Our Awesome Team

It takes a variety of skills, and a whole lotta love to bring something like The Outdoor Learning Store to life, and keep it breathing well. These are the beings that pour their heart, knowledge, skill, and energy into making this the reality it is. I hope one day you’ll meet them, they are all awesome.

Before we get to the team, we’d like to recognize the Indigenous Land and Nations, and by doing so we acknowledge a longer history and our place(s) in that history. We wish to acknowledge these lands and waters and their significance for the peoples who lived and continue to live in these regions, whose practices and spiritualities were and are tied to Land and Water, and those whose lives continue to enrich, develop and steward in relationship to Land, Waters and other inhabitants today.

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional homelands, since time immemorial, of Indigenous communities in the watershed of the Columbia Basin: Ktunaxa, Sinixt, Secwepmec, and Sylix, where many of our team call home, and on which The Outdoor Learning Store primarily operates from.

Outdoor Learning School Team

Jade Berrill

Director of Learning

From hosting workshops, trainings or gatherings to creating amazing podcasts, Jade always has a hat on!

Jade has a vivaciousness for life that ignites everyone around her. She uses this seemingly unending energy to enrich the lives of youth through environmental education, rock climbing, mountain biking and outdoor youth skills camps…weaving in cross-curricular magic as she goes.

Jade now spends most of her time training educators how to take their learning outside,  growing the outdoor education community and providing support networks for teachers and educators.

Alyson McMullen

Indigenous Learning Facilitator

Alyson (she/her) is of Mushkego (Swampy Cree), Irish and French ancestry. She is an educator (RECE, OCT) whose work is centered around decolonizing education through land centered inquiry based practice.

Alyson is a graduate of the Waaban Indigenous Teacher Education Program at York University. She has worked as a passionate educator in the public school system, committed to transformative education goals that re-centre the needs, stories and perspectives of the underserved and underrepresented.

She also works with our amazing partners at Natural Curiosity, and has been helping to facilitate and guide learning through the 4 Seasons of Indigenous Learning course, as well as the Nêhiyawêwin (Cree) Language Course.

Mia King

Program Manager

Mia lives in Revelstoke, on the traditional lands of the Sinixt, the Ktunaxa, the Secwepemc, and the Syilx.

Once Mia realized she could combine her passion for nature (developed while growing up on a farm, through environmental studies, and a lot of hiking/biking/camping), with her enjoyment of teaching (realized when she moved to Japan for a couple of years to teach English as a second language), she has since been involved with environmental education in many different forms. Whether creating informational signs on aquatic species at risk or leading a group of school-aged students through the forest on an interpretive hike, Mia enjoys helping people learn and connect with their local environment.

Engagement Team

Ava MacLean

Communications Manager 

Upon completing a degree in Professional Communications at Royal Roads University in 2016, Ava dedicated her life to improving the health of our planet and those living on it. It was at this time that she moved to Clear Sky Meditation and Study Foundation on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation (Fort Steele, B.C.), where she lives and volunteers as their Marketing and Community Manager.

With a career that spans Somatic coaching, IT Management and hosting rock stars, professional athletes and global brands in events ranging from six participants to 1.8 billion viewers, Ava brings dynamic experience to her work.

Developing both her first marketing plan and environmental conservation strategy at age 12, Ava is continuously falling in love with nature and finds joy in inspiring others to do the same.

Ian Shanahan

Learning Coordinator

Outdoor and environmental learning aren’t just what Ian does; they’re who he is. A lifelong naturalist with a deep passion for wild spaces, Ian is based in Ontario and supports the outdoor learning community through course design, outreach, editing, and podcast production.

Ian just completed a 5-year stint as General Editor of Green Teacher magazine, and enjoyed 13 seasons with Ontario Parks. He completed his BAH at Queen’s University and then his BEd at the University of Toronto before becoming an Ontario Certified Teacher. Off the corner of his desk, Ian works as a voice actor, nature artist, writer, editor, environmental consultant, and nature guide.

