Who we are:

The Environmental Law Club at the University of Victoria is comprised of law students from all years of law school. Our mission is to promote awareness of environmental sustainability and conservation issues to the student body and general public. The elected Executive members of the Club serve as 50% of the Board of Directors of the ELC Society.

What have we been up to:

Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC):

Each year, the Club sends a cohort of students down to Eugene, Oregon, to participate in the oldest environmental law conference in the world, which hosts over 3,000 attendees each year. The conference provides students with the invaluable experience of connecting with other like-minded students, professors and lawyers from around the world, and to learn of the latest developments in the growing field of public interest environmental law.

Speaking events:

The Club hosts many speaking events focusing on current environmental issues. Past speakers have included John Borrows and Andrew Nikoforuk.

Film screenings:

The Club also hosts film screenings of documentaries that educate the law school and public on environmental issues. A recent screening outlined the concerns with the proposed Site C dam in Northern BC.

Participation events:

The Club is active in the law school and hosts at least one “bike to school” week per year, which seeks to educate and reward students who bike or walk to school.

Other events:

The Club also supports opportunities for students to hone their legal skills, be it through our participating in the annual Environmental Law Negotiation Competition at UBC, or having a team in West Coast Environmental Law’s Twitter Moot.

How can you get involved:

Keep up to date on our events by following us on Facebook.

Club Executive Members 2018-19

Lola Churchman, President
Lola is a third year law student from the Prairies. Born and raised in Saskatoon, she fell in love with canoeing and camping in the wilderness. Taking a sharp turn from microbiology and immunology in undergrad, she packed up her incredibly fluffy cat in her car and headed for the coast. Finding herself at UVic Law, she’s come to join the struggle to defend the environment at all costs and contribute to the environmental law community in any way she can. She dreams of living an environmentally sustainable life in a like-minded community. In addition to participating in the Club, Lola sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Frances Ankenman, Vice President
Frances is a wholehearted West Coast-er guided by a lifelong passion for learning about, protecting, and sharing knowledge about BC’s coastal ecosystems. She completed a BA in geography and environmental studies at UVic. For the last 6 years, Frances has been working in environmental education and conservation both locally in Squamish, Vancouver, Victoria, and Bamfield, and abroad in Panama, Costa Rica and Australia. She was drawn to UVic Law with a lofty goal of broadening her impact on environmental conservation in BC. When she’s not teaching (or now, studying), she can usually be found cooking vegan feasts, hiking, skiing and nerding out about the wonderful kingdom of fungi.


Graham May, Vice President
Graham May’s enthusiasm for environmental issues grew from a childhood of long, wet hikes in Powell River, BC. He has worked for many science, policy, and education organizations, including the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, the Youth Arctic Coalition, and the Environmental Law Institute in Washington DC. After studying for five years in New Brunswick, Turkey, USA, Greenland, and China, Graham is overjoyed to be back on the West Coast. Graham loves to sing, sail, and swing dance, though usually not at all the same time.

Ruben Tillman, Project & Events Coordinator

Conner Wear, Treasurer
Conner Wear has been an active member of the Environmental Law Center’s Board of Directors for three years and has held positions on the Club’s Executive throughout his tenure in the Faculty of Law and as a student in the Environmental Law Clinic. Conner has a Bachelor of Science from the Faculty of Land and Foods Systems at the University of British Columbia. Prior to law school, he operated a hop farm on the Sunshine Coast for two seasons and worked in Rwanda for three years for Gardens for Health International where he engaged in program design and government partnerships as the Agricultural Technical Manager. In addition to participating in the Club, Conner sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Holly Stewart, Internal Communications
Holly Stewart is in her second year of law school at the University of Victoria. She completed her bachelor’s degree in environmental science at McGill University and spent a lot of time looking at sediment from alpine lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Prior to entering law school she spent several years working as a forest firefighter in the summers and as a ski patroller in the winters. She enjoys running, biking, rock climbing, and generally any activity that does not involve being stationary. In addition to participating in the Club, Holly sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Courtenay Jacklin, External Communications
Courtenay was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, and completed her undergraduate degree in biology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. While at Queen’s, she was a member of the Kingston Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology and of Queen’s Backing Against Climate Change. She spent two summers working as a field research assistant in a biogeography lab, studying vegetation dynamics in subarctic North America. Based out of the Kluane Lake Research Station, her experience as a field assistant inspired the theme of her undergraduate thesis, which focused on how land development adjacent to Kluane National Park and Reserve impacts critical wildlife habitat within the park. Courtenay was drawn to UVic Law by the possibility to explore her interests in environmental policy and conservation biology.

Maeve O’Neill Sanger, External Communications
Maeve O’Neill Sanger is a second year student at the University of Victoria and External Communications Officer of the Environmental Law Club. She is from Ottawa and trained as a visual artist. Summers paddling the Great Lakes and planting trees in the clear cuts of northern Ontario and interior British Columbia have fostered Maeve’s concern for the health of our waterways, ecosystems, and communities. She is thrilled to join in the important work of the ELC Board of Directors. In addition to participating in the Club, Maeve sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Will Kendon, Upper Year Rep & Summer Rep
Will Kendon is a second year law student at UVic, and has been an appreciator and admirer of nature since first going camping with his high school outdoor education class. From then on, he’s been interested in protecting sensitive ecosystems and finding ways for society to live more sustainably within them. This inspired him to complete a Diploma in Environmental Protection Technology and a BSc in Environmental Science. His environmental law course and subsequent volunteer work with West Coast Environmental Law changed his approach on how to try and tackle the most pressing environmental problems that we face, convincing him to study law – and to team up with the ELC! Will is beyond excited to be in here Victoria, and looks forward to exploring and protecting this wonderful place. In addition to participating in the Club, Will sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.

Shawna Smith, First Year Rep
Shawna Smith grew up in Aamjiwnaang territory (near Sarnia, Ontario) and now finds herself in her first year of law school. She has been living north of 60 for the past three years, dedicated to issues where environmental justice and indigenous rights intersect. Before moving to Victoria she was President of the Yukon Conservation Society (YCS), supporting the Protect the Peel campaign surrounding the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v. Yukon SCC case. After working with Taku River Tlingit First Nation in Aitlin, British Columbia, to write down traditional laws on how to build and maintain healthy relationships with the land, she was inspired to apply for the new Joint Degree Program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders to continue to build her tools to better support indigenous law revitalization. Shawna loves to learn about and build relationships with the land by getting out climbing, hiking, trail running, and canoeing with her furry friend Jules. In addition to participating in the Club, Shawna sits on the ELCS Board of Directors.