Discovery Centre

Meet Our Board


Phil Harvey, Chair

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.

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.

Gitte Grover

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.

John Huscroft

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..

Myrna Nielsen

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.

Andre Hebert


I was born and raised in rural Manitoba. I took a welding course at the Red River College in Winnipeg and later moved to BC where I married my wife, Carol. We have two children and four grandchildren. I became a certified pulp mill technician while employed by Canfor in PG and later, a First-Class Power Engineer. While in PG and in 2005, I joined BC Safety Authority as a boiler inspector; I covered the Northern Region. In 2010, I transferred south to the Interior Region and chose Creston as my base. In 2014, I accepted a role as Senior Safety Officer where, as an IRCA certified ISO-9001 Lead Auditor, I audited oil and gas companies operating throughout the Province of BC. I retired in 2019 when I turned 65. Prior volunteer work has involved the Golden Search and Rescue, the Nicholson volunteer fire department, and the Tetra Society. I remain involved with the latter as this area’s coordinator.

You can often find me in my shop working on a variety of projects. I take pleasure in listening to most genres of music, I am an amateur photographer, and I do enjoy the outdoors. I love the Creston Valley and I look forward to being a small part of the new and improved Discovery Centre.

Clements Verhoeven

A transAtlantic crossing by passenger ship in stormy November when I was four, summers on my uncle’s farm, and a 25 acre remnant of beech and sugar maple forest to play in  and run through (always late) on my way to school on the outskirts of London, Ontario, nurtured both respect and love for the natural world in these impressionable years.   At Western University, I completed an Honours Degree in English literature with Philosophy and German as minors.  Work experience in construction and industry impelled me to return to university to complete a degree in Secondary Education.  My early teaching experience brought me, my wife and three year old daughter to Waglisla, BC., the Heiltsuk community then commonly known as Bella Bella.  I am happy to say my son was born there.  From there we came to Boswell where we lived a happily rural lifestyle that included gardens and goats. I rebuilt the draft-plagued house and taught at Crawford Bay, and more recently at what was then Prince Charles Secondary School.

Outside of classroom duties, I undertook service that included chairing both Working Learning Conditions and Professional Development for the Creston Valley Teachers Association, encouraging debates and youth action which led to a teen drop-in centre, organising several successful district-wide Earth Days, sponsoring an eco-club for youth, and playing music with several community bands, and theatre  productions. I enjoyed the debates as the Green candidate for the Columbia-Kootenay riding in the federal election of 2006.

Retired from teaching, I continue to play music, renovate and rebuild, garden and help manage the forested land on Arrow Mountain’s south face overlooking the valley where our family is fortunately located  to act as stewards. I have served as a director with Wildsight and am eager to contribute to the ongoing mission to fully realise the goals for the Creston Wetlands Discovery Centre.  Wetlands everywhere are only beginning to be appreciated for the incredible biodiversity they support. Their role in sequestering carbon from our overburdened atmosphere is rapidly gaining our attention.  I consider their health essential to our own and welcome this opportunity to contribute to their and our well-being.

Norman Eady

Norman Eady was born in prince Rupert BC and grew up in Edmonton. He has B.A. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Alberta. Norman moved north to Yukon territory in 1985 and met his wife Susan. They married and raised two children (now grown). Norman and Susan moved south to Creston in 2020 from the Yukon Territory. Norman enjoys hiking, snow-shoeing, playing pickleball and chess. Norman has served on various not for profit boards over the years.

Norman worked as a finance manager in the telecommunications industry up North for 25 years before starting his own consulting business. His clients included small businesses, NGOs, First Nations, and condo corporations. Currently, Norman is the Publisher of the Creston Valley Advance and is on the Board of Kakin Resource Corporation.


Interested in becoming a Board Member?  Please check out our Volunteer Page for more information.



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 and 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, Vice Chair of the International Selkirk Loop, Vice Chair of the 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.

Seasonal Wetland Naturalists

Wetland Naturalists join us seasonally to assist in the delivery of wetland education and awareness programs.