The Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance (OSCA) is a registered non-profit society run by a volunteer board of directors, with other dedicated volunteers and contract staff who plan and deliver over one hundred environmental events every year in our communities.

Our mission is to promote environmental awareness in the south Okanagan and Similkameen.

Janet Willson

Janet brings OSCA important skills in communication and marketing. An avid nature lover and gardener, she is also a communications leader with extensive experience in strategic marketing and communications planning, relationship-building, and creative problem solving. She is the owner of in.sight communications and works with clients in both Alberta and British Columbia from her home base in Summerland BC. Janet has extensive board leadership experience and is currently also active on the boards of Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen as well as the Canadian Centre for Business Growth, located at Okanagan College in Penticton.

Janet Willson, Chair

Bob Nicholson

Bob Nicholson is a retired journalist. Coming to OSCA from a 25 year career with CBC, he was a reporter, TV news anchor and regular radio morning show host. Bob also ran a communications consultancy offering corporate media training and video narration and writing. Now retired, he volunteers for several community organizations in Penticton including Peach City Radio, Meals on Wheels and OSCA.

Bob Nicholson, Vice Chair & Secretary

Pat Evans

Pat has had a long career in financial services and is currently a Mobile Mortgage Specialist with TD Canada Trust. She grew up in Montreal and Vancouver and, like many people, moved to the Okanagan to enjoy the weather and fantastic lifestyle. She loves exploring and learning about the Okanagan Valley, and enjoys spending time in her garden.

Pat Evans, Treasurer

Sally Kilburg (BS, JD)

Sally has been consistently involved with many environmental and conservation initiatives over the last 20 years, including chairing the Meadowlark Nature Festival planning committee for 6 years, chairing a large community campaign to restore a degraded urban stream and construct a native plant nursery, sitting on a citizens advisory commission to limit firestorm hazards in the urban, parkland and open space interface, and monitoring bird and wildlife along an urban riparian core. After a 25 year career as a civil litigation lawyer, she worked as a real estate sales professional with Sutton Power 1 Realty in Penticton. She has an abiding interest in nature, birds and the stars, and cannot believe she lives in such a fantastic place for appreciating all three.

Sally Kilburg, Past Chair

Sharon B.C. Mansiere (BSc, BA, MSc)

Sharon has worked in biology for 28 years. She started out as an interpreter, field assistant, then contractor, before finally settling in as a professor for the last 18 years. In addition to teaching at Okanagan College in Penticton and Kelowna she has does research on bird vocalizations and is developing a vertebrate research museum for the Okanagan. She is active in local schools where she promotes conservation and awareness about habitats and species.

Sharon Mansiere

Ellen Simmons (BSc, MSc)

Ellen has over 20 years of experience within the Forestry/conservation sector and brings forward a unique skill set combining both Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and western scientific approaches. She is currently instructing Environmental Resource courses for Penticton Indian Band and Nicola Valley Institute of Technology. She additionally is working with Penticton Indian Band Natural Resources, focusing on forestry and environmental policy. Ellen is a First Nation Council Advisor to the Dean of Forestry (UBC). She also is an advisor/consultant to the application of Indigenous Knowledge to secondary (and primary) science curriculum. Ellen holds a BSc. in forestry (UBC) and an MSc. in environmental sciences through Royal Roads University.

Ellen Simmons

Tanya Luszcz (BSc, MSc)

Tanya works in migratory bird conservation with the Canadian Wildlife Service. As Program Manager for the Partners in Flight BC Great Basin Program, she collaborates with partners from across western Canada, USA, and Mexico to implement priority bird conservation actions. She also participates annually in the Great Canadian Birdathon by bicycle with her fellow bird nerd friends, both for fun and to raise money for Vaseux Lake Bird Observatory. Tanya studied habitat use of forest-dwelling bats for her M.Sc. research, and she volunteers her time to give bat programs for the Meadowlark Festival, and other groups. She is also an active contributor on the BC Bat Action Team and the BC Community Bat Program. Born and raised in BC, Tanya is passionate about wildlife and habitat conservation, and promotes fostering an appreciation of nature among kids and adults so that they may understand the importance of caring for it.

Tanya Luszcz

Judy Brock (BA, CEd)

Among the founders of OSCA, Judy moved to the Okanagan over 40 years ago and taught at OK Falls Elementary. She and her husband bought part of the historic Oliver ranch in 1970 and became immersed in agriculture and the environment. She served on the board of the South Okanagan Civil Liberties Society and Legal Services Office–active in the “Law talks” series. She has been on her local RDOS Advisory Planning Committee for 30 years and was a founding director of OSCA and former chair of the SOSCP outreach team.

Lia McKinnon (BSc MSc)

Lia is a biologist who works with both the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society and the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society of BC. This combination creates a unique perspective working in conservation on both species as well as habitat levels. Lia grew up in the Okanagan, loves to be outside in our rugged natural environment, and loves sharing her enthusiasm with others.

Lia McKinnon