, and during her 19 years with that company held positions in Quality Management, Business Process Improvement and most recently Project Management with their Global PMO office. A graduate of the University of Guelph (B.Sc., Applied Biochemistry) and University of Toronto (M.Sc., Medical Biophysics), Sonya brings us her extensive experience in protocol development and validation and design of experiments; technical writing; quality auditing and quality management; project management; data analysis; training program development; and, driving/leading continuous Improvement initiatives. In addition, she is an IDEXX-certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

Margaret Geare (2022- )

Following a successful career in teaching and business, Margaret, a fifth-generation Torontonian, found her focus in work to improve the lives of Women and to teach leadership skills to Young Women through Zonta or Z clubs. This led to her appointment, in 2019, to the D4 UN committee as Co-Chair for Canada. As part of the CSW since 2018, she has joined with international participants working on Sustainable Goal 5 for achieving Gender Equity by 2030. Margaret is also an Area Director for Retired Women Teachers of Ontario. She is delighted to work with ACER to help promote environmental stewardship and education related to the challenge of the current climate crisis.

Ian Orchard (2022- )

Ian is retired from a long and wide-ranging career in environmental protection, always with a focus on science, innovation, sustainable development, and community participation. Joining Environment Canada in 1975, his responsibilities included projects associated with remediation and management of interconnecting waterways and removal of contaminated sediment from Great Lakes ports and harbours. He has established public/private partnerships with provincial and municipal authorities, educators, and local communities and has championed the implementation of green and sustainable ecosystems. Ian has worked with small to medium environmental businesses as well as the conceptualization of cities as sustainable ecosystems.

Mohammed Ayub Khan (2022- )

Ayub is a communications and community engagement professional. He has previously worked at the office of a Member of the Provincial Parliament and a municipal councillor. He has an MA in Public Policy and Administration. He actively takes part in tree-planting activities in Canada and in India.

Wendy Bodnoff (2023- )

Wendy is a marketer with a passion for citizen engagement and “hand up” community development.
She has been marketing lead for manufacturing and niche market insurance companies, Executive Director of a leadership organization and a political grassroots organizer for over 20 years. She handled Marketing, Media and PR for Toronto International Microfinance Summit (TIMS), a forum for poverty alleviation, and is Charter member of Rotary E-Club of Social Innovators (RESI) and its Environment, Ethics and Peace Club. Her efforts with Save Glen Abbey Coalition helped save iconic Glen Abbey Golf Course – Home of the Canadian Open – from destruction. Wendy has a Bach. Journalism from Carleton U in Canada and an MFA in photography from RIT in the US. Currently, her focus is a cross-border, grassroots, mom & pop project to reimagine one disadvantaged street.

Keith Robson (2024- )

Keith grew up in rural Lincolnshire, England. After leaving school he worked with the Grassland Research Institute in Berkshire as an Agronomist for two years before entering what became the University of Aston in Birmingham
England. There he completed his degree in General Science, (Botany, Zoology and Chemistry) with Honors. He was also elected as President of the Guild of Students in his final year. Having graduated he joined the BMH motor company in Birmingham. This led to a career in manufacturing that brought him and his family to Canada with Massey Ferguson where he had experience in Business and Strategic Planning, Finance, Worldwide Parts Supply. IT, and Acquisitions. Massey Ferguson became Varity Corporation and moved its head office to the US and Keith and his family chose to stay in Canada. This led to a change in industry as the skills acquired during the reconstruction of Massey Ferguson were applied to the Transport and Logistics industry that was going through substantial changes with deregulation, Free Trade and changes in technology. He retired from the Hamilton Port Authority as President and CEO, where he was actively involved in the establishment of the Green Marine program. That has been successful in substantially improving the environmental impact of the Marine sector in the Great Lakes. Along with others, he co-established the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics and currently is the Chair of their Advisory Board. Since retiring from the Port, Keith has been a Director of the Aston University Business School Advisory Board, Chair of Federal Bridge Corporation and Director of two private companies.

Linda Casselman (2024- )

Linda’s professional career was as a music teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Linda also performed in, and eventually directed, a community concert band for almost four decades. Upon retiring from teaching, Linda was given one of the most exciting and invigorating opportunities – to assist her sister, ACER Founder and President Alice Casselman, with some events for ACER’s flagship Planting For Change program, working with children of a variety of ages and diverse backgrounds. Linda also became well-versed with using FaceTime during the COVID pandemic which allowed her to continue to teach private piano, clarinet and guitar lessons, which she continues to do to this day. Linda is honoured to have the wonderful opportunity to serve on the ACER Board to help promote and ensure the success of ACER’s mission and vision and assist with Community Outreach initiatives.

Past Board Members

Madelyn Webb (2018-2024), Former Board Chair

See bio above. ACER extends a heartfelt thank you to Madelyn for her leadership and many other contributions to the Board over her six-year tenure. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with her, as she will remain a member of ACER’s Science Advisory Council.

Elizabeth MacLean (2021-2023)

Elizabeth MacLean is retired from a career as a editor and writer mostly in educational publishing for employers such as McGraw-Hill Ryerson, TV Ontario, and non-profit organizations including the United Church of Canada and the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals.  She has also held a variety of administrative positions with an Ontario MPP,  Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and the Massey Centre for Women. She holds an M.A. in Journalism from Western University.  ACER thanks Liz for her contributions to the Board over the past 3 years and looks forward to continuing to collaborate in other ways in the future!