Our Team

The Four Rivers team consists of a very passionate and dedicated group of professionals from a diverse set of backgrounds.

Sarah Cockerton

Managing Director, Four Rivers Environmental Services Group

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Sarah Cockerton is the Manager with Matawa First Nations Management responsible for Four Rivers Environmental Services Group, including Four Rivers Inc. She has been with Matawa First Nations Management since 2008 and has overseen the development of regional environmental programs and community technical support services throughout the Matawa member First Nations. She comes from a multigenerational entrepreneurial background, has a degree in Water Resource Science, and is a certified advanced drone pilot.

Kimberly Jorgenson

Manager, Four Rivers Environment & Technology

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With over 20 years of experience in the private and public environmental sector, Kim applies her diverse skillset to a variety of initiatives at Four Rivers Group.  Since 2011, Kim’s role has included the oversight and coordination of environmental projects throughout the Matawa homelands and northern Ontario, ranging from environmental site investigations and research, to community Lands & Resource office project management support.  She regularly coordinates and facilitates large gatherings (from community open house events to large-scale conferences) to communicate complex environmental processes and issues such as climate change, environmental assessments, and monitoring.  Kim is fluent in the fields of biology, environmental legislation, research science, GIS, and financial management.  As a skilled field researcher, including the collection, analysis and interpretation of scientific data and its synthesis/communication, Kim develops and delivers a variety of technical reports and presentations to a range of audiences.  Kim holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science degree from the University of Manitoba, and a Master of Science degree in Biology from Lakehead University (research having focused on northern wild rice for bioremediation in nutrient-impacted wetlands).

Holly Pyhtila

Manager, Four Rivers Communications & Engagement

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Holly has been with Matawa First Nations Management since 2014, in various capacities, including with Chiefs Council and the Regional Priorities & Jurisdiction department, before moving over to Four Rivers. Holly brings extensive experience in writing, research, and publication from her years at the CBC; and has the ability to transform highly technical material into plain language. She has broad technical, lab and field experience, specializing in environmental health issues, with over eight years of post-secondary scientific education to inform and guide her work. Over the years with Matawa, she has spent much time in all nine Matawa communities, has a thorough knowledge of political and community issues, and has built strong relationships that make the work that much more important. Working with Four Rivers now allows her to use her education and experience in the most effective way, to serve Matawa leadership, members, and communities.

Peter Moses

Mineral Development & Information Support Officer

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Peter is a member of Pic River First Nation. Peter attended Confederation College and graduated with a Technical High School Diploma and continued his education at George Brown College graduating in Instrumentation Technology. After a brief retirement from the Pulp and Paper Industry as an Instrumentation Technician and Instrumentation Supervisor in 2003, he joined the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines as the First Nation Minerals Information Officer. His role was to provide education, information, advice, and expertise regarding geology, mineral exploration, and mining to First Nation Communities throughout Ontario. Peter retired from MNDM in February 2014, and joined Matawa First Nations Management as the Mineral Development Information Support Officer within Four Rivers Environmental Services Group, where he provides his knowledge and expertise in the mineral sector to Matawa member First Nation communities.  In 2017, Peter received the prestigious Skookum Jim Award from PDAC recognizing his significant contribution to Canada’s mineral exploration and mining industry through his work with companies, government, and Aboriginal communities.

Jennifer Duncan

Community Values Coordinator

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With over 10 years of experience in the environmental and mineral sector, Jennifer applies her geomatics knowledge to a variety of projects at Four Rivers Group. Jennifer’s role at Four Rivers has included capacity building, training, community engagement and project coordination of several initiatives, all with a geomatics component. Jennifer is fluent in the field of GIS and is a talented cartographer, having created hundreds of custom maps, along with three ESRI Canada award-winning maps (published nationally in their annual calendar). Jennifer has an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Lakehead University and completed her undergraduate thesis research on Indigenous Knowledges where she continues this work by supporting community initiatives and data collection around gathering and documenting Indigenous Knowledge.

