The OFAH NXT-GEN program was launched earlier this year to provide volunteer experiences for younger people of all abilities with opportunities to offer direct input into OFAH discussions and be spokespersons and influencers while gaining valuable experience, connections, and insights into fishing and hunting and other conservation management topics.
The OFAH is proud to introduce the first group of NXT-GEN Ambassadors in 2021.
- Steven ZingaroBarrie, ONSteven Zingaro
Steven is an outdoor enthusiast, with passions for foraging, gardening, hunting, and fishing. In his professional career, Steven went to the University of Guelph and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, and is currently working in the field of energy management and sustainability. Now he has been pursuing ways to give back to the outdoors community. He is currently a director at Friends of Hullett, which manages the Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area.
Having lived in many cities in Southern Ontario, Steven has had to repeatedly find new access to water and lands. He brings to the OFAH NXT-GEN his experiences in land access, interpreting regulations and the challenges of hunting and fishing in southern Ontario. He is passionate about mentorship, and also looks to advise on how to engage new anglers and hunters.
- Kelly McLeanLindsay, ONKelly McLean
Growing up, I always loved spending time outdoors; camping, fishing, and exploring. My enthusiasm for the outdoors led me to pursue a career in wildlife management. I started my journey in the fish and wildlife program at Fleming College, then completed a biology degree at Trent University, a Masters of Science studying waterfowl at the University of New Brunswick, and am currently completing my PhD on the spatial and population ecology of Sandhill Cranes at the University of Waterloo. I began hunting about ten years ago and have been hooked since the first jake that made the lethal mistake of visiting my decoys. Although I live for turkey opener, I now also deer, moose, waterfowl, and upland gamebird hunt. As a NXT-GEN ambassador I hope to encourage and support other women interested in hunting, and use my knowledge and passion to contribute to the conservation of Ontario’s wildlife.
- Branden FennellWaterloo, ONBranden Fennell
As a member of the Algonquin First Nation, I have always had a deep connection with the woodlands and lakes of Ontario. This passion for the outdoors pushed me towards obtaining my BA in Environmental Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, where I could apply the things I had learned about conservation growing up into my education. I am fortunate to come from a rich hunting and angling history on both sides of my family, whose camps have long been active conservationists and involved in various programs supporting conservation. Those closest to me know that I am happiest with a gun in my hand, looking out over my favorite duck pond with my Flat-coated Retriever, or waiting in anticipation as the deer hounds get closer. Having grown up hunting and fishing in South Central Ontario on a healthy mix of private and public land, I feel I can bring a unique perspective to the NXT-GEN program.
- Erin StewartPeterborough, ONErin Stewart
Erin is a masters student at Trent University studying thermal biology and conservation physiology of Ontario’s brook trout. Her undergraduate degree is in conservation science and management from the University of British Columbia. She is a self-taught fly fisher who combines her love for backcountry camping and hiking with accessing remote fishing spots. She is passionate about creating an inclusive community in the outdoors space and fostering a ‘know it, love it, protect it’ mentality. Erin hopes that during her time as a NXT GEN Ambassador she can use her experience as a young woman in fisheries science, her knowledge of conservation, and her passion for outreach and education to bring a fresh perspective to the OFAH while advocating for continued evidence-based conservation decision-making.
- Britney BelangerLondon, ONBritney Belanger
My name is Britney Belanger, I was born and raised in London, ON. I graduated from Western University with my BA in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research. I am currently working as a developmental service worker.
I am a first generational hunter and a lifelong angler. I have been fishing for 25 years and hunting for 3. I have yet to harvest my first animal but it is not for the lack of trying. I have my third bear hunt this September, my first waterfowl hunt this October and my third season hunting deer.
I want to bring my knowledge and lived experiences as a new hunter, avid angler and a woman to the OFAH, by shining a light on the barriers that many individuals face within the community. I want others to feel comfortable learning and exploring the outdoors, and not be afraid to get out of their comfort zones.
- Daniel SkinnerEnnismore, ONDaniel Skinner
I am 18 years old and from Ennismore, Ontario. I am attending Lakehead University in Thunder Bay where I am studying Environmental Management. I grew up in a very active outdoors family. Both of my grandparents were anglers and hunters, and one was a hunter education instructor. Hunting and fishing have been a big part of my life. I started fishing at a very young age and have evolved from fishing from the dock to extended trips into Algonquin Park’s interior in pursuit of Brook trout and Lake trout (the picture of the brook trout is from the interior of Algonquin). I am hoping that my experience from my hometown in southern Ontario and my studies in northern Ontario will allow me to offer a good overall understanding of fishing in Ontario which will benefit the OFAH.
