About the Algoma Highlands Conservancy


Our mission is to conserve the unique beauty and ecological integrity of key areas within the Algoma Highlands region, creating sanctuaries that protect the ecological function and habitat requirements of many native plant and animal species. At the same time, we wish to encourage human access and visitation to these areas both for low impact recreational use and enhanced understanding and appreciation of the natural wonders of the highlands area. All those interested in bird watching, wildlife photography, silent sport recreation, or simply communing with nature to clear the mind and soothe the soul are encouraged to join us in our conservation efforts.

AHC Board Members Needed

To qualify, you must be able to attend monthly meetings either in person or via teleconference and contribute time and energy to conservancy action plans, special projects, and general operations. We are specifically looking to fill gaps in legal, financial, governance and policy, and fund raising expertise but will consider other backgrounds as well.

Both Canadians and Americans are welcome to apply.

Please contact info@algomahighlandsconservancy.org for more information.

Val Walker View from KING MNT Oct 2009 016 (2)

Board of Directors

Kara Webster (President)
Sault Ste. Marie, ON Email Kara.Webster@Canada.ca 
Kara grew up in a southern Ontario oak woodlot and spent her formative years wandering the family property. That early natural history experience led to a career in Environmental Science. She first came to the Algoma Highlands in the summer of 2000 and then went on to complete her field work for her PhD in the area. Kara returned to Sault Ste. Marie in 2008 first working as a research scientist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and then joined the Canadian Forest Service in 2010. Her research interests are focused around forest soil ecology, biogeochemistry and hydrology. Kara is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing. Kara joined the AHC Board in 2014.
kara-webster11Kees van Frankenhuyzen (Vice President)
Sault Ste. Marie, ON 
Despite growing up in one of the most crowded places on earth, Kees acquired a deep appreciation for the natural world at an early age as the son of an enthusiastic entomologist and dedicated naturalist. His interest in insects and desire to protect the environment from wanton destruction lead him to pursue a graduate degree (1980) in Entomology and Environmental Toxicology at the University of Wageningen in Holland, followed by a degree (1985) in aquatic ecology at Simon Fraser University. He came to the Sault in 1985 to start a 31-year career in research on managing forest insect pests by using their natural diseases. Coming to the Sault and being able to explore its endless bounty of forests and waterways by foot, canoe, kayak, skis or bike was a dream come true, a dream he continues to live every day. Kees is happiest when he is outside roaming the woods and lakes, with King mountain and Lake Superior being his premier playgrounds.  He was on the AHC Board of Directors from 2005 to 2008, and now that he is retired, is looking forward to renewing his commitment to conserving the natural beauty that surrounds us.
Laurie McBay (Secretary)
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Laurie McBay is an enthusiastic cross country skier and hiker. She was on the executive of the Stokely Creek Ski Club for 5 years. As a practising physiotherapist for more than 30 years, she recognizes the importance of ongoing physical activity to achieve good physical and mental health. Therefore, Laurie feels it is very important to conserve land to give people the opportunity to enjoy silent sports in the outdoors and reconnect with the natural world. She appreciates the unique value of the Algoma Highlands and is pleased to support the goals and principles of the conservancy.
Brian Anstess
Heyden, ON
Brian Anstess is a lifelong resident of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma. He finds silent sport recreation in the Algoma Highlands to be a great diversion from work, and seeks to expose others to the many outdoor opportunities available in the area. The values of the Conservancy are much aligned with his personal principles, and he hopes to assist the AHC with conservation of these precious lands for his children and future generations. Brian is certified through the Ontario College of Teachers, and is currently employed as a Professor with the Natural Environment and Outdoor Studies Department at Sault College.
Emily Hope
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Emily grew up just outside of Sault Ste Marie, on St. Joseph Island, and spent much of her time hiking the local snowmobile trails and thinking about trees. Emily eventually ended up at the University of Guelph, studying resource economics and obtaining her Masters in Environmental Sciences in 2014. Desiring to return to northern Ontario, Emily joined the Great Lakes Forestry Center in Sault Ste Marie as a forest resource economist, and now spends much of her time thinking about the economics of trees. She tries to get outside as much as possible, skiing, swimming, biking, and exploring the Algoma Highlands.
Colin Wilson
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Colin Wilson has extensive experience in both the Community and Economic Development Sectors. In his current role with Algoma University, Mr. Wilson is the Director of Strategic Advancement , and
responsible for the execution of special projects, stakeholder relations and strategy. Colin is passionate about the outdoors, and is excited to assist AHC with its bright future.
Dave Fanslow
Ann Arbour, MI
Dave has been a frequent visitor to the Algoma District since he first came on family fishing trips as a kid.  He’s been an avid Stokely skier for going on thirty years and spends as much time as possible skiing or hiking the trails of the AHC.  His professional background is at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor Michigan where he works as a Biologist focusing on the lower food web and the impacts of recent invasive species.

Algoma Highlands Conservancy Staff

Shannon Ramsay (Environmental Education Coordinator)Shannon Ramsay (Environmental Education Coordinator)
Goulais River, ON • Email shannon.ramsay@hotmail.com
Shannon Ramsay has played and worked in the great outdoors as much as possible throughout her life, and is passionate about sharing this love with others. She taught at Tawingo College, an independent, outdoor-education based school in Huntsville, Ontario for four years. There she could be found snowshoeing across frozen lakes, raising ducks and building quinzhees with students as often as instructing in the classroom. Shannon relocated to beautiful Sault Ste. Marie in 2006 and enjoyed teaching a variety of grade levels within the Algoma District School Board for four more years. Upon the arrival of her first son, she chose to stay at home with her children for several years to ensure the start of their lives were spent in the natural environment and involved plenty of physical activity.She lives in Sault Ste. Marie with her husband, two wild boys and their dog. She loves to be active in the outdoors with friends and family, whether it’s trail running, hiking, canoeing or mountain biking in the warmer months or snowshoeing, cross country or downhill skiing during the snowy season. She is very excited to be carrying on the great work done in the creation of the Environmental Education program with the Algoma Highlands Conservancy!
Derissa Vincentini (Administrator)
Sault Ste Marie, ON • Email info@algomahighlandsconservancy.org
Camping and hiking since she was young, Derissa has always been passionate about the outdoors. Leaning into this passion, she went on to obtain a Degree in Biology and a Certificate in Geomatics from Algoma University. She has worked several contracts for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Canadian Wood Fibre Centre since 2014. Derissa started volunteering for AHC in 2018 as the Social Media Coordinator. Now, in addition to social media, she has taken on the role of Administrator.  In Derissa’s spare time, she can be found exploring by water or land, enjoying various silent sport activities and taking in the fresh air

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