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 of rare’s limitless growth.

Stephanie Sobek-Swant, Executive Director

Stephanie Sobek-SwantStephanie 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 x113 or                                 stephanie.sobek-swant at raresites.org

Roger Oei, Senior Operating Officer

Roger OeiRoger 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 x117 or  roger.oei at raresites.org

Chris Ainsworth, Sponsorship and Events Manager

Contact Chris at 226-989-8838 or  chris.ainsworth at raresites.org

Alissa Fraser, Conservation Technician

Alissa moved to Cambridge from a small farm on the outskirts of St. Marys where she developed a love of the land and wildlife. To her mother’s dismay, much of her childhood was spent outdoors catching bugs, climbing trees, or finding some way to come home covered in mud and burrs. It was only natural that she decided to make a career out of protecting what she loves and pursued an environmental education obtaining an Honours Bachelor of Science in Physical Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Toronto and an Ecosystem Management Technician diploma from Sir Sandford Fleming College. Her passion for ecosystem restoration and working with species at risk is what led her to rare.

She joined the rare team in August of 2016 as an intern and has since been hired on as the Conservation Technician for the Land Management Department where she focuses on invasive species mitigation and ecological restoration. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, attempting to garden, working out with her husband Chris and hanging out with friends and family. Although her favorite pastime is arguably snuggling her cats Mew and Pumpkin while watching Netflix or reading a good book.

Contact Alissa at 519-650-9336 x114 or alissa.fraser at raresites.org

Taryn Jarvis, Gardens Coordinator

Taryn JarivsTaryn was thrilled to join the team at rare in the spring of 2016 and is now the 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 she maximizes the small space by tending to a container garden, some raised garden beds and a rooftop garden perched atop the garage.

  Contact Taryn at 519-650-9336 x115 or                                         taryn.jarvis at raresites.org

Laura Klein, Gosling Engagement Coordinator

Laura KleinAfter completing an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, Laura went on to obtain a Master of Applied Science at Ryerson University. Laura spent time researching sustainability within the festival industry, and beach management throughout Ontario. Laura is passionate about contributing to non-profits and in the past has been involved with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation and the Animal Welfare Agency of South Central Ontario. Laura joined the rare team in November 2016, and is excited about the opportunity to put her energy into community engagement, focusing on fundraising, volunteer management and outreach projects.

   During her free time Laura enjoys spending time at her               cottage, walking her dog and playing slo pitch.

   Contact Laura at 519-650-9336 x126 or                                       laura.klein at raresites.org

Tamanna Kohi, Development and Communications Officer

Contact Tamanna at 519-650-9336 x122 or tamanna.kohi at raresites.org

Emily Leslie, Gill Ratcliffe Educator

Emily LeslieEmily 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 x112 or                                      emily.leslie at raresites.org

Mackenzie Lespérance, Indigenous Research Fellow

Contact Mackenzie at 519-650-9336 x123 or mackenzie.lesperance at raresites.org

Jenna Quinn, Program Scientist – Research Priorities, Partnerships & Monitoring

Jenna QuinnJenna 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 x111 or                                                                                                                                 jenna.quinn 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 Sir Sandford 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 at rare, and she is always happy to greet you at the office or speak with you over the telephone!

When not at rare, you can find Kim exploring new places and spending time outdoors with her little guy, husband, and their                                                           family dog.

                                                          Contact Kim at 519-650-9336 x125 or                                                                                                kim.robichaud 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 x118 or                                                                                                                            christine.thompson at raresites.org

Tom Woodcock, Planning Ecologist

Tom WoodcockTom 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 x121 or

tom.woodcock at raresites.org

rare Charitable Research Reserve
1679 Blair Road
Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8
(519) 650-9336
Charitable Registration:
#8776 15914 RR0001