Board of Directors
2023 – 2024 Executive
Shelley Hunt – Chair
Shelley holds a PhD in Environmental Biology and spent 14 years as a professor at the University of Guelph, where she still teaches part-time in the School of Environmental Sciences. She also had the honour of spending over 6 years as the director of the university’s Arboretum. Shelley’s background is in Forest Ecology, and her research has taken her to a variety of forest regions, from boreal northern Ontario to the Carolinian zone in the southwest of the province, mainly to study the impacts of forest management practices on ecosystem structure and function. She is a true ‘tree hugger’ at heart, an interest sparked by time spent as a child in the woods of Haliburton, where her family has been cottaging for many decades. Along with her husband and son, Shelley made the move to live here permanently just last fall, and she couldn’t be more excited to spend all her time in the Haliburton Highlands.
Joan Duhaime - Secretary
Joan has lived in Haliburton County since 1987. She retired from teaching at Ridgewood Public School in Coboconk in the spring of 2015 after a 30-year career. Joan always had a special interest in making connections for her students to the environment and to the importance of all of us working together for a healthy earth. Joan has two sons who were born and raised near Gelert. She enjoys kayaking, camping, hiking, gardening and has played trumpet in the Highlands Wind Symphony for many years. When looking for a place to volunteer time, the Land Trust fit perfectly with her hope to help preserve our land for future generations.
Rob Halupka – Treasurer
After cottaging in the county for 20 years, it was a no-brainer for Rob and his wife to make Haliburton their permanent home upon retirement. Rob began his career as an engineer in the mining industry with stops along the way including Timmins and Calgary before evolving into a banker in the financial sector in Toronto. Rob enjoys all things outdoors (fly fishing, canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing), so it was only natural for him to become involved first with the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association and now the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust where he hopes to contribute to securing the wild places for future generations.
2023 – 2024 Directors
Ralph first experienced the beauty of Haliburton County during the early '80's while as a research technician investigating acid precipitation effects on local lakes. In the early '90's, he experienced the Haliburton community more as a supply teacher at Haliburton High. Since 2002, Ralph and family have lived in Haliburton County, close to the eastern county settlement of Highland Grove. Spanning his academic and professional endeavours related to aquatic research, teaching science, and during the past 20 years, as a GIS developer/analyst, the grounding motivators have been nature conservation and landscape stewardship. His objective now is to impart further this motivation and expertise with whatever HHLT requires to achieve its mandate.
David is a retired Geologist who has visited Haliburton County all his life and has lived in Snowdon Township since 1982. After obtaining a degree in geology, David worked as a field geologist for government and industry, and has been self employed as a geological consultant. He retired after forty years in the field of geology. David considers himself an environmentalist, travelling through every province and territory in this country. He manages his family's property through the MFTIP program for habitat and recreation, and continues to be involved in the community.
Jennifer was born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario, and came up to Algonquin Park with her father every year – a place she loved dearly as a child and young adult. While she left Canada soon after university to begin a career in International Development and Human Rights advocacy, her love for Algonquin never waned, and she returned as often as she was able during her trips home from the field. Jennifer has worked in countries around the world for CARE International. She is known for her research and advocacy skills, has been a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto and University of Ottawa, and a Research Fellow with University College London, in the UK. During her last and longest posting, in Afghanistan, she met her husband Jacques, and they have both since retired to start a family. They chose to make their home in the place Jennifer loved most, Algonquin, where their son Tom was born in 2015.
After a successful career in the financial and investment industry in Toronto, Mary-Lou followed her heart and retired to Haliburton where she had been a cottager for many years. Mary Lou has since moved to New Brunswick but her passion for the HHLT is such that she continues her volunteer work from afar. She is passionate about nature, conservation and all forms of animal life and their habitat. She consistently uses her background in operations as well as her organizational skills on the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust board.
After a long career in Information Technology, primarily as a Chief Technology Officer of some of Canada’s leading websites, Huw is enjoying his Haliburton cottage and a new career as a photographer. He is passionate about the environment and is happy to bring his knowledge of computer systems and content management to the HHLT board.
Sheila is one of the founding members of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust. She joined the first Land Trust Board while she was still teaching English as a Second Language in Toronto. After spending ten years on the Board, Sheila took a break to pursue her other passion in life – basketry. After a two-year hiatus, Sheila has returned to the Board as a director. Her commitment to connecting people to nature and protecting the natural world remains strong.
Christel Furniss - Office (part-time)
Christel Furniss brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to HHLT's office. She is proficient in business operations, customer service, logistics and not-for-profit practices. She will be able to use her multi-faceted, transferable skills in administration, data-base management and communication in all the areas that this position requires.
HHLT and Christel’s philosophy and passion for nature and the protection of it for future generation align perfectly. She and her husband made their home in Haliburton village in 2012 and have embraced the community and all it has to offer with open arms. Whether it’s downhill skiing, dragon boat paddling or finding a new ‘put-in’ for her canoe to explore a new lake, being in the peaceful outdoors and breathing the Highlands fresh air brings her great joy!