Laura Prior

Communications Specialist

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Laura has been with Matawa First Nations Management since 2013, in various capacities and brings communications & graphic design skills to many of Four Rivers Projects. Laura graduated from Lakehead University with her HBA in Sociology. Work experience focuses heavily on communication and design, but also extend to coordination and administration. Laura’s support efforts range from community engagement and outreach, relationship building, project coordination and organization, and online/virtual communications platforms. Her previous work experience includes marketing and customer service.

Kevin Wabasse

Linguistics Officer

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Kevin Wabasse is the Linguistics Officer at Four Rivers Group and is a member of Nibinamik First Nation (Summer Beaver) in northern Ontario. Kevin provides oral and written Ojibway translation and interpretation of documents. He also provides communications and public relations support for various Four Rivers projects. Kevin also acts as the Executive Support person for the Manager of Four Rivers. He is bi-lingual and is able to speak in Ojibway and English fluently. Kevin is capable of reading and writing in syllabics in the eastern Ojibway dialect. He has the ability to provide translation of documents into syllabics and provide interpretation for staff that aren’t able to communicate effectively with Elders from the Matawa member First Nation communities who only speak in Ojibway or Ojicree. Kevin has over 15 years of experience in Administrative Support Services for multiple First Nation organizations and communities. Kevin started full-time officially in April 2019 but has been with Four Rivers since January 2017 in various capacities. He previously worked for the former Ring of Fire Department as the Administrative Assistant back in 2010.

*BRACE Climate Change Network MFNM Lead

Jasmine Baxter

Environmental Technician

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Jasmine Baxter a Geomatics Intern with Four Rivers and she is also pursing university studies at Lakehead University as a Matawa Water Futures student. Previously, Jasmine was Four Rivers Office Administrator where she was responsible for coordinating project logistics and financial management. Jasmine has a background in social work, having graduated from Confederation College’s Native Child & Family Services program. As a proud member of Marten Falls First Nation and a mother of five children, Jasmine brings her superior multi-tasking and organizational skills to the Four Rivers team. Jasmine is passionate about watershed stewardship initiatives and Indigenous language preservation.

*Matawa Water Futures Student

Erin Kelly

Environmental Technician

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With over seven years of experience working with First Nation organizations, and over five years experience in the environmental and mining sectors in northern Ontario, Erin applies her knowledge of environmental issues to a variety of projects at Four Rivers Inc. Her role at Four Rivers has included leading fisheries projects in six First Nation communities, helping to conduct Traditional Knowledge interviews, collecting data on climate change and water resources, and completing terrestrial field programs. Erin has coordinated and facilitated training, workshops and site visits in relation to mining, climate change, solid waste management, and fisheries. Being knowledgeable on a broad range of environmental topics has allowed Erin to be successful in liaising with various levels of government and establishing relationships between First Nations and private sector organizations surrounding the environmental issues that communities are facing.

*Matawa Water Futures Student

Graeme Saukko-Sved

Geomatics/ Environmental Technician

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Graeme has over 10 years of experience in the natural resources including extensive time working in forestry, geomatics, and environmental science sectors. He has managed and coordinated large scale field programs in forest inventory, soil and terrain mapping, species at risk, aquatic and terrestrial habitat mapping, detailed vegetation inventories and geospatial surveying to name a few. Graeme has a very strong understanding of ecology on the boreal shield and has a wealth of experience in other ecozones across Canada. He is proficient with geographic information systems (GIS), specializing in data processing and analysis, photographic interpretation, and cartography. Like other staff at Four Rivers, he has his advanced remotely piloted aircraft license, he also has his Boreal and Great Lakes/St. Lawrence photo interpretation certification. Most notably, Graeme’s diverse experience gives him a unique set of skills applicable to many different projects at Four Rivers.