- Satbir BassiToronto, ONSatbir Bassi
I'm 28 years old coming from a sikh background currently living in Brampton. Always loved being outdoors every chance I got I was in any parcel of bush or ravine I could find. Grew up going to the conservation areas around my house often.
Self taught hunter started when I was 20. Still eager to learn more. Strong believer that we should all take ownership and take care of the land we call home ontario and ultimately Canada. Love hunting different kinds of big game And learning about how we can improve and stabilize populations across the province.
What I want to bring to the NXT-GEN PROGRAM is new ideas and input coming from the next generation of hunters and anglers so we can keep pushing for preservation and conservation for generations to come.
- Trisiah TugadeToronto, ONTrisiah Tugade
I am a Master of Environmental Science graduate who is passionate about conservation and biodiversity. My environmental experience deals largely with fisheries conservation and aquatic invasive species. I am ready to bring my extensive research experience to inform policy and propel evidence-based decision making. I have liaised with government entities, academic bodies, private sector, and community members directly, while focusing on building trusting relationships. With my background in conservation, fisheries, and partnership building, I hope to bring to OFAH my own perspectives about the balance between fisheries management and subsistence/recreational fishing. As a NXT-GEN ambassador, I am excited to participate in OFAH's various conservation programs and learn about and develop natural resource management policy within OFAH’s Fisheries Advisory Council. I hope to Carp the diem and make a real splash within the OFAH organization.
- Michael Joseph LeeToronto, ONMichael Joseph Lee
I was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo as a fifth generation Chinese Canadian, currently living in downtown Toronto on land covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. I received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McMaster focused on ecology and evolution, and Master of Planning in Urban Development from Ryerson focused on sustainable energy systems. Previously I worked as a community energy planning researcher, and currently work in healthcare.
I am a recently self-taught, first generation hunter. I am drawn to hunting as an intersection between food, sustainability, and personal connection to the natural world. I feel that hunting is an avenue for us to ethically engage with nature as an active participant within the ecosystems we live in.
I am excited to learn as an OFAH NXT-GEN Ambassador, and hope to share my perspectives as a multicultural, self-taught hunter.
- Leah RobinsonPeterborough, ONLeah Robinson
Grew up in cottage country where the outdoors were never far away and always had an affinity for the outdoors and wildlife. Went to Fleming College School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences for Fish and Wildlife Technician. Worked for OFAH twice; once as Wildlife Interpreter at the HFHC; then as an ISAP Liaison with Emily Provincial Park. I currently work at a vet clinic where I’m still able to enjoy daily life with animals with enough spare time to continue my outdoors interests. I identify as Métis-Canadian, my indigenous roots coming from the plains in Saskatchewan, and they’re something I hold close to me as I make sure to give my thanks and respect to the nature word as it sustains me.
What defines me as an angler/hunter is my family history of it. My dad had me eating caught fish and wild game from the time I could have solid food, and started me fishing once I could hold a rod on my own; it’s always been something him and I have shared together, being 4th and 5th generation hunters, respectively. My maternal grandfather, from whom I get my indigenous roots, grew up hunting and fishing for sustenance and since I’m his only grandchild who shares that lifestyle, it’s always been a source of story sharing and bonding for us. Given all of my history with the outdoors, it’s also my passion to protect it for future generations.
- Jenna KnightCourtice, ONJenna Knight
I am a currently a Bachelor of Science student at Trent University, and I am hoping to further my education in wildlife management, monitoring, and research following graduation. I come from a family of avid hunters and fishers, so it was only natural that I developed an interest in it too, both for my own enjoyment and to spend time with family. I have a strong interest in the conservation of Ontario's wildlife, so I am excited to foster that and be a voice for anglers and hunters through the OFAH NXT-GEN program and the Big Game Advisory Committee.
- Scott CornerCayuga, ONScott Corner
I’m a first generation outdoorsman raised on a small hobby farm outside of Cayuga Ontario. I spend my time exploring the vast amount of crown land and lakes outside the National Capitol Region. I was raised with a strong passion for the outdoors and I’m on a lifelong journey to act as a steward for the outdoors while becoming a better advocate for the hunting and angling communities. I hope to bring to the OFAH a strong sense of responsibility for the wildlife which we see too often taken for granted in Ontario. I’m excited to advocate for and assist new anglers and hunters as they begin their journey with the timeless traditions of hunting and angling.
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