2020 Great Lakes Cohort/Cohorte des Grands Lacs 2020
Name: Ali Paul
Location (Traditional Territory and City/Town): I live on the traditional territory of the Algonquin First Nations in Almonte, Ontario (near Ottawa).
Name: Hi! I'm Alyana Lalani!
Name: Ben McTaggart
(I highly recommend Tostitos as a hiking snack)
Name: Caitlin Laidlaw
What gets me up in the morning: As a masters student I should probably say my thesis? Despite my love of the ocean, my thesis is focusing on a land animal: the snow leopard! I will be investigating human-wildlife conflict between the snow leopard and pastoral communities in the Nepal Himalayas. I think a lot of conservation challenges, whether on land or ocean, fall at the interface of social and natural sciences!
A bit about me: An ocean-related issue close to my heart are the Southern Resident Orca's! I spent five years on the West coast studying at UBC, and spent a summer as a whale watching naturalist The southern residents are on decline, facing many challenges from decreased salmon populations to bio accumulation of toxins, and there are only 72 left :(
Tell us something random about yourself: A person I admire is David Attenborough! I am obsessed with all of his documentaries, and spent my childhood in my basement watching his shows. His documentaries have sparked many of my adventures of my Ocean adventures around the world!
Name: Charlotte Rentmeister
Location: I was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, on the traditional land of the Kwanlin Dün First Nations. Kwanlin Dün were the 10th Yukon First Nation to sign a self-governance and land settlement treat. Of the 14 First Nations in Yukon, 11 are self-governed.
What gets me up in the morning: Initially, I won’t lie, what gets me up in the morning is the comforting thought that I get to come back to bed in the evening! I would love to be a morning person and embrace the early hours of the day, but admittedly, I’m not quite there yet.
Once I’ve actually made the move to crawl out of bed though, fresh smoothies, good coffee, my favourite playlist, the promise of a new day full of adventure and my favourite people in the world have me smiling ear to ear. My brothers dog Marshall is currently a big game changer too, he is the light of my life.
A bit about me: After graduating high school I felt the need to get as far away from my small town as possible, to become more independent and gain a new sense of freedom. I packed my bags and moved to Ottawa to study. I graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2018 with a BSc with Honours in Environmental Sciences. I have since realized that my home town is my favourite place in the world, and have returned to live and work with a local environmental consulting company. I am currently looking into starting a masters soon (stay tuned).
In my third year of university I did a semester abroad in New Zealand, leaving Canada two months before classes started to do a solo trip through Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to this trip a came down with a huge case of the travel bug. After graduating from university, my best friend and I did a three month trip across South America and I am currently on my latest adventure through Bali and the Philippines for two months with my boyfriend.
My earliest most influential memory of the ocean: In grade 11 my experiential science class did a one month road trip around Vancouver Island, where we learnt to surf, sail and scuba dive. This experience changed my life. I felt so fortunate to experience this entirely new underwater world, so few ever get the chance to witness. Since then I have been diving on the Great Barrier Reef, in the Galapagos, and most recently around Bali and the Philippines.
An ocean related issue close to my heart: I’m not sure if it is possible for me to chose one issue closest to my heart. I have witnessed first hand the effects of tourism on our oceans, of ocean temperatures rising and ocean acidification, of pollution suffocating our planet and all of these issues are close to my heart and feel as equally as important.
My favourite marine animal: Can you have a favourite when they’re all so awesome?? If I had to choose (3?) whales (broad I know but I only gave myself 3!!), sharks and nudibranchs.
Name: Chelsea Power
I was born in Victoria, British Columbia and have had the privilege of spending my life getting to know the coastal and marine ecosystems of the West Coast of British Columbia. My father moved here from Toronto, where his father moved from Newfoundland. My mother grew up in Victoria, she was adopted as an infant by my Nana and Papa whom could trace their ancestors back to England. Although I do not know the history and heritage of my genetic ancestors, I do know that my family and I are settlers to these lands.
