Where Agriculture and Nature Meet
Who We Are
ALUS, originally an acronym for Alternative Land Use Services, is a charitable organization with an innovative community-developed and farmer-delivered program that produces, enhances and maintains ecosystem services on agricultural lands. Projects such as wetland restoration and enhancement, riparian buffers, shelterbelts, afforestation and native prairie grass restoration provide cleaner water and air, habitat, carbon sequestration and climate resiliency.
Sustaining agriculture, wildlife and natural spaces for communities and future generations.
“Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.”
Aldo Leopold, 1934
Our Guiding Principles
The ALUS program is flexible. It is designed to be customized by local communities to respect local agricultural and environmental priorities, and help create rural resilience.
Based on sound scientific principles and verification guidelines, ALUS provides valuable support and technical expertise for the design and implementation of natural infrastructure projects and nature-based solutions.
The ecological services produced by ALUS projects have economic value on the marketplace, which ALUS is actively developing. Citizens, corporations and philanthropists invest directly in environmental stewardship.
The delivery of the ALUS program is intended to complement existing conservation programs, including federal and provincial government policy frameworks.
The ALUS program produces ecosystem services on marginal and ecologically sensitive parcels and on lands that can be managed in a different manner.
ALUS projects are independently monitored, verified and audited by trusted farm organizations or reliable institutions. Data collection respects the highest standards in data integrity and confidentiality.
Farmers and ranchers who choose to participate in the ALUS program have flexible agreements that suit their operation and offer them financial compensation for their ecosystem management.
ALUS began in 2006 in Blanshard, Manitoba and has expanded to 35 communities in six provinces across Canada who have voluntarily adopted the program, enrolling more than 1,400 farmers and ranchers.
Board of Directors
Bryan Gilvesy, our C.E.O, was the third participant to join the ALUS program and has been raising grass-fed beef with ALUS’ support since 2006. Bryan is a champion for progressive, sustainable farming and ranching, having embraced these methods on his own farm, Y U Ranch. The Y U Ranch has received numerous awards for its contributions to the environment and sustainability, including: (2016) Beef Farmers of Ontario, Environmental Stewardship Award; (2013) Premier’s Leadership Award for Agricultural Innovation; and (2009) International Texas Longhorn Breeder of the Year. Bryan holds a degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University, where he is Executive in Residence for Agriculture and Sustainability. Bryan is based in Tillsonburg, Ontario.
Senior Vice-President, Policy and Partnerships
Our Senior Vice-President, Policy and Partnerships, Lara Ellis, is eager to scale the conservation work of ALUS across the country, while finding effective ways to strengthen environmental protection and grow community sustainability and resilience. Prior to joining ALUS, Lara was Program Director at the Ivey Foundation, where she notably helped develop the Economy and Environment Program, and has also worked at Nature Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Wildlands League. Lara holds Master’s of Management (McGill-McConnell Program) and Bachelor’s of English Literature from McGill University. She is a committee member and former board member of the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network. Lara is based in Toronto, Ontario.
Vice-President, Finance and Operations
As our Vice-President, Finance and Operations, Lynn Bishop ensures that ALUS runs smoothly all over the country. Lynn has been working in the non-profit sector for over 20 years, notably as the General Manager of ALUS Ontario, a founder and senior staff member at Everdale (Environmental Learning Centre and Organic Farm), the Co-op Coordinator at the West End Food Co-op, as well as a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee of Erin, the Everpure Biodiesel Co-op and the Climate Change Action Group of Erin. She was the winner of the Credit Valley Conservation Award of Excellence in 2010. Lynn holds a Certificate in Co-operative Management from the Schulich School of Business. Lynn is based in Toronto, Ontario.
Vice-President, Donor Relations
Our Vice-President of Donor Relations, Michelle Primus, ensures our donors are kept informed and engaged. She oversees all aspects of ALUS reporting, and provides guidance and support on funding and grant opportunities. She brings more than 15 years of charitable and not-for-profit expertise to the ALUS team, having worked in such fundraising and development settings as Reena Foundation, West Park Healthcare Centre Foundation, Holland Bloorview Children’s Rehabilitation Foundation, KCI Philanthropy and the University of Guelph. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph as well as a certificate in records management from the University of Toronto. Michelle is based in Toronto, Ontario.
