The OFAH NXT-GEN program was launched in 2021 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 second group of NXT-GEN Ambassadors have recently been selected, consisting of a mixed group of newcomers and year one returnees. Check out their bios below.
- Adam MumbySudbury, OntarioAdam Mumby
I’m a 25-year-old machinist and father based in Sudbury, Ontario. I feel just as at home chasing grouse in the north as I did in the south watching game trails for bucks or on the water angling for rainbows, brookies or pike.
My father has been an OFAH member since well before I’ve been alive and an angler for even longer. Now we are both anglers, hunters and OFAH members along with my partner and my daughter. I grew up seeing the work the OFAH does in the pages of Ontario OUT of DOORS and I’m very excited to help contribute and continue that work so that future generations can enjoy everything our province has to offer.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cam DonlanStrathroy, ONCam Donlan
Growing up in Strathroy, which is located in Southwestern Ontario, not far from London and Sarnia, I’ve been an OFAH member for many years and as of 2018 became the voice behind the Ontario Outdoor Pursuit Podcast. My passion for the outdoors has been with me since I was a kid -- always fishing and camping at every opportunity I could get. Hunting, on the other hand, started for me about 11 years ago through archery and some close family friends. Beginning my outdoor adventure as an angler, hunter and conservationist, I’ve built many incredible relationships while constantly learning and having the ability to share my findings. Every year brings something new to learn in the outdoors world. Nobody knows it all, but many people who know a lot and I want to be one of those people to help share information regarding wildlife and the outdoors as it was and continues to be shared with me.
- Lyle GayderNiagara, OntarioLyle Gayder
Surrounded by some of the most productive water in Ontario on the Niagara Peninsula, it’s no wonder Lyle Gayder’s passion for fishing and the outdoors has grown to into a full - out lifestyle that sees him involved in local fish and wildlife club initiatives, outdoors writing and photography, tournaments, and of course fishing for fun.
Lyle grew up fishing with his family which inspired him to dedicate much of his life to learning about Ontario’s aquatic ecosystems, how people and the environment coexist, and of course, what makes fish of all kinds bite.
He earned an honours degree in human geography and has worked as a GIS technician, tackle store associate, product rep, outdoor media editor, and fishing guide with his self-started company.
Recognizing the outdoors as a healthy physical and mental outlet for youth, Lyle believes that promoting respectful engagement between anglers and Ontario’s natural resources will help foster conservation for generations to come.
Lyle hopes to provide expertise that gives voice to Ontario’s youth as a NXT GEN ambassador thanks to his wide range of experiences in industry, and in the field as a conservation-minded angler.
- Natalie MechalkoOwen Sound, ONNatalie Mechalko
I am a 24-year-old University of Waterloo graduate with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Environment, Resources & Sustainability Honours Co-op with a minor in biology and diplomas in Ecological Restoration and Environmental Assessment. Currently, I am a Forestry and Trails Coordinator with Grey County where I work with various land managers and local trail organizations to manage County forests and address issues around accessibility, user conflict and sustainability.
Growing up in rural Ontario, I spent most of my time outdoors mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, paddling and fishing. With a background in fisheries and wildlife ecology, I took Hunter's Education in effort to further understand hunting as a management tool. Ever since, I have been looking for opportunities to obtain experience with small game hunting and trapping - I participated in my first turkey hunt in 2021! I'm excited to learn more about OFAH through the NXT-GEN program and further explore interactions between hunters and non-hunters, hunting awareness and communication in public lands and hunting and fishing access.
- Thomas BenoitOttawa, OntarioThomas Benoit
I was born and raised in Wallaceburg, Ontario, and I cut my teeth in the outdoors in the surrounding fields, rivers, and lakes of southern Ontario. I eventually moved to Ottawa, where I am now a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa, specializing in infectious bacteriology.
I’m very passionate about many aspects of the outdoors and I would describe myself as an outdoors generalist, where throughout the year, you might find me in the vibrant spring woods, on a boat, in a blind, or on a frozen lake. It is with this passion, that I want to advocate for our outdoor heritage and the multi-faceted value that hunting and fishing bring to wildlife and habitat conservation. As an OFAH NXT-GEN ambassador, I hope that my scientific training, coupled with my enthusiasm for the outdoors will bring a fresh perspective to tackle the challenges faced by our cherished outdoor sports.
- Jeff PyeStoney Creek, OntarioJeff Pye
Jeff is a father, angler and hunter currently residing in Stoney Creek.
Jeff is a member of the Long Point Area Fish and Game Club, where he volunteers with the Norfolk County Pheasant release program which the club organizes annually.
As a second generation hunter and angler, Jeff is a strong advocate for mentorship within the outdoors community, as he himself has benefited tremendously from those willing to spend time in the field and on the water passing down insight and techniques required to be a successful hunter, angler and most importantly, conservationist.
As a father with a young family, Jeff joined OFAH NXT-GEN to promote OFAH’s values and ensure that not only this generation of young hunters and anglers have appropriate access to recreational hunting and fishing opportunities, but also the next.
- 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.
- Brooke WrightRoslin, OntBrooke Wright
Conservation has shaped who I am as an individual today. Being raised by parents who are both anglers and hunters I had the privilege of developing a connection to my surrounding environment at a young age. This passion only grew as I got older which led me to pursue a degree in Environmental Resource Science at Trent University.
Not only is protecting and advocating for Ontario's conservation a lifelong passion of mine but I also see it as a responsibility. As the next generation, I feel a duty to tune in and seek out solutions that will help minimize current climate change effects. I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of this diverse group of people working towards creating a greater change.
- 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.
- Avery JenksElora, OntarioAvery Jenks
My name is Avery Jenks, and I have a strong passion for natural resource conservation, management, and advocacy. I am a recent graduate of the Conservation and Environmental Law Enforcement program at Fleming College’s School of Environment and Natural Resource Sciences, where I also graduated from the Fish and Wildlife Technician program.
I grew up in the town of Elora, Ontario, and from a young age I have always shown enthusiasm and passion for enjoying the outdoors. I have many interests including wildlife and plant identification, angling, camping, and outdoor adventure. I am starting my career journey focusing on positions that continue to expand my knowledge of the natural resource management field. I have experience in ecological restoration, nature education, and have now moved into enforcement roles as I move toward my goal of becoming a Conservation Officer. My education has given me a strong understanding of provincial and federal natural resource legislation, as well as habitat management, fisheries management, and wildlife biology and conservation.
I believe that everyone should have access to opportunity to build and nourish a connection with nature and think that a love and appreciation for the outdoors knows no bounds, as the environment is something that we all share. I am very excited to bring my knowledge and many passions to the OFAH NXT-GEN program as an ambassador!
- 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.
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