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  • A collage of three photos - Valeria tossing an eggplant to someone from within a garden bed, Rob watering hanging baskets using a long tool, and Talete coaching students doing landscape construction
  • Standing in front of the woodlands two staff from the Arboretum look at an insect on one of their gloves while a third staff member looks on

Staff Directory

It takes a diverse combination of skills to support the many facets of the Humber Arboretum. Meet the team that keeps the grounds beautiful, the land healthy, the learning exciting, the community engaged, and everything behind the scenes running smoothly.

Having a “Nature Name” is a long-standing tradition at our day camps, for kids and adults alike. Most of our staff chose their own, although a few didn’t get quite as much of a say in the matter!

To contact one of our staff members, email the Humber Arboretum at 

General Support

Jimmy Vincent

Nature name: Beaver
Pronouns: He/him/his

A man in a Humber Arboretum shirt is interviewed in the woods

Jimmy has been rolling logs and feeding chickadees at the Humber Arboretum since 2005. A familiar face to nature camp alumni and Humber College staff alike, he started out as a Nature Interpreter before becoming Camp Director, and then spent a decade as the Coordinator of Education, Camps, and Community Outreach before becoming Arboretum Manager in 2022. Before the Arb, Jimmy worked as a Stewardship Events Leader for Evergreen and has also worked with both the Hamilton and North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authorities on various watershed based projects. He has a Technologist Diploma in Ecosystem Management from Sir Sandford Fleming School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences.

A proud father of two boys, Jimmy is passionate about connecting people with the natural environment. He hopes that everyone can find as much enjoyment playing and learning outdoors as he did growing up... something he’s still in the process of doing.

Neha Sareen

Customer Service and Support Officer
Nature name: Beetle  

A young woman uses her cellphone to take a photo of a flower in bloom

Neha recently immigrated to Canada, and she is excited to discover all that Toronto has to offer. She worked as a Kindergarten teacher for around 6 years, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and an MA in Elementary Education and Leadership. After completing her Master's degree she moved to Dubai and worked in the administration department of an international school. She has a deep interest in reading and travelling. She also enjoys beaches, gardening, and taking long walks.

Marilyn Campbell

Communications and Marketing Officer
Nature name: Minnow
Pronouns: She/her/hers


marilyn campbell

A graduate of the Fine Arts Cultural Studies program at York University, Marilyn is a writer and photographer with a special interest in animals, environmental education, and stories for young audiences. Along with her work for the Arboretum, she also writes stage plays, stories, comics, and poems. Some recent works include writing the story for "The Goosefighter" in Volume 5 of the Toronto Comics Anthology Osgoode as Gold and having two poems in the Emma Press anthology for children, Dragons of the Prime: Poems about Dinosaurs

Marilyn likes to think of herself as a slightly-above-novice birder and is often found wandering Toronto parks with binoculars, camera, and a well-worn copy of a ROM field guide in hand. She recently began volunteering at the Toronto Wildlife Centre and is a proud member of Nature First: The Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography. 

Find her on iNaturalist @MarilynC.

Savio Colaço

Business Manager
Nature name: Earth
Pronouns: He/him/his

A man in a plaid dress shirt smiles as he looks off across a garden on a sunny day

Savio is a hotel and restaurant professional who enjoys the opportunity to mentor the younger generation. He taught as part-time faculty in hospitality and tourism programs at Humber College for ten years. Before starting at Humber in 2002, Savio worked in hotels, restaurants, and food services not just in Canada but across the globe, including India, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates.

Savio holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Guelph with a Hospitality and Tourism focus. He now manages business operations for three departments at Humber College – the Humber Arboretum, the Childcare Centre and Continuing Education.

Many of Savio’s hobbies are a perfect fit for the Arboretum – he’s an avid runner who enjoys the outdoors and a gardener who loves to explore growing new vegetables each season.

Education and Outreach

Michael Naumoff

Outdoor Education Coordinator
Nature name: Sticky
Pronouns: He/him/his

A bearded man splits a thick stick with a small hatchet

Michael has spent over a decade in experiential education, working at YMCA Cedar Glen, Moorelands Kids, and P.I.N.E. Project before coming to the Humber Arboretum. He has training in High and low ropes and team building, and he especially loves to teach survival skills. An avid woodcarver and camper, Michael became a youth member of Scouts Canada at the age of 6 and has volunteered with the organization for nearly twenty years. Born and raised in the Toronto area, he has a B.A. in History from the University of Toronto.  Currently Sticky is working to expand his knowledge of tree growth and health.


Mia Maceasik

Senior Nature Interpreter
Nature name: Red Panda
Pronouns: They/them/theirs/all pronouns

A person at a display booth smiles at they hold up the taxidermied leg of an elk

Mia started at the Humber Arboretum as a workshop attendee while completing their Honours Bachelor of Applied Science in Psychology at the University of Guelph-Humber. They became involved in the Learning by Leading program, and continued with the Arb as a Camp Counsellor at the Humber Arboretum's Summer Nature Camp.  