I am also very excited about working with more-than-human nature to cocreate sites of ecological and spiritual restoration. Eelgrass, for example, is a flowering seagrass with incredible properties: it sinks more carbon than terrestrial foresters per square km; it filters debris from the water, clearing away murk and allowing sunshine through to feed subtidal plants and animals; and it is a critical habitat for juvenile salmon and invertebrates. While eelgrass can propagate on its own, with deteriorating ocean health eelgrass populations have been on the decline. Successful eelgrass restoration requires eelgrass shoots to be transplanted, as seeding has shown little success. Thus, it requires humans and eelgrass to work together to restore health and vitality to the tidal and subtidal marine ecosystems that have been ravaged by industry.
I have had the privilege of growing up surrounded by the ocean, most if not all of my early influential memories are in or of the ocean. When I was a child, about eight years old, I was camping with my family near a lovely sandy beach. The night of the new moon I went with my two sisters to the beach, we had heard that there was a meteor shower that night and where we were camped the sky was not visible through the canopy of the ancient trees. When we reached the beach we were surprised to see other people, staring up at the sky or into the water with awe. I looked up at the sky and saw more stars than I had ever seen before, the milky way was easily visible in the dark of the new moon. I watched a shooting star go by, it was so bright the comet tail blurred across the sky and across my eyes for what must have been a minute. I was in awe. When my vision cleared I walked down to meet the water, I was amazed to gaze into the water and see the stars there as well. I knew I should swim. And, although I was afraid of the dark water, I submerged my entire body. I dunked my head under and opened my eyes, the salt stung, and my vision was blurred—but I was determined to gaze into the depth of the ocean. The view of the dark ocean, blurred by the saltwater of the west coast, filled with the beautiful light of endless ocean beings, bioluminescent life in everything around me: lit up like the stars above but even more beautiful with the promise of life. The ocean is filled with life and vitality, but it’s not always visible to the human eye.
I love many sea critters, but eelgrass holds a special place in my heart. And I love moon jelly!
Name: Danika Guppy
Location: I grew up in Belleville but now live in Burlington, Ontario. Both cities are located on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territory along Lake Ontario.
What gets me up in the morning: I'm really excited to have recently finished school and started my career, and I'm truly enjoying getting to know my new community by playing in a local soccer league, hiking local trails, spending time with family and friends, and exploring new neighbourhoods.
A bit about me: As a city planner in Southern Ontario, an important ocean- (and fresh water)-related issue close to my heart is ensuring that our built environment reflects sustainable development principles and has a healthy relationship with our natural environment, especially along the shorelines of Lake Ontario. I'm excited to meet and learn from passionate people across Canada who I know will further energize me and deepen my understanding of ocean-related issues, and I hope this experience with Ocean Bridge will make me a more thoughtful and informed city planner and community member.
Something random about myself: I've attended more than one American Civil War reenactments. The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was an absolute blast!
Name: Emily Thompson
Location: I was born and raised on Algonquin Territory (Ottawa, ON) but am currently living and studying on Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Huron-wendat territory (Kingston, ON).
What gets me up in the morning: I am truly so excited about finishing up my last year of undergrad and the prospects of entering a new chapter of post-grad studies or the workforce!!! I love spending time with my friends, going on runs by the shore of Lake Ontario, practicing yoga, and planning adventures (both small and big scale)!
A bit about me: After studying Political Studies and Global Development at Queen's, I've developed a passion for Indigenous studies. Navigating my identity as a settler and also an ally, I want to advocate and stand behind Indigenous climate leaders in Canada and abroad. An ocean-related issue close to my heart is resistance against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline and the collective action of Indigenous communities to oppose the pollution of the Fraser River and the Pacific Ocean!! My earliest/most influential memory of the ocean was as an eight-year-old, dipping into the Atlantic ocean in Halifax in the middle of the summer but it still being freezing cold!!
