Meet the Team

Emily Keller

Executive Director 

Emily is a second-generation Canadian settler with German roots who grew up on a small island in the traditional territory of the Klahoose First Nation. As a kid, she had twelve pet chickens and helped run her family’s kayak lodge. After finishing a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies back east at Queen’s, Emily returned to beautiful Coast Salish territory to apply her entrepreneurial spirit to running a non-profit. Emily lives as close to Stanley Park as possible with her Mexican-Canadian partner, Edgar. She listens to CBC radio on the daily and loves to paint birds, read novels, bake German cakes, swim in lakes, and spend time on the land.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: emily@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-319-1729

Marika van Reeuwyk 愛丽

Program Manager

Marika is a first generation settler with Chinese Singaporean ancestry on her mother’s side and Dutch ancestry on her father’s side. She grew on the traditional territories of the Stó:lō First Peoples, where the mountains of the valley embrace the river. Marika has put down new roots in Coast Salish territories with her partner Chris, her feline familiars, Connor and River, and many plant friends. On her learning journey, Marika studied applied biology at UBC with a focus on native bees and floral ecology. She is a big bug nerd and recently co-founded the Native Bee Society of BC. In her spare time, you’ll find Marika moving and grooving, getting creative, growing and cooking nourishing food, and meeting new plants, birds, and bees in the wild.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: marika@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-689-4446

Erica Ellis

Program Manager
Erica is a second generation settler of Japanese and mixed European ancestry. She grew up on the traditional territories of the Skwxwú7mesh First Peoples, where deep forests open to mountains and oceans in a place we now call North Vancouver. An upbringing on these lands inspired Erica to pursue a degree in Natural Resource Conservation at UBC where she deepened her love for trees, wildlife, and all things natural. After her degree, Erica and her partner Brennan hopped in their tiny two-door Honda Civic to explore, climb, hike, and camp in diverse and incredible natural areas. Upon arriving back on Coast Salish territory, they settled slightly North, in a place the Skwxwú7mesh Peoples refer to as “birth place of the wind”. Erica can now be found in Squamish with her partner Brennan and crazy dog Valley, where she spends her free time cooking Japanese food, falling off her bike, pursuing a Masters in Education for Sustainability at UBC, spending time with family, and weeding her garden.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: erica@eya.ca   I   Phone: 604-689-4446

David Palmer

Philanthropy Officer

David is a dual UK/Canadian citizen who grew up in the urban-rural fringes of London. A recent settler on unceded Coast Salish territories, he landed on the west coast following a Master’s in Gender and Sexuality at University of London and a year-long bicycle journey across Europe and Asia. David is passionate about restoring ecological balance, food security, and environmental justice, and loves connecting with nature in and out of the city. He lives in a wannabe homestead in East Van where he enjoys sewing clothes, growing food, and petting the house cat, Margaret. With over seven years’ experience fundraising for nonprofits in the UK and Canada, David loves to connect people with the causes they’re passionate about.

Pronouns: He/Him
Email: david@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-716-7933

Joyce Liao 廖釆約

Program Coordinator

Joyce is a first generation Taiwanese Canadian who grew up in Treaty 7. Since moving to Coast Salish territories to pursue an undergraduate degree at UBC in sustainable food systems, she has been gardening up a storm with peers and centering placemaking as a community practice. These days, Joyce spends most of her time pondering the interfaces of critical pedagogy, food justice and youth community engagement. When she isn’t thinking about alternative futures, you can find her drawing, biking, and tree climbing.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: joyce@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-689-4446

Sydney Verburg

Program Coordinator

Sydney is Cree from the Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation, German, and Danish on her mother’s side, with Dutch ancestry on her father’s side. She grew up on Coast Salish territory on the sunny beaches of Tsawwassen and in the beautiful mountain ranges of North Vancouver on Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Stó:lō and Musqueam territories. In her spare time, you’ll find Sydney hiking in nature, playing sudoku, and eating all types of food. In fact, she loves food so much that she completed her Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition, and Health – yum! Sydney is passionate about land-based learning, food as medicine, and connecting with youth.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: sydney@eya.ca  I  604-689-4446