During their time as a student, Mia travelled to Mushkegowuk Territory in Northern Ontario for a field course in Indigenous mental health. Post-graduation, they worked as a research assistant at Humber College on a health promotion project for Indigenous youth. Through their previous experience as a personal support worker, Mia became passionate about accessibility, and they strive to make nature accessible for all. (They also hold a diploma in Social Service Work from Humber College.) 

Mia enjoys long distance running and has raised money for various charities through their runs. They also have a passion for writing, dice collecting, experimental poetry, and historical baking. Currently, Mia is learning about the fascinating world of fungi and hopes to cultivate fungus in the future. 

Angel Suarez

Senior Nature Interpreter
Nature name: Hummingbird
Pronouns: He/his/him

A tall young man with glasses and slight goatee holds up a chart paper with the words Lifelist at the top

Angel is an Early Childhood Educator who specializes in outdoor pedagogics. Along with his Early Childhood Education and Teaching diploma from Humber College, Angel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering and Sustainability. He got involved with the Arboretum when he was still a student at Humber College, first joining the Learning by LeadingTM program as a Humber Arboretum Ambassador-in-Training, moving up to Ambassador, and then being hired as a Co-Coordinator of the program, mentoring other students who were just getting started on their own Learning by LeadingTM journey. Finally he joined the Arb's educational team, where he continues to work with college students along with the general community and children of all ages.

Angel recently travelled to Denmark to study nature and outdoor education to learn about the Scandinavian outdoor school model. He often includes music in his teaching practices as he believes that combining music with nature feels like magic. 

Angel has a special connection to nature as it is the place he feels most comfortable, and he likes that nature always has something new to teach him. He is passionate about bird identification and,  originally from Mexico, he is currently working to learn the names of the birds of Toronto.

Angel's goal is to connect more people to nature.


Joaquín Varela

Nature Interpreter
Nature name: Flicker
Pronouns: He/his/him

A man in on Orioles baseball hat smiles as he holds up and looks at an elaborate nest-like structure made of natural materials by children at a nature camp.

Joaquín Varela is a visual artist, educator, placemaker and nature interpreter. Joaquín has been leading programing all over Toronto with several years of experience with a focus on providing access to creative expression and resources. Passionate about nature and eco-conscious practices in public engagement, Joaquín leads hikes and workshops as a nature interpreter in many of the city's green spaces.

Joaquín is also the co-founder of Roots To Bloom, a collective that aims to cultivate crucial relationships to the land and collective stewardship through placed-based community art-making.

When not making art inside or in the public you can often find Joaquín outside tending to his native plant garden, hiking, paddling, biking or simply trying to get lost in nature.

Lynn Short

Environmental Stewardship Coordinator
Nature name: Mother Nature
Pronouns: She/her/hers

A woman holding a pepper in a large vegetable garden smiles at the camera while other people mill around in the background

Lynn’s first memory of her connection to nature was at the age of 4 arriving in the kitchen of her home following an outdoor adventure to announce to her mother, “Guess what, Mom, I have a whole pocket full of ants!” She was promptly told to go back outside!

Lynn taught elementary school, specializing in Science and Mathematics, for several years before coming to Humber College. While she was at Humberwood Junior Middle Academy, one of her colleagues began to call her “Mother Nature”. That has become her nature name at the Arboretum. She worked at the Centre for Urban Ecology for 6 years as the Senior Nature Interpreter before joining the Humber Faculty in the School of Applied Technology, teaching in Horticulture. Lynn is currently working for the summer as the Environmental Stewardship Coordinator at the Humber Arboretum developing a pilot in Native Plant Restoration and Invasive Plant Control for the Learning by Leading Program.

Lynn has also been focusing her energies over the past decade developing non-chemical control strategies for the invasive plant, Phragmites australis or European Common Reed. She has been conducting research for the past 4 years, testing her “Spading Technique” and collecting data on the effectiveness of the technique in reducing the stalk density and improving native biodiversity. Lynn received the Bob Whittam Environmental Award in 2016 by the Severn Sound Environmental Association for her dedication to controlling Phragmites in Tiny Township.

Every fall, Lynn and her husband go on a week-long canoe trip in Algonquin Park to re-connect with Ahki (Mother Earth). She loves the outdoors, no matter what the weather!

Horticulture and Landscaping

Robert Gray

Horticultural Technologist & Arborist
Nature name: Oak
Pronouns: He/him/his

robert gray

Once the Captain of Canada’s Men’s Softball team, Rob now uses his leadership skills to keep things running smoothly for the Arb’s horticulture and landscaping team.

Rob first joined the Humber Arboretum in 1997 as a work study student while he was completing Humber College’s Urban Arboriculture Certificate. He went on to become an instructor and later the Program Coordinator for Humber College’s Horticulture Apprenticeship and Landscape Technician programs. At the Humber Arboretum he has played an instrumental role in facilitating and coordinating experiential learning course components as well as applied research and capstone projects from over seven different Humber programs.

