Board of Directors & Staff
Todd Stockner moved to the Kispiox Valley from New Westminster in 1994 with his young family. An angling guide in the Skeena watershed since 1982, he now operates his own angling guide business on the Kispiox and Skeena rivers. In the off season he makes his living as a fine woodworker, working out of the workshop on his hobby farm. He received training in fine woodworking at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program in Fort Bragg, California in 1989/90.
As well as being a director of SWCC, Todd also sits on the executive steering committee of Friends of Wild Salmon, is an active member of the North Coast Steelhead Alliance, as well as a member of Western Canada Wilderness Committee.
When not taking up time with all of the above, you can find him playing hockey on the pond in front of his house with friends and family during the winter; listening to and watching the amazing bird life all around us in the spring; cutting firewood, mowing the lawn, and floating the rivers in the summer; and – when not guiding – he can be found on some remote and beautiful part of our rivers fly fishing for steelhead every fall. Email Todd.
Board of Directors
Gene Allen – Gene’s family has 5 generations in the watershed and currently makes his living as a wilderness resort operator, rodeo stock contractor and maintains an active trapline. Gene worked as a logger and guide outfitter for most of his life and lives on his horse ranch in the Kispiox Valley. He is a leading member of the Kispiox Watershed Monitoring Committee and the Skeena Quality Waters Initiative, both of which are government recognized programs to ensure that sustainable development occurs on the land. Gene was also a leading campaigner against the clear cutting of the headwaters of the Kispiox River and was successful in creating the Swan Lake Wilderness Area, preventing such development from proceeding. Gene has been a director of the SWCC since its inception in 2004.
Wade Davis – Wade Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany from Harvard University. A native of British Columbia, Dr. Davis has worked as a park ranger, forestry engineer, logger, big game hunting guide and conducted ethnographic fieldwork among several indigenous societies of northern Canada. He has published some fifty scientific articles on subjects ranging from Haitian vodoun to the global biodiversity crisis. His magazine articles have appeared in Newsweek, Premiere, Outside, Omni, Harpers and several other international publications. He has lectured at the American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, California Academy of Sciences, Missouri Botanical Garden, Field Museum of Natural History, New York Botanical Garden, National Geographic Society, America’s Society, Royal Ontario Museum, Royal British Columbia Museum, the Explorer’s Club as well as more than fifty major universities including Harvard, Yale, Tulane, Vanderbilt, M.I.T., University of North Carolina, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, University of Colorado and University of Wisconsin. His photographs have been widely published and exhibited at several galleries including the International Center of Photography (I.C.P.) in New York.
Presently a Research Associate of the Instituto Caribe de Antropologia y Sociologia in Caracas, Venezuela, he is an Honorary Research Associate of the Institute of Economic Botany of the New York Botanical Garden, a Collaborator in Botany at the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Research Associate of the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Executive Director of the Endangered People’s Project.
Roy Vickers – Canadian artist Roy Henry Vickers is an accomplished carver, design advisor of prestigious public spaces, a sought-after keynote speaker, and publisher and author of several successful books. In addition, he is a recognized leader in the First Nations community, and a tireless spokesperson for recovery from addictions and abuse. Roy has received many awards and honours for his art and community involvement. Among them are a hereditary chieftainship and several hereditary names he has received from Northwest Coast First Nations. He is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
In 1994, Maclean’s magazine included Roy as the first artist ever in its Annual Honour Roll of Extraordinary Canadian Achievers. In 1998, the Province of British Columbia appointed Roy to the prestigious Order of B.C. and in 2003, Roy received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. In 2003, a video featuring Roy was part of the successful Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid. In 1987, at the Commonwealth Summit in Vancouver, the original of Roy’s painting A Meeting of Chiefs was the official gift of the Province of British Columbia to Queen Elizabeth II. Limited edition prints of the painting were presented to the 48 Commonwealth Heads of State. During their Vancouver Summit in 1993, former Soviet leader Boris Yeltsin and former U.S. president Bill Clinton received artist’s proofs of Roy’s print The Homecoming as the Province’s official gift.
Roy’s father was a fisherman with the blood of three northwest coast First Nations – Tsimshian, Haida and Heiltsuk – flowing in his veins. Roy’s mother was a schoolteacher whose parents had immigrated to Canada from England.
