Colin Harris, Executive Director
I reside on the lands of Treaty 7 territory and I acknowledge the past, present and future generations of Stoney Nakoda, Blackfoot and Tsuut'ina Nations who help me steward this land.
Colin Harris has been immersed in the field of outdoor education for over a decade. He has been Director of Outdoor Education at YMCA Wanakita in Haliburton, Ontario. He has instructed canoe trips for Outward Bound Canada and has worked with First Nations students in the Western Arctic Leadership Program in NWT. He has taught physical education in Toronto and recently completed a Master’s of Environmental Education and Communication through Royal Roads University. He is the founder and Executive Director of Take Me Outside and initiated the organization by running across Canada, 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 lives in Banff, Alberta where he enjoys trail running, writing and continuing to find ways to engage Canadian students in exploring this country's incredible backyard.
Stephanie Korolyk, Program Coordinator
I respectfully acknowledge where I live, work, and play is Coast Salish territory, where the Quw'utsun people, the Cowichan Tribes and Hul'qumi'num speaking peoples, have stewarded this land since time immemorial, despite ongoing forces of colonization and assimilation. As a settler on this land, I acknowledge my role within this system and my responsibility to contribute in dismantling these forces on both a structural and personal level.
Stephanie was born in Victoria, BC, and as the youngest of three children she was following her older siblings into outdoor adventures as early as she can remember, especially during summer camping trips up and down Vancouver Island. By grade two, she knew she’d be focused on nature and conservation 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 to running a small conservation-focused organization to leading hands-on garden education at an urban farm, Stephanie has continued exploring and learning across BC. As Program Coordinator at TMO, she's inspired daily by the amazing educators and organizations across Turtle Island who are dedicated to outdoor learning and finding ways to integrate the natural world into their classrooms and lives. Outside of work, Steph can be found climbing, adventuring with her dog, biking, and snacking. Working in the nonprofit world has shown Stephanie that experiential education and grassroots organizations are a powerful combo for igniting change and inspiring stewardship, and she is constantly gratified to see this process in motion.
Stephanie Caranci, Education Program Coordinator
I reside on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of Treaty 13 and of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabewaki, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation peoples, who have stewarded this land since time immemorial.
Stephanie has had a strong passion for animals and nature ever since she was 5 years old. Past times of picking vegetables and fruits in her grandparents' garden and growing up horseback riding and surrounded by animals has molded her into a compassionate and eco driven individual. As a high school geography and science teacher in Ontario, Stephanie strives to engage her students in learning outdoors and environmental education any way she can- from water testing at the nearest water stream to simply just being outdoors, she rises to the challenge. Having completed her masters in environmental studies at York University, Stephanie is interested in continuing to explore how education plays a role behind the scenes of teaching- developing resources, events and initiatives for teachers to take part in to help engage students in environmental education. She loves her role as the Education Coordinator at TMO, and can’t wait to continue helping teachers to get their students outside!
Alyssa Stapleton, Communications & Outreach + Board of Directors
I honor & celebrate the Tla’Amin & Pentalach whose territories I live, learn, and love in. I have the utmost gratitude and respect for the elders and knowledge holders who have taken their time to mentor me, ultimately deepening my connection to the natural world and all its rhythms. I further acknowledge and recognize the privilege I have in being in the outdoors and I am committed to making the outdoors a safe space where EVERYONE belongs.
Alyssa was drinking salt water from day one, growing up along the coast of rural British Columbia the ocean has played a key role in her development as a passionate outdoor educator. Alyssa has paddled extensively throughout BC's innumerable waterways and coastlines in addition to the waters of Central America and Southeast Asia. Wherever her travels take her, Alyssa always strives to weave a place-conscious experience for people that enables them to connect meaningfully to both the landscape as well as one another. Alyssa is a certified Level 3 Sea Kayak Guide and a Paddle Canada instructor for both sea kayaking and canoeing. She possesses a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and Geography, as well as a post-degree diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems. Currently, Alyssa is finishing up her Bachelor of Education and hopes to combine her passions of outdoor adventure and restoration with her love of teaching. Through her work with TMO Alyssa aspires to make the outdoors accessible to all learners in all places and stages of education.
Board of Directors
Christie Thomson, Chair
I live in the present-day Treaty 7 region of Southern Alberta. My home is in the traditional territories of the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina, and the Iyarhe Nakoda nations. It is also part of the Métis Homeland. I take personal responsibility to understand our shared history and my personal role in reconciliation.
First and foremost Christie likes to laugh, learn and play outside with kids. She loves campfires, good stories, and believes that connecting with nature is fundamental for good health. Christie's career in outdoor/environmental education started when she worked as an Ontario camp counsellor roughly 15 years ago. Since then, she’s developed and delivered educational programs for Banff National Park, the Prairie Learning Centre, Friends of Jasper, and Massawippi Water Protection Association. Christie is a qualified teacher and recently explored how we can teach and learn for meaningful/spiritual relations with nature in her Master’s thesis.
Degju Suwal, Treasurer
I acknowledge that I live, work, and play on the traditional territories of the Iyârhe Nakoda Nations (Bearspaw, Wesley, Chiniki), the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), the Tsuut’ina – part of the Dene people, the Ktunaxa, Secwépemc, Mountain Cree and Métis.
Degju is originally from Kathmandu and emigrated from Nepal in 1994. He has since lived in US and currently lives in Canada. Degju attended Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta and has worked in various accounting roles for over 15 years. He is presently the CFO at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff. He has worked or volunteered in numerous non-profit organizations and boards and is currently Treasurer of CORE International and Take Me Outside. Degju’s love for the mountains and outdoors started at an early age in Nepal and his passion for outdoor activities have grown even further living in Canmore, surrounded by the magnificent and inspiring Canadian Rockies. He currently spends his free time in Canmore enjoying the mountain life hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.
