Mark Fettes – was trained as a biochemist and worked as a magazine editor and policy analyst before becoming an educator. An assistant professor at Simon Fraser University since 2002, he is particularly interested in how imaginative approaches to teaching can make schools more responsive to their communities and places. He has led research collaborations on culturally inclusive imaginative education in Chilliwack, Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii.
Clayton Maitland – was brought up in an outdoor family and has been an active outdoorsman his whole life. He believes that a person has to participate in activities and fully experience them to understand them, and to understand nature, one has to be immersed in nature. In order to be out there all of the time, one has to be fit, aware, self-reliant, resilient, and in service to others. Clayton has learned how to do as many activities as possible: trail running, hiking, cross country and downhill skiing, rock climbing, mountaineering, caving, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Since 1976, he has taught young children through to seniors about the outdoors – from simple nature walks, interpretation and photography to more extreme adventures. In 1982, he finished an Outdoor Recreation Management Diploma from Capilano College. During his time at Simon Fraser University he has finished a Bachelor of Education in 1992, a Graduate Diploma in 2004, and his Masters of Educational Leadership in 2007. In 2008, he began to pursue the challenge of transforming the education system so that it would allow students to learn in different ways and from lived experiences in the natural world. Shared learning and activity in a natural setting continues to be his passion. He lives on a small farm with his wife and daughter.For further information, please read a current article written by Robert Mangelsdorf.
Laura Piersol – loves wondering and wandering within the Fraser River Watershed. Sharing her love for the natural world is her main passion in life. She is an ecological educator and has worked throughout Canada and the U.S., most recently coordinating a city wide community mapping project in Lethbridge, AB. She has also recently worked for Stanley Park Ecology Society, Metro Vancouver Parks and the BC Sustainable Energy Association. Currently, she is pursuing PhD studies at SFU. Of particular interest is the evolving role of the natural world as a co-teacher. Look for the adult that is more covered in mud than the students and you most likely have found her.
Lara Harvester – I grew up on a small farm on Vancouver Island and spent the vast majority of my free time outdoors. Horses were my main form of transportation on various adventures. After graduation I moved to the Lower Mainland and became a city girl, much to my continuing dismay. As an educator in a system that generally scorns learning opportunitites in nature, I especially treasure the aims and goals of the Maple Ridge Environmental School and found my time working on the project from 2010-2011 to be inspiring and challenging. Currently most of my time is spent teaching science and social studies in Surrey high schools where I try to implement some of what I learned at the Environmental School, which is as you might imagine, rather challenging. I welcome inquiries about my time with the project, and how we might transform more of the educational system in order to revive a healthy human relationship with the rest of nature.
John Telford – My experiences at an outdoor education centre as a secondary school student sparked an interest in outdoor learning that has grown ever since. I have been fortunate to work with a variety of different organisations and people of all ages and backgrounds. One of my favourite jobs was with a community organisation working with children, young people, adults, and families. We spent time in the outdoors for a range of educational, therapeutic, and recreational purposes. My interest in the relationship between learning, people, and our world out-of-doors led me to embark on PhD research at the University of Edinburgh. This work demonstrated that the one-week long experiences of Grade 8 students at an outdoor education centre continued to influence their lives up to 30 years later. My job at the Maple Ridge Environmental School will be to spend time with all the different members of our learning community, listen to their thoughts and feelings, and together create a sort of journal of the evolving life of the school. Exciting!
Dayna Muys – My name is Dayna Muys and I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Education. I love working with kids, especially when I get combine my love of teaching and science. My adventurous spirit tends to take me outdoors where I love to snowboard, mountain bike, and hike. One of my favourite places in Maple Ridge is Gold Creek in the Golden Ears Provincial Park. Other interests I have are reading, photography, and especially travelling.
Michael W. Derby – is a teacher, grad student and researcher at Simon Fraser University. He has been known as: a spoken word artist, a hip hop lyricist, an organic gardener, a meandering nomad, and a life long pupil of the world. He is currently working on his thesis at the nexus of poetry, language, ecology and education. Interests include: Imaginative Education, ecolinguistics, ecopoetics, ecopedagogy, critical theory, anthroposophy and existential brooding. He also likes long walks in the forest.
Michael Caulkins – is originally from Northern California, and spent his youth tramping through the hills and streams near his home as well as backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Working outside with young people is his passion, and his academic pursuits have focused on youth, the outdoors, and alternative forms of education. After completing a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Kinesiology, and a PhD in Education, Michael now develops curriculum and does research for local outdoor organizations and schools. He loves cooking, baking, reading, playing ultimate frisbee, and spending time with his wife and two sons.
Randy Bates – I grew up on the West Coast where I developed a deep connection with the ocean and wilderness. We had a cabin on Anvil Island and I was free to explore and learn outside. I only had to show up when I was hungry. My experiences include camping, fishing, hiking, whitewater canoeing, mountain biking, skiing, and hunting. I love being alone in the wilderness during the transition from night to day. It is always a powerful time for me.
I moved to Edmonton where I worked and also received my teaching degree at University of Alberta. My work experience includes installing alarms, painting, construction, and climbing telephone poles. Hanging from the top of a pole in -30 weather motivated me to go to university! I returned to the Lower Mainland and taught grade 6/7 in Maple Ridge for 19 years. I was involved in the 1 to 1 laptop program for 6 years before moving to the Environmental Education School. Some think it is funny that I went from, “virtual learning” to “hands on, outside learning.” But there are similarities. In both programs we are encouraged to be thoughtful, creative, innovative, and forward looking. We critically examine our practice and ask what is best and what can we do to give the students a rich education?
I am grateful for the opportunity to work in this school. It is wonderful to be outside and able to share my love of the outdoors with the students.