Meet Our Board
James (Jim) Posynick, Chair
Jim was born in Vancouver, B.C. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor (LLB., 1991) and Royal Roads University (M.A. Conflict Analysis and Management, 2009) and has a broad range of legal, mediation and arbitration experience and has provided advice to and representation for individuals, public, private and first nations organizations. He is currently a non-active member of the N.W.T. and B.C. Law Societies. Since arriving in the Creston valley in 2005, Jim has served as a director of the Kootenai Community Centre, Valley Community Services and the Erickson Community Association. From both his professional and personal experience, he has a deep appreciation for the need to learn about, maintain and protect our remaining wildlife habitat. He believes that by engaging with individuals, community organizations, government and industry, KCDC can achieve its goals and inspire others to be responsible individual and corporate citizens and preserve our natural heritage for generations to come.
Donna Carlyle, Vice-Chair
I enjoyed careers in the fields of lab technology and nursing. I have work experience in the health, forestry, tourism, hospitality, education and employment industries. As a volunteer I have helped develop the organizational and fundraising capacities of a number of non-profit boards and organizations including those dealing with environmental issues, stewardship of earth resources, food security and social consciousness. I have enjoyed an active outdoor life in the Kootenays as a kayaker, swimmer, hiker and camper. Those activities have given me a balanced perspective on the connectivity between and among humans, industry and our natural environment and the need for environmental education to protect and preserve the wonderful biological diversity of our wetlands and the Kootenays, generally.
Greg Baker, Treasurer
I was born in Nelson, BC and completed my education there. I graduated with my Chartered Accountant designation in January, 1975. Following that I became a partner in an accounting firm, in Creston. After selling my practice I worked for the Town of Creston as Chief Financial Officer. I retired in 2008. I have been a member of the Creston Valley Rotary Club for 26 years. My wife and I continue to reside in Creston, B.C.
Danielle Sonntag, Secretary
I was born and raised in the farming community of Lister. Growing up I spent a lot of time outdoors in our backyard forest and helping my parents plant many trees! After high school I moved away for University and received my Bachelors of Education. I moved back to Creston in 2017 and now teach Grade 4/5 at Adam Robertson Elementary School.
Between my university studies I came back to Creston in the summers and worked at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area as a Naturalist. While working at the CVWMA I learned how incredibly important wetlands are. I quickly became passionate about birding, educating students and public about the wetlands, and spending a lot of time outdoors. Outdoor Education has become a part of my regular classroom routine and I am conscious of getting students learning in nature. Working as a Naturalist I learned how important it is to have students learn outdoors. We are so lucky to have nature in our backyards and am excited to be part of a community who sees the value in that.
I was born in Marburg, Germany and immigrated to Canada after I obtained my Ph.D. in biology from the Justus-Liebig-Universitaet in Giessen. I am married and have 2 grown daughters that live in Terrace, BC. We discovered the beautiful Creston Valley in 2011 in the search for milder climate and I am currently working as a Realtor for Re/Max.
Previously, I worked for 21 years as a researcher with a forestry company (Alberta-Pacific) in Northern Alberta. I liaised with various universities and other research organizations to study the impact of forestry on biodiversity and ecosystem health, and we developed new paradigms such as ecosystem management modeled after natural disturbance. I held the position of adjunct professor with the University of Alberta for over 10 years.
I am versed in developing new projects through organized brainstorming sessions; project management; funding applications; public speaking at conferences; and business plan development.
I am an environmentalist at heart and a member of the Wildsight Creston Branch Executive Committee. I strongly support conservation of sensitive habitats and realize the importance of educating upcoming generations since maintaining biodiversity will be an increasing challenge with population growth and climate change.
Dr. Colin Yerbury
I grew up in Creston Valley and it would be fulfilling for me to contribute some of my skills and knowledge back to my home community. My particular strengths are fund raising, conceptualizing and initiating programmes, establishing institutional linkages and partnerships, project management and research, and so forth. Details may be found in my profile. As an anthropologist, I am also very familiar with the cultural groups such as the Ktunaxa and Doukhobor peoples, and I have published articles/chapters about both groups.
