Board of Directors

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Lee McFadyenPRESIDENT

Transplanted from Australia to Canada in 1967, Lee settled in the beautiful Similkameen Valley in 1970 and became one of BC’s pioneer organic vegetable growers. Growing up on a farm with several wild areas untouched, Lee’s father, grandfather and great grandfather schooled her in the importance of protecting wild spaces. With over 200 acres of mixed habitats unsuitable for cultivation on the Similkameen farm, Lee quickly realized that the land's inherent values were its true value. Since then, she considers much of the wild areas as conservation land.

 

Concern for wild spaces in general prompted Lee to become involved with various conservation groups in the Lower Similkameen and South Okanagan. Lee watched the development of the Osoyoos Desert Society and applauded the foresight of its founding members in securing the Osoyoos Desert Centre site.  In 1998 Lee was relieved of other commitments and in 1999 joined the Society, volunteering to lead the Friday night tours. In 2012 she was invited to join the Board and was privileged with the role of President in 2014.

 

Lee states, ”Working with this Society, its staff and its many volunteers has been rewarding and again proves what a small group of committed people can accomplish.”

Peter Beckett | VICE-PRESIDENT

A retired teacher, Peter’s favourite lessons involved giving his students hands-on experiences in BC’s diverse ecosystems: glaciers near the Black Tusk, on a trawler at Bamfield Marine Station, winter camping in Manning Park or canoeing BC’s lakes and rivers. To expand his influence, he wrote curricula and texts and taught new teachers at SFU and UBC. In 1978 Peter and his wife Yvette bought recreational property on Osoyoos Lake and later built their retirement home here in 2005. He now has ample time for gardening, fly fishing, photography and international travel while contributing to the Osoyoos Desert Society as a volunteer.

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Angela Huxham | TREASURER

Angela has an MBA and over 30 years of financial and management experience, including internal audit in Montreal, senior regulatory positions in British Columbia’s venture capital market, and financial and corporate governance consulting for small public companies. An outdoor enthusiast, Angela, with her husband Basil, has experienced nature at its wildest from sailing across the South Pacific and cruising the BC coast north to Alaska in their sailboat, to camping safaris in Botswana and Namibia. Angela loves hiking the hills above Osoyoos,

birding, and trail running. After volunteering at the Desert Centre, in October 2022 Angela was delighted to be given the opportunity to further contribute the ODS as its Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors.

Deb Sherwood | SECRETARY

Deb has a Masters in Resource Management from SFU and worked as a Planner and Policy Analyst for Environment Canada for over 20 years. She loves travelling to the world’s natural places and is pleased to share our unique piece of paradise with others. Deb fell in love with our desert environment when her parents moved to Osoyoos in the 70s. Thirty years later she and her family moved to Osoyoos full time. Deb is passionate about retaining some of our natural environment for the enjoyment of future generations. She loves biking BC’s network of trails and kayaking and sailing on Osoyoos Lake. Deb and her husband also love to travel to the world’s natural places.

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Birgit Arnstein | DIRECTOR

A retired registered nurse, protecting and preserving our environment has been a passion of Birgit’s since the 1980s when her children were young. She became very active in environmental movements promoting recycling, anti-nuclear activities, developing a barter economy and participating in the creation of the Green Party. When Osoyoos became her new home, learning and becoming active in preserving and protecting our beautiful natural spaces as well as giving back to her community became her passion. As a volunteer, Birgit is active with both Osoyoos Desert Society and Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society.

Trevor ReevesDIRECTOR

Trevor has a lifelong interest in nature, habitat preservation and reducing human induced environmental damage. He has been active in Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, as well as Peace Energy, a renewable energy cooperative in Northeast BC. After 34 years practicing as a veterinarian in northern BC, Trevor is now retired and living in the South Okanagan. He is happy to continue to be active in his passion for nature by serving on the Board of Directors of the Osoyoos Desert Society.

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Roger HortonDIRECTOR

After a career in architecture, Roger retired to Osoyoos with his wife and immediately became involved in the Osoyoos Desert Society. A renewed interest in the environment and the natural world was sparked by his role as a Desert Centre guide – one that has stayed with him for the last 20 years. After volunteering for several years, Roger joined the ODS Board of Directors in 2002 acting as treasurer, president and part of the building committee. He has remained involved largely due to what he sees as the important work of the Osoyoos Desert Centre and for the great value that is returned to him as a volunteer in the community.

Joanne Muirhead | DIRECTOR

Joanne earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology in 1999. She has been involved with the Osoyoos Desert Society since then, starting as Desert Centre Manager and progressing to Executive Director, a position she held until 2007. Joanne’s love of the outdoors and the desert habitat continues as she remains a Director for the ODS Board.  Joanne and her husband Ken own a local coffee shop called Jojo’s Café, on Main Street, Osoyoos.

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Jodi Norrison | DIRECTOR

After spending summer holidays in Osoyoos for many years, Jodi decided to make it her permanent home in 2020. Throughout her career she has been actively involved with the not-for-profit sector whether working as a fundraiser connecting donors with a desire to support their community or serving as a director on various boards. Jodi is currently working as a realtor in the South Okanagan and is eager to introduce people to the area and its unique desert landscape. When she’s not working, Jodi is out exploring the area with her two dogs or gardening in her new home. She is excited to have recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Osoyoos Desert Society.

Staff

Jayme Friedt | MANAGING DIRECTOR

250-495-2470 | director@desert.org

Jayme holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western University. She has worked her entire career in the non-profit sector holding senior management positions at some of Canada’s top cultural organizations including Alberta Ballet and Honens International Piano Competition. She also spent many years working in the media as Editor of an international chain of tourism publications, as well as a Reporter/Producer for CKUA, an Alberta-based, listener-supported radio broadcaster. Most recently Jayme was Festival Coordinator for the Meadowlark Nature Festival, education coordinator for Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance and communications coordinator for South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program. Jayme and her husband James live just outside Kaleden, BC where they enjoy hiking, cooking and playing and listening to music with their 17-year-old twins. As a volunteer, Jayme sits on the Board of Directors of Penticton Children's Showcase and is the host of Between the Lines on Penticton's Community Radio Station CFUZ - 92.9 FM or online at cfuz.ca.

​Leor Oren | DESERT CENTRE MANAGER

250-495-2470 | manager@desert.org

Leor studied Natural Resources and Conservation at the University of British Columbia. During and after his degree he was involved with projects with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and BC Conservation Foundation including amphibian surveys, wildlife migrations tracking, insect population monitoring and more. During his latest adventure he was monitoring fishing vessels near the shores of Vancouver Island, only to leave the rain and the rocking boats for the unique natural ecosystem of the southern Okanagan. Leor is a health junky and you can always talk to him about nutrition, human physiology, yoga, gymnastics, and martial arts. If you knock on his door on the weekend and he is not inside making Shakshuka, he is out hiking, climbing, rappelling or canyoneering.

Join Us

There are many ways to get involved with the Osoyoos Desert Centre. You can volunteer, become a member, donate, work for us, or visit the Desert Centre. 

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