Meet the Youth Advisory Board for the Great Waters Challenge!
The Great Waters Challenge Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is composedof the following exceptional individuals:
Robin Joan Ikkutisluk
Gjoa Haven, Nunavut
Robin is a graduate of the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in Ottawa, and since 2012 has worked as a Licence Administrator with the Nunavut Water Board (NWB). She is also a facilitator with the community-based Nanivara Project, which works with young people to learn and record the history of their communities. She is a co-founder of an Inuktitut language revitalization program in Gjoa Haven. Robin is passionate about travelling and experiencing new challenges, and enjoys parenting, red wine and warm spring weather.
Robin lives in a place of ice and snow for 9 months of the year and loves it!
Veronica is a Water Strategy Implementation Officer at the Department of Environment with the Yukon Government. She finds a powerful connection to nature that helps ground her and motivates her to experience it, learn about it and engage with it. She wants to be able to inspire youth the same way she was inspired to make change and become informed.
Veronica’s best self shines after feeling endorphins from a mountain bike ride or savoring ice-cream, but nothing trumps the feeling of seeing beautiful glimpses of life like bees pollinating flowers or listening to the music of rain.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Olivia graduated from Royal Roads University in 2015 with a BSc in Environmental Science. She also holds an Environmental Engineering Technology- Water Resources diploma from Nova Scotia Community College. Olivia now lives in Vancouver and works in the environmental education sector with the City of Surrey. She has many years of experience working with children and youth and has enjoyed watershed education and stewardship as a volunteer with the Sackville Rivers Association. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature- hiking, boating and adventuring.
Olivia volunteered with an ancient First Nations clam garden study in the Salish Sea; clam gardens are a form of sustainable seafood harvesting that was practiced by First Nations up too 1000 years ago!
Vancouver, British Columbia
Anne is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) and has been working in human resources and logistics for Raleigh International, a sustainable development charity in the UK and Tanzania. She supported her team in improving access to safe water and sanitation services in rural communities. She has a Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in sustainability and wants to create impact through increasing knowledge and changing attitudes and behaviour in relation to sustainable development. Anne can be found exploring local food markets, getting lost in the outdoors.
Anne is a lover of rain and dancing in the rain brings her peace of mind.
Similkameen, British Columbia
Tessa is a member of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band of the Okanagan Nation located in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. Tessa is finishing an undergrad in interdisciplinary studies at UBC focusing on indigenous studies, political science and environmental science. She is passionate about Aboriginal fisheries and water governance, and strongly believes that the indigenous people of Canada need to be included as co-equals in decision making. She is committed to youth empowerment and supporting our younger generations in finding their voice and passions. As a Syilx (Okanagan) woman she has a responsibility to speak for and protect the water.
Tessa loves to jump in really cold creeks and rivers. In Syilx culture, when youth are coming of age part of their training is they have to do this every morning for a whole year!
Inspired largely by her participation in Waterlution’s 2010 Canadian Water Innovation Lab, Talia is now a Graduate student in the Department of Political Science at the University of Calgary. Her research focus and passion is the way in which climate change is reshaping our notion of environmental security, how this affects Canadians, and how government and industry are working to respond to these changes. Born, raised and educated in Alberta, she would like to create and encourage dialogue in a way that minimizes polarization of the environment and the economy. Her hope as part of the YAB is to engage and inspire youth around the significance of our water resources, ecosystems and environment.
Talia has traveled the west coast by sea, from Victoria, BC to the Alaskan panhandle on an old 45-foot fishing boat, the Pheonix II. She kayaked among icebergs and whales where glaciers meet the ocean, happened upon a sea lion rookery, and tried her hand at Halibut fishing (with little success).
Megan Van Buskirk
Megan works for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society (SES). When she isn’t managing the office, she can be found proudly organizing and facilitating SES’s Boreal Watershed Monitoring Project. She is also a member of Saskatchewan Guiding, and actively educates her fellow Girl Guide Leaders and the young members of Girl Guides about advocacy, social justice, and sustainability. Megan has a B.Sc. in Physical Geography and a B.A. in Northern Studies.
We thank Megan for her great contribution to the team. We’re sad to see her go as of December 31st 2016, and congratulate her on her new full-time position!
One of Megan’s favourite water-related memories is successfully canoeing through the challenging “Otter Rapids” in northern Saskatchewan.
Katie is specializing in a Master in integrated water resource management from McGill University. She has a strong understanding of the water issues Saskatchewan is currently facing having worked in the oilfield as an Environmental Technician, as well as currently working for the Water Security Agency with the Government of Saskatchewan for a summer term to manage drainage issues. Getting outside and enjoying nature with her 6 year-old daughter is one of her favourite pastimes. Having a vested interest in the future allows her to analyze environmental issues and approaches to sustainability with a greater amount of passion.
