Presenter Bios

Presenter Bios


Karen Andrews Karen Andrews has taught in the Coast Mountains School District for over 20 years. Karen recently completed a post-degree diploma in Adventure Education and loves to explore the mountains and ocean in her free time. She’s passionate about teaching in the outdoors, teacher collaboration, and supporting all students to be successful in our diverse classrooms.
Beavington Lee & Amy Huestis Lee Beavington is a river walker, forest seeker, and island dweller. He is an award-winning author, educator and PhD candidate in Philosophy of Education at SFU. His interdisciplinary research explores environmental ethics and contemplative science education. He has taught in five faculties at KPU. More about Lee at
Janey Chang Janey Chang is an Ancestral Skills Educator and working with many indigenous communities teaching land based skills. Her primary focus is on fish skin leather, but also teaches traditional fire making, stone tools, natural dyes. She has delivered many Pro-D sessions for teachers around the province on outdoor and nature connection.
Alexa Charles I’m Alexa. I presented at the conference last year. I’m a classroom teacher in Coquitlam, BC. I’m passionate about place and taking  the learning outdoors. I have 2 daughters and can be found most weekends sitting in the dirt on the beach.
Christina Chowaniec Nature Kids Leaders
Corry Climenhage & Ellie Peters Corry Climenhage (BA, B.Ed, MA) is a Teaching Principal with SD28, Quesnel who is passionate about place-based and performing arts education, inquiry-based learning, and integrated curriculum. She has been a teacher and/or administrator in Morocco, China, Hong Kong, Tanzania, Ethiopia, the Solomon Islands, Saudi Arabia, and Canada. She is a singer, choral conductor and arranger, and plays ukulele, guitar, piano, and percussion.

Ellie Peter is a respected Elder and educator of the Southern Carrier Language at SD28, Quesnel. She is from Nazko First Nation and studied at UNBC. Bio DRAFT incomplete – more to come.

Molly Cooperman & Brenda Melnychuk Molly Cooperman: grew up in the Shuswap and feel a strong connection with salmon.  The educational committee board chair of The Adams River Salmon Society. Work as a WildBC facilitator, SelfDesign Learning Consultant, and part-time facilitator for Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society.

Brenda Melynchuk: retired elementary school teacher and WildBC facilitator. Current board member of The Adams River Salmon Society.

Christy Wright: biologist and park interpreter. facilitator for The Adams River Salmon Society and educational consultant.

Yvonne Dawydiak, Teresa Rowley & Patrick Robertson Yvonne is a long time teacher passionate about taking learning outside the confines of the classroom – both ‘in place’ and ‘virtually’. As a Teacher Educator and Masters of Educational Technology graduate, Yvonne is currently the Learning Design Manager in Teacher Education at UBC helping to support faculty and teacher candidates in effectively integrating 21st Century approaches including digital technology integration for face-to-face, online and remote learning contexts.

Teresa is an outdoor learning teacher with North Vancouver School District, and an adjunct teaching professor and faculty advisor working with teacher candidates in the Education for Sustainability cohort at UBC. Definitely not a techie, Teresa has been ruminating on simple ways educators can utilize technology to enhance place-based learning experiences.

Patrick is a teacher educator and educational consultant working collaboratively with a wide range of partners in B.C. and Canada. He teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia and is a director of various community organizations focused on place, sustainability, social justice, climate and the environment. Patrick is the current Chair of the Classrooms to Communities Education Network.

Sylvie de Grandpre Mme Sylvie has been an educator for 30 years. She has spent much time outside ‘in community’ with people and nature. She is passionate about art and the outdoors. She is a PhD candidate (ULeth) working towards purposefully embedding the FPPL within the curriculum and looking to Land as teacher.
Jonathan Dyck & Laura Jackman Jonathan Dyck is the President of EEPSA and a secondary teacher in Powell River, B.C. He holds undergraduate degrees in English literature and education, and a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, with a focus on ecological education. He endeavours to teach English and other subjects from a place-based approach, and loves what happens when he takes his students outside! Jonathan has facilitated many workshops for EEPSA and the BCTF, on topics such as language arts education, Aboriginal education, place-based learning, social media, anti-racism, and the new curriculum.

