Our Team

Our Steering Committee is made up of volunteers representing all levels of government, communities and non-profit organizations. This committee provides leadership, strategic direction and decision-making capacity to advance our goals, objectives and core program areas. Guidance is provided by our Terms of Reference. We are privileged to have the leadership of the following individuals who comprise TNCC’s Steering Committee:

The Mission StatementWe put environment first.

What? The TNCC was started in March 2020 to explore options for greater support for, and collaboration among, groups doing conservation work in the Thompson-Nicola (T-N) region, including the possibility of a regional conservation partnership, similar to others in BC.

Who? It was initiated by the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), with start-up funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service (ECCC-CWS). In April 2021, the TNCC will be launched as a member-driven collaborative organization, independent of government.  


Why? ECCC has identified 11 Priority Places for biodiversity conservation in Canada, including the BC Dry Interior. The T-N region comprises 45% of the Dry Interior and contains provincially, nationally and globally significant biodiversity values, including many species and ecosystems at risk. For example, the grassland ecosystem covers only 1% of the province but has over 30% of the species at risk.


When? In Phase 1, March 2020 to March 2021, consultants conducted background research, directed by an ad hoc Working Group, including 80 interviews with over 60 organizations. Results from the interviews show overwhelming support for the idea of a conservation partnership!

Chris Barker

Wild Sheep Society of BC

Scott Boswell

Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program

Danielle Cross

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Tina Donald


Brian Holmes

Upper Nicola Band

Shauna Jones

Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Alex LaForce

Lower Nicola Indian Band

Jamie Leathem

Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Melanie Minnabarriet

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Mike Overend

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

Heather Richardson

Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship

Jesse Ritcey

Kamloops Naturalists Club

Mandy Ross

Grasslands Conservation Council of BC

Lisa Strychar

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Gail Wallin

Invasive Species Council of BC


Kirsten Wourms

City of Kamloops



Danielle Toperczer


Leading the organization’s day to day operations is TNCC’s Program Director, Danielle Toperczer. Danielle is an agrologist with over 15 years’ experience in program management, engagement and communications in both the non-profit and government sectors. Danielle has a deep appreciation for the people and places within the Thompson Watershed and enjoys many outdoor activities within this and other special places across the province.

Ally Blake


Ally Blake brings diverse experience in communications and event management from non-profit and private sector organizations to her role as Communications and Stewardship Coordinator with TNCC. Originally from N. Ireland, Ally enjoys organic farming, paddling and is passionate about conserving British Columbia's great outdoors for future generations.

“When we show our respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us”

Arapahoe proverb

Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)