Meet Our Change Makers
DR. NORMAN YAN
Secretary and Fundraising Chair
Peter is a proud father of two: Peter Jr., currently living in Toronto, and Sarah, who is attending school in Muskoka. Peter not only fell in love with Muskoka but also with Valerie Duke, a 6th-generation Port Carling native, and they have been together for 25 years.
When he is not out sailing, tinkering at home or at the cottage, you may see him driving through town in his vintage 1934 Ford Roadster.
Lenore Inniss grew up in Muskoka. Her parents bought a cottage on Sparrow Lake when she was four years old and it became their full-time residence a couple of years later. (The only exceptions were a year in the U.S. and a year in Iqaluit, Nunavut).
“I’ve always been very outdoorsy. As a kid, my neighbour and I would spend most of our time either in the woods or on the water – eating wild leeks, jumping off the dock, watching turtles, digging up worms to bring to our favourite fishing spot (with seemingly endless sunfish), turning over rocks in search of crayfish and tons of other Muskoka adventures. That’s the main reason I want to help Friends of the Muskoka Watershed – I have a two-year-old niece and I want her to be able to have all those same amazing experiences that I was lucky enough to have growing up.
“After high school, I moved away to Peterborough for university, where I spent 3 years at Trent University studying Biology. While I do have a very basic science background, I realized that it wasn’t the career path for me – I find it very interesting, but came to realize I enjoyed the bigger picture rather than the more detail-oriented work.”
“I ended up moving into a variety of sales jobs instead, which I excelled at – including being in the top 10% of Bell sales agents Canada wide, even as one of very few on the “win back” list (to put it simply, calling angry former clients and attempting to bring them back). I think my sales experience will translate well to helping Friends of the Muskoka Watershed increase membership.
“I moved back to Muskoka at the beginning of 2020 to join my mom in her real estate business. We share the purely real estate work, but my main focus is the tech stuff – social media, photography, website maintenance, drone videography, and creating our newsletters.
“I look forward to helping to grow both the presence of the FMW both online and in the community and encouraging more friends to join as we protect Muskoka’s watersheds forever.”
NEIL HUTCHINSON, PH.D.
Environmental Action Committee
Neil brings a broad environmental perspective, technical knowledge of water quality, and practical experience to the FMW Board.
Neil completed an Honours B.Sc. in Ecology at the University of Guelph in 1978 (where [fellow board member] Gord Miller was one of his instructors) and his Ph.D. in Zoology (Aquatic Toxicology) at Guelph in 1985. He came to the Dorset Research Centre of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in 1984 and completed 2 1/2 years of post-doctoral research on acid rain toxicology before gaining employment as a scientist with the Inland Lakes Program of the Ministry of Environment (MOE, now MECP), working alongside Norman Yan, with a focus on nutrient management and policy development.
He left MOE for the private sector in 1998 and worked for 11 years across the country as the Senior Aquatic Scientist at Gartner Lee Limited. In November 2009 he formed Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. as a consulting firm specializing in aquatic science, technical facilitation, and peer review services. He maintains 10 staff with offices in Bracebridge and Kitchener, ON and his clients include municipal, provincial, and federal governments and Boards, First Nations, Inuit Organizations, and private sector developers, industry, and mining companies. His work spans the country from Muskoka to Nunavut and includes 20 years of advising the District of Muskoka on their Lake System Health Program. His major career highlight was being introduced as “The Mick Jagger of Lake Management” several years back.
Neil has served on the Board of the Muskoka Heritage Foundation, served three, three-year terms as a reviewer of research and scholarship applications for NSERC, was a founding member of the Muskoka Watershed Council, is Chair of the Science Committee for Georgian Bay Forever, and a member of the Rotary Club of Bracebridge.
When not at work, Neil lives on the shore of a small lake outside Bracebridge, in a home that he shares with his wife Barb (their three daughters have all left Muskoka), a happy dog, and too many black flies in June. Hobbies include making music (recording and performing his original folk songs and playing flute in the Muskoka Concert Band), canoeing, kayaking, skiing, and sailing.
Gord Miller is an ecologist and environmental policy analyst with many years of experience. He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Guelph and has worked in the manufacturing industry and consulting business as well as in academia as a professor.
Most of his career, however, has been spent in the public sector starting as a scientist with the Ministry of the Environment and concluding his career by serving three five-year terms as Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner. In that role, Gord was an independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly overseeing and critically evaluating government decision-making on the environment, climate change, and energy conservation.
