introduce yourself

Jan 24, 2017 at 10:05 PM by Stephen MacKinnon

You are going to working with the GreenLearning staff and a great groups of teachers from across Canada over the next few months. This is a unique opportunity for us all to collaborate together.

So the first thing we need to do is to take a small step towards getting to know each other here.

So click on "Post Reply" and tell us a few things, who are you? where are you? what is your interest in Climate Change education? and maybe a few things about yourself.

So let's get started ...


16 Replies

Stephen MacKinnon
Jan 24, 2017 at 10:23 PM

I am Stephen MacKinnon. I work for GreenLearning Canada as its eLearning consultant. Basically I have my hand in everything technical. You will all encounter me for the first time in your Tech Testing session.

I taught for 34 years ... computer programming, web design, graphics design, business apps, mathematics and business. My students participated in a number of international collaborative projects and worked with local community groups. I have taught and developed online courses including the Hurley Island Project which involved 24 students from every province and territory (except NS) earning credits in Environmental Studies and IT.

I live in Spring Valley, a tiny hamlet in eastern Ontario. The St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario have been important elements in my life. I have worked with the local conservation authority, a Peregrine Falcon project, Habitat for Humanity, the Thousand Islands Jazz Festival and Canadian Aid for Chernobyl. I am a runner and music fan.

Ms. Worsley
Feb 3, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Hello all,

My name is Leaf Worsley and I live in work in a small community called Bancroft, Ontario, just to the south of Algonquin Park.  I have taught science and math at the local high school for 13 years.  I live with my husband and three boys on the shores of the York River which meanders through our town.  Like many who chose to make Bancroft their home, I am enchanted by the natural beauty of this place.    

My degree is in mechanical engineering and I have some experience with "alternative" energy.  I found that I loved teaching people about this when I was attending conferences and trade shows and have since followed my passion as a teacher. 

I will be completing this inquiry project with my grade 11 workplace environmental science class.  I participated in a similar provincial project last year where my grade 10 class looked at the effects of climate change on the sustainability of snowmobiling and hunting in our community.  I look forward to meeting my class on Monday and finding out what aspects of climate change they want study.  

Jan 25, 2017 at 10:43 AM

Hello, I am Jamila Kyari and it is a pleasure to introduce myself to the teachers and students participating in this unique venture. We are all pleased you are a part of this memorable and unique project. 

I work for GreenLearning Canada as a Communications Manager currently located in Kitchener, Ontario. As we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday this year, Climate Action 150 promises to both empower and equip young leaders in building a low-carbon and prosperous nation. Therefore, I am looking forward to the innovative climate solutions that we will generate in this project and the creative means with which we will express those ideas. 

In the past, I have worked in both marketing and communications roles and my personal interests are fashion and photography.

Gordon Harrison
Jan 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM

I'm Gordon Harrison, Director of GreenLearning's climate change programs and heading up the CA150 project. We did a similar project in Ontario last spring and the highlight for me was working with an amazing group of teachers and students. I have met with all of the CA150 teachers and know this project will be fantastic — and more importantly, make a real difference.

I live west of Ottawa, at the edge of the Canadian Shield, in the woods. Here, my partner Claudia and I, spend time with family and friends, connect with the land, make music and art, and are nurturing a Healing Forest.

Mr. Dick Holland
Feb 2, 2017 at 4:18 PM

I'm Dick Holland.  I have been working with GreenLearning Canada for almost a decade as a educational consultant and have done a lot of the writing and curriculum development work as well as research and in-service training.  I am also a sessional instructor at OISE and this year I teach the course "Issues in Secondary Education" which focuses partially on the infusion of environmental education and Aboriginal perspectives.

I taught with the TDSB - most recently as one of the founders of Ursula Franklin Academy.  I have also been a Board consultant, textbook author, and workshop facilitator. My research interest is global education.

I am a political junkie, reader of historical mysteries and avid environmentalist.  Our family of four lives in Toronto, but escapes to forests and mountains when we can.

Stephen MacKinnon
Feb 2, 2017 at 4:41 PM

Hey Dick

For the sake of all the non-Ontario people ...

What is OISE?

What is TDSB?


Gabe Andrews
Feb 3, 2017 at 9:43 AM

Good morning!

