About Us


Society for Conservation Biology

The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) is an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. The Society’s membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity: resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers, and students make up the more than 10,000 members world-wide.

The Toronto Chapter and board members

The SCB has a mulititude of local chapters across the globe. We are one of these local chapters, which provide an opportunity for SCB members to engage in conservation at the local level. We strive to build a network of active conservation biologists from the three local academic research universities – University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University, as well as government, non-government and private agencies operating within the Greater Toronto Area. Our goal is to facilitate discussion of and solutions to urban conservation biology issues that threaten the function of Toronto’s local ecosystems. This includes land use transformation, reduction of biological diversity, loss of native species, among other relevant issues. To this end, we aim to host formal lectures with local expert participants, hold informal conservation biology philosophy discussions, form policy statements to influence municipal government decisions, and involve the local community in the practice of conservation science.

President: Jen Chivers

jchivers_headshotJen is currently working towards her BSc at York University and hopes to continue onto graduate studies. She was an active volunteer with the SCB-TO pollinator diversity project in Rouge Park, and served as communications coordinator in 2014, helping to organize a nature and wildlife photography contest. She is looking forward to continue engaging the public in local conservation issues.

Vice-president: Christopher Blackford

kayak headshotChris is a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at the University of Toronto. His thesis looks at how biodiversity, connectivity, and disease should inform Marine Protected Area placement. When not working on his thesis, he can be typically found biking around Toronto’s beautiful ravine systems.

Treasurer: Amanda Xuereb

amanda_headAmanda is a PhD student at the University of Toronto in Marie-Josée Fortin’s spatial ecology lab. Her research has mainly focused on the use of genetic tools in conservation and management, both in her PhD work and in her previous MSc work at Queen’s University. She has been an active member of the SCB Toronto Chapter for 3 years. Before moving to Toronto, she was involved in the SCB Kingston chapter for four years, first as a volunteer and later as co-president.

Communications Coordinator: Felipe Torres Vanegas

F-Torres_UofT-e1475095535818-297x300.jpgFelipe is a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at the University of Toronto. He is interested in exploring the effects that habitat fragmentation has on pollination dynamics and seed dispersal. He is also interested in formulating conservation strategies that maintain and promote gene flow between habitat fragments to sustain long-term population viability.

Member-at-large: Ilona Naujokaitis-Lewis

lons1Ilona is currently a Postdoc at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is working on demographically informed climate change vulnerability assessments. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Toronto where her research examined the combined influence of direct habitat loss and climate changes on migratory bird seasonal range dynamics. Her aim is to pursue research that helps to inform the conservation decision making process, even under uncertainty. She has been an active SCB-TO board member since 2010 and has held different positions including Secretary, Conservation Chair, and most recently President. She is committed to engaging local communities in conservation science that has global significance, in particular through the ongoing SCB-TO goes Rouge Project. While Wisconsin has edged her closer to the west coast, she hopes to continue her geographic journey westward in the future.

Becoming a Member

New members are always welcome.

If you would like to become a member of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) please follow the directions below. Please note at this time the Toronto Chapter does not charge additional dues for membership in the local chapter. Dues are specified by the SCB – please check this link for more information.