New Westminster, BC
Alan Shapiro (@watercomm) is an environmental professional and science communicator based in Vancouver, Canada. He has consulted on a range of water resource projects, from environmental assessments to hydrogeological investigations, and has a particular interest is in water resource planning and stakeholder engagement. He is also co-founder of LitScience – a science communication training firm that supports academic, research, and technical organizations – and Science Slam Canada, a non-profit organization that runs science outreach events across the country. Alan currently lives on the traditional territory of the Qayqayt First Nation in New Westminster, BC, and until recently lived on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations in Vancouver, BC. He holds a MSc in Environmental Engineering from Columbia University and a BSc (Honours) in Environmental Earth Science from the University of Alberta.
“How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but how well we are understood.” — Andy Grove
Cairo is a history student at Simon Fraser University in beautiful British Columbia living in Vancouver the traditional territory of Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. An avid backpacker, Cairo has traveled through several countries in the world, and has big plans on traveling more of her own. If she could have it her own way, Cairo would be on the water all the time, whether it be while paddle-boarding or swimming on the vast ocean and lake bodies throughout her province. A future social studies and history teacher, Cairo is excited to connect with youth as well as her fellow advisors, hoping to learn and spread information about indigenous practices with water all throughout Canada. Cairo believes that if Canadians are made more knowledgeable about indigenous practices, and are taught how to treat our water sources in a more respectable manner, we will have a much greener future ahead of us.
“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” — W.H. Auden
Jackson MacPherson, is an 18 year old 2nd year Engineering Technologies student studying water and environmental engineering technologies at the Okanagan College and eventually hopes to attend BCIT to obtain a full Bachelors of Technology. Ever since a young age, Jackson has been captivated with the role of water in society and within the Ecosystem. As Jackson grew older, he became heartbroken by the state in which some of our country’s water resources were treated and made it his goal to ensure the protection of these resources. He joined joined this YAB team to ensure younger generations respect our bountiful but ever diminishing resources. He lives in the traditional unceded territory of the Syilx Peoples.
“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.” — Benjamin Franklin
An adventure enthusiast and life-long learner, Kirsten is passionate about exploration and discovery – whether in a cave, on a boat, up a mountain, or behind a computer screen. Exploring and learning more about the natural world led to a recognition of our profound interdependency and connection to the environment, including the omnipresent force and flow of water. She is dedicated to fighting for a sustainable future, and is excited to connect with like-minded youth to uncover innovative solutions that celebrate and reflect indigenous knowledge. Kirsten lives, works, and plays on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations, in the city of Victoria, where she earned a BSc in Geography and Anthropology and now works as a Geomatics Analyst, mapping the ocean floor and making navigation charts for submarines.
“Nature surrounds us, from parks and backyards to streets and alleyways. Next time you go out for a walk, tread gently and remember that we are both inhabitants and stewards of nature in our neighbourhoods.” — David Suzuki
Sarah Alexis is a member of the Okanagan Indian Band located at the head of Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada. She has an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies with a minor in History from the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Sarah continues to focus on her work involved in the Natural Resource sector and the Okanagan Language in the Syilx Nation. She contributes to the larger body of research and community engagement for water governance for her Syilx Nation. The Okanagan language is an important aspect of her life and she continues working on Nsyilxcen revitalization at the Syilx Language House Association. Empowering youth on water and fish is a focal point for the work she does. She is very passionate about Indigenous people – specifically women- and the roles they play in indigenous communities.
Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada (and other places, as she now “lives on the road” in BC)
Kayla comes from the Eastern Townships of Québec, Canada, land of the Abenaki people, part of the Wabanaki Confederacy. Her deep need to roam has allowed her to discover and strongly connect with various places and environments these past few years, multiplying the locations where she feels at home and the waterways she strongly cares for. Although her educational background is in law (LL.B. from the Faculté de droit de l’Université de Sherbrooke, and an LL.M. from the University of Oregon School of Law), Kayla is seeking to specialize in alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, to ensure sustainable and equitable water conflict management and transformation. While completing her masters in Oregon, Kayla became particularly interested in matters pertaining to the Great Lakes and St.-Lawrence River Basin and water diversions. She is also interested in the rights of citizens to protect their drinking water resources. Kayla is always up for adventure, and you can often find her roaming around in her van, or wandering in the mountains.
“Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.” — Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe
Noa is a student at the University of British Columbia pursuing a BSc in Natural Resource Conservation. No currently resides in Vancouver on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sqaumish Nation. Social and environmental stewardship were key ethics in Noa’s elementary education, focusing on our collective responsibility to protect and repair the planet. These ethics have stayed with Noa into her adult life and guide both her academic endeavours and personal ideologies. Having experienced the impact that this type of early education can have, Noa is excited to engage with youth in reconciliation education and water literacy!
This past summer Noa took part in a program on Haida Gwaii that was co-taught by a professor from the University of Waterloo and various Haida knowledge holders. The course focused on methods for social-ecological change using a cross-cultural lens. This allowed Noa to begin broadening her post-secondary education experience beyond the realm of a traditional science degree and to recognize that knowledge can be obtained in a variety of ways that all hold equal value.
“The task is not to see what has never been seen before, but to think what has never been thought before about what you see everyday” – Erwin Schrodinger
Growing up spending summers on a pristine lake in Ontario, Emma has always felt connected to and in awe of the natural world. After earning her B’Comm from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, the draw of the ocean, glaciers and mountains of the West Coast led her to BC. She now calls Vancouver home, on the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Emma works in management consulting, and spends her free time exploring the backcountry of BC, by way of foot or boat through the summer, and by skis through the winter.
Emma finds joy in connecting with others and actively seeks new perspectives. In 2017, she spent 7 months travelling the world, exploring and experiencing different cultures from the bustling cities of India to remote mountain villages of Nepal. She looks forward to continuing this journey through the YAB by connecting with indigenous cultures at home.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu
Charlie Olmsted lives on Squamish Nation Territory in in Squamish BC, but grew up in Calgary Alberta. Charlie is the owner of a developing media company in Squamish. He has a passion for photography, climbing and nature.
Charlie is currently studying media/marketing at the Whistler adventure school. Charlie has completed his EMR (emergency medical responder) course at SAIT, in addition, has finished his level 1 rope access training. Charlie grew up with a hydrogeologist mom and an environmental consultant for a dad so has been raised with water always being a very important issue. Charlie’s is excited to assist the Youth Advisory Board with media and photography
Felicity is a multimedia producer living in Vancouver, B.C., Canada on the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. A highlight of her career was meeting spirit bears in person on the Canada C3 Expedition and sharing the experience with thousands through social media. A low point of her career was being robbed as a Communications Intern in Mtwara, Tanzania. The worst personal experiences are often the best learning experiences and Tanzania is still one of Felicity’s favourite places in the world. Felicity is passionate about excellent storytelling, fostering positive discourse and affecting social change. In her seven years of experience in communications, she has developed impeccable writing and editing skills, experience with 360 virtual reality photography and videography, social media content production, website design experience and video production and editing. Her superpower involves a stand-up paddleboard.
Meet the 2018-2019 Youth Advisors for the Great Canoe Journey
Christine is constantly on the move exploring what this great country has to offer in every season whether it be snowshoeing, skiing, paddling, running, taking part in Tough Mudder (one extreme obstacle course!) or even skydiving. Water as a resource has always been a critical part of Christine’s life as farming is at the mercy of the weather. Christine currently resides in a small rural community which is located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Mississaugas. Christine completed the Ecosystem Management Technician program and the Advanced Water Systems Operations and Management program both completed at Sir Sandford Fleming College. She has been a water and wastewater treatment plant operator/mechanic with Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) for the last 2 years. OCWA has an OneWater Education program which allows operators like Christine to teach grade eight students about water and wastewater treatment processes. The program gives students a good perspective on the importance of conserving/protecting our water for future generations.
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” — John Wayne
Ottawa, ON / Campbellton, NB
Danyka is a proud Acadian from northern New-Brunswick who has been living in Canada’s capital for the past 4 years, in the traditional territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People. Currently, she is studying Conflict Studies and Human Rights at the University of Ottawa. She is an avid long-distance runner and is at her happiest when hiking mountains and canoeing on rivers. Since she can remember, she has been involved in her community through projects and organizations related to education, social justice and environmental stewardship. She is a strong believer of the importance of girl empowerment and volunteers as a Girl Guides leader in Ottawa. Having lived for the past 3 years in 3 different countries, she is passionate about languages and culture and aspires to become a history teacher that is capable of teaching a history that is inclusive and non-sugar coated. That’s why she’s really excited to learn more about Canada’s rich indigenous culture and to gain experience working with youth.
