Champions, change-makers, builders, stewards. Researchers, helpers, advocates, allies.

Our team is a catalyst for positive change and a sustainable future.

Rebecca is the Executive Director of the CBT and Chair of the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association (CBRA). Rebecca has been a part of the CBT since 2005, and uses a model of participatory leadership and consensus decision making in working with the Board and staff. She strives to cultivate collaboration and partnerships in a region with diverse communities and interests. Rebecca holds a BA in psychology and a certificate in non-profit management from the University of Victoria, and a MA in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University. While her formal training provides theoretical foundations for her work, time spent on the ocean, in the forest, and in the community with her family inspire her to help build an amazing place for generations.

Laura is the Research Director at the CBT. Her interdisciplinary research interests include community resilience, fisheries co-management, community-based monitoring, social-ecological systems analysis, and collaborative planning. As an action researcher and practitioner, Laura is passionate about projects that connect human (social) and ecological systems and form the basis for dialogue and decision making for sustainable development. Laura is a member of the Community Conservation Research Network, a group of world-class researchers and community organizations located in 11 study sites around the world, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and hosted at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

In addition to her role at CBT, Laura is currently adjunct faculty at the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Victoria. She was previously manager of the Clayoquot Marine Program at Ecotrust Canada and director of socio-economic research for the West Coast Aquatic Marine Coastal Plan. A former assistant professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Laura conducted interdisciplinary research about Marine Protected Areas in the North Sea, which applied an institutional economic and social-ecological systems approach. 

Loucks has a PhD in resource and environmental management from Simon Fraser University. She completed her postdoctoral work in the faculty of Rural Policy and Agricultural Economics at Wageningen University in 2009. She holds a master of arts in Atlantic Canada studies from Saint Mary's University and a bachelor of design in environmental planning from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Brooke was born and raised in Nanaimo and has called Tofino home for two decades. Brooke started working as the Office manager for CBT in 2012 after spending years listening to and contributing to the beat of her community manager of the iconic Common Loaf Bakeshop. Over the past 7 years, Brooke’s innate ability to connect with and support people around her has been instrumental in keeping CBT truly rooted in the communities it serves. As Outreach Coordinator, Brooke initiated and lead CBT’s successful Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) program is now– in partnership with the Victoria Foundation– co-leading the development of an NSG Island Network that supports community-building initiatives Parksville, Saltspring Island, Nanaimo, and Northern Vancouver Island. Brooke also coordinates CBT’s Leadership Vancouver Island – West Coast Chapter program, and convenes numerous Nuu-chah-nulth language initiatives through her role as literacy coordinator with the Coastal Family Resources Coalition. 

Faye moved to Ucluelet from Haida Gwaii at the age of two and has called it home ever since. Faye has an undergraduate degree in Geography and holds a Master of Public Health and Social Policy (MPH) with a focus in Indigenous Peoples’ Health from the University of Victoria. In 2012, Faye began volunteering with the CBT on the Community Development grant advisory committee and started her career as CBT Program Coordinator in 2014. Faye is passionate about health promotion and has led several health promotion initiatives in the region on topics such as youth social connectedness and trauma and resilience. She also leads the Coastal Family Resource Coalition, a multi-disciplinary network of health and social service providers. Faye has a strong interest in healthy public policy and has interned with the International Journal of Indigenous Health and volunteered for the District of Ucluelet as a member of the Affordable Housing Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission. For fun, Faye heads to the beach to surf and enjoy time with her family and friends.

Nicole is the CBT Education Coordinator, responsible for leading the West Coast N.E.S.T. (Nature. Education. Sustainability. Transformation.).  She combines a deep understanding of biological and coastal sciences with a passion for providing educational, recreational, and cultural learning opportunities. Nicole completed her academic training in the lower mainland, earning a BSc and MSc in Biology at Simon Fraser University and working as lab instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University before moving to Bamfield, Vancouver Island to serve as University Programs Coordinator at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. In Bamfield, Nicole gained experience in coordinating education programs and university partnerships in a remote coastal community, learning how experiential, place-based education partnerships can bring immense value to both visiting learners and local community members. Nicole loves spending time in nature with her family, surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, camping, hiking, and exploring.

Colin plays a diverse support role at the CBT, responsible for maintaining the general office, supporting the Executive Director, Board of Directors, and other staff, while coordinating CBT's public-facing communications. Colin studied Environmental Science, with minors in English Literature and Economics at Queen's University before moving to the west coast to work for an Indigenous community development consulting firm. He has volunteered in the sustainable community development sector in Lima, Peru travelled widely in South America. He is a member of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Youth Advisory Group and is keenly interested in how local sustainable development initiatives contribute to large scale global goals. Colin is an avid surfer and outdoors person who loves the alpine as much as the ocean, but also loves to curl up with a good book or his journal. He also enjoys playing piano and guitar and is developing a woodworking hobby.

Verena Merkel

Verena is the Bookkeeper at CBT, providing vital accounting capacity to ensure clear administration of the organization’s many programs, partnerships, and processes. Verena grew up in Germany and studied Business Administration at Mannheim University before working as an accounting analyst with progressive levels of responsibility for nearly a decade. She then embarked on a multi-year overland travel excursion with her partner through Asia and North America, eventually settling at the end of the road in Tofino. Verena is interested in financial processes for non-profit organizations and passionate about applying her accounting expertise to enhance the health of the communities and ecosystems of Clayoquot Sound. In her spare time, Verena enjoys exploring the outdoors, singing in the Tofino-Ucluelet choir, and sailing the waters of Clayoquot Sound on her sailboat.

Erika is the lead for CBT’s Eat West Coast food security initiative. From Ucluelet to Hot Springs Cove, Erika is deeply involved in partnership projects with communities on the West Coast helping to enable initiatives that support food access in this remote region. You may find Erika running a local planning meeting, or organizing a bulk food delivery to the West Coast Island Communities. Erika grew up in Ontario, but moved to the west coast to achieve her BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria and MSc in Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia. After working in various research and program coordination roles for public health foundations in the lower mainland, she moved to Vancouver Island where she now passionately involved in the intersections between health, culture, and food security. Erika enjoys gardening, spending time with her friends and family outdoors, and exploring the waters of Clayoquot Sound.