Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability

What is CAFES?

Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES) is a network of local environmental and climate leaders in the city of Ottawa. CAFES was founded in 2010, incorporated as a non profit organization in 2021, and is active on unceded Algonquin territory. CAFES' organizational members are urban, suburban and rural community associations, environmental organizations and citizens organizations. Our community association representatives are often environment committee chairs or green point persons in their local association. Our individual members are citizens active in their communities and concerned with living in ecological balance. (more about membership here)

As of May 2023, the network includes over 150 individual and organizational representatives from across 23 wards and over 50 neighbourhoods.

The mission of CAFES is to support effective environmental action in the local community and at the municipal level towards creating and safeguarding a more healthy and livable city. 

CAFES regularly liaises with, and is a member of, the Ottawa Federation of Citizens’ Associations (FCA), as well as the David Suzuki Foundation Future Network. We partner with other community organizations such as Ecology Ottawa, Forêt Capital Forest, the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, Waste Watch Ottawa, City for All Women (CAWI) and Synapcity and lend our support to efforts by local groups to make Ottawa a better, more healthy and livable place.

CAFES is a leading member of the Peoples’ Official Plan coalition, and CAFES is a partner in the Canadian Coalition for Invasive Plant Regulation.


Media Contact: Angela Keller-Herzog
(613) 769-3794

Our Impact

Cover image of CAFES's 2023 Impact Report

CAFES is pleased to present its Impact Report from 2023. Take a look to learn about our mission, mandate, vision, and what we accomplished in 2023! You can download and read the full report.


Our Strategic Plan 
2024 -2027

Title Page of the CAFES 3-year Strategic Plan 2024 to 2027

Who we are - Meet our board members!

James Stevenson
Chair of the Board


James is a practicing lawyer, currently working primarily in employment law, but used to work as a Crown prosecutor when living in Vancouver. He served on the Osgoode Hall Law School Faculty Council while attending law school, and acted on several faculty committees (as a student member). He also worked for the Community Legal Aid Services Programme, serving low income clients who would not otherwise have had legal representation. 

He moved to Ottawa in the summer of 2019 and volunteered with the Shepherds of Good Hope until the arrival of his twin children in February 2020. He currently volunteers as a "hoser", maintaining the Lindenlea Park skating rink.

James is looking to both take action with respect to climate change and to be part of a team with
a shared vision for his community. While climate change and environmental degradation are global issues, their solutions must often be applied at the local level, and it is at that level that people experience the benefits and costs of change. He wants to be involved in his community, to help it be the best place to live that it can be. He feels there are few things more fulfilling than being part of a team aimed at doing good in the world, and wants more of that in his life.

Jennifer Gautreau
Vice Chair of the Board
Chair of the Fundraising Committee


Jennifer is a sustainability consultant, helping
small and medium companies in the construction and logistics sector adopt sustainable business practices. She has worked in constructions and logistics in various ways for over 20 years.

Jennifer is a chronic volunteer and believes that grassroots organizations have the power to affect tremendous change in their local communities.
She also believes that having honest conversations with neighbours and communities can bridge partisan and divisive gaps that are so pervasive today. She wants to bring rural, suburban and urban residents together at the same table for collaborative and respectful ways to work on our most pressing environmental issues. We are better when we work together.

Guy Dubuc
Treasurer of the Board


Guy retired some years back after a 40-year career in the high tech sector, developing and installing a range of (now mostly-obsolete) communications systems. As well as his Engineering degree, Guy holds an MBA (University of Ottawa, 1994) and a bookkeeping certificate (Algonquin 2016).

Guy is a long-time biker (the pedal variety), hiker, kayaker, EV owner, and part-time bookkeeper for an organic farm. Over the past two years, Guy has immersed himself in the City’s Climate Change Master Plan and participated in a number of green, pro-climate events, including the April Fossil Fools March, the September 2023 Climate Strike and CAFES initiatives, including the Climate Resiliency Workshops and the Addressing Climate Misinformation project.

He is a frequent letter- and email-writer, reminding politicians at all levels of government about the urgent need for action.

Pamela O’Donnell
Secretary of the Board


Pamela is retiring from a 30+ years diplomatic career, serving twice at the Ambassador level in Tanzania and Ecuador. A strong advocate for climate action and environmental protection throughout her career, she has held several positions directly working on the environment — as a Trade Officer promoting Canada’s environmental solutions, promoting climate change action as the Deputy Head of Canada’s Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation Office, and as Director for Sustainable Development.

With a desire to return to environmental work, she is ready to take her knowledge and experience and apply it to local environmental advocacy and action. She strongly believes that communities acting together can have a huge impact, and set an example for others to follow.

For many years a Vanier resident, Pamela is now living in Carlsbad Springs, enjoying the woods and wildlife with her dogs.

Dr. Emma Bider
Member of the Board


Emma recently completed her PhD at Carleton University, with her thesis focused on peoples relationship to trees. She is keenly interested in CAFES work on canopy regeneration and other issues around canopy equity and the city's environmental policies.

Emma feels that CAFES does important work that has real on-the-ground impacts on the people of Ottawa. She believes in a multi-pronged approach that recognizes the importance of communications projects alongside engagement with community groups, City staff and other organizations striving to make Ottawa a better place. 