Head of Special Projects and Innovation
As Head of Special Projects and Innovation, Mary-Ellen Anderson looks for intersections where technology services and solutions can help ALUS reach its objectives. She aims to help ALUS build unique partnerships with individuals and corporations to develop new strategies that deliver innovative outcomes. A former technology executive, Mary-Ellen served as a Vice President at Microsoft Canada for close to 13 years. Prior to working in technology, Mary-Ellen spent close to two decades working for Canadian public and private broadcasters and began her career as a forester after graduating from Lakehead University with an Honours B.Sc. in Forestry. Passionate about sharing her breadth of experiences and knowledge, she now helps a range of organizations, including ALUS, break new ground in technology and innovation. Mary-Ellen is based in Toronto, Ontario.
Western Lead and National Budget Director
Our Western Lead and Budget Director, Rhonda King, works on several ALUS projects, including Alberta Wetland Mitigation and developing the New Acre™ Project in Alberta. Prior to joining ALUS, Rhonda was the Chief Administrative Officer for the County of Vermilion River, where she worked closely with County staff and Alberta Environment to pilot the first Wetland Restoration Agency in rural Alberta and to integrate ALUS Canada into municipal programming. She is a graduate of Business Management from Lakeland College and holds certificates in Local Authority Administration and Local Government Management. Rhonda was raised on a mixed farm in Northern Alberta and is now based in Kiscoty, Alberta.
Senior Director of Corporate Partnerships
Through the New Acre™ Project, Katherine works with business leaders to cultivate high-impact partnerships that deliver brand value while achieving corporations’ sustainability objectives. Prior to joining ALUS, she led a national multimedia trade publication, Water Canada, and held leadership roles at Canadian Water Network, Grand River Conservation Authority and the former National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University, a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University, and a certificate in Water Management and Wetland Restoration from the University of Guelph. Katherine is based in Toronto, Ontario.
Director of Communications & Digital Strategy
Nadine is responsible of the development and implementation of our multiplatform communication strategy for internal and external communications for ALUS and New Acre Project. A digital and communications professional for more than twenty years, Nadine has been at the forefront of the digital transformation of the media industry and of the way we work and communicate. Nadine has held various leadership positions at Bell Media, Microsoft, La Presse, and the Cirque du Soleil group. Before joining ALUS in 2020, as a consultant, she has assisted various enterprises and not-for-profit organizations with their internal and external communications and project management needs. Throughout her career, she has been guided by her desire to engage in meaningful work that brings people together and to create collaborative and inclusive work environments. Nadine is based in Montreal, Quebec.
Associate Director, Development and Operations
Casey works to support the administration and management of funding and grant opportunities for ALUS. Casey’s expertise also helps identify funding opportunities at both the national and community level and ensure clear communication between ALUS and our funders. Casey started with ALUS in 2015 as a Program Coordinator and held the position of Eastern Hub Manager prior to moving into her current role. She has a degree in Conservation Biology from The University of Western Ontario, and a Certificate in Ecosystem Restoration from Niagara College. Casey is based in Simcoe, Ontario.
Manager of Business Development
Jill comes to ALUS with experience in a variety of roles, predominantly in the not-for-profit sector working directly with the business community, and will help grow ALUS’ New Acre Project. She founded Stock Exchange, a premium regenerative ag ‘nose-to-tail’ wholesale food production business. Jill was awarded a FedDevON grant through Innovation Guelph, for this work. Jill’s personal interest and motivation to advance the national initiative of the New Acre™ Project dovetails naturally with her desire to contribute to a strong community and create a healthier environment for her children to grow-up and thrive in. Jill is excited to remain connected with her farming community, while expanding her knowledge and appreciation for conservation. Jill is based in Waterloo, Ontario.
Senior Hub Manager, Western Hub
Christine liaises with our community coordinators and serves as a management resource for local ALUS projects throughout Alberta. Christine has extensive reclamation and project-management experience with collaborative research groups working in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region. She has also worked extensively with non-profits, chairing boards for animal rescue and many local events and initiatives. Christine obtained her B.Sc. in Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary, where she focused on wildlife conservation and genetics, and holds a Diploma in Animal Sciences. An entrepreneur with her own consulting agency, Christine continues to act as wildlife and biodiversity expert and advocate for First Nations stakeholders in Northern Alberta. Christine is based in Calgary, Alberta.