Gord retired from that role in May 2015. He now does public speaking on environment and energy topics and occasional consulting projects. He also chairs the Board of Directors for Earthroots, the environmental group and the Public Advisory Board of the Canadian Electricity Association.
Andrew began his professional writing career while he was still a student at the University of Guelph, writing press releases about such topics as the adoption habits of Canada geese, myrmecochory and wild ginger, and the mass defecation flights of Asian honeybees. Although he soon moved into community journalism – first in Ottawa Valley towns like Barry’s Bay, Renfrew, Arnprior, and Pembroke, and later in Muskoka – he often freelanced, particularly about science and nature. Among other projects, he produced mini-documentaries for CBC Radio (recording frogs in a swamp on a rainy night was a highlight), wrote news releases for the International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, and was a contributing editor to Outdoor Canada.
He and Sharon, his wife, moved to Bracebridge in 2000 to be closer to her parents while raising their three children. He served as editor of the Muskokan, the Muskoka Sun, and Muskoka Life, before joining Dockside Publishing, first as a writer, then editor, then CEO. He has written or contributed to half a dozen books, mainly about Muskoka.
Andrew loves paddling a canoe and kayak (or being on the water in just about anything else), enjoys theatre, and is an enthusiastic amateur musician.
Sandy grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo but spent much of her time at the cottage – or wishing she was at the cottage. When starting her journalism career, she moved to the Muskoka area.
For more than a decade, she worked in community journalism, including time as editor of Muskoka Magazine. Much of her career was spent working for not-for-profit organizations with a decade as Public Relations Manager for Muskoka Family Focus and five as the Executive Director of the Gravenhurst Chamber of Commerce.
In the summer she’s often in or on a lake and for the other three seasons, she’s regularly outside exploring or playing with her grandchildren.
She’s thrilled to put her communications skills and not-for-profit experience to good use supporting the work of Friends of the Muskoka Watershed.
Joan D’Souza has spent many years in media advertising and research where she learned how to make the complex simple. Currently she helps organizations streamline their processes for maximum productivity to focus on what’s important.
Joan strongly believes that if we quieten our ego, we can be more productive and co-create a brighter tomorrow.
I grew up in Barrie, spending my first 19 years in the east end of the city. What was once bike trails and dirt mounds on the edge of town quickly became residential neighbourhoods with a college and hospital. I was young, but I missed the freedom of the woods. As with most city kids, I grew up playing a few different sports, but was lucky enough to have an outdoor education teacher as a father. I was exposed to the great outdoors early and often, an experience many of my peers did not receive in Barrie. Every summer I was able to spend weeks learning more about boating, fishing, and camping in the Kawartha Highlands on Lake Catchacoma.
In 2011, I attended Georgian College for Business Administration and after graduation spend the next six years working in sales and retail management. There are many aspects of sales and business that I thoroughly enjoyed, but I knew something was missing. So, at 28, I went back to school to study Ecosystem Management Technology at Fleming College and I’ve never looked back.
After graduating, I moved to Huntsville to be closer to my family, and was lucky enough to find myself a part of the FOTMW team. What started out as a search for some volunteer work turned into an amazing opportunity to start my environmental career in Muskoka. I am thrilled to be working with a group of people who share my passion for the environment in a community that cares so much. I look forward to continuing my work with FOTMW, the volunteers, donors, and citizen scientists of Muskoka! There is no other place I would rather be.
Technical Operations Director
Paul Grinnell has a broad range of experience spanning a highly successful 30+ year career in IT and Telecom. He is a former IT Director, Executive Consultant, and technology architect with roles in operations, service delivery, sales and business development where he was effective at bridging the gap between business requirements and technology solutions. Respected as a dynamic leader and creative thinker with a flair for making difficult concepts easy to understand, he has enjoyed successful collaborations with a variety of teams and business professionals to solve business and IT challenges, develop strategy, execute and deliver with excellence, continuously drive revenue, and find innovative ways to engage with clients and customers.
Since arriving full-time in Muskoka in 2010, Paul has taken his knowledge and experience to the not-for-profit sector where he has served on the board and staff of Friends of the Muskoka Watershed, the Muskoka Freshwater Foundation and the Bracebridge Lions Club. Most recently, he has contributed as a freelance consultant to small startups looking for operational and technology guidance.
Beyond the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds, Paul continues to pursue his creative interests as a photographer, writer, woodworker, and all-around tinkerer. A lover of dogs, nature, and all things earthy, he is currently learning more about the world of permaculture.