About Us

shoreline about us

Credit Isobel Ralston

About Us

The MapleCross Story

MapleCross is based in Ontario, Canada

Dr. Jan Oudenes and Dr. Isobel Ralston established the MapleCross fund upon exiting their respective business careers in 2017. They have had the opportunity to travel widely, together developing an understanding and respect of the Canadian wilderness. From hiking the Rocky Mountains and canoeing in Ontario and on the South Nahanni River (Northwest Territories) to quietly appreciating the forest on their own property, Isobel and Jan have become increasingly aware not only of nature’s beauty and splendour, but also its fragility. They created MapleCross with the intention to invest in and protect ecologically sensitive land, preserving natural features and biological diversity for generations to come. The environmental changes caused by humankind, directly and indirectly, have been staggering. Beyond the contributions of MapleCross itself, Jan and Isobel hope that this endeavour will inspire others to direct their own efforts and contributions to safeguarding our irreplaceable planet.

isobel and jan
Credit V. Tony Hauser
jan oudenes

Jan Oudenes, Ph.D.

Jan Oudenes was born in The Netherlands, grew up in a business environment and completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in radio and nuclear chemistry at the State University of Leyden. Subsequently he moved to Edmonton in 1974 and studied at the University of Alberta. After completing a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry, he studied at the Eidgenössische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland, investigating the prebiotic origin of life. Upon his return to Canada in 1982, he joined Torcan Chemical Ltd. in Aurora, a start-up laboratory company in pharmaceutical chemicals. Under Jan’s leadership the company gradually became an internationally well-known contract research, development and manufacturing organization in the field of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), particularly for very complex molecules. Jan also started an equipment company, Aurora Chemicals Ltd., which designed and marketed equipment to handle highly active products. Torcan Chemical matured into a commercial manufacturing company of a number of novel APIs and, after a decade of strong growth, Jan initiated the sale of the company in 2001 for his shareholders.

In 2003, Jan started up a new company, Alphora Research Inc., with the mission to research new chemical processes and to develop manufacturing processes for novel and very complex molecules. It took approximately a decade to build another powerhouse in the pharmaceutical market, from concept to approximately 150 personnel, laboratory and manufacturing facilities, and to develop a wealth of new manufacturing technologies to assist pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies from invention to the market place. An exciting endeavour indeed! Once the company had been firmly established, Jan sold the business in 2017 en route to yet another venture: MapleCross.

During his studies in Alberta, Jan developed an appreciation for nature, enjoying many visits to the Rocky Mountains. It left an enduring impression, together with canoeing in Ontario, and enjoying outdoor ventures to the Yukon and the South Nahanni River. Ultimately, our appreciation has led to the establishment of MapleCross and our mission: “Investing in Canada – Investing in Nature”.

isobel ralston

Isobel M. Ralston, Ph.D.

Isobel Ralston holds B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from The University of Western Ontario and The University of Alberta, respectively. She has approximately 30 years’ experience in global drug development and has held senior management positions in established international pharmaceutical companies. She has also consulted to the emerging pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, assisting in the research strategy and project management of novel pharmaceutical products.

Isobel’s love of nature grew during childhood camping trips across Canada with her family. She has backpacked, hiked and canoed in various regions of Canada (Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Yukon) and frequently cycles near her home and in Europe. Isobel sits on several Boards and continues art studies.

Our Advisory Team

chriss ballard

Chris Ballard

Chris Ballard has a history of supporting environmental and land use causes, most recently as the Ontario’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change implementing the government’s plan for a clean environment and a sustainable economy. He also served as the Minister of Housing and the Minister responsible for Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Chris’ political experience also includes being a municipal councillor in Aurora, Ontario. Chris is currently CEO of Passive House Canada. His leadership in journalism, communications and public affairs includes terms as President of the Public Affairs Association of Canada. Chris’ favourite activities always involve being outdoors in nature.

ian buchanan

Ian Buchanan

Ian has 40 years of environmental management experience and has been the Senior Advisor to the MapleCross Fund since 2019. His career includes 17 years as the Manager Natural Heritage and Forestry at York Region, Ontario, managing the Urban Forest, invasive species, and the York Regional Forest. Ian worked 18 years with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as ecologist, and Fish and Wildlife Lead. He has solid experience in conservation land management, and has spoken on environmental matters to both the House of Commons Environment Committee, and the Senate. He was an Associate of the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Vice President and Director with the Ontario Forestry Association, and a Director with the Invasive Species Centre and Forests Ontario.

machtelt oudenes

Machtelt Oudenes

Machtelt Oudenes is an advisor on environmental law, climate change and carbon market mechanisms, working for international and European organisations, and public authorities across the world. She has over 20 years’ experience in drafting environmental legislation and regulatory guidance, evaluating implementation of policies and giving legal advice. Previously, Machtelt was a legal and policy advisor for the Climate and Sustainability Group at PriceWaterhouse Coopers and a legal researcher at the University of Leiden. Machtelt holds a Master of Law in International, European and Environmental Law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Her love for nature started at an early age and has grown over time while hiking in the mountains, cycling through Dutch landscapes and visiting the breathtaking nature reserves in Canada.

bill ralston

Bill Ralston

Bill currently lives in Vancouver, BC and works in the landscaping industry. As an avid hiker, surfer, canoer and camper, Bill spends most of his spare time exploring the outdoors in Canada and abroad. These experiences have resulted in a deep appreciation of nature, its benefits to mental health and the increasing need to protect and preserve our ecosystems. Bill’s academic background is in horticulture, turf management and English. Bill is thrilled to be a part of the MapleCross journey and supports MapleCross’ vision of inspiring others in land conservation.

Our Partners

bc parks foundation logo bruce conservatory logo community forests international appalachian corridor logo appalachian corridor logo georgian bay land trust logo island nature trust logo LPBLT logo MWLT logo MMLT logo muskoka conservancy logo nature conservatory of canada logo nature trust of British Columbia logo nature trust of new brunswick logo nova scotia nature trust logo oak ridges moraaine land trust logo thames talbot land trust