Senior Hub Manager, Prairies, and National Manager of Community Grants
Paige liaises with our community coordinators and serves as a management resource for local ALUS projects throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba. She has been involved with ALUS since 2012 when she came on board as the Program Coordinator for the first ALUS pilot program launched in Saskatchewan, and has also worked with a number of not-for-profit watershed organizations. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSA) from the University of Saskatchewan with a minor in Soil Science. Paige is based in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Eastern Hub Manager
Alyssa liaises with our community coordinators and serves as a management resource for local ALUS projects throughout Western and Central Ontario and the Maritimes. Working with ALUS since 2016, Alyssa started as the ALUS Elgin Program Coordinator, moving into the role of Eastern Hub Manager in 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Masters in Environment and Sustainability. Alyssa is based in Tillsonburg, Ontario.
Eastern Hub Manager
Kathleen liaises with our community coordinators and serves as a management resource for local ALUS projects throughout Eastern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. With more than 8 years in the non-profit and public sectors, Kathleen worked across Canada and abroad to mobilize communities around education, civic engagement and leadership development. She completed a B.A in Environmental Studies & Geography from Bishop’s University as well as a specialized graduate diploma in Sustainable Development from Université de Montréal. Kathleen is located in Montréal, Québec.
Associate Hub Manager, Western Hub
Karen supports ALUS Coordinators in Alberta as well as Hub Managers from across Canada, and is also acting as program coordinator for ALUS Lacombe, Flagstaff and Vulcan. Karen is from Central Alberta and has spent her career in the Alberta agriculture sector. She has specific experience in the non-profit area particularly with the development of the organic grain sector where she applied her skills in program delivery and fund development. Karen also offers a background in agricultural lending and admits to enjoying budgets and ag finance. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (BSc) with a specialty in Agricultural Economics. Karen is based in Clive, Alberta.
A communications and digital marketing specialist, Todd is responsible for content creation and our digital communication platforms. He also supports communities with their communication needs. Todd was previously at Actual Media, where he applied his skills in web development, search engine optimization, copy editing and client management. Prior to that, he lived and worked in Japan, volunteered in theatre and event production, and engaged in community organizing and activism. Todd holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Guelph and a certificate in print and digital publishing from Centennial College, and is passionate about the environment, cycling and chess. Todd is based in Toronto, Ontario.
Koral holds a deep commitment to community-led conservation. Her experiences in this field across Ontario and before that in Scotland, Cambodia and Zimbabwe, are what drew her to ALUS. As the Partnerships Manager with ALUS, Koral will work to build effective networks to support the ALUS mission of building place-based projects to serve communities and the environment. Koral’s understanding of the connection between respectful community interaction and transformative approaches to environmental conservation previously led her to join the board of directors of the Global Institute of Forest Therapy (GIFT) and to become certified as a Regenerative Practitioner. Koral is based in Hamilton, Ontario.
Nicole liaises with our community partners on the implementation of projects rooted in regenerative agriculture principles. Nicole has experience in the environmental non-profit sector, including the development, implementation, and management of nature-based solutions programs on a local, provincial and national level. She holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Toxicology from the University of Saskatchewan and has served in the Royal Canadian Navy as a reservist for 10 years, deploying both nationally and internationally as a Naval Combat Information Operator. Outside of work, Nicole enjoys reading, cycling, camping and hiking. She is currently located in Toronto.
Community Fulfillment Manager
Kirsten works to support ALUS’ community reporting and program evaluation efforts. She has experience working in rural stewardship across sectors, from academia to industry, focusing on agriculture and water quality in the Great lakes region. Previously, Kirsten also worked in the ag space as a Crop Specialist at AGRIS Co-operative. She brings project management, reporting and knowledge mobilization experience to ALUS from her time coordinating the Lake Futures project at the University of Waterloo. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Guelph, and a Master of Science in Geography from the University of Waterloo. Kirsten is based in Sarnia, Ontario.
Joe is a farmer who has been involved with ALUS Norfolk since 2008, first as a participant, then as a PAC member, farmer liaison, teacher and mentor, and has now joined the ALUS Canada team on a part-time, ongoing basis to help support its national network of ALUS community leaders as our PAC Liaison. Joe is available to provide PAC Chairs and PAC members with support and advice as needed: ALUS PAC members can ask their Hub Manager to set up an in-person meeting, or they can contact him directly by phone anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern time). Joe is based in Otterville, Ontario.