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The Team: Team

Heather Marcks, H.B.Sc, M.F.C


Heather has worked for various organizations and has gained a strong background which includes over ten years in the environmental sciences field. She obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science in biology from Trent University and her Master of Forest Conservation degree from the University of Toronto. Through her academic and employment endeavours she has gained experience in project management, environmental assessments and impact studies, conducting and leading terrestrial surveys, identifying key natural heritage features and habitats, and producing technical reports providing ecological information and project guidance. She has been involved with numerous projects including restoration, monitoring and development projects, as well as environmental assessments. Heather possesses a strong passion for conservation and nature, which can be seen through her academic, employment and personal life activities. She was involved in the Urban Turtle Initiative, the Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Programme, and one of the largest monitoring and mitigation programs ever issued under the provincial Endangered Species Act, as well as volunteered for seven years as a wildlife rehabilitator. Heather is Ecological Land Classification (ELC) certified and has obtained training in Ontario reptile and amphibian surveys, winter animal tracks, rapid stream assessments, backpack electrofishing, and low complexity prescribed burns.


Brad Baker, H.B.Sc


Brad has worked on a wide range of ecology projects since 2002 with an emphasis terrestrial ecology and Species at Risk.  He has an Honours Degree in Biology from Brock University (2004), and a Post Graduate Certificate in Environmental Engineering Applications from Conestoga College (2008). He is one of the founding members of Birks Natural Heritage Consultants, who works to provide forward thinking and creative solutions where natural heritage and human plans converge.  He provides project management for natural heritage projects, regularly working with environmental planners and proponents who look to undertake works in and around important natural features.  In consulting he has project experience ranging from provincial and municipal environmental assessments for large mining, infrastructure projects, and landfills through to Environmental Impacts Studies and Natural Heritage Evaluations for small home improvements in the Growth Plan Areas of Ontario.  He has also been a key project member for projects focused on inventory of Natural Heritage Features and functions and the recreation, improvement, or post-construction monitoring of those systems.  


Some of the certifications he holds include: Butternut Health Assessor Certification, Ontario Ecological Land Classification for the Great Lakes Region, Wetland Evaluation System Certification and Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification.  He has been on the Ecology Committee for the Ontario Stone Sand & Gravel Association since 2010. 


Stephanie Brady, HBES


Stephanie has been involved in numerous terrestrial projects, including the implementation of Environmental Impact Studies, Natural Heritage Evaluations, and Ecological Offsetting Plans for the acquisition of Municipal, Provincial, and Federal environmental approvals including submissions and acquisition of permits made under Section 17 of Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007 and alternatives available under the act for various Species at Risk.  She has an Honours Degree in Environmental Studies from Lakehead University (2012) and a College Diploma in Forestry from La Cité Collegiale (2008).  One of the founding members of Birks Natural Heritage Consultants, Stephanie possesses in-depth knowledge and industry approved training of Ontario's Species at Risk including Endangered bat species, reptiles, and birds.  Stephanie obtained comprehensive and industry approved training to accurately collect site information in relation to the identification and detection of various Species at Risk including completing assessments of suitable habitat. 


Melissa Fuller, H.B.Sc

Ecologist, Consulting Arborist

Melissa is an experienced Ecologist, having spent much of her life appreciating the outdoors through both work and play.  Melissa completed an Honours Bachelor of Science at McMaster University, with specialization in Biodiversity and Environmental Science then continued her studies at Niagara College, completing the Ecosystem Restoration Post-Graduate certificate.  For the past decade, Melissa has been working as an Ecologist in both the non-profit and private sector.  During this time she has acquired skills sets relating to managing and assessing both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the Province of Ontario.  This knowledge base has given Melissa a unique perspective to work with landowners and developers in the preparation of environmental assessments and tree preservation plans in support of development applications.


The Team

Sarah Robbins, HBES


Sarah is an experienced terrestrial ecologist with a passion for the outdoors. She obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Studies with Honors from York University in 2007 and a Diploma of Environmental Technology with Honors from Georgian College in 2015. Through her professional training, she has acquired a variety of skills and certifications that allow her to accurately characterize natural heritage features, including ecological land classification (ELC), wetland delineation (OWES), targeted species at risk (SAR) identification, and reptile and amphibian survey execution.  She has authored a variety of technical reports, including Natural Heritage Assessments, Environmental Impact Studies, and Environmental Assessments.

Sarah has gained a significant amount of experience coordinating complex environmental compliance monitoring programs. This includes managing construction monitoring programs, assessing sediment and erosion control features, and executing water quality monitoring studies in the GTA region.

As a Peterborough resident, Sarah contributes regularly to her community. She is currently working with local businesses and organizations on outdoor educational events in the Kawartha region and donates her time to local land trusts during species inventories and SAR presence-absence surveys.

Ken Tuininga, H.B.Sc.


Ken has worked as a wildlife biologist and ecologist for the provincial and federal governments for over 30 years. He has an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his time with the provincial government, Ken gained much experience evaluating wetlands, completing fish inventories and working on species at risk. When he moved to the federal government, he worked for several years on water quality issues for the protection of fish and fish habitat, where he acquired significant expertise with the federal Fisheries Act, specifically its pollution prevention provisions. The last 17 years, prior to coming to Birks NHC, Ken worked as a Senior Species at Risk Biologist for the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS). During that time, he gained extensive experience and expertise implementing the Species at Risk Act and Migratory Birds Convention Act. He worked on the recovery of different taxa including plants, reptiles, birds and insects, often with an emphasis on grassland species. Ken led the federal recovery for Henslow’s Sparrow and contributed to the development of federal recovery strategies for such species as Eastern Meadowlark and Bobolink.  Ken was the CWS-Ontario species lead for invertebrates. In this role he led the recovery actions for many insects, but primarily butterflies, moths and dragonflies.  Most recently, just prior to his retirement from CWS, Ken led the national recovery for the Monarch butterfly. Ken led the recovery for Kirtland’s Warbler and Eastern Loggerhead Shrike for many years. He was a member of the International Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team as well as chair of the Loggerhead Shrike Recovery Team. He continues to be involved in the recovery of the Kirtland’s Warbler, as well as the Ontario Butterfly Species at Risk Recovery Team. In his spare time, Ken enjoys birding, odeing (searching for dragonflies), and tagging Monarchs each fall. 

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