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 land and First 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 First Nations 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.

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

District Vice Principal of Indigenous Learning and Equity, Indigenous Advisor, Educator, and Outdoor Learning Representor

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.

Jenna became the District Vice-Principal of Indigenous Learning and Equity in Rocky Mountain School District No. 6 in the 2021-2022 school year and previously was a teacher at Edgewater Elementary. 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.

Daily Operations

Duncan Whittick

Executive Director/ Connector Extraordinaire

At the center and heart of Canada’s Outdoor Learning Store Duncan makes everything go round; it’s no wonder he was the recipient of the Canadian Environmental Education ‘Outstanding Individual in an Organization’ Award in 2018. His years of experience working with incredible initiatives like CBEEN, C2C, KBEE, EECOM, KCP, Cypress Hills Inter-provincial Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park, the National Trust for Scotland, and the Jane Goodall Institute (and more) 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. He holds a degree in Communications & Culture, and a diploma in Environmental Science. His fabulous wife, Tara, and children helped Canada’s Outdoor Learning Store get off the ground.

Jade Berrill

Magical Hat Wearer/ Outreach & Events Manager

From making Social Media magic to 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 rock climbing, mountain biking and outdoor youth skills camps…weaving in outdoor education and science as she goes. On top of all of this amazing work she co-hosts Earthly Chats podcast and writes for Scientific and Education publications. Growing the outdoor education community, providing support networks for teachers and educators and making sure youth have access to their natural environment is Jade’s top priority.

Check out Jade’s Stoked On Science.

Kate Atkinson

Keeper togetherer of things / Gifting Goddess

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.

Jen Baker

Fulfillment Supporter / Packager, Sharer and Carer

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 help with the Outdoor Learning Store; getting orders out the door and into the hands of environmental educators.

Katie Wells

Strategy Wizard, and Financial Keeper

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.

Mia King

Program Manager / Admin and organizational superstar

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.

With over 10 years as a community environmental educator and program manager, Mia is proud to be part of the CBEEN team and loves to help facilitate the delivery of environmental education in the Columbia Basin via the Wild Voices program.

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

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.

CBEEN – our backbone

Jennifer Roberts

CBEEN, Treasurer

Jennifer is currently the District Principal of Transformative Learning. She is a director with Classrooms to Communities and co-chairs the Kootenay-Boundary Chapter of the British Columbia School Superintendent’s Association’s (BCSSA) Environmental Education initiative (KBEE). She is often to be found outside exploring nature and the local trails.

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.

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.

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:

  • Natt Forrest
  • Farheen Kadwa
  • Dee Conklin
  • Cheryl Lenardon