My name is Gabe Andrews from La Ronge, Saskatchewan. I was raised in La Ronge and now I am back teaching in the community that raised me. I am teaching at Churchill Community High School within the Northern Lights School Division #113. La Ronge is located in the boreal forest with pre-cambrian shield in all of our backyards. Lakes and rivers make up a large percentage of the area in Northern Saskatchewan, where forestry and mineral resource extraction plays a role in the economy and the work force. I am really excited to include this project within the scope of my Environmental Sciences 20 course and am getting the feeling that my students see the importance of taking their knowledge of local climate issues to another level. I am looking forward to working with you all and making this the best experience it can be for our students!

Stephen MacKinnon
Feb 8, 2017 at 9:51 AM


Does the local mining make your students more aware of environmental impact? or are they more aware of the financial benefits of developing natural resources?


Gabe Andrews
Feb 8, 2017 at 11:38 AM

They have more of an understanding on the economic value of having mining in our back yards. With Cameco and Areva being major employers for northerners, this is often the path that many of our students take after graduation. However, with the recent plunge that Uranium has taken, my students are beginning to understand the downfall of relying on non-renewable resources as a career path.

Rosanne Massinon
Feb 3, 2017 at 10:10 AM

Good morning everyone!  My name is Rosanne Massinon... I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to learning more about your communities and the work that you do in sustainability education.

I teach senior science courses in Carman, Manitoba; a small rural community approximately 1 hour southwest of Winnipeg.  I was raised on a small mixed farm (dairy, beef, grain) near Carman and have recently begun teaching an agriculture course in the school.  Agriculture is a very important industry in Carman and the surrounding area; and I am thinking about connecting our climate change inquiry to agriculture.

Recently, I have begun a Masters degree at the University of Manitoba as part of the Education for Sustainability and Well-being cohort.  My research interests include the role of science education in contributing to the development of a sustainable society.

I live on a small acreage a few minutes outside of Carman along the small (but beautiful) Boyne River.  This setting makes for great times spent around a campfire, canoeing and skating in the winter!

Mary Lynn Merklinger
Feb 3, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Hello to everyone.  My name is Mary Lynn and I'm living and teaching in southern Ontario, Mississauga to be exact.  I'm a Science, Environmental Science, and Biology teacher in a high school and will have my grade 10 academic class working on this project - which I am very excited to be a part of but they don't know they're doing it at this moment.  But they will when I meet them in period 4 today! 

As the lead teacher of our environmental club, the EcoMustangs, I am trying to foster stewardship and understanding as well as an awareness of the world and environment around them.  I lead by example such as since I don't own a car I cycle to work (when there is no snow or ice on the ground and above -5 C - I have my limits) or take public transit.  So, we're in the city, in an area where the winter weather seems to go around us and avoids dropping on us and in the summer where you can see the smog hanging over Toronto but we're near Lake Ontario and are near to the Niagara Escarpment.  I teach students who have travelled thousands of kilometers to come to this country but who have never been to the countryside once they settled here in the city.  It will be an interesting perspective for this project! 

Stephen MacKinnon
Feb 6, 2017 at 8:48 AM

Great to read about a teacher who is leading by example. 

How far to you cycle to school?

What is the students' reaction to your eco-friendly transport?

Mary Lynn Merklinger
Feb 6, 2017 at 12:44 PM

It's about 5.5 km each way.  It's easier on the ride to school - takes me about 18 minutes but it's mostly uphill on the way home so it takes 25.  Some students are impressed and we get into biking discussions.  For the most part the students are respectful of it.  I still won't leave my bike locked up outside just in case the students decide they don't like me or get up to mischief.   I also tell the students that I am the Queen of the Environment so my cycling is just all part and parcel of the persona!  :)

Torie Gervais
Feb 7, 2017 at 9:28 PM

Hi Mary - 

I also ride my bike to work (unless there's snow and ice on the ground!). I find my students have a similar reaction to knowing I ride to work - sometimes surprised, but definitely respectful. I had to laugh when I read that you lock your bike inside...I've had exactly the same thoughts as you about leaving my bike outside :) I love how I feel when I get to work after a morning ride - and I love showing my students its possible!

christopher williams
Feb 5, 2017 at 11:18 AM

Hello folks,

My name is Christopher Williams and I am the head of Alternative Education at Milliken Mills High School in Markham Ontario. Among other things, I have been leading a program called T.E.A.M. (Teaching Esteem and Academics at Milliken) for the past 23 years; a program through which we endeavor to (re)engage decidedly reluctant high school learners. Without going too deep, I should say that we attempt to integrate academics with a project driven approach to learning that leverages community partnerships and relies heavily on outdoor and environmental experiential opportunities to achieve a constructivistic authenticy that is served best when co-created and shared.