Former Dean of Continuing Studies, Dr. Colin Yerbury is the Project Director for the Tier 1 Project: Adult Education for Economic Development (Thailand, Cambodia, Lao PDR) and the Tier 2 Project: Reducing HIV Stigma by Education – Ghana. Prior to his Deanship, he held the position of Director of the Centre for Distance Education for 18 years. He earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology from SFU and his major research interests are in international development, distance education, ethnohistory, urban anthropology, and criminology. He has served the Office of International Development unit in his role as Project Manager of the CIDA-funded South Pacific Islands Nutrition Training Project (1987-1996), the Cuban Tourism Project, the CIDA-funded Ghana Distance Education Project (1995-2001), the CIDA-funded Philippines Distance Education Project (1996-2001), and three SEAMEO Regional Centre Projects. He has also been involved in consultancy projects in the Caribbean, Botswana, Ghana, the Philippines, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
I am a native of Creston and it has been my home for 70 years. I am married and Carol and I have 3 children and 11 grandchildren. I am currently the Dealer principal at Kootenay Peterbilt who are the franchised Peterbilt Dealers in the East and West Kootenays.
I have a deep love for the Creston Valley and believe I can bring several things to the table to move our project forward:
1) I am a Pilot and have enjoyed the unique privilege of flying over the wetlands for 53 years so I am sure I know them as well as anyone.
2) I have a history of community service being a charter member of the Creston Valley Rotary Club, and board member of Creston Chamber, and Creston Valley Blossom Festival.
3) I have a large group of friends and associates I can access for help and advice.
4) I call myself a “schemer and dreamer” I always look at what could be accomplished and then figure out how, always thinking positively and long term. I was in on this project from the start and will do everything I can to move it forward..
After graduating U of C, B.Ed., 1974, I taught Language Arts and was Guidance Counselor in Secondary schools in Alberta for 10 years until I was offered a position as Director of Public Liaison, by Grant Notley Opposition Leader, Alberta. After Mr. Notley died, I was recruited to become Manager of Human Resources, Olds College, AB., and I hold the designation CHRP (Ret’d). I did my post graduate work in Applied Behavioral Science. Ten years later I retired to travel see the world, enjoy my rose garden, be a Sunday painter and care for my late husband who died of ALS. I then moved to Ontario and became an advocate for ALS patients for three years.
On my return to the West I met Allan Downton, publisher of Creston Living, and came to live in Creston. Together he and I have gone around the world three times, seeing and experiencing how other people live and how their cultures have developed. These trips include cooking classes in various countries and I now write the column “Em’s Kitchen”, in Creston Living. Our blended families include 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren and they all love to visit us in this beautiful valley.
Phil grew up in rural Nova Scotia exploring in the forest and hasn’t stopped since. With long time family ties to the Creston Valley, he now lives on a small farm in Lister with his wife and numerous horses and other animals. In between those times he has managed to gain education, work and volunteer experience that enables him to introduce to others the value of “getting out there”.
His initial education included a B. Eng. (Mining) degree from the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now part of Dalhousie University). Heading out west in the early 80s he accepted employment with Shell Canada as an engineer. Experience then included a secondment to the British Columbia government in Victoria and obtaining a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Calgary. Later he was employed as an executive with both public and private oil and gas companies headed up by J.C. Anderson. More recently he completed the core curriculum portion of the Certified Financial Planner program. He still retains his professional engineering (life membership) designation.
Phil’s volunteer experience includes involvement with the The Alpine Club of Canada, Cochrane Search & Rescue, minor hockey, not-for-profit boards and major fund raising by university alumni. He believes that the Discovery Centre has a key role to play in Creston Valley eco-tourism and environmental education for many decades to come.
Meet Our Staff
Carla Ahern, Senior Manager
With a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria and a love of natural spaces and wildlife, Carla has put her passion towards conservation and education endeavours related to wild spaces. She has worked in the field of conservation biology studying such animals as the desert tortoise, northern spotted owl and northern leopard frog and has developed and delivered environmental education programs to youth and adults in a variety of settings and geographic areas.
Carla worked for the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (CVWMA) as their Education and Communication Coordinator for more than 10 years. This involved the operation of the Wildlife Interpretation Centre and its programs and events as well as promotions, marketing, advertising and fundraising. She is so excited to continue to deliver and develop wetland education programming at the CVWMA as well be part the process of developing a new Discovery Centre in her role as Senior Manager with KCDCS.
Carla is currently a Director with Wetland Link International, International Selkirk Loop, Secretary of Creston Valley Tourism Society and Member of the Creston Valley Bird Festival Committee. Carla has called Creston home since 2005 and happily lives “out in the sticks” with her husband and two kids.