Our rare Team
Meet our passionate rare team, consisting of individuals with varied backgrounds in education, skills and expertise. Their dedication to rare’s mission of conservation, research and education is propelled by their belief in how limitless rare’s growth and potential is.
Click through to learn more about our rare team!
- Stephanie Sobek-Swant, Executive Director
- Roger Oei, Senior Operating Officer
- Taryn Jarvis, Property, Facility and Garden Coordinator
- Gerrit Kamminga, Lead Educator & Program Facilitator
- Erika Kastner, Development & Communications Officer
- Emily Leslie, Gill Ratcliffe Educator
- Jenna Quinn, Program Scientist – Research Priorities, Partnerships & Monitoring
- Cheyanne Richardson, Community Stewardship Coordinator
- Kim Robichaud, Administrative Coordinator
- Christine Thompson, Major Gifts Manager
- Tom Woodcock, Planning Ecologist
Stephanie Sobek-Swant, Executive Director
Stephanie is an internationally trained biodiversity researcher, with experience in leading people and administering large collaborative projects. After early experience as a research associate and project manager at Berlin’s Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, she graduated with a Ph.D in Biodiversity and Ecology from Germany’s University of Göttingen. Since coming to Canada, Stephanie has held research positions at the Universities of Waterloo and Western, and most recently taught as an assistant professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. Stephanie has been in charge of rare as Executive Director since January 2014.
In her spare time, Stephanie tries to read at least 52 books per year, and is also known as a prolific knitter and crocheter.
Contact Stephanie at 519-650-9336 x. 113 or stephanie.sobek-swant at raresites.org
Roger Oei, Senior Operating Officer
Roger Oei, our Senior Operating Officer, oversees the areas of finance, human resources, legal, IT, administration and facilities. He has been at the charity since 2012, having worked in private industry for several large, publicly traded, multi-national corporations. Roger has chosen to dedicate his time to our charity, cognizant that it will have a positive impact on his community and his family. In his spare time, Roger is a closet-door TV junkie, but we try not to hold that against him.
Contact Roger at 519-650-9336 x. 117 or roger.oei at raresites.org
Taryn Jarvis, Property, Facility and Garden Coordinator
Taryn was thrilled to join the team at rare in the spring of 2016 and is now the Property, Facilities and Gardens Coordinator. Always having been interested in the natural world around her, she graduated from the Renewable Resource Technician program at Sault College in 1997 and has worked on a variety of wildlife research projects across Canada and in the USA.
Along with being passionate about the environment and the gardens at rare, her home garden is her personal gardening oasis where she tends to raised beds and in-ground vegetable gardens, a couple of Hugelkultures, and a large perennial flower garden that covers her entire front yard.
In her spare time she taps into her resourcefulness and desire to learn by delving into a variety of hobbies, such as tapping her own maple trees for sap, preserving her own food for winter, running long distances, welding and designing and sewing clothing for her own line of women’s active wear.
Contact Taryn at 519-650-9336 x. 115 or taryn.jarvis at raresites.org
Gerrit Kamminga, Lead Educator & Program Facilitator
Gerrit has been a part of the rare team since February 2013 and is currently positioned as the Lead Educator and Program Facilitator for the Every Child Outdoors (ECO) program. While growing up in Campbellville, Ontario, Gerrit frequented the surrounding Halton Conservation Areas and quickly developed a strong interest in wildlife. This interest was evident by the fully illustrated and up-to-date field notebook in which he recorded all notable sightings. Fueled by his curiosity with nature and B.Sc. and B.Ed. degrees, Gerrit strives to spread this interest by developing and delivering research-based environmental science modules at rare. When he’s not exploring natural spaces, Gerrit enjoys playing guitar, spending time with his wife Gracie, listening to music, or following various Toronto sports teams.
Contact Gerrit at 519-650-9336 x. 123 or gerrit.kamminga at raresites.org
Erika Kastner, Development & Communications Officer
Erika convinced herself at an early age that she was going to be Indiana Jones, so much so that she went to McMaster University to study Archaeology. After discovering that Indiana Jones Archaeology is not real Archaeology, she switched her focus to Anthropology with minors in Classics and Art History. Erika went on to do a post-graduate diploma in Museum Studies at Algonquin College, because she figured if she couldn’t discover artifacts at least she could play with them in institution collections. After several years of conserving/restoring heritage buildings and collections here in Canada and in Scotland, Erika completed a diploma in Office Administration – Executive at Conestoga College, where she had the opportunity to get involved with rare. She has been with the organisation since May 2014, responsible for supporting fundraising efforts, social media, communication outreach and organising the charity’s largest community and fundraising event, the Walk & Run for rare.