We are a small group, very diverse in needs and strengths, and we are often challenged when working collaboratively with outside groups and individuals. Often our buy-in to a shared task is delayed but when it comes we are a lot of fun to work with. All of our 12 students are SHSM Environment students with hands-on experience in environmental rehabilitation and restoration in our community. We will begin this inquiry journey on Monday and I am sure that we will have some interesting ideas and products to contribute to this challenge as we move through it. Having read all of the posts so far, I am confident that we will enjoy working with all of you and I look forward to the adventure.


Heather Eckton
Feb 5, 2017 at 2:33 PM

Hi everyone,

It's so amazing to be a part of this innovative project, I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you.  My name is Heather Eckton and I teach at West Kildonan Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I'm a mom to two young boys, and tomorrow is my first day back to from to work, after a great year of maternity leave.  I love hiking, gardening and sharing my love of nature with my kids.  I've been teaching science for 15 years and I'm excited to be starting up a 'new school within our school' known as The Sustainable Living Academy Manitoba or SLAM for short, along with my teaching partner Kristin Erickson.  This program is for grade 11 and 12 students, and runs during the afternoons.

SLAM was initiated in response to participatory action research that I conducted in 2015 on transitioning our school towards sustainable living during my Masters of Education at the University of Manitoba.  Students enrolled in this program will explore in depth topics in sustainability, social justice, environmental conservation and Indigenous culture through mentorship, project based learning and community connections. Students will be earning two credits; Current Topics in First Nations, Metis and Inuit Studies as well as a Current Topics in Science credit. The purpose of this program is to support the transition towards a whole-school approach to sustainability by allowing students to be the ambassadors for change.  

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your communities and the projects you'll be working on! 


Rosanne Massinon
Feb 6, 2017 at 1:47 PM

SLAM sounds amazing!  I hope to hear more about it and, perhaps, a visit will be in store...

Heather Eckton
Feb 7, 2017 at 11:09 PM

Hi Rosanne.  It's nice to see someone else from Manitoba in CA150!  We're always up for visitors. Did you take the Sustainability Summer Institute at the U of M in 2013?... if my memory serves me right, I think we were both in this together!  

Rosanne Massinon
Feb 8, 2017 at 8:59 AM

Yes  that experience was definitely transformative for me.  Looking forward to working together again.

Lisa Jeffery
Feb 5, 2017 at 10:04 PM

Hi Everyone! My name is Lisa Jeffery and I live with my husband and our three sons in the town of Leamington, a primarily agricultural community on the shores of Lake Erie in Southwestern Ontario. For the past 20 years I have been teaching Science/Biology at Leamington District Secondary School and I feel very fortunate to work with an enthusiastic group of young environmental leaders. We are proud to be a Platinum Ontario EcoSchool and regularly work with several community partners, including Point Pelee National Park, Essex Region Conservation Authority and Caldwell First Nation. In recent years, we have developed outreach projects to educate and engage local students and citizens to take action on harmful algal blooms that impact Lake Erie, wetlands protection and climate change. Our students regularly use online forums to provide ideas for climate solutions to all levels of government, and value being offered the opportunity to do so.

My Grade 10 Academic Science students are starting their second semester with the Climate Change unit. They have suggested that they would like our inquiry project to focus on link between climate change and the massive amount of food waste generated by our agricultural industry - with a focus on finding workable, scalable solutions.

I am looking forward to sharing ideas and resources with the rest of the group.

Nicole Lorusso
Feb 5, 2017 at 10:32 PM

Hi everyone, 

My name is Nicole Lorusso and I live in Lake Cowichan, BC, which is a tiny community that sits at the point where Cowichan Lake meets the heritage-designated Cowichan River. I teach biology, geography, and chemistry at Queen Margaret's School in Duncan, BC. Duncan is a small community in the Cowichan Valley. It is in the traditional territory of the Cowichan Tribes, 10 minutes from the Salish Sea, and half-way between Nanaimo and Victoria. Cowichan comes from the Hul'q'umi'num word, Quw'utsun, meaning "The Warm Land." We actually have the warmest mean average annual temperature in Canada and are Canada's only Maritime Mediterranean climate! Our climate and geography have allowed the valley to become a small agricultural hub filled with vineyards and small farms, most of whom are focused on sustainable agriculture. 