Lili Paradi

Outreach Coordinator 

Lili grew up in the Halton Region of Ontario, on unceded territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The second daughter of two Hungarian parents and French Immersion student, Lili grew up learning the names of the plants and animals in three languages. Her connection to land began with weekly excursions out with her ‘Nagyi’ (Grandma) fishing, hiking and foraging.

Fast forward, and you will see Lili exploring her curiosity to learn in the work that she does. Realizing that a degree in Science didn’t have to mean living in a lab, she ventured into the world of outdoor, climate and environmental education. Moving through seasons of interpretation at Killbear Provincial Park, outreach with various non-profits, a science podcast and a postgraduate degree in Science Communication in beautiful Scotland, Lili always finds a good way to connect her love of the natural world with the good work of storytelling.

Outdoor Learning Store Team

Jennifer Swan

Outdoor Learning Store Manager

Jennifer has a BA in History from the University of Victoria and a Diploma in Environmental Planning from Selkirk College. Living, recreating, working, and raising a family in rural British Columbia has led to a deep appreciation for the natural world, and whilst she was self-employed for most of her career, working at the Outdoor Learning Store allows her to combine her skills in business operations with her belief that environmental education is central to creating healthy, sustainable communities.

While Jennifer has lived, studied. and worked in other regions of Canada, as well as in Europe and the United States, the Columbia Valley always felt like home, and in November 2022, she relocated back to Invermere.

Kate Atkinson

Outdoor Learning Orders Manager

Kate Atkinson is originally from Riverview, New Brunswick. She earned her degree in Outdoor Rec. at NBCC, St Andrews, and chose the Rocky Mountains as her home with skis in one hand a paintbrush in the other. While Kate’s career has taken her from snowy mountain tops and dropping cliffs to a position with less altitude, Kate’s love of the mountains and daily adventures with her two kids have inspired her art and continued love of the Columbia Valley, while still keeping her on her toes! She loves bringing her outdoor recreation background, combined with her creativity, to the Outdoor Learning Store, helping to inspire and support learners and educators alike.

Alysse Kennedy

Publishing Manager

Alysse graduated from OISE with her PhD on environmental & sustainability education and climate justice. As a guest on Turtle Island she’s enthusiastic about Indigenous approaches to storying learning and learning from the Land.

Over the last seven years she’s had incredible experiences teaching in K-6 and post-secondary education and researching and organizing programming specific to environmental and sustainability education and climate action.

A bookworm at heart, prior to pursuing her career in education Alysse completed her Graduate Certificate in Publishing (Centennial College). She is excited to combine her passions for education, environment and books in this new role as Publishing Manager.

Jen Baker

Resource Coordinator

Jen grew up among the rolling prairies of Manitoba, spending more time outdoors than in. Her love of animals and appreciation for nature led her to pursue a career as a wildlife technician. Eventually, searching for grizzly bear “rub trees” in the foothills of Alberta gave way to raising two little cubs of her own. For now, wildlife work has given way to wild life living, and Jen aims to ensure her kids love the outdoors as much as she does.

In addition to camping, hiking, and snowboarding, Jen spends her time writing children’s stories about different wildlife conservation topics. She is excited to be part of the Outdoor Learning Store Team; developing & publishing amazing resources, bringing outdoor learning goodies in the door, and getting orders out the door and into the hands of educators!

Katy Scotland

Resource Supporter

Katy grew up in small-town Ontario, and spent summers in the Rocky Mountains between her years at Nipissing University, where she earned a BA in History. When she graduated from University, she decided to spend one more year exploring the magic of the mountains, and then decided that this place was truly home! In addition to supporting the Outdoor Learning Store, recently she started working at the Invermere Public Library. She has found it incredible to find a job where she learns something new every day! In her free time, you can find her on the water in the summer, kayaking, or camping somewhere at one of the many stunning lakes in the area. In the winter, she likes to spend time snowshoeing or curled up with a great book by the fire!

