Board of Directors

Ryan Danby, Chairperson

Ryan Danby is an assistant professor in the School of Environmental Studies and Department of Geography at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where he teaches courses in bio-geography, landscape ecology, wildlife conservation, and ecosystem management. Ryan is an expert in the study of habitat dynamics and environmental change in Arctic and alpine environments, and has conducted fieldwork in Northern Canada and Alaska since 1996.

Mr. Danby’s research is highly interdisciplinary, and he works with government, first nations, land owners and other stakeholders to increase its relevancy.

Ben McDonald, Treasurer

Retired since 2005, Ben McDonald worked in the northern labour movement for 25 years, first for the Union of Northern Workers and then for PSAC North.

Ben served three terms as an elected member of Yellowknife City Council and still volunteers in the community for the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee and for groups such as the social justice coalition, Alternatives North, and Smart Communities Society, an organization working to ensure that new information technologies serve the needs and interests of all people in the NWT in a positive and equitable manner. Ben continues to serve as a labour representative on the Workers Safety and Compensation Commission of the NWT and Nunavut since his appointment in 2008.

Lois Little, Vice Chairperson

Lois Little has lived and worked in the Yukon, Nunavut, and Northwest Territories since 1969 and has permanently resided in Yellowknife since 1975. She is the founding partner of Lutra Associates Ltd., a Yellowknife-based socioeconomic research and management consulting firm that was established in 1978. In her work with Lutra, Lois has led or participated in over 400 research, evaluation, and program/project design assignments on behalf of the firm. Her work focuses on the social, cultural, and economic spheres of northern life.

Lois has undertaken groundbreaking research in NWT’s voluntary sector and leads the development of action plans that engage a wide variety of players in addressing longstanding social issues (e.g. family violence, elder abuse and youth alienation). Prior to founding Lutra Associates, Lois was employed in community development functions with the Government of the NWT. Lois has an undergraduate degree in Native Studies from Trent University and a graduate degree in Integrated Studies from Athabasca University.

Kerry Patterson Baker

Kerry Patterson-Baker is a seasoned communications professional specializing in government affairs, stakeholder relations, and project management.  Kerry currently serves with a division of the TD Bank Group as a senior communications advisor.  Past employers include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Fleischman-Hilliard, and the House of Commons. With 20+ years in the public and private sectors, Kerry has also spearheaded many major marketing and federal sponsorship initiatives, negotiating over $16 Million in funds over a four year period. Ms. Patterson-Baker holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Carleton University, and has served on a number of Board’s and Foundations including: Ottawa’s Youth Services Bureau, United Way/Centraide, the Forum for Young Canadians, Equal Voice, and the Gov’t Relations Institute of Canada.  Kerry lives in Ottawa with her husband, four children and a myriad of pets.

Rob Huebert Ph.D.

Rob Huebert is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary. He is also the associate director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and the editor of the Centre’s E-Journal Journal of Military and Strategic Studies. Dr. Huebert has also taught at Memorial University, Dalhousie University, and the

University of Manitoba. His areas of research interests include international relations, strategic studies, the Law of the Sea, maritime affairs, Canadian foreign and defence policy, and circumpolar relations.

Among his publications are: “Polar vision or Tunnel Vision: the Making of Canadian Arctic Waters Policy” in Marine Policy, “Canada and the Law of the Sea” in International Journal and “Canadian Arctic Security” in International Journal; “Canadian Arctic Security Issues” in International Journal; and “New Directions in Circumpolar Cooperation: Canada, The Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, and the Arctic Council” in Canadian Foreign Policy.

Suzanne von der Porten

Suzanne von der Porten is a PhD student in the Department of Environment and Resource Studies, and a researcher with the Water Policy and Governance Group at the University of Waterloo. Her area of scholarship is in the field of Water Governance as it relates to First Nations communities in Canada. Suzanne was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and has a B.Sc. and an MBA from the University of Victoria.

An Economics Instructor at Selkirk College in rural British Columbia, Suzanne regularly contributes publications in the forms of business cases and articles on subjects of water management issues in industrial development in Canada. She also spent three years working as a “helitack” forest fire fighter in northern British Columbia, and has since worked as a lead Fire Information Officer for the BC Ministry of Forests and Range during the peak season ‘fire storms’.

Charles Birchall, Past Chairperson

Chuck Birchall has over 20 years experience in environmental law in the areas of environmental assessment, legal compliance, corporate commercial transactions, negotiations and agreements. He practiced at the law firm of McCarthy Tétrault from 1981 to 1995 and then left to establish the environmental law and policy firm of Birchall Northey. Through his legal/public policy work and his time spent as Executive Assistant to the Honourable Ian Scott, Attorney General of Ontario, (1986 to 1989), he has developed government relations experience in environment, energy, natural resource, first nation, justice and social policy matters. Mr. Birchall was the Chair and then President of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (1982 to 1986), and a member of the board, then president (1995 to 1998), of the Canadian Council on Social Development.