My first years of teaching in the NWT sparked an interest in climate change since the changes were more obvious in the north. However, living in an island community that has faced several summers of severe drought has further personalized the potential challenges of a changing climate. As for other personal interests, I love spending time exploring the wild west coast. I am also attempting to finish my MA thesis in enviro ed. My research looks at place-based education from a teacher's perspective by exploring the influence of teaching in unfamiliar places on environmental educators.

I am excited to have my Geography 12 students participate in this project. One of the challenges I face is that my school is an all girl's boarding school and many of my students are from elsewhere (many from major cities in Mainland China). For that reason I love finding meaningful projects for them to participate in that build connections with local community and relationships with their place in ways that foster an understanding of an ecological worldview.

Stephen MacKinnon
Feb 7, 2017 at 12:58 PM


Several other teachers in CA 150 have international students. I have started a discussion thread for you to share the challenges and successes of working with these students as they become aware of the Canadian environment and climate change.


Nicole Lorusso
Feb 7, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Thanks Stephen, this is a great idea. I look forward to sharing with and learning from others. 

Torie Gervais
Feb 9, 2017 at 6:06 PM

Your MA topic sounds so interesting! Would love to hear more. 

Torie Gervais
Feb 7, 2017 at 9:46 PM

Hello! I am Torie Gervais, from Toronto! Very excited to be a part of this national project, and to get to know other teachers from across Canada. I have taught Geography and Environmental Studies in Toronto for 15 years, but have also spent a considerable amount of time roaming across Canada - I have spent time working or studying in Quebec, Northern Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, and I've visited every other province and territory except Nunavut and NWT. My mother is from New Brunswick, so I've spent lots of time there too! Aside from classroom teaching, I am also an Outdoor Educator, so have also spent many seasons teaching on the land. Most recently, I have been the lead guide for a small program that funds a week-long backcountry canoe trip in Quetico Provincial Park for new immigrant youth. I also spent 3 years as the Site Supervisor at one of the Toronto District School Board's Outdoor Education Centres, and just last year returned to the classroom. As a Canadian of mixed ancestry - Native (Malecite) and Irish/French settler - I have a keen interest and inclination to always include indigenous knowledge and perspective in my teaching. Aside from work and canoeing, I spend too much time following politics, enjoying Toronto's live music and culture, and (this year) planning my summer wedding! In a few weeks, the gears will get moving at my parents farm where we have been producing maple syrup for over 30 years - definitely a family affair, and not just a little bit at risk of being affected by climate change.

For this project, I will be working with my Gr 12 Environmental Resource Management class. Its the first time offering this course at our school, and my first time teaching it. I am thrilled to be able to weave this project into the course. If possible, I may also involve my Gr 11 Environmental Science Workplace students. 

Matt Wheaton
Feb 7, 2017 at 10:24 PM

Hi everyone, My name is Matt Wheaton and I teach at Tantramar Regional High School in Sackville, NB. (You might have heard of Sackville, as it is where Mount Allison University is based). I teach a variety of high school math and science courses, but my Environmental Science 120 class will be participating in this project. I enjoy being active outdoors whether skiing, biking, running, etc, but my real passion is racing long distance triathlons. I am really excited about this project because I want my students to challenge themselves to think critically about the issues and solutions surrounding climate change while not in a "traditional classroom" setting. I am excited to see how the project goes!

Torie Gervais
Feb 9, 2017 at 5:59 PM

Hi Matt - 

Nice to see Sackville in the group! My mom is from NB, and my niece just started at Mount A last fall. Also have a great friend there who just moved back home, also doing some great work in sustainability, especially around food security - Laura Reinsborough.

Chris Peters
Feb 15, 2017 at 6:42 AM

Hey Matt. I grew up in New Brunswick- Saint John, specifically. My mother is an artist (she shows her work at the Fog Forest gallery) who studied at Mount A. So I spent a lot of time in and around Sackville growing up. A beautiful spot with lots of history, both human and natural- the dykes, the salt marshes, migrating birds. One of my favourite spots, really. I always like the long meander between Amherst, NS and Sackville- cows lolling and grasslands and crops turning from green to gold in the play of light. Reminds me I am coming 'home' to New Brunswick.

