Kayla Tillapaugh – President

Kayla Tillapaugh has been on the KNPS board since April 2021. She is a proud mother residing in Raspberry within the traditional homelands of the Sinixt people which includes areas utilized by the Syilx, Ktunaxa, and Secwepemc Nations. She fostered a young passion for conservation and stewardship in the rolling mountains and river valleys of her homeplace in the North Okanagan/ Shuswap within Syilx and Secwépemc traditional lands. She pursued studies in Environmental Planning Technology and gained work experience in Indigenous land stewardship, academic research, and environmental nonprofit management. Her fascination and appreciation for native plants sprouted from her love of wild foraging and macrophotography. Kayla enjoys camping, swimming, rock hunting, nature walks, and most of all, spending time with friends and family (including the furry and scaled ones!). She is passionate about the rekindling of human-nature relationships through a deep reimagination of symbiotic coexistence among kin

Caroline Mcchesney – Vice-President

Caroline has no scientific training whatsoever but has spent a lifetime playing with and reading up on plants and mushrooms. Her favourite gift was a four volume book set of detailed photographs and botanical descriptions of many of the world’s plants. Currently a teacher of young children, a calling she’s followed for the past 20 years, Caroline has also taught adults at Coast Mountain College. In her previous career, she was a lawyer passionately representing immigrants and refugees. Caroline writes for fun, and volunteers as a director with several Kootenay organizations, two of them plant and mushroom related. She is married to someone who permits himself to be dragged into the woods, and has one son who rarely even feigns polite interest.

Lori Clyde – Treasurer

Lori Clyde is a BC girl now rooted in Nelson. She joined the KNPS board of directors in 2022 to get more involved with her community and support an organization that is actively improving ecosystems in the West Kootenays. Lori has been a plant nerd from an early age, armed with plant and mushroom identification books, and building countless fairy homes while camping around BC. Owning a landscaping business in Nelson evolved into studying environmental science and Lori is now in her third year of a Natural Resource Science degree at Thompson Rivers University. She is perpetually delighted by watching things grow and plans on focusing her efforts on protecting and restoring the native landscapes she lives in.

Nicole Murray

Nicole Murray grew up in Southern Ontario, close to Lake Erie, and spent most of her youth wandering the forests and beaches around her hometown of St. Thomas. Growing up with her hands in the soil most of the time, making mud pies, picking veggies from Grandma’s garden or catching all kinds of critters; it made sense that she ended up in a career as a gardener. Moving to British Columbia in 2005 opened up a whole new world of plants and animals to observe and places to explore. Working as a gardener for 18 years, Nicole maintained that child-like wonder and excitement for the world of Horticulture, focussing her education on permaculture and ecological landscape design and organic landcare practices. She ended up in Nelson in 2016 for a change in scenery and joined the KNPS board near the end of 2022 to keep connected to the plants and people of the Kootenays.

Chelsea McDowell


Jarra Ford


Catherine Levesque