- Sitka foundation
- Vancouver Foundation
- Real Estate Foundation of BC
- Vancouver Botanical Gardens Society
Steering Committee and Members
Dr. Paola Ardiles Gamboa (she/hers) is a Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Health Sciences and Special Projects Advisor for the Vice-President of People, Equity and Inclusion at Simon Fraser University. She is a practitioner scholar who has been recognized for her innovative, collaborative and inter-sectoral approaches in health promotion research, policy, practice and education. Her passion is to build partnerships and facilitate dialogue in order to foster the development of practical and creative upstream solutions to tackle complex public health challenges. Since 2015, Paola has been at Simon Fraser University developing participatory and community-based experiential courses including the co-design of Health Change Lab and Surrey CityLab, in collaboration with SFU RADIUS, City of Surrey, Fraser Health and many community-based organizations.
Dr. Hart Banack
Dr. Hart Banack- Hart has worked as an in/formal educator since he was 17, teaching swimming levels, guiding canoe trips & certifying canoe levels, teaching first aid, teaching English as a Second Language, teaching high school Science, running outdoor-based non-profit organizations and preparing in-service and pre-service teachers. Hart holds a B.Ed. in Environmental Education from Simon Fraser University (SFU), and a master’s and PhD in Philosophy of Education, also from SFU. Hart is a founding member of the HOPE-Ed (health, outdoors, physical and experiential education) area in the Faculty of Education at UBC, along with being the lead faculty for outdoor environmental education since 2014. Currently, Hart is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). Research interests include: outdoor learning, experiential learning, and considerations of where learning takes place. Hart has been involved with the IEL since 2015.
Donna Boucher has been a teacher for over 16 yrs. Her farm background and outdoor interests guided her to a BSc degree in Biology and Anthropology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario and early career work in wildlife biology. After moving to BC, she continued her education at SFU, completing a B. Ed with an Environmental minor. She joined EEPSA at that time and has continued to be actively involved in teacher engagement /pro-d activities, as well as serving as EEPSA secretary for the past nine years. Donna recently completed her Graduate Diploma in Nature and Place-based Learning through SFU and encourages her students to connect with their local environment through a variety of outdoor learning experiences.
Formerly with the Green schools Division of the BC Ministry of Education, Connie Cirkony is a lecturer in science education at the University of Tasmania (Australia). She is an experienced educator and researcher with expertise in science, STEM, and sustainability education as well as evidence-informed policy and practice. Her lifelong love of the outdoors inspired her initial career as a biologist and her commitment to integrate environmental learning in her teaching and research.
Erin Desautels, MBA MAEEC B.Sc.
Erin Desautels is the Sustainability Planner for the City of Surrey and has worked for local government and non-profit for over 13 years focussing in the areas of sustainability, environmental education, stewardship, and diversity and inclusion. With a science background and Master’s degrees in both Environmental Education and Business Administration, Erin brings a systems approach to the overlapping relationships amongst the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainability. Her passion lies in exploring strategic and interdisciplinary approaches to addressing climate action while building community capacity and resilience. From forest to field, she is passionate about encouraging personal relationships with nature and fostering an environmental ethic. Along with her work with the Institute for Environmental Learning, Erin is actively involved in the Metro Vancouver community as an environmental education facilitator with WildBC, and previously as a Director with the Surrey Urban Farmers Market. In her spare time, she enjoys wine tasting, pottery, and hiking.
Victor was a teacher and Principal Co-Administrator for the North Vancouver Outdoor School (re-branded as the Cheakamus Centre) 1984 – 2013. In 2013 Victor began work at Norgate Community Elementary. At Norgate Victor continued his primary work on nature-based and place conscious experiential learning for children and families. In 2014 Victor became involved with an innovative approach to professional development, leadership, learning and research that has become known as Wild Pedagogies. This is an area of personal endeavour, experience and research that continues to inspire and inform his learning. After retiring from full time teaching and public administration in 2016 Victor began work as a mentor with SFU in the Graduate Education Diploma in Experiential Place & Nature-based Learning. Victor continues this mentor work to the present. In 2017 Victor became a PhD student in Education Theory and Practice at SFU with a focus on the lasting impressions and impact that Outdoor School experiences and learning have on students that have attended over the past 50 years. In September 2018 Victor began work as a Faculty Associate at UBC within the Education for Sustainability Cohort.
Victor continues to consult and volunteer for NVSD, throughout the Lower Mainland and internationally through initiatives that support, enable and enhance capacity in “Learning with Nature as co-teacher in Place, through Experience and the more than Human”. He is a member of various environmental, education and sustainability committees as well as working groups; principle among these are Environmental Educators of BC Society ( Walking the Talk), Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA), NatureKids BC, VancouverMetro Education Advisory Committee, North Vancouver and Archives Commission, past member of BC Premier’s Citizen’s Conservation Council and a founding Director of Pacific Foundation for Understanding Nature Society.