Tell us something random about yourself: My favourite marine animal is the sea otter!
NAME: Gabe Senecal
LOCATION: I now live on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people, in Ottawa, but am originally from a farm near Melfort, Saskatchewan, in Treaty Six territory.
(Photo: Ferry from Lower Mainland to Pender Island, BC)
WHAT GETS ME UP IN THE MORNING: Days that I exercise, learn, and have conversations with interesting people are good days.
BIO: I am a graduate student of public policy and administration at Carleton University in Ottawa, and love playing sports and board games. I insist on biking all months of the year, and did so through Saskatchewan’s winters and up Vancouver’s hills (although up Saskatchewan’s hills and through Vancouver’s winters would have been easier).
An ocean-related issue close to my heart is: the built environment humans live in, i.e. our cities and communities, the form and shape of which are key factors in efforts to minimize both runoff and carbon pollution.
My earliest/most influential memory of the ocean: While I did not grow up near the Ocean (Saskatchewan has a lack of shoreline) nature and the hydrosphere have played a role in my recreation. Early camping and fishing trips to northern Saskatchewan have shaped my appreciation for the environment. The pristine interconnected waterways of the boreal forest are memories I cherish and continue to renew.
I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge because I am keen to build friendships and connections on a team working together to achieve larger goals!
RANDOM FACT: I feel self-conscious about two things especially: my mediocre French and swimming.
Name: Graeme Shaw
Location: From Kintore, Ontario - currently live in Tobermory, Ontario. Traditional territory of the Odawa people. I was brought to the area by work with Parks Canada at the Bruce Peninsula National Park.
A bit about me: Growing up in rural Ontario, I’ve always spent my free time outside. Though my childhood was surrounded by vast farmland, the majority of my adulthood has been on a sliver of land amidst vast Lake Huron. I manage infrastructure projects for Parks Canada with emphasis on mitigating environmental impact with usage of sustainable and off-grid technologies. After doing a shoreline clean up at a location within my park, I was shocked to see the amount of plastic and garbage washed up on the shore of Lake Huron. This helped spark my initiative to lead institutional change. I’m excited to be part of Ocean Bridge to provide me with knowledge, skills and connections to other passionate people across Canada.
My favourite marine animal: I like annoying people with loon calls so I’d say they take the cake.
Name: Jennifer Johnson (call me Jen!)
Location: I live on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish (Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish) in Burnaby, BC.
What gets me up in the morning: Yoga, cycling, and running is what gets me up in the morning most of the time! I teach yoga part-time and am currently training for a 200-mile bike race. When I’m not being physically active, I’m attending sustainability events (often held at the aquarium), or cooking Indian or Thai cuisine.
A bit about me: Besides being connected to the Pacific Ocean by living in Vancouver, my most influential memory of the ocean was diving in South East Asia in 2016/2017. Seeing the ocean from that perspective unveils an extraordinary universe worth exploring, understanding, and protecting. I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge to champion ocean literacy and conservation within my community while making meaningful connections with fellow Ocean Bridge members across Canada.
Tell us something random about yourself: My favourite marine animals are orcas and manta rays!
Name: Jessica Leung
Location: Vancouver, BC. I acknowledge that I live, work, and play on the unceded and traditional territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil Waututh, and Squamish Coast Salish peoples.
What gets me up in the morning: The realization that I only gave myself 20 minutes to shower, get dressed, pack a lunch, and dash out the door. That REALLY wakes me up.
A bit about me: What keeps me going after my rough morning starts is how much I look forward to my day, everyday. For work, I’ll sometimes be in the field trudging through mud one day and then sitting in the office handling administrative things the next. The adventure doesn’t end when work ends either. Outside of work, I’ll climb, backpack, canoe, or pick up something new. There is so much to live for and there are so many people with fascinating stories to talk to! If only I had more hours in a day.