It wasn’t until after Katie began travelling that she realized how over loaded our river systems are from agricultural and urban run-off; and that catching the itch from algal blooms isn’t normal!
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Who’s that in the woods? The wild Michelle can be found lurking in the woods anytime she is not forced to be inside. She is actively involved in Outdoor Education opportunities including Girl Guides and as the coordinator for Parks NB’s interpreter program. Seeing kids and youth who suddenly view the world as slightly more magical because of something they have seen or learned is why she loves going to ‘work’ everyday. Being inspired by creative ideas and being challenged to come up with some of her own brings out the best in her. Michelle loves having avenues for new adventures.
Michelle is hoping to be featured in the next Finding Nemo movie as Dory’s twin sister and practices her whale noises daily.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Anouk is studying Environmental Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies at the University of PEI. She is originally from Québec and has lived, travelled and worked in a range of Canadian provinces and abroad. While she has interest in natural resources management, it is the ecology and interconnectedness of human activity on the environment that speaks to her the most. Studying in PEI has also fed her interest for water related issues, as the provincial situation is most unique. Not only is it an Island, but it is completely reliant on groundwater as a source of drinking water and the heavy agricultural industry has put a lot of strain on the local watersheds.
Anouk has an advance scuba-diving certification and has had the chance to dive with sharks and wonderful other sea creatures.
Rabia is a recent graduate of the interdisciplinary Arts and Science Program at McMaster University and is keenly interested in bringing her dynamic liberal arts skill set to the intersection of global justice, water and environmental protection. An active organizer in the Hamilton community, she has developed festivals, seminars and fundraisers, and is the lead coordinator for Eid Fest 2016, an annual outdoor festival that engages thousands of families in and around Hamilton. Ultimately, she is passionate about empowering youth and local communities and discovering ways in which communities can come together to protect our natural resources. In her spare time, Rabia likes to explore new hiking trails and is learning to code.
Rabia has had the joy of canoeing, sailing, boating, and walking through rivers and lakes in Asia, Europe and North America.
Katarina is completing a Bachelor of Environmental Studies at York University. Currently her focus is in environmental management and conservation. Katarina volunteers with the Credit Valley Conservation, and had the opportunity to complete a coop placement in their Restoration and Stewardship Department. She enjoys working in the community as a Leader with Girl Guides of Canada and volunteers with AboutFace, an organization that supports individuals with facial differences.
While Katarina was swimming on a cool day off the California coast a pod of wild Dolphins swam alongside her!
Rosemary is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a degree in Applied Sciences and Engineering. She was first inspired to start developing her problem-solving skills through Destination Imagination (DI), the largest creativity and innovation competition in the world. In her leisure, she now volunteers as an appraiser for this transformative program and as a social media coordinator for their Ontario Division. Motivated by her passion for sustainable living, she is also working in an engineering team to develop a system to reduce food waste in Canadian households.
One of Rosemary’s favourite memories is canoeing with her siblings on the Saugeenn River at MacGregor Point Provincial Park on Lake Huron.
Quebec City, Quebec
Émilie is specialized in forensic accounting and fraud investigations for the private and government sectors. In addition to this professional experience, she also is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) candidate. Émilie’s primary purpose is the protection of the public. She is currently contributing to a research project focused on the degradation of chlorine in municipal water distribution networks by providing information about financial and ethical questions. Emilie has financial vision that can support young people to become aware of the economic aspects of water challenges.
Émilie had the opportunity to go on a fisherman’s boat for lobster catching near the Anticosti Island and saw harbour seal and even large whales nearby the cold waters of the Saint Lawrence Gulf!
Quebec City, Quebec
John is a Master of Science candidate at Laval University and his research focuses on clean water engineering, especially to determining the impact of water conservation strategies on secondary disinfection in drinking water distribution networks. Wherever he is, John is always on the hunt for that next great water pun. He is also an enthusiast for water related hobbies, in particular canoeing and freshwater fishing.
John made a trip to Haiti last winter for the installation of drinking water biofiltration systems – he’s also a rower and was part of the concrete canoe team from Laval University.
Anne-Sophie is the North American representative at the World Youth Parliament for Water. As such, she launched various youth local action projects and she participated at some major international water events (World Water Forum, COP21, etc.). During her master degree in marine resources management, she studied the social acceptability of hydrocarbons project related with the Saint-Lawrence River. Volunteer at the Senegalese NGO Eau Vive, she created communication tools and focused on climate change impacts on the water resources of rural communities. She is a member of the youth committee at Aquahacking 2016, a summit and coding competition for the Saint-Lawrence river.
Anne-Sophie has surfed for years in many countries: she is reminded that water is the most powerful element every time a big wave wipes her down, and takes it as a humbling lesson while never failing to reach up and try again, just as in life.