Hailey Bird Matheson

Program Coordinator

Hailey is Nehiyaw (Cree) from Peguis First Nation, Treaty One, on her mother’s side with mixed European ancestry on her father’s side. She was born on Ktunaxa and Sinixt territory in BC’s interior and grew up in Tonkawa territory in central Texas. Hailey came to stolen Coast Salish territory to study social work, swim in the ocean, and hike. As a guest on this land, she tries to be a good relative and support local Nations through activism and learning local languages and creation stories. Hailey’s passion for Indigenous-based research and land-based practices led her to intern at xʷc̓ic̓əsəm (the Indigenous garden at UBC) and engage in practicums supporting people who use substances in the Downtown Eastside. In her free time, you’ll find Hailey beading, drumming, and hanging out with her hedgehog, Henry.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: hailey@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-689-4446

Sonia Stewart

Program Coordinator

Sonia is first generation Chinese Canadian on her mother’s side and Scottish-European mix on her father’s side. She grew up near the ocean in South Surrey on Semiahmoo territory, helping out in her family’s beautiful backyard garden. Sonia studied applied biology at UBC and is passionate about using nature to support youth mental health and resiliency. In her spare time, she loves to cook, play volleyball, hang out with her dog Frodo, and spend time outdoors, especially near trees or the ocean. In the summertime, Sonia tries to visit her family’s cabin on the Sunshine Coast as much as possible so she can kayak, fish, and swim.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: sonia@eya.ca  I  604-689-4446

Brennan Lew-Cooke

Program Coordinator  

Brennan’s ancestry is Mi’kmaq from the Qalipu First Nation and Chinese. He was born and raised on Coast Salish territories and is privileged to continue living on unceded Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh territories. Brennan studied Indigenous Health at UBC and spent significant amounts of time connecting to the land at Tu’wusht Vancouver Native Health Society’s Indigenous Health Garden. With a passion for culture and staying active, Brennan believes in the power of science to build youth’s confidence and motivation surrounding wildlife activism. In his spare time, Brennan enjoys spending time with friends and family, connecting to the land, and creating art.

Pronouns: He/Him
Email: brennan@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-689-4446

Sahar Zandieh

Program Coordinator

Sahar arrived on the Coast Salish territories from Iran when she was six years old. Many years later, land that was once unfamiliar is now undeniably home. While studying applied biology at UBC, Sahar always looked for ways to apply herself on farms and in gardens, working with youth. Even when she has just left its shores, Sahar always misses the ocean and the feeling of wind rushing against her face. Her hands are happiest with a good coating of soil; her clothes are best loved when dusted in flour from baking.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: sahar@eya.ca  I  Phone: 604-689-4446

Niki Westman, CPA, CGA

Accountant

Niki is a third-generation settler of western European ancestry. She spent her childhood on Algonquin land, walking to school through suburban forests. Before becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant, Niki wrote a Master’s thesis in English Literature on the pedagogy of Indigenous ecological principles in fiction by First Nations’ authors. Inspired by the teachings of northwest coast Indigenous voices, Niki finally transplanted to Coast Salish territory in 1997 where she now enjoys counting the beans for EYA as much as she loves growing them in the community garden that she founded. She has unrestrained compulsions for sewing colourful pants, moving and singing with music, riding her bike in urban forests, and striking up random conversations with interesting creatures along the way.

Pronouns: She/Her
Email: niki@eya.ca   I   604-689-4446

Meet our Board of Directors


Andrea Duke, Chair

Andrea was born and raised in Vancouver. She grew up spending much of her time in nature, which fueled her passion for first degree – a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Psychology from the University of Victoria. Since then, she’s gained over 7 years experience in Human Resources, earning her Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation and an MBA from the UBC Sauder School of Business. Andrea is currently the Manager of HR Solutions at TPD, a international HR and Workforce Solutions firm. In her role, she oversees and delivers HR consulting services to small and medium sized businesses in multiple industries and sectors. Andrea is happy to be combining her interests in Biology and Human Resources with her role as a Board Member with EYA.

Sara Fralin, Vice Chair

Sara holds a MA in Sustainability Studies from Trent University and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Environment Studies from the University of Victoria. She is a certified yoga instructor who loves the outdoors and is often found camping and skiing throughout BC. She currently works for a renewable energy company as the coordinator of community engagement and grants. She is very excited to be joining EYA’s board of directors this year.

