Program Manager – Kayla Tillapaugh 

Kayla has been with Friends of Kootenay Lake since September 2020, helping to plan, fund and manage all areas of FoKLSS programming.

Kayla is an environmental technologist and proud mother whose passions are driven by her visions for future generations. She fostered a young passion for geology, ecology, and mycology in the rolling mountains and river valleys of the Okanagan and Shuswap on Syilx and Secwepemc traditional territories. She pursued studies in Environmental Planning Technology and gained work experience in rural research and Indigenous land management. Kayla is on the board of the Kootenay Native Plant Society and considers herself a plant enthusiast.

Kayla enjoys camping, swimming, rock hunting, foraging, and most of all, spending time with friends and family (including the furry and scaled ones!). She is passionate about environmental and social justice, sustainable living, paradigm shifting, innovation, and connection-building. Since 2017 she has been living the Kootenay life and considers them some of the best years so far. She is excited to continue making connections within local communities and pursuing shared visions of clean water, diverse and healthy ecosystems, sustainable land management, and collective awareness.

As Program Manager, Kayla is the lead on all of FoKLSS projects and programs.


Environmental Outreach Coordinator – Joelle Burnie

Joelle has had a love and passion for protecting nature since the very beginning. She grew up in a small town in Ontario surrounded by beautiful freshwater lakes, Canadian Shield, and diverse forests. She has spent a lot of her time hiking local trails, kayaking, camping, and indulging in nature photography. But despite the beauty of her home town, Joelle has always dreamed of living out west. She is excited to now call Nelson home!

Before joining the FoKLSS team, Joelle worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and a non-profit land trust in Ontario. She has three years of experience in Engagement Organizing and communications and is excited to share her knowledge and passion for nature with the FoKLSS community.

Joelle graduated from Trent University with a Bachelors of Environmental Science and Studies. She has spent several years volunteering as a Citizen Scientist for a non-profit in Ontario and is always working on improving her field and ID skills. In addition to this volunteer role, Joelle has presented to numerous Elementary School classes on topics ranging from plastic pollution, birding, and composting. Back in Ontario, she also created a hiking group for young folks in her community to connect like-minded individuals together and share their love for the outdoors.

Joelle will be assisting with outreach, program coordination, communications, volunteer and member engagement and field work.



Stewardship Coordinator- Moriah Tanguay

Moriah grew up in the West Kootenays and spent weekends canoe-camping around Kootenay Lake with her family, so she has a strong personal connection to the lake and to local plants and wildlife. Having recently returned to her hometown of Nelson, she is thrilled to bring her passion for conserving the Kootenay Lake ecosystem to FoKLSS.

Moriah developed a fascination for the natural world while fishing, hiking, canoeing, and camping with her family, which led her to pursue a career in biology. She has a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Biology and specializes in wetland and waterfowl ecology.

She has extensive environmental and biological fieldwork and data collection experience gained during many seasons as a field technician with various government, academic, and non-profit organizations. She has a broad suite of skills in water quality sampling, plant and wildlife surveying, and project management.

Outside of work, Moriah enjoys singing in choirs, bird watching, spending quality time with her family and her dog, and helping to further wildlife conservation and management. She has volunteered with various wildlife and environmental organizations in the past and looks forward to joining similar organizations in her home community.

Moriah’s role includes managing our stewardship projects, coordinating citizen science volunteers, grant writing, and more!