Strategy & Support Team

Duncan Whittick

Executive Director

At the heart of The Outdoor Learning Store Duncan makes everything go round; it’s no wonder he was the recipient of the National Environmental Education ‘Outstanding Individual in an Organization’ Award in 2018.

His years of experience working with incredible organizations like CBEEN, C2C, KBEE, EECOM, KCP, Cypress Hills Inter-provincial Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park, the National Trust for Scotland, and the Jane Goodall Institute have allowed him to accentuate his innate ability to bring people together in something he is passionate about: Environmental Education.

He enjoys connecting the dots between people and organizations, looking for pathways to positive systemic change, and finding ways we can all work better, together.

Katie Wells

CFO

Over the past 15+ years, Katie has found a niche using her multidisciplinary entrepreneurial skillset with her P.Eng. and her specialties in business, finance and systems to help entrepreneurs and non-profits move their goals and dreams forward. Her firm, Turning Point Business Advisory Services Inc., is based out of Invermere where Katie has lived for the past 27 years. She enjoys family, being outside and tiny house living.

Communications & IT Support Team

Sarah Bennett

Creative Genius/Brand Strategy Development

Owner of Origin Brand Sarah’s creative force brings to life the core purpose and vision of the Outdoor Learning Store. Not just a creator on paper or digitally, She is mother to two beautiful children.

She specializes in the design and project-management of integrated multi-component marketing projects. Sarah advocates a creative, collaborative and conscious approach to all strategic design (and life!) endeavours. She gracefully combines art and technology.

Shawn Wernig

Digital Wizard/Web Master

Having a vision of an Outdoor Learning Store is one thing; it’s quite another to make it a digital reality that functions well and smoothly, consistently. That’s where Shawn comes in.

Shawn now lives in Cranbrook with his gorgeous partner, crazily cute fur-babies, and hundreds (literally, hundreds, seriously there’s oodles of them) of plant friends…and a really nice atrium.

More about Shawn: eggplantstudios.ca

Primary Indigenous Advisors

Faye O'Neil

Indigenous Education Coordinator, Advisor, Educator and Board Member

Faye O’Neil was born on her homelands of ?ama?kis Ktunaxa at the beginning of the headwaters of the micqaqas akinmituk (Chickadee River/Columbia River) where she played in the water and on the land.

She is a community member of the ?aqam and resides in Cranbrook, BC. Faye is an Aboriginal Education Coordinator in School District #5 (Southeast Kootenay) and has been working in the public education sector for 21 years promoting and braiding Indigenous worldviews and perspectives into the classrooms.

When not volunteering sitting on committees and boards for ?aqam, the Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network and the Ktunaxa Nation, you can find her out on the land exploring and following the footprints of her ancestors, kayaking the many lakes in the area and gathering plants and berries. Recently Faye was awarded an EE Award of Excellence from CBEEN.

Jenna Jasek

Indigenous Advisor, Educator, and Lover of Land-based Learning

Jenna grew up in the Columbia Valley, in British Columbia, on the unceded territories of her ancestors’ the Secwepemc and Ktunaxa people. She is on a learning expedition which involves her culture, traditional teachings, languages and Knowledge of nature.

She is a certified teacher, and has been an Indigenous Advisor with us for several years, and helped to launch The Outdoor Learning Store. Within her role, she aims to bring understanding and change through Truth and Reconciliation, partnering with the Secwepemc, Ktunaxa and Metis people and continued learning and teachings.

Jenna believes Indigenous perspectives connect effortlessly with outdoor, hands-on and place-based learning. Her goal is to provide students opportunities to explore, learn and immerse themselves in the outdoors and outdoor education alongside Indigenous perspectives and Knowledge.