Laura Jackman is a born and raised Kootenay girl who lives and teaches in the Columbia Basin. She is the membership chair of both EEPSA and her local chapter.  She loves the outdoors and can usually be found hiking, biking, canoeing or snowboarding with her husband and 2 young kids. She is passionate about place based learning and can usually be found hiking around the mountain trails, teaching her primary students the names of all the local plants and animals.

Vanessa Elton Vanessa Elton has worked in the field of Environmental Education for nearly 20 years.  She spent a year and a half as a District Resource teacher promoting Place-based education and First People’s Principles of Learning before returning to the classroom to teach Gr.3.  Vanessa is also co-leader of the PG Nature Kids club and vice-president of the Recreational Canoeing Association of BC.
Teresa Farrell & Paula Waatainen Dr. Teresa Farrell was a secondary Drama and Social Studies teacher. Research Interests: Indigenous Inclusion, Place Based Learning and Theatre as Education.

Paula Waatainen taught secondary Social Studies and is a Learning Sciences Education Doctorate student at UCalgary. Research Interests: teacher professional learning regarding authentic and experiential learning.

Both are instructors in the Bachelor of Education program in the Faculty of Education, Vancouver Island University.

Shirley Giroux I am the school counsellor in Valemount, BC where I work half-time at the elementary school and half-time at the secondary. I have a PhD in Health Sciences wherein I researched teacher resilience. I am an advocate for small and rural places and believe that mental health is best supported when we can share our experiences and be supported in ways that are individually supportive and collectively meaningful.
Bee Greve & Chantelle DesLauriers Bree Greve and Chantelle DesLauriers, City of Surrey’s Stewardship team, support schools with opportunities to connect students with the urban forest. They both have years of experience as informal educators and are passionate about getting kids outdoors. You can find them hiking and exploring the coast in their spare time.
Lauren Hudson This presentation will be delivered by fun folks from Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) Learning & Community Engagement team. ONC monitors the west and east coasts of Canada and the Arctic to continuously gather data in real-time for scientific research that helps communities, governments and industry make informed decisions about our future.
Mike Irvine Mike Irvine, MA Curriculum and Instruction and CEO of Live It, defended his Masters thesis in real-time from underwater to thousands of viewers. Mike works with teachers, organizations and experts to create highly produced educational experiences to engage students in topics from sea to space.
Maureen Jack-LaCroix & Jake Hubley Maureen Jack-LaCroix is an inspiring environmental educator with 17 years of professional experience, philosophical study and praxis. She has a Masters in Eco-Psychology through Naropa U., is a senior facilitator of Joanna Macy’s work, a PhD candidate at SFU/Education and the founder of non-profit Be the Change Earth Alliance.

Jake is the Program and Communications Coordinator at BTCEA. Inspired by our sacred capacity to heal ourselves, each other and our Earth, Jake is passionate about co-creating educational resources which facilitate deep learning and connection to self, others and the natural world. Drawing on ten years of experience as an activist and community organizer, he now pursues the power of holistic and experiential education to empower young people to contribute to building a transformed world, in a time of great dis-ease and uncertainty.

Carrie Krenzler & Kairyn Russell Janecke Carrie- I am a wife and mother of 2. I live in McBride which is in the center of the beautiful Robson Valley. I have worked within SD#57 as a EA then a IEW for the past 28 years. I enjoy the outdoors and crafting. I acknowledge that I am living, learning and working on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Lheidli T’enneh, McLeod Lake Indian Band and Simpcw First Nations.

