Our Staff

Andrea Rowe

Director, Sustainable Environments

After leaving the corporate world to raise her two boys, Andrea rekindled an appreciation for nature from her childhood. In 2017, she joined the Halton Environmental Network in the Greening Sacred Spaces program, helping Faith-Based Organizations reduce their environmental impact through greening initiatives.

Now, as Director, Sustainable Environments and Interim Executive Director, she also spearheads Halton Food and community gardens and garden-based education throughout the community of Halton, including permaculture and pollinator gardens. She also facilitates "Depave Paradise" projects by removing asphalt and pavement to create new greenspaces to support healthy communities.

Andrea has connected with thousands of Halton citizens, sharing her passion for gardening, healthy food, environmental sustainability, and climate action.
Andrea also represents HEN on a number of community initiatives, including the Halton Climate Collective, the Tamarack Climate Transitions Cohort, the Halton Interfaith Council, OakvilleReady, and the Debwewin Oakville project.

Dáire Kavanagh

Garden and Market Coordinator at Open Doors of St. Christopher's

Dáire is a graduate of McMaster University, holding degrees in Biology and Environmental Science as well as Social Work. After working for a few years in the social work field, she took some time off at the start of the pandemic. As a passionate home gardener, Dáire took her interest to the next level when she started taking horticulture classes at the University of Guelph. She pursued a summer position as a vegetable gardener at Open Doors of St. Christopher's in Burlington, which is how she became connected to staff at HEN.

Dáire is now the Garden and Market Coordinator at Open Doors. She manages the garden, operated in partnership with HEN, as well as the Community Market (food bank) on site. Dáire works with HEN staff on developing gardening skills and providing food and garden related programming, helping the community grow together.

Ellen Polic

Engagement Assistant

Ellen is a co-op student focusing on marketing and social media with the Halton Environmental Network. She is going into grade 12 at Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton. She plans to go to business school and study marketing, and pursue a career in marketing/brand management. She is passionate about sustainability and reversing the effects of climate change in our community.

She likes to go camping and on hikes with her family, all around Ontario. She is also interested in health and wellness, which includes doing competitive circus arts, at a studio in Lakeview, Mississauga.

Elin Marley

Halton Food - Region Manager North Halton

Elin has always enjoyed exploring the outdoors and started developing a passion for environmental issues thanks largely to her grade 1 teacher and her elementary school Nature Club. After studying anthropology at the University of Guelph, Elin found that food was a perfect way to tie together her interests in cultural studies and environmental issues. Working on an organic farm in 2009, Elin learned a ton about growing food and was also reminded of how real carrots taste! Since 2010, Elin has worked as a School Garden Educator, teaching elementary school students about growing food, where our food comes from, and getting hands-on experiences in the natural world.

One of Elin's favourite things about school and community gardens is the community connection that grows around it. She believes gardening ignites curiosity from people in all age groups, across cultures and languages. Elin also enjoys cooking, hiking, cross-country skiing and folk dancing.

Gabrielle Diez

Environmental Education Coordinator - Oakville

Gabi is a second-year student at the University of Toronto studying Environmental Science and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This past year, Gabi participated in the Trinity One Environment and Sustainability Program at the University of Toronto and has also recently worked with the Trinity College Sustainable Food Systems Research Team, researching pollinator interactions and sustainable gardening.

Other interests of Gabi’s include gardening and collecting houseplants, as well as reading, baking, and learning more about environmental issues.

Helen Stephenson

Halton Food Program Manager

With nearly 200 square feet of vegetable gardens in her backyard, a certificate in Horticulture from the University of Guelph, and a degree in Biology from the University of Waterloo, Helen has extensive knowledge in sustainable urban agriculture. Helen joined Halton Food Council, now Halton Food, in 2017 but had been leading the Junior Gardening Program through the Oakville Horticultural Society for many years before that. Her program included lessons on vegetable growing, weeding, watering, harvesting as well as talks by experts on soil, bugs, milkweed and bees. She has also spent many years independently studying, identifying, and growing species native to the Carolinian Region. She is committed to remaining up-to-date and involved with current trends in horticulture. When she isn’t gardening, Helen is actively involved with the sport of curling.

Iga Balazy

Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator

Shortly after graduating from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Social Work degree, Iga was confident she wanted to pursue a career in food justice. She was introduced to Halton Environmental Network (HEN) while volunteering with Kerr Street Mission, one of HEN’s many community partners.

In her role as a Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator, Iga spends most of her time out in the community, whether it be getting her hands dirty in a local community garden or connecting with local schools and places of worship.

