Board of Directors
Kristy Kilpatrick - President
Kristy Kilpatrick is a teacher in the Greater Victoria School District, recognized for innovative teaching practices and for giving her students the tools to excel.
A two-time recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence, her initiatives include an outdoor classroom at her school to support “urban wild culture” and community mapping.
Kristy encourages her students to be stewards of the natural world by incorporating nature, including urban wildlife, into the school curriculum wherever possible.
When not in her classroom or working with the UWSS, Kristy loves to garden, read and hike, but most of all, spend time with her husband, children and grandson, along with her beloved dogs and 21-year-old cat.
Annette Dehalt - Vice President
Annette Dehalt is an instructor at Camosun College in both the Biology Department and the Environmental Technology Program, where she currently teaches Marine Biology and Vertebrate Diversity and Ecology.
She takes her students into the field as much as possible, and integrates Traditional Ecological Knowledge with the Western Science model to facilitate greater understanding and respect for the natural world. Annette is passionate about animal protection and has been an active humane educator as well.
Annette’s past work experience includes eco-tourism (whale watching), ranch work (herding) and a variety of biological and oceanographic research projects (environmental impact assessment). In her spare time, besides serving as Vice President and Scientific Advisory Group member of the UWSS, you can find her hiking with her dog Dash, horse-back riding, gardening, tap dancing, practicing yoga, or exploring the habits and habitats of various animals.
Holly Vear - Secretary
Holly Vear practices aboriginal law and environmental law in British Columbia and the Yukon, with a focus on governance and sustainable land use. She also works with local animal advocacy and welfare groups to help advance their respective missions.
As a Director on the board of the UWSS, Holly brings valuable insight, research skills, compassion and determination to animal welfare issues particularly, at this time, to humane and non-lethal methods of managing deer and wild geese.
In her spare time, you will find Holly spending time with her husband and canine companions, trail-running in Vancouver Island’s beautiful natural spaces, cooking delicious plant-based foods, volunteering at the local dog shelter and advocating for animals.
Susan Laberee - Treasurer
Susan has spent the majority of her 30+ year career working in a multinational corporation across Canada, Europe and Asia. Her experience has been primarily in the field of human resources focusing on management training, succession planning and organizational development. She is an accredited business Coach working with organizations and individuals in areas of career planning, team development and change management. In her roles as an executive team member, responsibilities included regional, national and global budgeting planning and analysis.
Prior to her recent relocation to Victoria, Susan enjoyed working as a volunteer with at risk youth in Vancouver and now looks forward to focusing her spare time in the area of environment and animal welfare.
She enjoys spending leisure time with her two sons, her sisters and their families, all of whom relocated to the Island over the course of the last 5 years. She is an avid traveler and has recently taken up trail-running, highly influenced by her niece as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Lynette Browne - Director
Ever since Dr. Lynette Browne graduated from veterinary school in 1985, she has been passionately involved in the welfare of animals, both domestic and the wild ones that accidentally cross paths with humans. With her passion for both the animals and the environment, she believes it is important to back facts with science when making decisions involving animal welfare, especially in this rapidly changing climate we now live in.
Dr. Browne was an integral field team member since the 2018 capture and collar phase of the Oak Bay/Provincial and UWSS urban deer management research project. When not working at the animal emergency hospital, she volunteered her professional expertise in the capture, collaring, and releasing of 20 does. Dr. Browne’s calm, expert, efficient and compassionate care of the deer was invaluable to the process, and the UWSS was grateful for Lynette’s ongoing participating in the IC field work, as well as contributing her knowledge of wildlife and the interactions between animals and humans, to the UWSS.
Dr. Browne’s dream of living on the West Coast, amongst the mountains, the ocean, the animals and the beautiful landscape, finally became reality ten years ago when she re-located from Ontario. The move has proved to be beneficial both personally as well as in her professional life. She enjoys the challenges and rewards of working in multiple different small animal practices, including an emergency hospital, as well as the recently renewed gratification of home ownership. During her time away from work, she enjoys gardening, gymnastics, yoga, hiking, camping, kayaking, birding, and dog walks on the beach. She feels truly blessed to live in such a wonderful part of this country, to be able to contribute in whatever way she can to the local animal community, and is very mindful that we are in a small part of this beautiful ecosystem we call the Pacific Northwest.
Chelsey Mercer - Director
Chelsey Mercer studies Environmental Technology at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia; a multidisciplinary program with focus on natural sciences, sustainable resources, environmental management, and field methods. Her co-op work positions have given her experience in water quality management, riparian restoration, public outreach, invasive species monitoring and removals, wildlife habitat restoration, and data collection. Her interest in the interaction between animals and urban environments began when she volunteered with Urban Lions, a Vancouver based non-profit whose focus was addressing the issue of feral cats through behavioural training for potential adoption or spaying/neutering for non-adoptable cats. She later volunteered with WildArc as a wildlife rehabilitation volunteer. Her experience as a wildlife rehabilitator helped to further her interest in the conflict between wildlife and the urban environments they often call home. Last year she was given the opportunity to volunteer with the UWSS during the winter field study, which ignited a passion for the project and the welfare of the urban deer.
In her spare time, Chelsey can often be found enjoying local hiking spots in the Victoria area, spending time with family and friends, painting, or working in her garden.
Anne Drummond - Director
A few years ago Anne wrapped up a career as a biologist and educator because she wanted to live more creatively and be outdoors with her pair of rescue dogs, who she describes as “a constant source of learning, inspiration, and delight”. She has since built a Tiny House and successfully established a Tiny House Bed and Breakfast business.
In the course of Anne’s training and subsequent career in biology, she has had many opportunities to work with and handle a wide variety of animals, from penguins to monkeys among others. Anne grew up in South Africa where her delight in birds was not regarded as unusual, but here in Canada she has often been called the ‘Bird Lady “ in the three places she has lived and she is the person kids and their parents bring injured birds too. When not feeding birds and playing with her dogs, Anne can often be found seeking adventures on her bike, her main mode of transportation.