Director of Pacific Wild Life Foundation
Ruth Foster is a retired teacher who has been nationally recognized as one of Canada’s foremost environmental education specialists. She serves on the executive of several societies and is a field instructor with Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education International Studies program
Dr. Lucie Gagné
Dr. Lucie Gagné is an award-winning designer with broad experience in interior / architectural design. Ms. Gagné has been teaching in the School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University since 1998. In addition to teaching, she is the coordinator of the Interior Design program; she has been involved in the establishment of international partnerships and exchanges, and conducted field study educational travel to a number of international destinations.
She is interested in the possibilities that can result from the spontaneous collision of ideas when people from differing backgrounds and experiences collaborate; and in the integration of diverse and global approaches in making informed connections across disciplines and international boundaries. Her research interests focus on the practices of experiential learning within a non-formal, cross-cultural, and global context; and the interrelationship between pedagogy, people, and place.
Kshamta Hunter is a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a manager of Sustainability Student Engagement with the UBC Sustainability Initiative. Kshamta’s PhD research aims to investigate operationalization of leadership capacity and competencies associated with social innovation toward addressing uncertain and complex issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals. With over ten years of experience in sustainability education, she is passionate about youth engagement and activism; and is always looking for innovative ways to foster involvement, critical dialogue and learning with a multidisciplinary approach.
Maureen Jack-LaCroix, Ph.D. (candidate)
Maureen is an environmental educator, curriculum designer, researcher, workshop facilitator and speaker with over 15 years’ experience designing and delivering programs for teachers and students in secondary schools and workshops in community and workplace. As the founder and Creative Director of Be the Change Earth Alliance, she has activated tens of thousands of individuals to make positive environmental behaviour change by connecting global issues to lifestyle choices and personal actions.
Maureen’s love of Earth and all things wild and beautiful fuels her passion for social change. As a researcher and doctoral candidate in the Philosophy of Curriculum Design and Implementation in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University, Maureen brings the intersectionality of indigenous, environmental and social justice education into focus within the participatory action research work she facilitates through BTCEA with passionate teachers, students and administrators keen to participate in the decolonization movement of the 21st century by transforming the education system. Her Masters’ studies at Naropa University in Eco-Psychology and Indigenous Wisdom, senior facilitators’ training in Dr. J. Macy’s Deep Ecology work, and recent certificate program in Social Innovation also informs her informative and inspiring offerings.
Dr. Shannon Leddy (Métis)
Shannon Leddy (Métis) is a Vancouver based teacher and writer whose practice focuses on decolonizing education and Indigenous education within teacher education. She holds a PhD from Simon Fraser University, the research for which focused on inviting pre-service teachers into dialogue with contemporary Indigenous art in order to develop decolonial literacies that help them avoid reproducing colonial stereotypes and misrepresentation. Currently, she serves as an Instructor in Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia, where she also teaches in the NITEP program.
Dr. LUISA MAFFI
Dr. Luisa Maffi (PhD – Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 1994) is co-founder (1996) and Director of Terralingua (https://terralingua.org), an international nonprofit devoted to sustaining biocultural diversity. She pioneered the concept of biocultural diversity – the interconnectedness and interdependence of biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity – and plays a leading role in this integrative field of knowledge and action. She spearheads Terralingua’s projects, which span research, policy, education, and on-the-ground work. She is also the Editor of Terralingua’s flagship publication, Langscape Magazine, a unique venue for authentic biocultural stories, told by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from all over the world who live and breathe the situations they describe.
With a background in linguistics, anthropology, and ethnobiology, Luisa has conducted fieldwork in Somalia, Mexico, China and Japan, as well as worked with First Nations in British Columbia. She has written extensively on the topic of biocultural diversity, including the foundational books On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge, and the Environment (L. Maffi, ed., Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001) and Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook (L. Maffi and E. Woodley, Earthscan, 2010). She has held a US National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley (1994-1997) and a National Research Service Award fellowship from the US National Institutes for Health at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (1997-2000). She was a Research Associate in the Anthropology Department at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois (1998-2003), and a Research Associate in the Anthropology Department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (1999-2004). She is an International Fellow of the Explorers Club (New York). In her work with Terralingua, she has been active in the international arena, promoting biocultural diversity policy and practice through collaborations with international organizations such as IUCN, UNESCO, UNEP, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Dr. Milton McClaren
Milton McClaren is an Emeritus Professor of Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. He is also an Adjunct member of the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. Milt was involved in the development of the environmental education programs at both SFU and RRU and has served as a consultant to strategic planning and organizational development processes at both BCIT and Vancouver Community College. Milt is a recipient of the B.C. Minister’s Environment Award, the Canadian EECOM Award, the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Certificate of Merit, and the Taft Campus Award from the University of Northern Illinois for his work in the field of environmental education. He has also received an Award of Recognition from the BC School Superintendents Association and a Certificate of Achievement from the Canadian Association of School Administrators for his work in professional education. He is a holder of the Maxwell Cameron Medal in Education of the BC Teachers Federation.