Brad Wilson was born and raised in the Hazeltons’. After graduating, he moved to Kamloops to attend Thompson Rivers University. During a summer break, he discovered his passion for the culinary arts, and began his apprenticeship at the Hummingbird Restaurant. In 2003 Brad received his Red Seal Certification in the Culinary Arts and spent the next 6 years plying his trade and gaining experience. For a change of pace he decided to pursue another avenue of interest, as a professional driver. Brad spent the next 3 years driving throughout the interior for Arrow Transportation. Brad found his way back into the kitchen in 2008 working for Thompson Rivers University and most recently at Mt. Paul Golf Course as their Executive Chef. Brad moved back home to Hazelton and opened The Historic BC Cafe with his girlfriend and business partner Tera Brooks. Brad has always enjoyed the outdoors and has taken full advantage of all each season had to offer. He has always been environmentally conscious and feels responsible for preserving our natural resources for future generations to enjoy. He feels very strongly about the balance that exists between all living beings that call the Hazelton area home. His traditional up-bringing dictates that conservation is more than a catch phrase, it is a necessity.
Carrie Collingwood was born and raised in the Bulkley Valley. She spent her youth in the upper Stikine watershed and has fond memories learning about the land from the late Chief Alex Jack. Her family owns and operates a guide outfitting and fly fishing lodge in Spatsizi Wilderness Park. 2009 is the 40th year of operation for the Collingwood Family. Carrie manages her family business and is a fly fishing and hunting guide. She and her husband Billy Labonte, an avid Steelhead fly fisherman and guide have two children. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Leisure Service Administration from the University of Victoria. Carrie has also worked as a planner in public sector recreation and as a downhill ski instructor.
Shannon McPhail lives and works in the watershed and grew up on a working ranch, spending much of her youth fishing and hunting in the Skeena mountains with her family. She has worked as a white-water rafting guide, a big game hunting guide, a welder and a nutritionist at a women’s health center after her education in the field of chemical technology. Shannon’s diverse background allows her to understand and relate to people within the watershed that have a variety of opinions and concerns. It is important to Shannon that all voices are heard when decisions are being made regarding the future of this unique place. Her commitment is so strong that she spent 7 years working for the SWCC as a volunteer. Shannon is a mother of two. While motherhood certainly keeps her busy, it hasn’t slowed her down or prevented her from working to keep our Sacred Headwaters free of coalbed methane and our Skeena River wild. Email Shannon.
Brian Huntington – A founding member of SWCC, Brian moved to the Skeena in 2003 from Missoula, Montana to work with a senior biologist from the Ministry of Environment on a grizzly bear conservation project in the upper Skeena watershed. Brian graduated from the University of Montana with a BSc in Resource Conservation and Wildlife Biology. He worked as a Biological technician for the USGS on Glacier National Park’s original grizzly bear DNA study and as a project coordinator with the MT Dept of Fish & Wildlife, the Alliance for Wild Rockies and the Great Bear Foundation from 2000 to 2003. Since 2004, Brian has been organizing baseline inventory research for selected fish, wildlife and cultural resources in the upper Skeena. In 2007, he was adopted into a Gitxsan House group with territories in the upper Skeena as a result of his meaningful work. Most of the photos you see on our website are a result of Brian’s many treks into the wilderness with his camera. Email Brian.
Kathy Stockner grew up in West Vancouver, and ended up in the north by marrying Todd and following him and his passion for the northern rivers. It only took 24 hours for Kathy to feel that it was the right move (while Todd took less than a minute). Now, she absolutely loves her rural home and close-knit community, and would never want to live in the city again. They have a small acreage in the Kispiox Valley, where they run a small steelhead guiding operation in the fall. During the summer, the lovely guesthouse that Todd built is used as a bed & breakfast for visitors from all over the world. The Kispiox Valley has been a wonderful place to raise their two kids, now off on their own adventures. Kathy has worked mainly as a typesetter for print shops, newspapers and book publishers over the years, and is now the office administrator for the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. Email Kathy.
Cynthia McCreery is SWCC’s Operations Director and YOW administrator. Cynthia was raised in a logging family in Hazelton where she lives today. Her first real job was bucking and finds that this prepared her well for steppping up to the challenges of joining the SWCC crew! She first worked for SWCC in 2009 as a curator for the “Spirit of the River” art exhibition and since then has remained a huge supporter. She has a bachelors degree in the History of Art from the University of Victoria with First Nations art as her main focus. Her career has been wide ranging, from research and museum and art exhibitions, to work at the local library and with special needs children. At SWCC Cynthia works hard to keep things running smoothly! Email Cynthia.