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — A. A. Milne
Ella, a lifelong advocate of sustainable living and environmental stewardship, currently works at a tech start-up in the Toronto, Ontario area the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Petun, Seneca and the Mississaugas.
Ella grew up in nature and attended a wilderness camp for many of her childhood summers, which led her to deeply respect nature and dedicate herself to wildlife conservation. Her educational background is in ecology and evolutionary biology, as she holds a BSc from the University of Toronto and an MSc from the University of Guelph, and her scientific research centers on how anthropogenic activity affects aquatic environments and the organisms in them over evolutionary time. Ella’s current role at the tech start-up is to help produce DNA barcoding-based solutions for rapid species identification, for use in identifying and preventing wildlife crime and IUU (Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated) fishing. Ella’s passion for conservation is leading her to pursue her J.D. in environmental law, as she aims to create watertight legislation to pave the way for sustainable growth and smart cities. Ella is thrilled to join the Youth Advisory Board and is eager to engage and inspire youth and educators alike around the topic of water awareness and indigenous reconciliation.
“All advocacy is, at its core, an exercise in empathy.” — Samantha Power
Gina Jihyun Kwon
Gina is a fourth-year Ethics, Society and Law student, focusing on Environmental Ethics/ Economics at the University of Toronto, Trinity College. She spent her latest summer in Canberra, Australia as a research assistant at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research in The Australian National University. While in Australia, she helped research mining issues in the Northern Territory of Australia and how economic development affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ livelihood and traditional lands. Along with her supervisor, Dr. Sean Kerins, Gina lived in the outback in the remote Indigenous community of Borroloola, where the Garawa, Yanyuwa, Gudanju and Marra peoples fought for cultural survival against
McArthur River Mines. She specifically studied the intersection between law and economics, helping to analyse how land claims delineate greater rights and bargaining power to Indigenous agents involved in development projects in the Western sense, reviewing the Hansard (i.e. Australian parliamentary debate transcriptions), and assessing how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples supposedly safeguards the self-determination of Indigenous peoples. Returning back to Canada, Gina volunteered as administrative help for Walking with Our Sisters Toronto, which observes and acknowledges Canada’s unfortunate history of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and children. Currently, she is the legal clerk for Toronto Dominion Bank’s legal department, working to gain a greater and holistic understanding of how economic development unfolds. She lives in the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Petun, Seneca and the Mississaugas.
“If the people you are researching is not helped by your research, then you yourself are a colonialist.” — Dr. Sean Kerins, The Australian National University
Richmond Hill, ON
Imran resides in Richmond Hill, Ontario, traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, but has lived throughout Toronto and even Calgary for quite some time. Currently, he is a student at York University double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies. Coming from an interdisciplinary background, as well as various roles within an array of organizations, he believes that Waterlution will enable him to bring systematic change into fruition by enlightening the youth on a multitude of subjects. He aspires to obtain a career within the government, in hopes of becoming a policy advisor to further implement social progression and create a path suitable for the ever changing Earth. NASA searches for water on other planets to discover life in outer space, therefore it is only sensible for us on Earth, to become more sustainable with our (fresh) water, since water breathes life.
Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it – Lao Tzu
Melissa is a recent transplant to Toronto, a Québecoise at heart, and a West Coaster
in spirit. She is passionate about aquatic research, fisheries conservation, environmental education, and experiential learning. Melissa completed her Master’s in Biology studying Pacific salmon in the mighty Fraser River watershed in British Columbia, having the honour to work closely with Coast Salish, Sts’ailes, and Tsilhqoti’in First Nations fishing crews. Prior to studying freshwater fish migrations, Melissa worked at a research institute in the Bahamas where she conducted field work in mangrove and coral reef ecosystems, supporting research on sharks, lionfish, and bonefish. Now in Toronto, she lives in the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Petun, Seneca and the Mississaugas of the New Credit Indigenous peoples. Melissa looks forward to learning more about the cultural and environmental significance of the Great Lakes Basin, and to becoming a steward of the watersheds in Toronto. She works as a research consultant for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and water technology companies.