Kairyn –  Principal of McBride Centennial Elementary School  and / Interim Principal of McBride Secondary School

Graeme Lee Rowlands, Monica Nissen, Sanne van der Ros, Grace Broadfoot & Ali Giesbrecht Graeme: Columbia River Field School Program Coordinator and leader

Monica: Wildsight Education Director and CRFS leader

Sanne: Graduate student in the Master of Environmental Education and Communications program at Royal Roads University with research project on the CFRS

Grace: Award winning SD8 teacher and CRFS leader

Ali: CRFS alumna and youth intern

Hilary Leighton A lifelong apprentice to nature and psyche, professor and eco-psychotherapist, Dr. Hilary Leighton draws from embodied, nature and arts-based practices to reflect the ethical dilemma, suffering, and loss of our relationships with wildness, to embrace learning as an initiation toward wholeness and a more soulful way of belonging to the world.
Tanya Margerm My teaching has been focused on Kindergarten for the last 12 years. That combined with my degree in Landscape Architecture has helped me develop learning spaces that facilitate student engagement and outdoor exploration.
Neill McCallum I am an educator and sustainability teacher consultant in the Richmond School District that focuses on protecting the environment.
Frances McCoubrey & Ryan Barfoot Frances is a teacher in SD#27 who works to bring as much curriculum and student learning outside.

Ryan works in SD#47 building an appreciation for the gift place has to offer in his students and colleagues.

Selina Metcalfe Selina Metcalfe teaches Humanities and Creative Writing in the Surrey School District.  She is the past president of EEPSA, and works to support Local Chapters across the province.  She is the vice-chair and secretary of the C2C Network.
Imani Miller Imani Miller: Bsc. Psychology

IEW Nusdeh Yoh Elementary

Traditional Counselor

Imani is from the Chickamauga Tsalgi Nation and of the Ani Waya, The Wolf Clan.

This Nation originated in Tennessee in the U.S.

Imani has been building and teaching Medicine Wheel ways for many years and began her mentorship at the age of 3 years old, from her father and Grandmother.

If you would like to learn the layers and teachings of the 4 Directions, Imani will be glad to share her medicine and knowledge with all who are respectful

Mia Moutray I am a grade eight educator and the learners are grade eight young adolescents at Middle Years Nechako Valley Secondary School (MYNVSS). We will share our story about our learning with the land as our teacher.
Linda Out, Monica Nissen & Megan Jamison I am a teacher in the West Kootenay community of Winlaw in the Slocan Valley.  Since beginning teaching 15 years ago I have often taken my students outside. As I continue to do so I am refining my practices to meet specific curricular content and competency goals.  My current position includes one day a week when I take a co-workers class out for  day of outdoor learning usually focused on the Science curriculum.
Brain Pataky I have been a BC teacher for 30 years in the Secondary system. I have taught courses in the Earth Sciences, Geology, Forestry, Forensic Sciences, Oceanography, Meteorology, Astronomy, Climate Sciences. I am very passionate about reducing fossil fuels for our future and encourage others to follow some simple steps we can all do .
Gillian Petrini I have been an educator for over ten years, working locally and abroad, within classroom settings and outdoor environments including sailboats.  I have a passion for Place Based Education and engaging students with community and the outdoors.  I am a Teacher Librarian and teach a Global Action program.
Jennifer Pighin I am a Lheidli T’enneh member with Witsuwit’en/French/Italian ancestry and Vice-Principal of Language and Culture for SD57 Indigenous Education. I have taught for over 13 years including numerous experiential courses at CNC and UNBC with a BA (Emily Carr), a BEd (UBC) and a MA in First Nations Studies (UNBC).
Willie Poll My name is Willie Poll and I am the Indigenous Liaison for The Invasive Species Council of BC. In the past I have developed land-based curriculums and worked with Indigenous communities to create place based educational resources. I have also worked with Indigenous youth as an educator, teacher, and mentor.
Francois Prince Being a student to every elder and knowledge holder helps me become a teacher to the communities. I am blessed to have learned as I have through Elders and many knowledge holders in the many Dakelh communities. I enjoy working in education  to promote identity and understanding to such a rich language and culture
Ruby Prince Myself an my husband Francois Prince have been working together for 15 years. We enjoy and have a great passion in the work we do which includes Curriculum development, Dakelh Language and Culture, also working with elders youth, communities, families in life skills and identity.
Dave Ramsay & Karen Wilson Dave Ramsay is an experienced BC Science educator. While developing Watershed sustainability curriculum, he discovered Alberta Tomorrow’s powerful three-part learning project. In collaboration with the Board of Directors, business and other educators, Dave has worked to develop BC Tomorrow for educators in BC from elementary through high school and beyond.
Zahra Remtulla Zahra supports Indigenous communities in running strong and resilient youth On the Land programs. Her background is in research/program evaluation and K-12 teaching. She is grateful to have been living, learning and playing in Coast Salish territory since 2012, spending time in Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver (where she lives currently).
Remy Rodden & Peter Lenton The EnviroSongsters are Remy Rodden (30 years Yukon Govt, Environmental Education), and Juno Award Winner Peter Lenton, aka Peter Puffin’s Whale Tales. These Edu-tainers are certified Teachers / Educational Consultants, currently delivering curriculum-tied videos / ‘live’ stream concerts/workshops, instead of their busy schedule of highly interactive, cross-Canada concert tours/PD workshops. See and
Mardelle Sauerborn I am Library Learning Commons/ Student Services, with my heart in Kindergarten. I am grateful to live, learn, and play on ʔamak Ktunaxa.  I am not yet wise, but learning.
Deneen Sawchuk & Sherrie Pearce Deneen Sawchuk is a Secondary Science Teacher in Prince George, BC. She has been working with teachers, helping design lessons which incorporate place based activities into a Secondary Science classroom in order to teach the curricular competencies.

