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Grace Nombrado

Executive Director


In August 2022, Free the Fern Stewardship Society officially incorporated as a nonprofit. We have a talented and diverse board of directors. Directors commit to a minimum of a one year term, to help with event planning, fundraising, invasive removal and more! See below to learn more about our 2023-2024 directors.

Erin Knock


Erin is originally from Nova Scotia and has lived in Champlain Heights since 2016. She is a scientist by trade, focused on human cellular biology but with a special place in her heart for plant biology and ecosystems. Her science career has taken her all over Canada and to the UK, working in Montreal, Toronto and Cambridge, England before moving to Vancouver. Erin is currently the Associate Director of Neural Biology at STEMCELL Technologies, where she leads a team making tools for life science and stem cell research. She became involved in Free the Fern due to the interest of her two children, Liam and Connor, in stewardship events at Everett Crowley Park. Liam in particular has a passion for learning about native and invasive species and is always up for pulling up ivy! Now you can find Erin and her family walking their dog Riker in the park and helping out with weed pulls and planting along the trails.

Catherine Munn


Joshua Ralph


Barbara Lane

Director at Large

Barbara Lane moved to Vancouver in 2021 after living in Alberta for many years.  A retired corporate librarian, she has a long history of volunteering with a variety of organizations.  She became involved with Free the Fern in 2022, regularly volunteering at the monthly invasive pulls on the Red Alder trail near her home.  She likes learning about the local ecosystem and especially loves planting native plants.

Damian Assadi

Director at Large

Damian Assadi is a life-long resident of Champlain Heights. His love for plant ecology began as a child playing in the neighborhood’s urban forests. Damian is now a Forestry undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia, studying Natural Resources Conservation and learning how we can live in reciprocity with nature. His passion for park stewardship began in 2019, and he has since contributed over 1300 volunteer hours with organizations like the Invasive Species Council of BC and Stanley Park Ecology Society. He is the Chair of the Everett Crowley Park Committee and a Board Director for the Champlain Heights Community Association. Damian joined Free the Fern in early 2021 to support local stewardship, and has secured two community service grants for these efforts. As a witness of Free the Fern’s roots, he can proudly attest to how the Red Alder Trail has been transformed because of the community. When Damian isn’t wrangling invasive plants, he draws, paints, and also writes heartfelt guitar love songs about trees.

Genevieve Finn

Director at Large

Robin Poirier-Vasic

Director at Large

Robin Poirier-Vasic has lived all over Canada, including Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario, before moving to British Columbia in 1998. She has been a resident in Champlain Heights since 2015.  In 2021, after meeting Grace Nombrado while walking the trails, Robin became involved with Free the Fern.  She has enjoyed learning about native plants and loves to give back to the Champlain Heights Community.  Now you can find Robin on many weekends pulling invasive species with other Free the Fern directors and volunteers.


Kiki Nombrado

Artist & Branding

Kiki Nombrado has been a resident of Kinross Creek Co-op in Champlain Heights since 2020. By day, Kiki is an informatics nurse. At night, she spends her time crafting and creating art. In January 2021, when Free the Fern first formed, Kiki was an integral force behind the scenes. She created the Free the Fern website, designing the logo, and created signage. In the spring of 2021, Kiki painted hundreds of birds for Free the Fern’s Art for Plant Fundraiser. She also started the Free the Fern Instagram account and continues to manage it today. In December 2022, for Free the Fern’s event, Light up the Night in Champlain Heights, Kiki built butterfly, stained glass, and animal lanterns for display along the Red Alder Trail. She also brought together local artists to teach lantern building skills. In addition to crafting, Kiki also performed the glockenspiel at several Free the Fern events. She likes to always challenge herself to learn new art forms and instruments.

Joshua Ralph


Since June 2021, eco-artist Joshua Ralph has been partnering with Free the Fern to run free public workshops. Joshua loves to experiment with using invasive plants to create useful things. Past workshops he has taught have included: pencil making, paper making, and bird nesting cages. Joshua has also participated in our Free the Fern Winter lantern festival, Light up the Night in Champlain Heights, creating a snail lantern to display at the event. We look forward to continuing to partner with Joshua Ralph for future public workshops. Learn more about Joshua here.

Community Volunteers

Since our founding in January 2021, Free the Fern has had over 140 volunteers help with invasive pulls, planting or event set-up/clean-up.

We are so grateful to everyone who helps make Free the Fern possible!