Sea to Sky Outdoor School has developed a reputation within the province and increasingly across the country of providing amazing learning experiences for youth. These programs that touch students in powerful ways are a product of the people who deliver them. What follow are brief 'bios' of the full time seasonal staff that make this possible.
Stefanie Block, aka Alpenglow, is an enthusiast for all things wild. Growing up on BC's coast, the smell of moss and cedars is the smell of home. Brought into the world of outdoor education through 100 Mile House's Educo Adventure School, Stef has worked with a diverse range of students from many areas around BC. Stef is an educator for the classroom beside a pond, on the edge of a cliff or deep in the forest, believing in the wisdom from the student's experience and the environment around us. Learning from and with the natural world is a journey that continues to nourish Stef and her way of being in the world. Stef is currently a Master's of Education student at SFU, with a focus on nature's role in spiritual and emotional development. On her days off you may find her hunting mushrooms or honing her tree climbing skills.
Travis Clyne, aka Cycle, received his B.Ed. from SFU and B.Sc. in Ecology from UBC. When Cycle is not at Outdoor School, he facilitates camping, cooking and bicycle education programs with youth in Vancouver. Cycle does not believe in waste and cherishes the origins of our food. Compost is his superhero as it turns waste into food! Over and over and over... He has spent years cycling to, and living at ecovillages around the world, where he experienced how living more in tune with the natural world promoted healthy and meaningful lives. Cycle is excited to further his knowledge of forest edibles, teaching to multiple intelligences, and camouflaging during forest games.
Karen Dallimore, aka Breeze, grew up in Chelsea, Quebec, a rural community where she fostered her love of the natural world. Since moving to southern Vancouver Island in 2001 Breeze has spent most of her free time in the forest or on the ocean coaching sailing, paddling and exploring the coast. Karen graduated with a BA in History and Geography, followed by a degree in Education from the University of Victoria. She is thrilled to be an Islander and have the opportunity to help facilitate students while they explore concepts of sustainability, develop leadership skills and challenge themselves in the wild.
Jen Freele, aka Polaris, was raised in a small town just outside Ottawa, Ontario, where the forests and the ponds were her playground. She earned her BA in History and English from Trent University and went on to receive her B.Ed from Queen's University. Jen has worked and volunteered in several outdoor education centers and summer camps over the past 6 summers, and loves nothing more than connecting students and children with the natural world around them. She likes to live by the mantra "Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart", which has guided her on many international journeys and, most recently, to Turkey for a year of teaching abroad. Still, there is nowhere that Jen would rather be than in the Canadian wilderness, exploring and finding new opportunities for discovery, connection, and authentic learning.
Robin Friesen, aka Yarrow, spent her childhood rambling among the sage brush and pine forests of the Okanagan Valley. She is an adventure seeker, a musician, a giver of smiles, a lover of fresh air and a life enthusiast. Her fondness of the natural world and of wild spaces have seen her traipsing all over the mountains of northern BC and the Yukon for the past several years, doing geological fieldwork and finding all sorts of plants, animals, views, skills and friends along the way. She holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria, a B.Ed. from UBC, and has teaching experience in both Montessori and Waldorf schools. Robin cares deeply about offering youth the opportunity to learn to love the outside world as she does, and in addition to teaching she sits on a national panel brought together by the Canadian Parks Council to discuss Canada's best practices for keeping today's youth connected to nature. When she's not working with students, Robin can be found with friends having dance parties on the porch, backcountry skiing, singing loud, wandering from peak to peak, riding her bike, playing her fiddle, or making scones.
Natalie Gerum, aka Wombat, grew up among the sassafrass trees of the Carolinian forests of southern Ontario. Since then, she has worked in classrooms and communities across Canada, and brings diverse experiences in curriculum development, facilitation and creative community building to Sea to Sky. A graduate of Pearson United World College, Natalie holds an M.Ed in climate change education from Lakehead University. When not at outdoor school, Natalie works as the director of the Pearson Seminar for Youth Leadership. A community member of Roberts Creek, Natalie loves to grow gardens, dance in her gumboots and watch for whales in the Salish Sea. She is committed to building a joyful community around challenging ideas and believes in the transformative capacity of sustainability education. For Natalie, Sea-to-Sky continues to be a place to create a community that reflects the way the world can be - in all of its muddy, messy and unexpected glory!
Rosalind McCanny, aka Mizuna, grew up in Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Ottawa, and she feels at home in pretty much any part of Canada. She received her BA from Carleton University and her B.Ed. through Queen's University's Outdoor and Experiential Education program. Rosalind is passionate about using the arts and outdoor adventure to engage the whole student, build community and deepen our understanding of our interconnection to the natural world. Her teaching experience includes leading bike tours and canoe trips in Ontario, working on organic farms, and facilitating outdoor education programs. Rosalind adores finding the value and funk in what might otherwise be overlooked or considered junk. If you don't find her creating new shirts from discarded fabric scraps or meals from the back corners of the vegetable drawer, you may find her cycling, paddling, climbing, hiking, writing stories, or playing the cello.
