Foundation Board welcomes new Chair, Vice-Chair

MANOTICK, Sept. 14, 2021 – For the first time in 11 years, the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation’s Board of Directors has elected a new Chair: Andrew Harkness, an Environmental Planner and Senior Engineer in Ottawa. 

The Board also elected a new Vice-Chair, Dr. Allison Brown, at its meeting on June 9. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Andrew and Allison to their new leadership roles,” said Diane Downey, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “We’re excited to hear their ideas and insights as the Foundation embarks on several major fundraising campaigns.”

Mr. Harkness has been a board member since 2012 and has served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the governance committee. Dr. Brown joined the board in 2020 and sits on the governance committee. 

Mr. Harkness said he is excited to work with his fellow board members to continue the Foundation’s critical conservation work in the Rideau Valley watershed. 

“My priorities include a focus on fundraising to encourage both individuals and corporate donors to contribute, particularly to the Foundation’s land conservation program,” said Mr. Harkness, who lives in North Gower with his family. “I will also focus on strong organizational governance and raising awareness of the Foundation and what it does.”

This includes raising funds for protection of water and land resources across the Rideau Valley and promotion of outdoor education opportunities to foster the next generation of environmental stewards. 

“We all have a role to play in terms of protecting our environment and the world we live in,” Mr. Harkness said. “I’m personally very committed to doing my part.”

New Vice-Chair Dr. Brown lives in Merrickville with her family and shares a similar appreciation for watershed protection. 

“Protecting and conserving the lands and waters of the Rideau watershed is becoming more and more critical every moment,” said Dr. Brown, who has a Ph.D. in Molecular Signalling from the University of Cambridge. “The members of the RVCF Board have strong foundations in governance, scientific knowledge and philanthropy. I’m honoured to be working with such a dedicated team to increase conservation and outreach throughout the Rideau Valley.”

Ms. Downey said the Board’s new leaders have the right experience to help the Foundation embark on several major fundraising campaigns, including the Nature for All project at Baxter Conservation Area, a new accessible bridge at Chapman Mills Conservation Area and a continued focus on the Steve Simmering Conservation Land Endowment Fund.

“This Board has the energy and enthusiasm needed to get the job done, to protect and conserve our watershed and make nature accessible for all,” Ms. Downey said. 

The Board of Directors bid farewell to long-time Board Chair Jason Kelly on June 9, as he moves with his family to Hong Kong. 

“Jason has left an indelible mark on the Foundation’s status and recognition as the Rideau Valley’s most effective and efficient environmental charity,” Ms. Downey said. “We are excited for him and his family as they begin this new adventure.”

To learn more about the Foundation’s work visit



You can help

Protect the places you love. Donate today.