I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge because: In a classic case of the tragedy of the commons, it is dangerously easy to perceive our water bodies as never ending reservoirs for waste, runoff, and fishing activity, particularly in its vastness. I think that grassroots programs, like Ocean Bridge, that provide citizens with the education to understand the issues at play and the resources to take action, are powerful in spreading awareness at a community level. And, in my observation, sparking that conversation, action, and passion can be fundamental to motivating change on a greater scale in the long run - at a governmental / policy level. So what I'm trying to say is.. I'm grateful (and excited) to be a part of this group!
Tell us something random about yourself: I spent 2-3 years raising insects. Not enough fruit flies in your life? I can help.
|Kayla Stephens||Pascale Sylvester|
Name: Koral Laschenko
Location: I was born in Terrace, British Columbia surrounded by beautiful mountains and fresh flowing rivers. My family and I moved to Prince George, British Columbia, traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh. We have called ‘PG’ home ever since!
What gets me up in the morning: Lots of coffee and good vibes! The amazing people I am lucky to have in my life, hikes / backpacking trips I am often daydreaming about. Knowing I get to make the best of each day and that something new is always waiting around the corner, I love to learn and am always looking forward to new opportunities. Super excited to be starting this chapter!
A bit about me: I am super passionate about the outdoors and am always seeking to learn more and expand my knowledge. I dedicate all of my free time to being outside whether I am taking a walk through a local park, a hike through the summits, or a snowshoe through the woods, I’d like to say I enjoy a bit of everything. I’ve noticed a lot of misuse of the “you pack it in, you pack it out” concept on my adventures. As well as out of hand invasive species, and abuse to our trails and parks. It’s disheartening, and I plan to make a difference and spread as much awareness possible to be the change. I love exploring and practising being mindful as I go, taking in the simple pleasures of life!
My fave marine animal: I have so many fave animals in general but to list a few marine; Narwhal (they’re so interesting!) , dolphins (spinner, hourglass, bottlenose, etc) , polar bear.
Name: Laura Gaitan
What gets me up in the morning : School! At the University of Alberta, I am participating in The Placenames and Oral Histories of Change project, which was carried out collaboratively between the Livelihood and Climate Change Department and the Elders Committee of Treaty 8 First Nations and the University of Alberta. Between June 2018 and February 2019, I worked with another student to document and verify place names in three languages (Dene/Beaver, Cree, and Denesoline), as well as interviewed Elders about oral stories of change. My thesis focuses on these stories of change and how landscapes have changed from the Elders's memories on the land.
A bit about me: I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge because I would like us to unite for stronger global ocean governance as a new biodiversity framework comes into existence.
Tell us something random about yourself (or use one of the following suggestions): My favourite marine animal is the sea turtle.
Name : Lauren Krzus
Name : Martine Panzica
Location (Traditional Territory and City/Town) - I am from the Traditional Territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (Toronto), and now live in traditional Mi'kmaq territory (Halifax) where I attend Dalhousie University.
What gets me up in the morning: In the morning I love waking up to tend to the indoor jungle I have! I have over 30 houseplants in my tiny apartment, and it is such a joy to see them grow. The things I look forward to in the day are peeking out my window at the ocean across the road, hiking, rock climbing, yoga, and writing. I'm also an aspiring surfer, so anyone with surfing tips, please send them my way!
A bit about me: An ocean-related issue close to my heart is the climate-driven refugee crisis. My masters' thesis looks specifically at LGBTQ+ refugees and social media, and I've had a passion for working with newcomer communities for many years. I also feel that there's a need for incorporating sustainable development with immigration and am often thinking about how our global migration system is being impacted by climate change. While this isn't ocean specific, I often think about how ocean health is intrinsically linked to human health as well!
My earliest/most influential memory of the ocean is swimming with my best friend on the beach in Prince Edward Island.