As you can imagine, Erika loves to travel, checking places and monuments off her bucket list. She also counts herself as a professional TV show marathoner and amateur chef.
Contact Erika at 519-650-9336 x. 122 or erika.kastner at raresites.org
Emily Leslie, Gill Ratcliffe Educator
Emily started her role as an Educator at rare in the spring of 2016, where she quickly developed a love for the land and wildlife that makes rare so special. Emily is a qualified teacher with a background in environmental education and nature interpretation, building her passion for teaching about the natural world. As an Educator, she feels strongly about providing opportunities for students to build their own connections to the nature that surrounds us. She loves being out with school groups and experiencing the daily changes of the landscape through the seasons. When Emily is not at rare, you can find her running through the escarpment trails of Hamilton, trying to figure out what bird she just saw, or searching out live music.
Contact Emily at 519-650-9336 x. 112 or emily.leslie at raresites.org
Jenna Quinn, Program Scientist – Research Priorities, Partnerships & Monitoring
Jenna joined the rare team in spring 2012 and oversees the research and monitoring department. It was her curiosity about wildlife and nature that led her to study biology, and she is now a passionate advocate for our environment. Holding a M.Sc. in biology and a M.Ed. in curriculum development, Jenna is always keen to talk about research projects, field trips, and interesting wildlife sightings. In her free time, she loves being an aunt to her nephew and niece and loudly cheers for her favourite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jenna is also a member of the Waterloo Region Nature club and is editor of their newsletter, The Heron.
Contact Jenna at 519-650-9336 x. 111 or jenna.Quinn at raresites.org
Cheyanne Richardson, Community Stewardship Coordinator
After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy at Wilfrid Laurier University, Cheyanne went on to complete a post-graduate certificate in Fundraising and Resource Development at Georgian College. Cheyanne is passionate about contributing her fundraising skills to create positive change and has been volunteering with non-profits for over seven years, including Canadian Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and Wilfrid Laurier Alumni Association. Cheyanne completed her fundraising internship with Georgian College at rare Charitable Research Reserve; she is now working as the Community Stewardship Coordinator, working on various fundraising and community relations projects.
In her spare time Cheyanne enjoys spending time with her friends and family, traveling around Ontario in search of good live music and she is a member of a local film club. Cheyanne is often tied to her desk at the Lamb’s Inn office but takes every opportunity she can to explore the trails, her favourite part of the property is the Springbank Farm gardens when the sunflowers are all in bloom.
Contact Cheyanne at 519-650-9336 x. 126 or cheyanne.Richardson at raresites.org
Kim Robichaud, Administrative Coordinator
Kim has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental and Resource Science from Trent University and a Forestry Technician diploma from Fleming College. Before joining rare in May 2014, Kim worked for various governmental and non-profit organisations in the environmental sector. Kim is responsible for office administration, while also assisting with facilities coordination and event planning. Kim is delighted to work for rare, and she is always happy to greet you at the office or speak with you over the telephone!
Kim is currently on maternity leave, but Sarah Doze, who is filling in, would be more than happy to help you! Contact Sarah at 519-650-9336 x. 125 or sarah.doze at raresites.org
Christine Thompson, Major Gifts Manager
Christine and her husband, Brendan, are raising three children in Niagara Falls – Amanda is just heading to high school and Madison and Travis are in primary school. As a family, they enjoy road trips and picnics around Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie. In what quiet time she can find, Christine enjoys reading both fiction (crime novels) and non-fiction while relaxing in the hammock. Christine is originally from Parry Sound, Ontario and values expansive green, natural spaces for her family to enjoy and explore – listening to the birds, watching the butterflies, discovering and identifying animal tracks. Christine also enjoys continuing to develop her personal expertise and is committed to philanthropy through both professional and community involvement – she is currently the chair of the younger children’s school council.
Christine joined rare in July 2015. With more than 15 years’ experience as a fundraising professional, she understands the importance of meaningful engagement to strengthen your ties with rare, and is always ready to help you discover what that looks like to you. There are so many opportunities to get involved here at rare, and Christine would be very pleased to chat with you about your specific interests and support.
Contact Christine at 519-650-9336 x. 118 or christine.thompson at raresites.org
Tom Woodcock, Planning Ecologist
Tom has a PhD in Ecology and has conducted fundamental and applied research activities in a wide variety of North American ecosystems over the past 20 years. His focus has been on broad-scale ecological responses to a variety of stressors, including pollution and land use change. At rare, Tom is responsible for development of long-term management and restoration plans for the charity. At various parts of the day you can catch Tom quoting The Simpsons and Arrested Development much to his office mates amusement.
Contact Tom at 519650-9336 x. 121 or tom.woodcock at raresites.org