Lisa Tam, Secretary

Lisa grew up in the concrete jungle, Hong Kong, and it is extremely difficult to find a community garden to grow plants and crops. After following her family to immigrate to Vancouver, Canada, growing plants and crops at the backyard is no longer a dream. She loves to plant flowers and trees in her own garden. Watering plants and shrubs is one of her favourite activities to do with her little son during the spring and summer. Other than that, Lisa enjoys biking and hiking. Lisa graduated from the Simon Fraser University, and is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) and Certified Public Accountant (Delaware) in the United States. Lisa is excited to advise the Board with regards to financing and accounting matters.

Patty Lowe, Treasurer

Patty is a CPA, CGA with over 15 year post designate experience.  She has worked in industry, non-profit and charity organizations in her career and finds working in charities and non-profits more rewarding.  In 2018 she made a conscious decision to seek out volunteer and employment roles in organizations working towards positive social and environmental change so it very excited to take on the role of Treasurer on the Board of EYA.

Kristina Zalite

Board Member at Large

Kristina is a second generation settler who was born in Coast Salish territory and grew up in Germany, Iran, the US, and Canada. During her time living in Coast Salish territory, she has participated in EYA’s lobby to preserve the Grandview Cut, completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UBC, co-organized a Queerk-cycle contingent at Vancouver Pride, authored the video Sounding Queer Space with the VIVO Arts Centre, and played many Balkan folk songs. Kristina has lived in Kugaaruk, Iqaluit, and Fairbanks; and she authored a Landscape Architecture thesis on park design in Nunavut. She has her own landscape architecture business and strives to create spaces that encourage ecological and cultural interaction.

Pronouns: She/Her

Baily Molotsky

Baily moved to BC in 2006 and never looked back. Originally from Calgary, she found her love for nature by going to outdoor summer camps for over 10 years. Baily currently works in the non-profit sector in fundraising and donor relations. When not working, you can find her traveling, cooking delicious plant-based food, playing hockey or boxing.

Alvin Singh

Alvin has lived and worked right across Canada but was born and raised in Vancouver. A communications and branding professional by trade, he has worked at all three levels of government as well as for non-profit and for-profit ventures. His deep commitment to protecting the natural world began courtesy of his uncle’s famous camping trips and turned into summers working on reforestation projects in Northern Ontario and protecting native plant species in the Okanagan Valley – a place he considers his second home. When he’s not working, Alvin can usually be found lake swimming in the summers, skiing in the winters, and always ready to play hockey.

Ben Heller

Ben was born and raised in the Vancouver Lower Mainland and continues to call Vancouver his home. With a thirst for knowledge and travel, he went to Halifax, NS where he studied at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Since graduating, Ben has developed a diverse legal background having started as a clerk at the Court of Appeal of BC before moving into private practice and then eventually transitioning to in-house legal counsel. Outside the office, Ben loves to be as active as possible and can be found snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, playing or coaching soccer, travelling the globe or simply enjoying a walk around the seawall. As a youth soccer coach since 2011 and, more recently, a food bank volunteer, Ben appreciates the importance of connecting with the community.  He is excited to continue to support youth development in the community and learn more about environmental stewardship himself as a member of the EYA’s board of directors. 

Tommy Kuo

Tommy moved to Vancouver in 2015 and has since immersed himself in the natural beauty of the West Coast. Be it a hike on local trails or a camping trip to Vancouver Island, every nature exploration is a reminder to him about the importance of environmental protection. His love and curiosity for the natural world led to his participation in two EYA summer programs on pollinator ecology, during which he was deeply inspired by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the EYA team. After leading education and volunteer programs with Pacific Spirit Park Society, doing public outreach with David Suzuki Foundation, and creating sustainability projects with Engineers Without Borders, he is returning to EYA as a Youth Board Member to work with the same individuals that helped cultivate his environmental leadership in non-profits. He is currently a third year UBC student pursuing an honours thesis in Chemical Biology, with research interests in plant biology and green chemistry.

Meet our Youth Advisory Committee


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