Events and Volunteer Coordinator
Dana Hibbard is the Events and Volunteer Coordinator for the SWCC. Dana came to the Hazeltons in 2011 and is blessed to now call the Kispiox Valley home. Dana’s parents operate a wilderness adventure company and she grew up paddling remote rivers throughout the north. Her work as a river guide, tree planter and forest fire fighter has exposed her to the intersection of wilderness and industry. Dana has a degree in Global Development and Environmental Studies and has worked on a variety of social and environmental programs from vermicomposting to micro- finance.
Solar Outreach and Education Coordinator
Greg Thorne is the Solar Outreach and Education Coordinator for the SWCC. Greg was raised on a family farm in southwest Saskatchewan and in a small town in central Alberta before relocating to BC and falling in love with the North, where he now lives in Hazelton. Greg has worked on a variety of community-based sustainability projects including the creation of a documentary film about honey bee colony collapse on Vancouver Island, helping a widows’ collective in rural Ghana to organize a micro-credit loan system, co-leading a bicycle-powered traveling theatre show about environmental issues in Ontario, and facilitating youth-led mural paintings about environmental and social concerns in Victoria, BC, and in Honduras. Greg has degrees in Biology, Psychology and Philosophy. He is passionate about creative thinking, about the power of collaboration, and about finding practical ways that communities can take charge of their own carbon-free energy futures. Email Greg.
Leah Pipe is SWCC’s talented Communications Designer. Leah is a painter and printmaker whose spectacular artwork is inspired by the river, mountains and valleys of Hazelton and the surrounding areas. Leah is celebrated and studied as one of Canada’s best kept secrets and has poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into SWCC over the years. Leah will be continually adding her creative touches to everything from our merchandise and posters to our website design. She is the owner and operator of one of the finest art and gift shops around, Art & Antler! Email Leah.
Sarah Panofsky has filled the role of Youth on Water and Women on Water educator for SWCC. Sarah first fell in love with paddling down rivers as a teenager exploring northern Quebec and Ontario by canoe. Since then her love of adventure and wild places has found her in Hazelton. With a bachelor of arts in anthropology and a master’s in human geography, Sarah has always been most happy in her role as an educator. She has worked as an ESL teacher, ski instructor, yoga instructor and canoe-tripping guide. She currently works at Storytellers’ Foundation where she coordinates literacy and learning with a focus on community development.
Chris Gee is a social justice advocate with a passion for water. Born and raised in Dakelh territory, near the Nechako River, Chris has spent much of his life soaked with river water. One year Chris spent over 150 days kayaking on rivers and creeks around his home in Terrace and, given Chris’ nature, he will likely remain in the water until it turns to ice. He was the safety director and kayaker of the 2009 Spirit of the Skeena Swim and was the first kayaker to paddle the entire 610km of the Skeena river. Despite being water logged much of the time, Chris managed to complete his Master’s degree in social work. Chris has a strong commitment to the well being of youth in his community and as a result initited and implemented SWCC's ““Youth on Water” program. He volunteered with SWCC for this program and more for 2+ years.
Kim Hoekstra: Living in the Northwest has been a dream for Kim for years. After many White-water kayaking trips to the Terrace Region she has decided to call it home. She was a member of the Skeena Swim expedition 2009, as the Scout Safety Kayaker. Kim can be found: Kayaking, Biking, Backcountry Skiing, teaching yoga and loves sharing her love of the outdoors with others as a guide or instructor. Kim has worked professionally in the whitewater industry for over 12 years, she is a sales rep for WRSI helmets and Fluid Kayaks. Another passion of Kim’s is working with youth. She has worked with young offenders and recently has been working with youth in addictions and recovery. She believes everyone deserves to “Experience Wellness” and has seen first hand what type of healing Wilderness has on youth. Kim has been busy with SWCC this year helping coordinating special events and the Awakening the Skeena Film Tour. She is also a coordinator for the ““Youth on the Water” river guide training program. "I’m so pumped to be working side by side our local youth on the rivers in our community, not only are they going to be learning to work safely in and around the rivers but have a strong commitment to protect these rives in their future.” Look for Kim on the local rivers this season.