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau
Wahnapitae First Nation, ON
Rebecca Osawamick is an Anishinaabe kwe residing in Wahnapitae First Nation, ON in Anishinabek territory. She is not only a member, but also the youth representative for the Mining Industry Working Group in Wahnapitae First Nation. Her spirit name is Waawaaskunskwe, which means ‘The Bright Light Coming’, she is also apart of the ma’iigun dodem, which is the wolf clan.
Rebecca has been inspired by many Youth advocates around Turtle Island, and Elders who do their role to protect our waters, land and way of life. In her community, she is very excited to be involved, learning and helping with the birch bark canoe building, as one will be for the community and the other will be gifted to the very inspiring Water Walker Josephine Mandamin!
“I’ve had so many names. Old names that only the wind and the trees can pronounce” — Pan’s Labyrinth
Passionate and committed to making a less thirsty world, Shamily is pursuing her last undergraduate year in Environment, Resources, and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. Shamily currently resides on the indigenous land of Anishinabek, Huron-Wendat, and Anishinaabe but loves to travel the world given the chance every summer. Shamily strongly believes that the best way to learn about a culture is to study the way water impacts a community since water is so intricately and delicately woven into every aspect of life. Traveling and getting the opportunity to take part in other cultures has allowed her to appreciate the value water plays in her life. She spent her last summer working at Ontario Clean Water Agency, as a Process and Compliance Co-op. While she was working at Ontario Clean Water Agency, she generated facility documentation for quality and adherence to environmental compliance on a regular basis, and maintained process optimization projects plans. She currently works at CLEAResult, as a Conservation Demand Management Support Analyst where she works with program energy managers to reach their energy conservation targets and reviews Quarterly Energy Reports and Energy Management Plans. Shamily wishes to complete her Masters internationally in water studies. She aspires to work for the United Nations Environment Programme to help develop sustainable policies in the developed and developing world and eventually create a foundation to empower women in water restricted regions. She is confident that her role as a youth advisor will bring about more positive change in the youth who are now growing more concerned about this fugitive resources’ viability.
“Even as life on earth cannot sustain without water, virtue too depends ultimately on rain” — Tamil proverb
In Loving Memory - (Danielle Moore, Winnipeg, MB)
Danielle Moore was a member of the 2018-2019 Youth Advisory Board, sadly and tragically, she passed away in an aviation accident while travelling to Kenya for the United Nations Environment Assembly on March 10, 2019. She was one of the selected Canadian youth delegates for the conference. Danielle is deeply missed by the Waterlution staff and volunteer family.
Currently living in Winnipeg, Treaty 1 territory, Danielle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Oceanography from Dalhousie University where she completed a thesis on right whale feeding habitat and whale vocalizations. She is currently a member of the Ocean Bridge 2018 youth cohort, where she and 39 other youth across Canada have committed to work on service projects that make the ocean a healthier, flourishing environment. Danielle currently works as an STEM educator in her province, through the Canadian non-profit, Canada Learning Code. Combining her passion for the ocean, waters, and culture with her experience in education and outreach, Danielle hopes to inspire healthy relationships with water, as well as facilitate dialogue about and action towards reconciliation.
“Pursue a practice that will strengthen your heart.” – John K. Samson
Rosheen is a student at the University of Alberta where she studies Environmental Science with a major in Land Reclamation. She grew up in northern Saskatchewan around many beautiful lakes and rivers where she first became interested in conserving these hubs of biodiversity and spiritual connectedness. She is currently a member of the Edmonton & Area Land Trust Youth Advisory Committee and working hard to conserve natural areas around Edmonton. Rosheen is working in a Land Reclamation lab at the U of A helping with interesting research in the field. Rosheen is very passionate about preservation of aquatic areas, and has a special interest in aquatic plant species and riparian zones which are crucial for water filtration and regulation. She is also very interested in using traditional ecological knowledge in water conservation and reclamation efforts. Rosheen is excited to help educate people in the Treaty 6 area where she lives; traditional territory of the Cree, Saulteaux, Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), Métis, and Nakota Sioux Peoples.
“Those who take action have a disproportionate impact. The power of one is to move many” — Elizabeth May