She has a strong interest in the food system and believes it is critical for regions to advance sustainable, place-based, food-growing practices in our increasingly urbanized communities.

Jordan Kurpita

Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

Jordan is a second-year student at Toronto Metropolitan University studying Professional Communications. She has a deep appreciation for the environment and wildlife. Ever since she learned about the myriad of ways that everyday people can make an impact in conservation, she has been focusing her efforts to protect the Earth for future generations to experience.

In her spare time, she enjoys hiking on nature trails and taking in the sights of all types of flora and fauna. Through photography, she is able to share a wide array of hidden natural wonders, and get people interested in the beauty of the world around them.

Katrine Handley-Derry

Marketing and Communications Director
Generation Green Program Coordinator


Katrine is the Marketing Manager for Halton Environmental Network (HEN) and Program Coordinator for Generation Green, a program designed by youth for youth with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Halton community. Katrine has been working for HEN since summer of 2018. Before joining HEN she had many experiences engaging with the community in a number of ways from event coordination, social media management and website development. She has worked on stakeholder engagement and partnership development for: the television show Daily Planet and at the Toronto International Film Festival on their Canada 150 project and Industry Services Department coordinating events and developing partnerships within Canada and beyond.

Katrine Handley-Derry graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master’s of Environmental Science, following undergraduate studies in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Film. With her passion for engaging audiences, she travelled and lived abroad, developing my language skills in both French and Spanish. Outside of her academic and professional career, she is a landscape painter.

Manuel Vazquez

Environmental Education Program Coordinator, Burlington

Manny began his work in the field of sustainability with his time as a program coordinator at a sustainability focused charter school in Los Angeles. During his tenure as a program coordinator he took many opportunities for professional development, including certifications as a UC Master Gardener and a California Naturalist.

After moving to Ontario in 2018, he desired to build upon previous experiences in the environmental sector with further professional development specific to the climate zones and ecosystems of the province.

Manny is a recent graduate of the Niagara College Environmental Technician program and a Forest Gene Conservation Associations' Certified Seed Collector.

Meghan Van Doorn

Environmental Education Coordinator - Halton Hills

Meghan grew up in Georgetown, but has spent the last three years living in Ridgetown where she attended University. She is a recent graduate of the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus where she studied Environmental Management. This September, she will be attending Guelph’s main campus to obtain her degree in Bio-Resource Management.

Meghan’s hobbies include gardening, birding, hiking and photography. She has a 2 year old Australian Cattle dog named Marshall and enjoys exploring new trails together with him.

Meghan spent the last two summers working at Rondeau Provincial Park as a Park Naturalist. There, she discovered her passion for teaching others about the importance of living sustainably. Now, she is excited to expand on her knowledge and educate her local community on sustainable practices with Halton Environmental Network!

Nidhi Kanetkar

Engagement Assistant

Nidhi is a grade 12 co-op student at Garth Webb Secondary School, located in Oakville. With a passion to pursue biochemistry later in life, she is determined to help the community by spreading awareness about climate action and environmental betterment in Halton.

She enjoys reading about the world around her, traveling, and listening to music while going on walks.

Oliver Barkley

Summer Intern

Currently on his summer break from Cawthra Park Secondary School, Oliver is excited to be working with the Halton Environmental Network. In his spare time he enjoys drawing, watching videos, bird watching, and playing with his dog. He is excited to be involved in projects where his art can be used to help educate about the native animals and fauna of Halton, as well as the surrounding areas.

Sundus Hussain

Community Climate Action Plan, Project Coordinator

Sundus Hussain graduated from Imperial College London, the UK, with a degree in Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology following an undergraduate degree in Biology. She is passionate about environmental issues and the use of science and technology to tackle these challenges. She is excited to be working with Halton Environmental Network on greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the Halton community.

She hopes this inventory will help shape new initiatives and bring awareness about GHG emissions within the Halton community. In her spare time, Sundus enjoys crocheting.

Taryn Silvestre

Environmental Education Program Coordinator, Oakville North-Burlington

Taryn is a a second-year student at Western University studying Integrated Science with Genetics. After taking a Geography course emphasizing sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and climate justice movements she developed an interest in being a part of the change in her own community, which brought her to HEN.

Besides her schooling background, she has a love for nature and plant life, with every window of her home being maxed out with as many houseplants as she can fit.

She loves capturing and appreciating the green spaces around her and often uses them as sources of inspiration for her art, where she focuses on landscape and botanical works. She looks forward to engaging the Halton community in environmental initiatives through HEN, as well as furthering her own knowledge in the field.