Sherrie Pearce is a Secondary Science Teacher and is currently working with SD57 Curriculum and Innovation Department. She is helping teachers explore how they can teach curricular competencies such as “Experience and interpret the local environment”.

Katarina Smith UBC Geering Up Engineering Outreach is a non-profit organization with the mandate of engaging youth across BC in exciting STEM programs. Our professional development events focus on integrating STEM activities into the classroom. Our programs will leave you with ideas, inspiration, and resources to further include STEM in your classroom.
Lori Synder Lori Snyder is a descendant from the Powthan, Dakota, T’suutina, Nakota, Cree, Nipissing & Anishinaabe people mixed with European ancestry.  In 2013 Lori formed her company Earth Awareness Realized Through Health, sharing Indigenous ways of knowing of First People’s perspective on wild, edible and medical plants.  This knowledge has helped people reconnect to the wisdom of the Earth through practices that include plant identification walks, workshops on how to make the plant medicines, illustration workshops, along with consulting on native garden design.  Teaching at elementary and secondary school, Lori recently finished facilitating with Farm2School on a 2 year pilot project planting Indigenous Foodscapes on school grounds
Nick Townley Nick lives, works and adventures on the shores of the Salish Sea. He teaches with the TREK Outdoor Education Program. Nick is the VP of EEPSA, as well as a director for C2C and OCC. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Environmental Education and Communication, at Royal Roads University.
Sanne van der Ros Sanne is a graduate student in the Master of Environmental Education and Communications program at Royal Roads University and employed at Parks Canada. She was first led through the Council of All Beings activity by her professors during the first year’s residency at RRU. This experience inspired her to lead her students through this powerful, nature-connecting ritual.
Rob VanWynsberghe Rob VanWynsberghe PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.  Rob’s longstanding interest in questions of individual and collective action has been recently brought to the fore in two new programs; one is an Education for Sustainability teacher education cohort and the other a Masters in Education program in Education for Sustainability.
David Zandvliet David Zandvliet is a Professor  of Environmental Education at SFU and Director of the Institute for Environmental Learning. He holds the newly constituted UNESCO Chair in Bio-cultural Diversity and Education. Lilia Yumagulova is the Pacific Regional Coordinator for the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition (COLC) and a Post-doctoral Researcher at SFU.
Samantha Zaytsoff, Naomi Ross & Heather Broad Naomi Ross is a District Principal in Innovative Learning Services in School District 8 Kootenay Lake.

Heather Broad  and Samantha Zaytsoff are Early Childhood Educators working for West Kootenay Child Care Resource and Referral

Megan Zeni & Hartley Banack Megan Zeni is a practicing teacher in an outdoor classroom and a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at UBC. She is an advocate for playful learning outdoors in the school context.

Dr. Hartley Banack is a lecturer of Outdoor Environmental Education with the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, also at UBC. Dr. Banack supports pre and in-service teachers in the areas of physical education, outdoor education, and science education.