I acknowledge the traditional and ancestral land of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-wendat (Wyandot) and Mississaugas of the New Credit territory in which I reside.
Natalie is a nature enthusiast that has worked in outdoor education for the past 12 years. A certified teacher, Natalie started her career as a Teacher running hands-on gardening and food sustainability programs at the Toronto Botanical Garden. From there she went on to work as Executive Director at the High Park Nature Centre where she led the OURSpace (Outdoor Urban Restoration Space) project which created a garden in High Park where the public could explore and learn about the native plants of the rare and endangered Black Oak Savannah. She is now a Senior Manager at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and oversees a variety of Community Learning and Education programs across York and Durham regions. Natalie has a young son and is passionate about supporting teachers as they search for ways to get kids outside as part of their learning! In her spare time Natalie and her family camp, mountain bike and explore their neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario.
She, her, elle, Madame
Stéphanie lives on unceded Algonquin territory. Stéphanie habite sur le territoire algonquin non cédé.
Stéphanie Plante was born and raised in Tecumseh, Ontario and has an MA from the University of Windsor. She is a 2016 Arctic Fellow and a collaborator on a SSHRC study investigating the impact of digital technology on Indigenous communities. She has volunteered in the past with VDay Ottawa and is currently involved with the Refugee Assistance Project at the University of Ottawa and Take Me Outside. She is on the board of the St. George Housing Co-Op, is a proud member of Canadian Parents for French and Equal Voice. Her most important job is being a mother to Ian, 6-years-old and their dog Diego. She came to appreciate the outdoors much later in life and loves going to dog parks. She also enjoys podcasts, cooking, yoga and Beyoncé.
Stéphanie est originaire et a été élevée à Tecumseh en Ontario. Elle détient un master en sciences politiques de l’université de Windsor. Elle est amoureuse de la nature et fréquente souvent les parcs de chien. Elle a été chercheuse associée au 2016 Arctic Summer College et participe à une étude menée au sein du Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines, examinant l’impact des technologies pour améliorer l’accès au vote dans les peuples indigènes. Elle a auparavant été bénévole pour VDay Ottawa et est actuellement très impliquée dans le projet d’assistance pour les réfugiés à l’Université d’Ottawa. Elle travaille aussi à la Coopérative d’habitation Saint-Georges, et est une mère fière de son fils de 6 ans Ian. Elle apprécie les baladosdiffusions, la cuisine, le yoga et Beyoncé.
Kate Porter is a teacher and vice principal in Southeastern British Columbia on the homeland of the Ktunaxa ɁamakɁis people. She has a Master's degree in Education (Administration and Leadership), a Bachelor of Education (K-12 Physical Education and Science), and a Bachelor of Science (Kinesiology). She has also instructed and supervised with the local teacher education program. As a former guide, international trip leader, and camp director, outdoor education has been immersed in her career, education, and teaching style. Although she formerly taught elaborate secondary outdoor education programs, in recent years she has been teaching at the elementary and middle years levels: going outdoors has remained a common practice in every subject and grade she teaches. When she isn't teaching, Kate can usually be found on the water paddle boarding, canoeing, swimming, scuba diving, or kayaking. When she is extra ambitious, she loves to bike, hike, and camp with her family!
I want to acknowledge the lands of the Niitsítpiis-stahkoii ᖹᐟᒧᐧᐨᑯᐧ ᓴᐦᖾᐟ (Blackfoot) Nation where I currently reside. I want to honour their traditional Siksiká language and recognize without the commitment the Blackfoot has to these lands, I would not have the outdoor beauty to explore and create memories with my family where I can practice mindfulness and find peace. Nitsíniiyi’taki
Elisabeth holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and is the National Director of Mental Health Services for CBI Health Group. She champions ways to build resilience and provide mental health services for individuals across the lifespan. She has worked extensively with individuals with injuries and pain and saw firsthand the power of being in nature as a way to increase physical and psychological function. She is passionate about TMO supporting mental health and building resilience of today’s students through outdoor exploration, where they can challenge themselves both mentally and physically. She lives in Calgary, but travels any chance she gets. She is married and has a three-year-old son, Magnus as well as a fur baby Viggo. Both boys are water babies, just like Mom.
I am grateful to reside in the treaty and tradtional territory of the the Michi Saagig Anishinaabeg.
Sheamus has worked as an educator for almost 20 years. After earning his Bachelor of Education with a specialization in Outdoor, Ecological, and Experiential education from Lakehead University, Sheamus spent years teaching and leading wilderness based expeditions, primarily with Outward Bound Canada. These experiences highlighted the power and potential of experiential learning in the natural world. Sheamus has spent the last 11 years as a high school teacher in the public education system in Ontario. Sheamus maintains a strong focus on interpersonal relationships, experiential learning, and providing opportunities to take learning outside of the classroom. His daily experience highlights the prevalence of technology in the lives of young people and the critical importance of providing opportunities for them to connect with the natural world. Sheamus enjoys sharing his passion for all things outdoors with his students, and most of all, with his two young daughters.
I acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded and traditional territories of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.
Nick lives, works, and adventures on the shores of the Salish Sea. He teaches with the Vancouver School Board’s TREK Outdoor Education Program. He is a board member of EEPSA, C2C, OCC, and TMO. He worked on the coordinator team for seven summers with the Pearson Seminar on Youth Leadership. For thirteen spring and fall seasons, he taught in the outdoor classroom of Howe Sound with Sea to Sky Outdoor School, where he was a Program Director and well known for his bioregional comedy routines. He has spent a total of six months as the Ecoguardian on Race Rocks Ecological Reserve.