Heather McGinty, aka Fire, grew up with the windswept pines and sparkling waters of Georgian Bay. Seeking adventures with her family throughout the Provincial Parks and wilderness of Ontario, she became immersed in wilderness exploration and the earth sciences at a young age. This curiosity led her to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay where she completed a Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Tourism and Bachelor of Education. Here, she gained more insight on how to be a more ecologically literate citizen of our world, as well as a true appreciation for traditional first nations knowledge. Wonderment and adventure led her to all parts of BC where there were forests to be replanted and new bio-regional knowledge to be learned and shared. When she is not at S2S, she can be found working part time at the Vancouver Waldorf School or climbing the rocky crags in Squamish. Fire loves working for S2S as it is here where she is able to share her passions for the outdoor world and facilitate a sense of wonderment & adventure in others.
Jordan Maynard, aka Goat, loves to run and eat blueberries with his dog Dizzy on the ridges of the Howe Sound Mountains. Jordan lives and cares for the land called Southlands Farm, an educational farm in Vancouver. He wakes to roosters and horses, and finishes his days milking goats, feeding the sheep, and sitting in the orchard with homemade apple juice, Dizzy and a guitar. Jordan has a B.Sc. from UBC in Agroecology, and a B.Ed. from Lakehead University in Environmental Science.
Andrew Smith, aka Monkey, spent his childhood growing up in the tropics of Thailand and Malaysia. An outdoor enthusiast, Monkey's career in education followed in the footsteps of his parents when he was certified as a rock climbing instructor while living in Kuala Lumpur. Since relocating to BC's West Coast, Monkey has continued to enjoy the wilderness and thrives in the Pacific NorthWest's rainforests. A graduate of UVic's Visual Arts program, Monkey has recently completed his Bachelor of Education through UBC and hopes to further his knowledge of building shelters, creating FART (Forest Art) and looks forward to exploring more of BC's pristine landscapes. An avid photographer and visual artist, Monkey continues to find the beauty in the natural world and BC's Sunshine Coast!
Tim Turner, aka Wings, has shared the wonder and wisdom of the 'big outside' with students of all ages. A classroom teacher for ten years, Tim's lifetime of backcountry adventuring has left him with a contagious enthusiasm, respect and concern for the wild world. This is the source of his passion for sustainability education and the wisdom of less. Tim is encouraged by the dramatic shifts underway within the faith communities, NGO's, local, provincial and federal governments and hopes the same soon for schools who have an unprecedented opportunity to assist society in the tough transition to a post fossil fuel world. As both an educator and director with Sea to Sky Outdoor School 'Wings' can't get enough of the Salish Sea's Howe Sound archipelego as a classroom, playground and sanctuary. Here is a vital place with much to teach us all.
Jay Wade, aka Dragonfly, is an experienced outdoor educator, researcher, and naturalist through and through. Growing up in Ontario, Jay spent his childhood summers tromping along the river at his grandparent's farm. Nature has always been a thread running through Jay's life and after leaving university with an Environmental Studies and Biology degree he traveled the continent studying birds and mammals in such places as Alaska and the Yukon. Since moving to British Columbia, Jay continues to pursue his passion of engaging youth in experiences where they can explore themselves, others, and the natural world. When not being inspired by students in the outdoors, you can find Jay backcountry camping, birding, or working on some of the many wilderness skills that encourage him to lead a more sustainable life.
Lisa Weitendorf, aka Ember, grew up exploring along the shores of Georgian Bay in Owen Sound, Ontario. To this day, those chilly waters, trails and limestone caves along the Bruce Peninsula are some of her favourite wild places. Since she graduated from Western University's B.Ed program, she has worked with conservation areas, museums, youth centres and outdoor classrooms around Ontario. When she is not at outdoor school, she is getting to know her new habitat by biking, kayaing, hiking and camping along the Sunshine Coast and north shore mountains. For Ember, outdoor school is a place for educators and students to connect with wild places and with each other; a place to explore the connection between personal and environmental well-being. She is thrilled to be teaching and learning along the shores of the Salish Sea this fall! At present, Ember would like to bring new flare to her storytelling skills, as well as learn more about growing her own food and fixing her own bike.
Our history has left us with a long list of incredible educators who worked many seasons at Sea to Sky and have since moved on to other pursuits. Unique, legendary and leaving an imperishable legacy, some on occasion when circumstances allow, come back to work their magic in the outdoor classroom. These talented educators from the past 25 years of Sea to Sky programming are fondly remembered by students and teachers throughout the Vancouver region. A few of their dated 'stories' appear on this page.
"If not me, who? If not here, where? If not now, when?"
"Come friends, Tis not too late to seek a newer world."
Alfred Lord Tennyson
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