About Us

CPAWS Manitoba Staff

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Executive Director

Ron Thiessen

Ron Thiessen has been instrumental in establishing 23 parks and protected areas in Manitoba. That’s nearly three million hectares of healthy lands and waters conserved for future generations.

Ron began his nearly 30-year career in conservation knocking on doors for Greenpeace. These face-to-face interactions taught Ron what it takes to get people interested in environmental issues and how to empower and motivate them to take action. Ron’s leadership skills were swiftly recognized as he moved from leading teams in the Winnipeg office to helping Greenpeace offices across the country revitalize their campaigns.


Director of Communications and Public Programs

Mira Oberman

Mira Oberman was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she developed a love of hiking, canoeing, skiing and stargazing in the boreal.

Mira has more than 20 years of experience in journalism and communications. A creative storyteller and strategic thinker, Mira began working with CPAWS Manitoba as a consultant in April 2018 and joined as staff in January 2019.


Operations Manager and Science Advisor

David Swan

David Swan is a behavioural ecologist who joined CPAWS Manitoba because he is passionate about science-based conservation. He has a great love for animals and is dedicated to habitat preservation and animal welfare. David has many science-based interests; however, he is most interested in figuring out why animals behave the way they do.

Before joining CPAWS, David managed a non-profit veterans club and was instrumental in bringing the organization to the best financial situation it has ever been in. He also spent time teaching introductory biology at the University of Manitoba.


Polar Bear Campaign Manager

Riley Chervinski

Riley Chervinski is a writer and communications professional with a strong interest in tourism and sustainability. She is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg with a bachelor of arts in rhetoric and communications and Red River College’s Creative Communications program where she majored in journalism.
Prior to joining CPAWS Manitoba, Riley worked in various travel media, hospitality and tourism marketing positions at organizations including The Forks and Tourism Winnipeg. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Flare magazine, Narcity, CBC Manitoba and on many blogs.


Neil Bailey

Outreach and Engagement Officer

Neil Bailey grew up in Gimli, Manitoba. His lifelong passion for nature and stewardship began collecting sticks and rocks on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. He has a keen eye for “lucky stones” and will always take you up on a stone-skipping challenge.

Neil received his science degree from the University of Manitoba, with a major in psychology, and studied community and regional planning at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 


Environmental Educator

Carly Gray

Carly Gray will be graduating as a certified teacher from the University of Winnipeg’s After-Degree Bachelor of Education program in April 2023. She joined CPAWS in June of 2022 and has delivered outdoor learning programming to hundreds of children and students. Carly is managing the Outdoor Learning program on a part-time basis as she completes her degree and will lead the program on a full-time basis after she graduates.

Carly has been working with children since 2010 in many capacities including as: a YMCA day camp counsellor and youth program coordinator; a literacy tutor; an after school program supervisor; and a dance instructor. Carly is passionate about outdoor education and recently obtained her Below Zero instructor certification from the Canadian Wildlife Federation.

Help Keep Manitoba Wild


CPAWS Manitoba has helped establish 22 parks and protected areas thanks to people like you.

With your help, we can protect half our lands and waters for future generations of people and wildlife.


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Brand Ambassador

Riley Martin

Riley Martin is a media and communications professional with more than a decade of experience creating engaging and exciting content. He combines his professional experience with his passion for conserving wild places in his role as Brand Ambassador at CPAWS Manitoba.

Prior to joining CPAWS, Riley worked for local news organizations and shifted to the not-for-profit recycling industry before starting his own small company. Most recently, he has been working with clients to create effective content that achieves their goals.

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Environmental Educator 

Cheyenne Sveinson

Cheyenne Sveinson grew up in Gimli, Manitoba and has spent her life admiring the beauty of Lake Winnipeg. A successful day to Cheyenne is determined by how much she laughed and how long she was able to enjoy the outdoors. Her hobbies include reading, yoga, hiking, snowshoeing, camping bonfires with friends, and cooking.

Cheyenne’s love of the environment started in the 6th grade when she joined the middle school recycling club. This continued into high school where she joined the Enviro Club and became a member of the Envirothon Team. After high school Cheyenne graduated from the Greenspace Horticulture program at Red River college. She spent some time volunteering with the Canadian Conservation Corps doing shoreline cleanups and also volunteered with Oak Hammock Marsh. She also spent 3 months in Hafford, SK doing volunteer work for the Redberry Lake Biosphere Region.

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Conservation Ambassador

Austin Cirillo

Austin is a familiar face at festivals, farmers markets and other events where has been encouraging Manitobans to help preserve our wild spaces by signing postcards to support conservation campaigns since the summer of 2022.  

Austin grew up in Winnipeg and learned through travel with his family at a young age about the importance of protecting nature and gaining a worldly view. His favourite locations are sandy beaches where he enjoys everything from water sports to sand castles. Manitoba’s Grand Beach is a treasured summer tradition.. Austin’s passion for storytelling, and collaboration, have broadened his professional experience as a Conservation Ambassador at CPAWS Manitoba.