Friends of the Rouge Watershed Logo

Executive and Staff

The following volunteers make up our Executive Board of Directors


Kevin O'Connor, BSc., BEd. - Science Teacher at Delphi Secondary Alternative School

Kevin O'Connor (right) presents a
Rouge Park Poster to a Scout
Leader at an FRW Planting in
April, 2003.

Kevin received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto where he majored in Biology. When he became involved in a study focusing on Duffins Creek, he started to become very interested in the environment. He worked for Pollution Probe for a little while before he started teaching science at Woburn Collegiate Institute. When he left Woburn, Kevin continued his interest in nature by going to Temagami during the hectic 1980s. He also planted trees with the Taskforce to Bring Back the Don. In the meantime, he began teaching at Alternative Scarborough Education 2 where he took students into nature on various excursions. Of course, living in Scarborough, it was inevitable that he heard about Save the Rouge Valley System. The members of SRVS helped to save Pearse House and were a significant factor in getting Rouge Park started. Eventually, this crew created the Friends of the Rouge Watershed, with Cathy Gregorio giving the initiative and Jim Robb providing the energy and knowledge. In Kevin’s own words,

“The focus of Friends of the Rouge Watershed is on educating the next generation to look after the environment, to help nature heal from the onslaught of heedless human activities and to continue to ‘speak for the trees’.”



Gloria Boxen B.Sc. and M.Sc. - Community Volunteer

Gloria received her Bachelor and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Toronto. Gloria’s broad environmental interests and activities include: working for a clear separation between built-up urban centres and rural areas; land use planning that develops people-friendly and green urban environments; protection of agricultural land and wildlife habitats; development of economies based on sustainable natural resource stewardship; and education that develops appreciation of the natural world, compassion for all creatures including humans, creativity, and logical and critical thinking.

Ex-officio Director and Founding FRW Member

Cathy Gregorio, Hon. BSc. and B. Ed. - TDSB Secondary School Teacher

Cathy has volunteered and worked for social and environmental causes for much of her life. Cathy was a big sister with Youth Assisting Youth and she later served on the Board of Directors. In the late 1980s, Cathy worked with World University Services Canada (WUSC) to monitor Canadian aid and Adopt-a-Village projects in Ethiopia's Ogaden desert during a terrible famine. In 1987, Cathy joined SRVS and eventually became the group's Executive Director. Cathy's tremendous communications, planning and volunteer coordination skills were vital components of the successful effort to create the Rouge Park. Cathy also helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore Pearse House as a Rouge Valley Conservation Centre. Cathy's work has been recognized by awards from Outdoor Canada, the federal government and the Rouge Park.

Since 1997, Cathy has worked for the Toronto District School Board teaching science and physical education. Cathy continues to provide strategic planning and communications advice to FRW.

FRW Staff

General Manager

Jim Robb, Hons. B.Sc., B.Sc. Forestry

Jim has a successful record of conservation work within the Rouge Watershed. Between 1986 and 1990, Jim was Vice Chair and then Chair of “Save the Rouge Valley System”. In this volunteer role, Jim helped develop the Rouge Park vision and the public and government support which led to the 1990 creation of the Rouge Park.

Between 1990 and 1996, Jim was a Vice Chair with the Ontario Environmental Assessment Board and a Niagara Escarpment Hearings Officer. In 1996, Jim left the EA Board and began building FRW into a group which could involve thousands of volunteers in the implementation of the Rouge Park vision. Between 1997 and 2003, Jim helped FRW to raise over $2.5 million to involve 15,000 volunteers in the planting of 200,000 trees, shrubs and wildflowers on 120 hectares (1.2 square kilometre) of priority Rouge Park sites. This work is helping the Rouge Park to expand and reconnect Environmental Sensitive Areas. Jim continues to volunteer many hours to strategic watershed planning initiatives and efforts to protect a large Rouge Duffins Greenbelt Link between Lake Ontario and the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Restoration Projects Coordinator

Photo of FRW_staff

Andrew Farnsworth, B.Sc.

Andrew was born and raised in Huntsville, ON. He came to FRW in February of 2011 from Trent University, where he obtained his B.Sc. in Physical Geography, specializing in hydrology and soils science. When he can tear himself away from the Rouge, he is working towards a Master’s degree in forest hydrology. He conducts his research in the Ganaraska Forest on the Oak Ridges Moraine, observing the effects of forest stand species and age on evapotranspiration and groundwater recharge. Andrew’s favourite activities in the Rouge are community tree plantings (big surprise!), as they are an immediate and personal connection between himself and the community, the biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. His favourite tree is the American sycamore and his favourite food is meat (but only that which is raised on his parents’ Burk’s Falls farm). Contact Andrew freely with any media, granting or general inquiries –