I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge because I know there is so much that can be done regarding ocean sustainability, and I'd love to learn more effective ways that I can make change in my own community and beyond.
Tell us something random about yourself: I used to be a camp director and canoe/kayak instructor, and I'd love to do a long-distance kayaking trip one day
My favourite marine animal is the humpback whale! Or any whale. I love that they sing.
Name: Meg Schmieder
Location : Toronto, ON
I grew up in Winnipeg, territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, Dene peoples and homeland of the Metis Nation. I spent several years in a small village of 200 (I know, only 200 people?!?) in Saskatchewan, called Grayson, also on the Land of the Metis Nation. I moved to Ottawa, Land of the Algonquin people, to study at Carleton University.
Now, I live on the unceded traditional Land of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-wendat (Wyandot) and Mississaugas of the New Credit. Tkaronto, “where there are trees standing in the water”, “the meeting place”, is still very new to me. Love is what brought me to this city and what continues to hold me here. I have found friendship with some many other young academics and activists who are committed to ecological restoration and social justice. My partner and I plan on spending the next 5 years in Toronto finishing our graduate studies.
What gets me up in the morning ...
What gets me moving in the morning:
Every morning I try to remind myself “today is another day to give a gift to the world”, “today is another day to show someone love”, “today is another day to challenge your perspectives and skills.”
I recently completed an Honours Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management at Carleton University in Ottawa. I took an interest in environmental justice and post-colonial theory. Currently, I am applying for my graduate studies with the intention of researching environmental assessment law, adaptive governance structures, Indigenous research methods, and ecological sciences. I find myself drawn specifically to Water related issues due to Water’s fundamentality - being the utmost life giving and life sustaining force on Mother Earth.
An ocean-related issue close to my heart is...
It’s difficult to choose which Ocean-related issue is most dear to me because they are all intrinsically linked. However, growing up in a Western country I’m aware of the socio and ecological damage caused by Western greed and overconsumption. I’m aware that I’m a part of that problem and am in a privileged position to do something about it.
Capitalism’s requirement for infinite growth, in a disposable single-use society, compounded by racism, sexism, and queerphobia, is a destructive and violent assault on our Earth and, naturally, ourselves. I joined Ocean Bridge in hopes of finding a community committed to finding solutions.
I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge because...
Forming a community around Water protection, restoration, and conservation is essential for the renewal of humanity’s relationship with Water. I’m excited to meet like-minded people that all offer different perspectives, ideologies, and stories!
I’m really grateful for the opportunity to meet other passionate young people. It gives me hope for the future of our Water ❤️
Tell us something random about yourself ...
A person I admire is...
Robin Wall Kimmerer. Much of her work has moved me and guided me in a loving direction.
My favourite marine animal...
I LOVE river Otters. I see a lot of myself in them, in that were both playful, love fishing, and enjoy the company of others.
Name: Nicole Lau
Location: I live in Vancouver, BC, the traditional territory of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam peoples.
What gets me up in the morning: A nice, sunny day (SUCH a treat in rainy Vancouver) and a long run to a good playlist. I like it because it gives me lot of time to dog watch and think about what I'm making for breakfast:)
A bit about me: I am currently at the University of British Columbia studying Natural Resource Conservation through the Faculty of Forestry. I spend any free time I get outdoors, whether that be tackling new trails, camping, climbing, skiing or trail running.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have had the privilege of playing and exploring in coastal and marine ecosystems my whole life. I absolutely love being in the ocean, and can be found surfing, scuba diving or swimming in it any chance that I get. However, my appreciation for the ocean grew even more this past semester, where I had the opportunity to live and learn in Haida Gwaii (a beautiful archipelago just off of the BC coast). It was incredible to learn both about the vibrant ecosystems and about the deep connections between the Haida people and their marine territories. It made me realize how critical and urgent it is to bring ocean issues to the forefront to conserve cultural and ecological vitality and richness.
