Board Chair – Rob Voisin
My passion for the environment, angling and volunteering have all brought me here to FOGR. Almost 20 years ago I had the pleasure of stocking the Conestogo River with Brown Trout and in that moment I just KNEW I would dedicate time to our rivers when I grew up. I have a career background in the Non-Profit sector and Ive been on the board of directors for FOGR for more than 6 years now; the last 2 years as the board chair. Although taking the torch from Larry McGratton in that role left MASSIVE SHOES TO FILL the immediate COVID impact has been the most challenging on the organization. With that said, I am proud of the work that the board has done and the plans that have been put into place to begin to build the next generational impact. I believe the 2022 year will be the year FOGR gets back out of the boardroom and into the river!
Vice Chair – Jason King
Born in Ontario, but proudly lived the East Coast household upbringing. Blessed with an angling father that could catch a fish in any ditch. Naturally I am passionate about angling, our ecosystem and anything fish related. I joined FOGR in 2015. I started out managing trail clearing/cleaning, kiosk sponsorships and since, have taken the lead of fish stocking from Al Newsome in May 2016. Big shoes to fill, he managed the stocking for MANY years and intimately knew the ins and outs that I had to learn. I can assure you, it is not light work, a lot of credit to Al and the volunteers. I was very passionate to take it over and do everything I could to improve the stocking program and ensure high amounts of survival rates. I’m so proud of what members past built and want to continue the legacy. With key mentorship from Larry Mcgratton, (the man is a legend) Larry has directed my every step to help this fishery and still continues to mentor us. I’m proud to call him a friend an absolute CHAMPION of this fishery.I am very passionate to keep it a world class fishery. With the changing climate, crazy weather events, large dam discharges for much needed flood control, it has given us a lot of challenges since I took over. I constantly reflect on what I could do better and am lucky to have many positive conversations with professionals in the field to help improve/sustain the fishery.I absolutely love stocking, I love the people, I love the passion they bring and best of all I love the sense of community. I learned how I really appreciate the many positive people willing to bust their ass for the whole ecosystem to keep striving. It’s not about the fish, it’s about the ecosystem as a whole.I want to thank the volunteers, I truly hope this year we get back to coming together.
Treasurer – Keith Halbert
I’m Keith Halbert and I joined the board of FOGR in December 2021. I’ve a finance background so I was happy to put up my hand for the treasurer role.
I joined FOGR because I’m an avid walker and angler on the river. It amazes me what I see every time I’m out. The river is beautiful and the abundant wildlife from bald-headed eagles, osprey and blue heron to deer, foxes, mink, beaver and muscat just keeps me coming back. I’m happy to play my part within the FOGR to preserve this special resource through its varied programs
Secretary – Steve Lessard
My name is Steve Lessard and I have been on the board with Friends of the Grand River for about 3 years now. I have fished and recreated on the Grand River from its mouth at Lake Erie to the Wellington County area for my entire life. The biodiversity and history of this magnificent river are unmatched in southern Ontario. It was designated a Heritage River for a reason.
I am also an avid outdoorsman, not just a fisherman. I have hunted along the Grand River further south around the Dunnville area, and seen many migratory bird species (including raptors, not just waterfowl), mammals and reptiles in the rich ecosystem surrounding this fantastic river. I’ve traveled many canoe routes, and even waterskied (although not very well) on the mighty Grand River.When the trout stocking program first began below the Shand Dam in Belwood, it was a pleasant surprise that it turned into a world class tailwater fishery. This was not at the expense of native fish, it just made the river even better.
This river holds a special place in my heart and I felt it was time to try and give a little back. The Friends of the Grand River is a great volunteer organisation to which I am proud to belong. I look forward to the future and helping the team make the Grand River even better.
Board Member – Rob Heal
“I’m Rob Heal and have sat on the board with the Friends of the Grand River since 2011 and a supporter for about 20 years. To say that the Grand River has influenced my life is an understatement. I’ve been fishing the Grand since 1994 but moved to Fergus in 1999 because of it, and I haven’t looked back. In 1996, I began my guiding career and in retrospect, I may not be where I am without the Grand so with everything that I have invested in it, I plan to continue to give as much back as I possibly can.Currently, when I’m not guiding, I co-host The New Fly Fisher television show, which takes me to some wonderful fisheries where I can get a sense of how other regions manage their rivers. My hope here is that these experiences can help our organization.”
Board Member – Moira Ijzerman
My name is Moira Ijzerman and I’m a new addition to the FOGR board. I’m a masters student at the University of Guelph where I research pollutants in Ontario’s river ecosystems.
I love all things aquatic (with a particular soft spot for freshwater mussels!!) so I decided to join FOGR’s tailwater committee to help work on biological projects which conserve and protect the Grand River.
Board Member – Peter Gec
“As one of FOGR’s newer members, I am excited about the coming years being apart of this group. Our board consists of men and women with a diverse set of backgrounds and skills – that when combined with our amazing volunteers – is what helps sustain Ontario’s largest watershed. My formal education is in the field of ecology from the University of Guelph, although currently I manage a wide variety of bank stabilization, shoreline protection, and mainly creek restoration construction projects all over southern Ontario. When I’m not at work I am either on the river with a fly rod in-hand, on a boat fishing bass tournaments, or basically anything else that brings me out into the great outdoors.2022 is going to be a big year for FOGR, but it’s not a fish until it’s on the bank – so stay tuned!”
My name is Colin Adema, I studied Life Science and Biology at McMaster University. Upon graduating, I quickly found a passion in ecosystem restoration. Currently I work for R&M Construction restoring natural waterways and wetlands. I am an avid angler and enjoy the outdoors with my wife and dog.
Board Member – Conestogo River Enhancement Crew Leader – Brad Knarr
Hi, my name is Brad Knarr and I have been a FOGR board member for the past 14 years. Although I do regularly help with events on the Grand river my focus is the Conestogo River. I am on the board as a CREW ( Conestogo River Enhancement Workgroup ) project member. On the Conestogo, CREW maintains access points, garbage kiosks, tree planting, river cleanup and of course fish stocking. I have been the stocking coordinator for the past 16 years, one day of stocking is by canoe with livewells of my own design. This allows me to stock fish into areas not accessed by pails and trucks. The Conestogo runs primarily through the Mennonite countryside and I am proud to say I have a very good relationship within the landowners. For 14 years we have had a class of mostly Mennonite kids from the Linwood public school helping to stock. Many of these kids live on farms along the river, long with them we have had groups of boy scouts, members of Google Canada just to name a few. I am recently retired and looking forward to spending more time on both rivers, kayaking, fishing and river work. I have seen some great successes on both rivers during my time on the board. There is still much to be done and I encourage anyone to volunteer, if, and when you can to further the success of both rivers. See you either of them. If you do, stop and let’s chat or simply give me a wave.