Jessica Luciuk
Feb 8, 2017 at 1:13 PM

I'm a Physical Education and Recreation Leadership teacher for Alberta Distance Learning Centre (more about our school later). I am also part of our schools 'Going Global' club. The focus of the club is to provide students opportunities to explore and share their passions toward the issues facing local, provincial, national and international communities. We do our best to provide opportunities for students to collaborate with peers from across our nation as well as Internationally. I am truly humbled by the passion and responsibility that the youth in our club have and am inspired by their willingness to take meaningful action. 

For this project on climate change, we will have a small group of students (around 6) from different parts of our province (from urban, rural, mountains, plains...) so I will be facing the challenge of finding the right inquiry that will keep all our students highly interested.  Students voluntarily sign up to do this in their 'free-time' as an extra-curricular activity and do not receive any high school credit towards their graduation, but instead are truly driven by passion towards making a difference in their community. Because of the recent implementation of a Carbon Tax in Alberta, I am sure this will be an underlying theme in any project these students take on (we have not met as a group yet, so I am only guessing about this).

The Alberta Distance Learning Centre is contracted by our provincial education ministry to provide tuition free courses to any Alberta resident who is under the age of 20. Our students most often are enrolled in their local schools, but are needing to take courses with ADLC for a wide variety of reasons. We are proud to provide students flexibility in how they complete asynchronous courses (either online or print) which allows students options on how they reach their academic goals.

Chris Peters
Feb 15, 2017 at 6:37 AM

Hey. I am late to this. I am excited to be part of this initiative, and to meet so many diverse and inspiring teachers. I am writing from wintry St. John's, NL which is enjoying the usual wintry course of snow, sleet, freezing rain and more snow carried aloft (er, horizontal) by howling, scouring winds- all condensed into the last 36 hours! I teach at St. Bonaventure's College, a K-12 independent school in the Jesuit tradition. I am a history teacher by training. But over the past decade I have worked to bring in and develop a garden and compost program, which has become the province's first Farm to Cafeteria salad bar program. Where our food comes from, and the relationship between people and place is a good starting place for unpacking the unfolding climate crisis, rising temperatures and species extinction. Because of our geographical positioning we, unfortunately have front row seats to the melting Greenland icecaps and its effect on the Labrador Sea. And, rather infamously, we have the cod moratorium.

In short, then I am really interested in engaging my students in meaningful experiences of this place through walks, hikes, kayak excursions and getting hands dirty in the garden. My Newfoundland Studies 2205 class will be participating in the National Dialogue on Climate Change. We are looking at the impact of climate change on Newfoundland's culture. The curse of modernity (to borrow a curt assessment from Farley Mowat in A Whale For The Killing) has dramatically altered Newfoundland's culture in a very short period of time. Se are still operating in this flux stage. 

Look forward to talking to you all in future! 

Sean Brandt
Mar 30, 2017 at 8:37 PM

I am Sean Brandt.  I teach in Warman, SK.  My main teaching areas are Biology and Environmental Education.  The students I am working with for this project are part of our outdoor education program.  I co-teach this program with another teacher, Peter Schmidt.  We focus on sustainability and social and environmental justice issues.  Climate is one of the key areas that we focus on as we both feel it is the single most pressing issue in environmental science.  Our students have enjoyed the project thus far and we are excited to talk and discuss with your classes as well.


Sean and Peter

Warren Lake
Apr 2, 2017 at 10:29 PM

My name is Warren Lake and I am a teacher at Robert Thirsk High School in Calgary, Alberta. I have been teaching here for four years since the school opened and taught for 18 years in the Canadian Rockies in Canmore, Alberta prior to this new posting with the Calgary Board of Education. My primary focus since coming to the school has been to continue teaching Biology 20/30 but also the creation of a Natural Science Program using the CTS credit stream available in Alberta. Since our 2013, the program has grown from a single block in Grade 10 to four blocks this year running from Grade 10-12. Students now have the opportunity of achieving 15 credits between all three grades. The focus of this program is becoming more about a reconnection to nature - in this way, kids are finding different ways to connect with the realities of topics such as climate change and climate leadership. If we want them to find solutions or new ways of doing things in the future, they have to be truly connected to the importance of the world around them. The authentic work that the kids bring to the table always amazes me - especially when the develop a passion for the work. Looking forward to working with all of you as the year progresses and not only sharing our work but seeing what your students are interested in and the work they bring to the table. Take care. 

Warren Lake