I am excited to be part of Ocean Bridge and learn from this incredible community full of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. It is truly inspiring to be in a space where everyone is passionate about environmentalism and is taking action to protect where we play.
My favourite marine animal: sea anemone
Name: Paige Manitowabi
Location (Traditional Territory and City/Town): Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory doonjaabaa, Sudbury Ndaa. I am from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory but I currently live in Sudbury, Ontario and working for Wahnapitae First Nation. I am located in the 3 fires (Odawa, Ojibway and Pottawattamii) Territory of the Anishnaabek people. I reside on the Traditional Territories of Wiikwemkoong, Aitikamisheng and Wahnapitae First Nations.
A bit about me: Well like I mentioned before I am a single mother. I am a Ojibwe and Pottawattamii Anishnaabek Kwe from Manitoulin Island. I went to school for Fish and Wildlife Conservation and now currently working for Wahnapitae First Nation as a Environmental Technician. I am also involved with Water First who is a non profit organization that trains youth in water science and provides First Nation drinking water awareness to the communities! An ocean-related issue close to my heart is hard to choose just one as all of these issues are heartbreaking. My earliest/most influential memory of the ocean is my passion to someday see the Ocean! I have never been able to physically see the ocean but one day I will. I'm excited to be a part of Ocean Bridge because I would like to do more for the Water Spirit! I'm super excited to meet youth across the country who ultimately have the same fight as me!
Tell us something random about yourself (or use one of the following suggestions): My favorite marine and/or freshwater animal is the Turtles (M'shekehn)!
Nom : Sarah Dubord-Fortin
Lieu : J’ai grandi sur le territoire traditionnel Abénaquis et Wabanaki, à Brigham, un petit village des Cantons-de-l’Est, au Québec. Durant mes études, j’habite à Sherbrooke, au Québec, encore une fois sur les terres traditionnelles Abénaquis et Wabanaki.
Qu'est-ce qui me motive à sortir du lit chaque matin? Je dirais que ce qui me motive à sortir du lit est d’abord la nécessité de terminer ma maîtrise en environnement! Je travaille notamment sur l’adaptation aux changements climatiques. Bien sûr, un bon café aide toujours à survivre aux matins. Autrement, la protection de l’environnement et la conviction de se dire qu’il n’est pas trop tard pour agir sont des moteurs importants pour moi.
Un peu à propos de moi : J’ai cherché longtemps quoi faire dans la vie, cette quête m’a mené à réaliser un baccalauréat en études de l’environnement. J’ai pu toucher à plusieurs domaines, les sols, l’eau, les écosystèmes, la communication, la politique. J’ai compris que l’environnement se manifestait dans toutes les sphères de la vie et qu’il y avait toujours quelque chose à faire pour en prendre soin. Cela pouvait être une véritable carrière, au-delà d’un « simple » intérêt pour la nature. Je poursuis présentement mes études à la maîtrise, toujours dans le domaine de l’environnement. Dès mon plus jeune âge, j’ai toujours aimé me retrouver en nature, randonnée en forêt, plein air, près des lacs, rivières ou montagnes. Il y a également eu des éléments marquants qui m’ont rapproché de l’eau, dont les traditionnelles vacances en famille l’été. Une condition requise, il devait y avoir un accès à l’eau. Que ce soit les rives du Saint-Laurent ou encore les côtes américaines, ces endroits ont marqué mes souvenirs année après année. Encore aujourd’hui, nous essayons de conjuguer nos horaires pour passer quelques jours les pieds sur la grève ou dans le sable. Un rien me comble au bord de l’eau ; passer des heures à observer les baleines ou encore à admirer les oiseaux marins. Malheureusement, cet environnement est menacé. Un problème qui me préoccupe énormément est la perte de biodiversité. En plus de tous les biens et services que la diversité biologique marine, je trouve qu’elle mérite d’exister pour sa valeur intrinsèque. Nous nous devons de changer nos pratiques pour la préserver. Je suis excitée de faire partie de l'équipe Portail Océan parce que se retrouver entouré de gens partageant les mêmes préoccupations et intérêt sera très énergisant à mon avis!