Emma has previously worked as a coordinator at another small NGO, Climate Legacy, and understands both the challenges and the possibilities of small organizations in the crowded space of environmental and climate activism.

magdalene carson
Chair of the Board Renewal Committee


Over the past 6 years, Magdalene has become increasingly active on the question of climate and environment in local civic organizations, starting out with volunteering at Ecology Ottawa, and going on to participate in and contributing to the work of Peoples Official Plan, ReImagine Ottawa, Fridays for Future, among other organizations and initiatives. In recent years, she has become more involved with CAFES, participating, for example, in the organization of the mayoral debates in 2022, the preparation of the CAFES 2022-2028 Priorities document, and many online meetings. She particularly feels close to CAFES’ “boots on the ground” approach, working on concrete issues in the life of the city, its citizens and municipal government.

By profession, Magdalene is a graphic artist and owner/operator of New Leaf Publication Design, specializing in book design. As of this year, she is semi-retired. She resides in Barrhaven, Ward 24, where there is a need for community and consciousness building round climate questions in the suburbs.

Photo of Sara Washburn
Sara Washburn
Member of the Board


Sara holds degrees in Education and Business and previously worked as a professional accountant. Now that she is retired and her children are grown, she enjoys having more time to volunteer in her community.

For more than a decade, Sara has been the Treasurer and a settlement volunteer with The Interchurch Refugee Group, a small east-Ottawa charity that privately sponsors refugees. Since 2021, she has been active as a climate campaign organizer with several local groups, including the Council of Canadians Ottawa Chapter, Fridays For Future Ottawa, and For Our Kids Ottawa-Gatineau. Sara is deeply concerned about climate change and looks forward to supporting CAFES’ ongoing climate advocacy work.

Sara has been a resident of Orléans for nearly 20 years and loves being close to its beautiful ravine parks, conservation areas, and the bike & ski trails along the river.


Akil Mesiwala
Akil Mesiwala
Member of the Board


Akil is a newcomer to Canada and moved to Ottawa in 2018. He is passionate about creating a human society that is in love with nature and biodiversity, and is the founder of The Box Of Life, a social enterprise that builds beautiful, sustainable worm farms and teaches people how to easily compost at home.

Akil joined the CAFES board to help boost Ottawa's circular economy sector and brings some business expertise to the table. He wants to help both non-profits and for-profits to incorporate a social mission and revenue streams in their business models. He loves lounging with his cat in his free time, and spending time in nature on weekends with his partner.

Ariella Ritter Gubbay
Member of the Board


Ariella is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science at Carleton University and is an active member of ESSA (the Environmental Science Student Association at Carleton University). As a research assistant at the Sprott School of Business, she studied sustainable impact measurements for businesses.

Ariella is very passionate about engaging the community in all things relating to sustainability. Through working with CAFES, Ariella hopes to focus on making it easier for the citizens of Ottawa to embrace sustainability in their everyday lives through engagement and education. As well, she is eager to engage with Ottawa businesses to discover new ways to increase their efforts in sustainability.

Meet Our Staff

Angela Keller-Herzog
Founding Executive Director of CAFES


Angela is the founding Executive Director of CAFES and served as the co-chair of CAFES from 2015 to 2020, prior to the incorporation of CAFES in January 2021.  She is active in the community as an environmental and social justice advocate and active citizen observer of municipal affairs. She serves as a director on the boards of the Glebe Community Association, the Ottawa Renewable Energy Coop and Co-Energy Ontario Coop. She leads Horizon Green, an economic consultancy, and prior to COVID-19 also ran an eco-friendly B&B. Angela is a trained economist and has over two decades of experience in consulting, programme management, policy development, risk management and international development with the Canadian International Development Agency.


Trees and Greenspace Coordinator


Erica grew up in the rural town of Erin, Ontario, on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. She completed her BA in Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University, and her MSc in Environmental Health at Queen's University, where she supported Indigenous-led research on land stewardship and climate action.

Erica is passionate about the ways in which the environment impacts our health, and in 2018 founded a community garden and nature walk program for adults with disabilities while working with the Salvation Army in Toronto, Ontario. Erica loves hiking, kayaking, collecting plants and learning about the natural world.


Administrative Coordinator


Mitzi  grew up in Canada but has spent more than a decade living overseas. She is passionate about providing people with the tools and information they need to make meaningful change. 

In Australia, she worked with businesses to reduce the environmental impact of packaging, and helped the NSW Department of Water share knowledge with their stakeholders. While in the UK she implemented recycling programs for a central London city council. 

Mitzi has a Master of Environmental Management, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education, and a BA in Fine Arts. She enjoys getting outside, discovering new places, and exploring new ideas.


Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator


Megan grew up in Montreal, Quebec, and has recently moved to Ottawa, Ontario. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Environment at McGill University in 2021, specializing in Biodiversity and Conservation.

She loves to utilize her creativity and passion for communications and social media to push forward sustainable and environmental initiatives. Megan loves to discover natural and local products, learn about mindset and self-development, as well as create content online.

Mission, Mandate and Vision

Click here to download the CAFES mission, mandate and vision document:
Download the document

Supporting Organizations

We would like to thank the following organizations for their financial support toward CAFES' initiatives: Alterna Savings, the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Climate Action Fund, Ottawa Community Foundation, Nature Canada, Sustainable Capacity Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.