Lake Simcoe Watershed Natural Vegetation Cover Monitoring Program
photo credit: S. Melamed 2013
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Our Teams

Science and research as well as field sampling related to the Lake Simcoe Natural Vegetation Cover Monitoring Program has been a collective effort of the University of Toronto Faculty of Forestry and OMNRF. It has involved many people from field assistants, students, research assistants, to professionals and academics. Our dedicated field teams sampled natural in the Lake Simcoe watershed in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2011

Dr. Danijela Puric-Mladenovic - Project & Research Lead: Danijela is an Assistant Professor (status) at the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto and also works as a Senior Analyst for Settled Landscapes with the Science and Research Branch, OMNRF, where she designs and delivers applied science and research studies and programs that enable strategic conservation, management, planning and restoration of settled landscapes and their forests for the benefits and enjoyment of all Ontarians.

Melanie Shapiera - Project Field Lead (2016): Melanie is a Management Biologist with Regional Operations Division, OMNRF.

Kate Gee - Project Field Lead (2011-2015): Kate is a Resource Technician with Regional Operations Division, OMNRF.


2016 Field team 

From left to right:From left to right:

Katherine Baird: Katherine has always had a great love for the outdoors. She has an Hons. BSc. from the University of Toronto in Environmental Biology, and Certificate in Digital Geography and GIS from Ryerson University. Katherine finds herself exploring the environmental field as a volunteer with the TRCA Terrestrial Monitoring Program and also volunteers with the Toronto Wildlife Centre, rehabilitating sick or injured wildlife. Her interests include hiking, skiing, crafting and nature photography.

Catherine Wisniowski (team lead): Summer 2016 will be Catherine's second summer supporting the Lake Simcoe VSP Project. She is excited to visit more areas of the watershed and continue working on her plant identification skills. Catherine has a BSc. from the University of Guelph in Environmental Science, and has recently graduated from Fleming College's Ecosystem Management Technologist Program.

Kyle Vanin (team lead): Kyle is a graduate of the Fish and Wildlife Technology program at Sir Sandford Fleming College. While working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kyle gained experience in fisheries and wildlife management, botany, and the classification and evaluation of wetland ecosystems.

Pamela Martin: Pamela is currently pursuing her Master of Forest Conservation at the University of Toronto. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Zoology and Geography from the University of Guelph, and an Ecosystem Management Technician Diploma from Fleming College. Pamela is interested in travel, nature photography and taking her tortoise for summer walks.


2015 Field team:

From left to right:

Catherine Wisniowski (team lead): Catherine has a Bachelors in Environmental Science from the University of Guelph. This past spring, she graduated from the Ecosystem Management Program at Fleming College. Catherine is looking forward to opportunities that will allow her to gain further experience within the field of environmental resource management.

Keegan McKitterick (team lead): Keegan graduated from the University of Guelph in 2012 with an Honors Bachelors of Science with a major in Biology and a Minor in Ecology. In 2014 Keegan completed the ecosystem management program at Sir Sanford Fleming College. Since then Keegan has worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry conducting wetland evaluations. Keegan has a strong interest in the natural world with a focus on plants.

Olivia Sroka: Olivia recently graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelors of Environmental Studies Honours Degree. While studying she developed a passionate interest in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and has aspirations to work in ecological restoration.

Caitlin West: Caitlin is currently attending McMaster University where she is completing her B.Sc. in Honours Biology with a specialization in Physiology. 


2014 Field team:

Filed crew, Summer 2014From left to right:

Brittany Ferguson: Brittany has a Bachelors from the University of Guelph in Biology with a minor in Zoology. Since earning her degree she has spent the last three years immersing herself in a variety of exciting opportunities in the field of biology with a focus on conservation and environmental management.

Caitlin West: Caitlin is currently attending McMaster University where she is completing her B.Sc. in Honours Biology with a specialization in Physiology. 

Ricardo Poulat de Villasante: Ricardo has a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and is currently a Masters of Forest Conservation candidate at the University of Toronto. Ricardo has over five years of experience in project management and process optimization in different fields with a focus on sustainability. Ricardo's MFC poster, Carbon Incentives to Conserve Southern Ontario Forests (2014) can be found here.

Gilles Pansin: Gilles is currently a Master of Forest Conservation candidate at the University of Toronto and he will be carrying out his research internship on Georgina Island this summer. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology.

Britney Niedzielski: Britney has her Masters of Science from Trent University where she studied Eastern Wild Turkey ecology at the species northern range edge. Before completing her Master's she obtained a Bachelor's of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo.

2011 Field team: 

Aaron N. Day, as a Master of Forest Conservation student, assisted with field sampling in 2011 and used field data for his final MFC paper “Forest inventory and monitoring information to support diverse management needs in the Lake Simcoe watershed”  (published online 2012).

Eric Jacobsen, as a Master of Forest Conservation student assisted with field sampling in 2011.

Research Assistants

Catherine Wisniowski (2016) - Catherine to aid with editing 'VSP Guide' documents for use by future crews at training and beyond. Catherine will also aid in Lake Simcoe data management.

Olivia Sorka (2014-15) - Olivia helped with editing VSP field manual.

Annie McKenzie (2014) and Sarah Melamed-Simon (Spring 2014) assisted with landowner contact and communication during the 2014 field season.


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Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) (2015)

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Last update October 2016