Quelque chose de surprenant ou de particulier à propos de moi : J’écoute des documentaires animaliers pour me relaxer. C’est encore mieux lorsque David Attenborough en fait la narration.
Mon animal marin préféré : Les requins! Quel animal fascinant…
Name: Sarah Gutzmann
Location: I am fortunate to have grown up (and currently reside) amongst the forests, mountains, and waters of North Vancouver, which is within the traditional and unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.
I’m very excited to be joining Ocean Bridge this year because the planet is facing numerous conservation crises. I believe that as youth, we have the passion, energy, and experience to be the change we need to see in the world. I think that Ocean Bridge is an incredible opportunity to give back to my community, learn from experts and peers, and make a real difference for our oceans.
Name: Sarina Pasciuta
Location : I was born and raised on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe First Nations, also known as Windsor, Ontario. I am currently living on the territory of the Algonquin First Nations (Ottawa, Ontario).
What gets me up in the morning : A yummy breakfast & some yoga! Being active is an important part of my life so you can find me snowboarding in the winters and biking, hiking & canoeing in the summers. I love exploring the outdoors and travelling. I also love spending time with my friends and family.
A bit about me : Although I didn’t grow up near the ocean I lived near Lake St.Clair & Blue Heron pond and always found the waters edge a calming place to be. My love for the ocean comes from my passion for the environment. Growing up I spent my summers camping with my family & playing outside which is what sparked my interest and love for nature. This passion led me to Ottawa to complete a Baccalauréat spécialisé en Études de l’Environnement at the University of Ottawa.
Being active is also an important part of my life. I played competitive soccer for 12 years and played other sports in high school including volleyball and basketball. Once I moved to Ottawa I got the opportunity to snowboard more often and am now one of the organizers of the University of Ottawa’s ski and snowboard club.
I aspire to one day be a teacher as it has been a lifelong goal of mine. I hope to bring outdoor & ocean education to my classroom! I also think it is important to share our connection to nature with our youth & educate them on the environmental issues our society is facing.
My earliest memory of the ocean : Snorkeling with my family in Roatan, Honduras! This experience helped me grow an appreciation for the aquatic ecosystem because I find it so interesting there is so much more going on underwater then we realize from our view of the water’s surface.
Ocean Related Issue Close to my Heart : Ocean pollution. Although I did not grow up near the Ocean, it is disheartening knowing that the nearest source of aquatic beauty for me and other Ontarians are all under an enormous amount of environmental stress due to intense pollution. No matter how far Windsor or Ottawa is from the Atlantic Ocean, how we treat our watershed reflects in its health.
Something Random about me : I absolutely adore flowers & i love gummies...any kind...gummy bears, gummy worms, you name it & I’ll gladly eat it!
Name: Siobhan Takala
Where I'm From: I grew up on the prairies, on Plains Cree Territory and the Homeland of the Metis Nation, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. However, these days I am most often a guest in Miꞌkmaꞌki, the ancestral and unceded land of the Mi’kmaq, specifically in K'jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia).
What Gets Me Up: I love learning, moving my body, spending sweet, sweet time with the people I love, and spending time outside! These passions manifest in many ways… like swimming, dancing, surfing, learning new instruments or a new recipe, practicing spanish, visiting loved ones, reading and writing, and spending time in the company of the sea or trees! I am truly so happy if I get to swim outside, often, and laugh with my people.
A Bit About Me: My earliest/most influential memory of the ocean…is visiting the Pacific Ocean for the first time at 8 years old. My family was in Vancouver to visit family, and I remember so much curiosity and awe going through my little body!
Something Random: One of my favourite books is The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman! (not actually about oceans, but is a very good book, and about something that impacts ocean health greatly).