CBEEN – our backbone

Todd Hebert

CBEEN – Chair

Todd lives and works in Cranbrook and is the Executive Director of Columbia Outdoor School & Blue Lake Camp. He has been involved in environmental education for many years through his work at Blue Lake, as a facilitator for HCTF and a community educator. He is also spearheading the restoration of Joseph Creek and connecting community to the creek and its importance to the area.

Janet Kuijt

CBEEN – Vice-Chair

Janet is grateful for a path that has allowed her to be involved in running Kootenay Mountain Adventures – summer nature camps, Backcountry Pursuits – summer & winter backcountry trips and School District 5  K-9 outdoor educational programming on the traditional homelands of the Ktunaxa. Being and learning in nature is a passion she is honoured to share by supporting the important connections between community, classrooms and the great outdoors. She is a Principal at a school in Fernie, BC.

Take Me Outside – Partners for Nature’s Life

Colin Harris

Take Me Outside Executive Director

Colin Harris is the Founder and ED of Take Me Outside. He initiated the organization by running 7,600 km across Canada over nine months, going into 80 schools across the country and engaging 20,000 students in the conversation of their time spent in front of screens compared to their time spent outside, being active and connecting to nature. Colin has been immersed in the field of outdoor and environmental education for over 15 years. He has been the director of outdoor education at an Ontario-based centre, he has instructed canoe trips for Outward Bound Canada and has worked with Indigenous students in the Western Arctic Leadership Program in NT. He has taught in Fort Smith and Toronto, completed a Master’s of Environmental Education and Communication through Royal Roads University and started his PhD in Educational Research in the fall of 2021. He currently lives in Banff, Alberta and enjoys trail running, writing and continuing to find ways to engage Canadian students in exploring this country’s incredible backyard.

Stephanie Korolyk

Take Me Outside Program Manager

Stephanie was born in Victoria, BC, and as the youngest of three children, she was following her older siblings into outdoor adventures from a young age, most memorably during summer camping trips up and down Vancouver Island.

By grade two, she knew she’d be focused on nature and ecology throughout her life, but it wasn’t until university that she found an avenue for sharing that passion with others. From developing naturalist programs with Parks Canada and running a small conservation-focused organization on Haida Gwaii to leading hands-on garden education at an urban farm in Vancouver, Stephanie continued exploring and learning on the coast of BC until a recent move eastward. She’s thrilled to be working within the fantastic and endlessly passionate world of outdoor education as she finds a new community in the Kootenays to climb, bike, and hike with.

Working in the nonprofit world specifically for the past four years has shown Stephanie that experiential education and grassroots organizations are a powerful combo for igniting change and inspiring stewardship, and she is constantly inspired by the work educators across Canada commit to engaging with the outdoors.

Rachel Cumpsty

Take Me Outside Education Outreach Coordinator

Rachel’s earliest memories are of her being outdoors. Her childhood was filled with family camping trips and exploring nature. This early love of the outdoors has contributed to Rachel’s passion for working with others to promote outdoor and land-based education. Rachel is an educator in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on Treaty 1 Territory, and passionate about working with youth to connect them to the outdoors.

She currently is a high school educator in the Louis Riel School Division. Rachel’s background in Indigenous Studies has a large presence in her work as she strives to use Indigenous ways of knowing and land-based approaches to promote student wellbeing and reconciliation. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Indigenous Studies and a Bachelor of Education both from the University of Manitoba.

She has previously worked for outdoor education programs such as landED Manitoba and been on teacher-led learning teams to support educators incorporating outdoor learning and Indigenous education into their classrooms. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys rock climbing, canoe trips, yoga, and spending time with her partner and their dog Sage.

Great Gratitude for those who have come before us…

We want to offer our great gratitude for those who have come before us to lay the foundation for our future success.

A HUGE thanks goes out to those who have put a full trip around the sun, or more, into making this social enterprise a reality:

  • Jennifer Roberts

  • Chris O’Shaughnessy

  • Natt Forrest

  • Farheen Kadwa

  • Dee Conklin

  • Cheryl Lenardon