An ISA Certified Arborist, Rob has a Horticulture Diploma from the University of Guelph. He also has a charming story of workplace romance – he met his bride-to-be through his Arboretum co-worker Talete’s bride-to-be while the women were coworkers at a Humber College daycare centre. Rob is now a proud father of two.

Talete Gallo

Landscape Technician
Nature name: Badger 
Pronouns: He/him/his

talete gallo

Talete has been at the Arboretum since the late 90s, maintaining the grounds and making his mark by designing and building custom projects that enhance the Arboretum experience for all visitors. From eye-catching benches to the Tree of Hope welcome mosaic, Talete’s work can be seen across the North campus site. He also assists with Humber College’s Landscape programs, helping to guide student projects constructed on the Arboretum grounds.

But it isn’t all outdoor work for Talete. He also has a passion for interior design and loves to play competitive billiards – a hobby which recently earned him a trip to a Las Vegas tournament.

Valeria Wuschnakowski

Greenhouse Technician
Nature name: Sunshine 
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Inside a lush greenhouse, a woman holds up a plant to inspect it

After earning a Masters of Horticulture in Bucharest, Romania, Valeria came to Canada in 1995 and began working in the Humber greenhouses in 2003. She has been an integral part of many of the Arboretum’s exciting research and community projects, working easily with everyone from novice students to experienced conservationists. In 2015 she received a Support Staff Distinguished Service Award from Humber College.

But just because Valeria’s digging in the dirt, that doesn’t always mean she’s got something to plant. Instead this passionate amateur geologist might be looking for another rock specimen to add to her already impressive collection.

Lucas Allen

Horticulture Technician
Nature name: Buck
Pronouns: He/him/his

A man in hip waders stands in a pond cutting down tall reeds

Lucas began his employment at Humber Arboretum when he was a student at Humber College, working various contracts that saw him assisting in horticulture, stewardship, and landscape construction projects. After graduation Lucas worked as a Landscape Technician for University of Toronto, but he promptly returned to the Arb as soon as a position became available. Lucas has a Landscape Technician Co-op Diploma and a Fitness and Health Promotion Diploma from Humber College, along with a Bachelor's of Applied Science in Kinesiology from University of Guelph.        

When not at work Lucas enjoys going to his family's cottage and staying active through hiking, swimming, wakeboarding, snowboarding, and going to the gym. He has also collected coins since he was 7 years old.

Dean Ruhnke

Greenhouse and Horticulture Technician
Nature Name: Loon
Pronouns: He/him/his 

A man in a wide-brimmed hat smiles in a garden.

Dean came to the Arb in 2023 from Toronto Botanical Garden, but his gardening career dates back to his first job, working at Hubert’s Springhill Nursery as a 15-year-old. After earning his bachelor's degree in history and political science from the University of Toronto, Dean returned to school and to his first love, graduating from Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture in 2015.  

When he isn’t in the garden or the greenhouse, Dean enjoys reading, watching soccer, backcountry camping, and playing disc golf all over the GTA. He also enjoys travelling, though he doesn’t really leave work behind when he visits other places—there's no escaping how much he loves to see plants growing in their native environments. 

Reptile Affairs

Cleopatra ("Cleo") the Turtle

Responsible Pet Care Ambassador
Species: Red-eared Slider

A turtle with a red stripe on the side of her head pokes up out of the water, her feet on a ramp covered with green astroturf

Cleo has lived in the Centre for Urban Ecology for well over a decade and recently celebrated her 30th birthday. She spent her formative years at the home of a person who had bought her as a pet, but who didn't think ahead to how long she might live or how big she could get. Eating has always been one of Cleo's favouite hobbies, so it's no surprise that the cute little turtle from the pet store display continued to grow and grow, and was soon ready to graduate to a larger living space. Because Red-eared Sliders aren't native to Ontario, heading off into the wild would have been a bad idea for both Cleo and the wild turtles who do call Ontario home -- Cleo is no fan of Canadian winters, but she is a fan of the same food that Painted Turtles need to survive. So Cleo moved in to the Centre, where she has been delighting school children and college students alike ever since. 

In May 2019 Cleo was promoted from a large aquarium to an indoor pond. Her new workspace gives her plenty of room to swim and bask and is also more sustainable, using spider plants as a natural water filter. But her new position also came with new responsibilities: guarding over the colourful stones left over from the construction of the Tree of Hope mosaic at the Humber Arboretum's main entrance, which she now keeps safely on the bottom of her pond.   

Cleo asks everyone to think carefully before getting any sort of pet, and ensuring that you are prepared to provide proper care and enrichment throughout the animals' life (she's hoping to live into her 40s!). If you have done extensive research and are absolutely certain that you can provide an excellent forever home to a turtle, parrot, or another "exotic" animal, please take your time and reach out to animal rescue and welfare organizations to find the perfect match, as there will always be surrendered animals looking for a committed home.