Cedar Morton is a Sr. Systems Ecologist at ESSA Technologies Ltd. His work focuses on optimizing environmental decisions across multiple objectives using an interdisciplinary lens. With specialized training in planning/policy, economics, and ecology, he brings a unique breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to problems involving complex social-ecological systems. As a consultant in the private sector, Cedar works on a wide range of topics and is particularly passionate about developing decision-support tools for water management, maximizing co-benefits from municipal natural assets while providing important services like flood protection, and articulating the economic value of ecosystem services for inclusion in cost benefit evaluations. Cedar is currently part of a team at ESSA developing an adult learning curriculum that will provide environmental professionals in private, public and non-profit sectors the training and skills required to apply Adaptive Management in practice.
Dr. Carlos Ormond
Carlos is the Director of the Haida Gwaii Institute (HGI), which is a community-based post-secondary institution located on Haida Gwaii, the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Haida people. With a mission of shaping the future by sharing Haida Gwaii with the world, HGI develops and delivers transformative education inspired by Haida Gwaii. Its programs offer participants from Haida Gwaii, across Canada and beyond, immersive, experiential learning opportunities in rural, resource-dependent communities in transition. Here the Haida Nation, island communities, and provincial and federal governments are working through complex co-management models towards reconciliation and sustainability. HGI is governed by the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society (HGHES) and the University of British Columbia Faculty of Forestry. HGI welcomes partnerships with other institutions, organizations and agencies that share a focus on the local and the global.
Dr. Patricia Plackett
Patricia holds PhDs in business strategy from Copenhagen Business School and in anthropology from the University of Toronto. She is currently teaching business ethics in Management of Technology and Executive MBA programs at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. In addition, she is Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation’s Suzuki Elders Council and a Board Member for the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve initiative focused on advancing biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and Reconciliation in Howe Sound. Previously she worked at Copenhagen Business School where her research and teaching interests were focused on innovation and sustainability. She was Academic Director of the International Summer University Programfor four years after serving as Project Manager of an EU-Asia Link project, Researcher/Analyst with The Copenhagen Center for Corporate Responsibility and Assistant Director of a Global Executive MBA program. Prior to moving to Copenhagen in 1999 she was Executive Director of a professional education network for BC’s forest sector. Her previous management experience includes roles as Technology Marketing and Director of Marketing and Business Development for the New Zealand Ministry of Forestry. She started her career with a position in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of British Columbia and in 2012 was nominated for The Economist ‘Business Professor of the Year’ award.
Dr. Nick Stanger
Lilia Yumagulova, MSc (Risk analysis)
Lilia specializes in risk management and planning for resilience. Her interdisciplinary academic path combines engineering, social sciences, public policy, international relations and planning. With over 15 years of experience in government, NGOs, media, Indigenous communities, and supranational organizations in Europe and North America, Lily’s passion is in building community resilience to climate change and disasters.
Dr. Zuzana Vasko
Zuzana Vasko is an arts educator and artist whose research focuses on how the arts – through their holistic, aesthetic and expressive qualities – help foster personal connections with the natural world. She teaches with the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University and with the Dept. of Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Dr. David B. Zandvliet
David Zandvliet is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and the founding Director for the Institute for Environmental Learning. He also is an Associate member in the Faculty of Science at SFU. An experienced researcher, he has published articles in international journals and presented conference papers on six continents and in over 15 countries. His career interests lie in the areas of science and environmental education with a special focus on the study of learning environments. He has considerable experience in the provision of teacher development and has conducted studies in school-based locations in Australia, Canada, Malaysia Sri Lanka and Taiwan. David leads environmental education programming at SFU including directing field schools in diverse locations including: Vancouver, Haida Gwaii, Hawaii, Indonesia and Australia.
Cheryl is a Business in Vancouver Top 40 Under 40 award-winning executive and strategic public/private sector communications professional who worked at TransLink and the Urban Development Institute, among other senior roles. A former journalist, Cheryl has managed a variety of non-profit organizations including the Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce, BC Association for Charitable Gaming and a sustainability education charity, FORED BC Society. She was responsible for annual budgets up to $2.5M with more than 100 employees, as well as oversight of forest firefighting contracts for the BC Ministry of Forests and management of TransLink’s media relations and crisis communications.