Meet the people who animate our projects and initiatives. We are thankful for their involvement and commitment to our stakeholders.
Denise Wheelhouse | Foundation Manager
An MA in Tourism Policy and Planning, former role as Director of the Golden and District Community Foundation, plus an abiding interest in community economic development give Denise a strong base from which to manage Bowstrings. She moved to the Bow Valley to work for Arctos & Bird, a company with a vision for creating and maintaining inspiring, sustainable, hospitable buildings. She has been heavily drawing on that experience during her active involvement in the restoration of Bowstrings’ Rutherford Cottage. In her free time, Denise enjoys skiing and biking with family in the mountains.
Chris Braisby | Plant Steward
Chris is an unlikely Banffite. He grew up in Woolsthorpe By Belvoir, a thousand-year-old town with even older medieval roots. Skiing brought Chris to the Bow Valley. Mushroom picking in the off season led to an interest in how fungi connect almost every that grows. “What grows here?” was Chris’ next big interest. Bowstrings’ landscaping lead, he enthusiastically experiments with propagation and germination, learns from observation, celebrates large and small successes. We appreciate his work to ensure our grounds work together with, and complement, the ecosystems that surround them.
David Cooney | Researcher, Writer
David’s Master’s thesis, on the complex interplay between residents, the tourism sector and varying levels of government, sounds like it could be set in Banff. Instead, his participant observation research focused on Bonavista, an Atlantic community devastated by the 1992 cod moratorium. Now a doctoral candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Memorial University of Newfoundland, he is applying his investigative skills to Bowstring’s Indigenous Map of Banff. He assists us with other initiatives, and occasionally teaches students in the K- 12 school in nearby Canmore.
Lars Backman | Property Steward
From building and property maintenance to social media and videography, Lars may have the most diverse job description in the Bow Valley. A “Jack-of-All-Trades”, learning to master the delicate art of balancing work and family, he has been part of the Bowstrings team since 2021. After 15 years as a Language Arts and ESL teacher, Lars moved to Banff to work in the outdoor adventure industry. Now, it is not uncommon to find him mowing the Mountain School law, creating Instagram posts, meeting contractors at Rutherford Cottage, practicing guitar for an upcoming gig, and driving his son to training – all in the same day!
Wendy Smith-Hughes | Financial Record Keeper
Wendy’s contract role with Bowstrings is important: she works on our monthly and annual reporting, budgeting and book-keeping. Hailing originally from the UK, she happily spends free time with her family and dog, appreciates the different energies of running and reading.
Advisors | Financial Accountability
Megan Bambrough, CPA, CA
Megan has over 20 years of experience in finance, accounting and advisory roles for charities, real estate and hospitality companies. She enjoys exploring and playing in the mountains with family and friends, especially on skis. She values the opportunity to learn about, and connect to Banff’s history through her work with Bowstrings.
Jonathan Marks, CPA, CA
Jonathan has over 10 years of experience in various roles in the non-profit sector, including overseeing capital projects, grant reporting, and program budgeting. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys walking his dog, skiing, and mountain biking.
Advisors | Visual Communication
Craig Richards, RCA
Craig has had over 60 solo exhibitions and 70 group exhibitions at art galleries and museums throughout the world. Since retiring as Curator of Photography for the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, he has been working on three projects: photographing a five generation First Nations family; creating portraits of Elders throughout British Columbia and Alberta and, photographing sacred sites in Western Canada. Craig’s interest in his Métis heritage, as well as his extensive visual story telling skills, make him a valuable member of the Bowstrings team.
As a frequent visitor, Bob has developed an appreciation and love for the social, natural and cultural fabric that is Banff. A long-time strategic designer, he enjoys working closely with clients, stakeholder groups, writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, other designers, printers and fabricators. Bob’s expertise in, and gift of visual communications, is a gift to Bowstrings. He is a steady resource for us in many initiatives, from donor recognition through to interpretative and wayfinding signage. We especially appreciate how Bob captured the raison d’être of Bowstrings in our logo.