Dinesh Gunawardena

Environmental Information & Systems Specialist

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Dinesh is a GIS Technician successful in spatial data manipulation, geo-processing, and cartographic principles. He gained hands-on experience through formal classroom education and working in the geomatics field. He has been working in the field of geomatics for more than five years. Dinesh is also an Advanced Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) pilot. He mastered several software packages for geomatics including the recent exposure to ESRI Site Scan and Pix4DMapper for RPAS image processing. Dinesh is a self-motivated and professional worker with teamwork abilities that have been built as a result of the administrative positions he held in the past. His years as an administrative assistant and office support have supplied him with good skills in interpersonal communication with the public and within a team setting while solidifying in his overall positive and energetic attitude.

Alanna Robbins

Engagement Specialist

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Over the last 6 years, Alanna has worked in various research related roles focusing primarily on collaborative and engagement strategies in supporting different research projects. Alanna has degrees in Anthropology and Environmental studies, and her previous work experiences mainly focused on communications, writing and research, and conducting interviews. She was first introduced to Four Rivers in 2019 at the start of the Matawa Water Futures Project through the WLU team of researchers, and has supported the project in different capacities. Alanna was hired by Four Rivers in 2023 to support through engagement opportunities, interviews and gathering knowledge, and outreach and community support.

Sonny Black

Project Manager, Technology

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Sonny has recently joined the Four Rivers team. He has 5 years experience in the aerial imaging industry, as well as over 20 years experience with photography, videography and audio.

Alexandra Horne

Communications, Logistics & Admin Officer

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Alexandra has been with Matawa First Nations Management since 2018, in various capacities and brings communications, graphic design, logistics and administrative skills to many of Four Rivers Projects. Alexandra studied Graphic Design and Interactive Media at Toronto Film School. Work experience heavily focuses coordination and administration, but also extend to communication and design. Alexandra’s support efforts range from community engagement and outreach, relationship building, project coordination and organization, and online/virtual communications platforms. 

Lynn Palmer (Casual)

Environmental Technical Specialist

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Lynn has worked in several roles at Four Rivers since 2014. She has over 25 years of experience in various sectors and jurisdictions in Canada and at the international level in forest and natural resources management, environmental and natural resources policy analysis, conservation, technology transfer and teaching. She has worked actively for over a decade to advance the rights and interests of First Nations related to their lands and resources in northern Ontario and BC. Lynn holds Bachelor and Master degrees in Forest Science from Lakehead University where she focused her studies in forest genetics and taxonomy. She also holds a PhD in Forest Sciences from Lakehead. Lynn’s PhD research focused on policy analysis of Ontario forest tenure to enable community forests.

Anthony Schirru

Geomatics Technician

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Anthony A. Schirru is a dedicated professional with a diverse background in geomatics, environmental management, and project leadership. With a strong commitment to environmental sustainability, Anthony has honed his expertise in GIS data management, spatial analysis, and program development. Throughout his career, Anthony has demonstrated his ability to lead cross-functional teams, fostering collaboration among team members, stakeholders, and clients.

Anthony’s career has been marked by significant contributions to environmental conservation and management, particularly during his tenure at Parks Canada. In roles such as Ecosystem Geomatics Specialist and Resource Conservation Manager, he played a pivotal role in developing and implementing innovative solutions for environmental monitoring and assessment. His work involved building and managing geospatial databases, conducting spatial analysis, and developing programs to support conservation efforts.

Anthony’s passion for environmental sustainability extends beyond his professional life, enjoying fishing, hunting and camping with his family. His dedication to environmental stewardship, coupled with his technical expertise and leadership skills, make him an asset to the Four Rivers Team.

Janet Knight

Project Manager

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Janet joined the Four Rivers team in early 2024, bringing with her more than 13 years of experience working with First Nations and Inuit communities in the realm of community development. Janet is a Registered Professional Planner (OPPI) and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in International Development, as well as Masters degrees in Sustainability Studies, and Community and Regional Planning. As a Project Manager, Janet continues her focus on fostering community- level capacity, and is skilled in facilitation, process and program development, communications and engagement.

Dan Paradis

Sustainability Manager

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James Gascon

Finance Analyst

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