Steeped in an organic farming tradition and raised on the fringe of wilderness, Cynthia’s passionate relationship with the environment, animals, the outdoors and all things “wild” has been life-long. Named a “child of nature” she developed an insatiable curiosity and concern for the environment and its inhabitants as well as a determination to make a difference. Her background inspired her to complete a B.Ed. at the University of Alberta with a minor in Outdoor and Environmental Education. For over 23 years she has been educating and inspiring children of all ages to: consciously connect with nature; to become environmentally aware; to take responsibility for their choices and decisions; and to take action to make this a better, safer, more beautiful world for us all.
Since moving to Chilliwack from Alberta eight years ago, Cynthia has, until recently, filled the coveted position of Environmental Educator for the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve as well as providing volunteer Club leadership for the Eastern Fraser Valley NatureKids. Under her keen facilitation and mentorship the children have fallen in love with nature completing dozens of Citizen Science and Stewardship projects in the Fraser Valley and substantially elevating environmental and species awareness. Cynthia is an avid volunteer, member, and Director with many organizations who has done such imaginative and important work as co-organizing and running Edmonton’s prestigious “Earth Day” event for nearly two decades garnering an Emerald Award for, “Best Environmental Initiatives and Stewardship” from a not-for-profit group. She currently teaches and resides in Chilliwack with her husband David, their dog Blue, and her prized organic garden. Cynthia joined the NatureKids Board in 2014.
Tricia grew up in the damp forests of North Vancouver and has lived in the Lynn Creek watershed her entire life. She has spent nearly twenty years watching children and families connect with this wonderful place.
Tricia works as the Education Programmer at Lynn Canyon Park’s Ecology Centre, where she develops and leads programs for visiting groups and local families. She is also the founder and president of Fresh Air Learning, a forest and farm education program for children ages 3 to 12. Tricia is involved in a number of community food initiatives and has been on the Edible Garden Project’s advisory committee since the project began in 2006.
Tricia has a Master’s degree in environmental management, with a focus on community organizing for ecological restoration. She is currently completing a diploma in permaculture education. She enjoys running in the woods, listening to the birds, and jumping in muddy puddles and is delighted to facilitate these joyful connections to natural places. Tricia joined the NatureKids Board in 2014.
Victor Elderton Since 2013 Victor has been the Vice Principal at Norgate Community Elementary where he is continues his work on nature-based and placed based experiential learning for children and families. He also works at the district level to enable “Learning with Nature” initiatives throughout North Vancouver SD. Prior to this current position Victor was both a full-time teacher and Principal Co-Administrator for the North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS) where he started working in 1984. Victor is a member of various environmental, education and sustainability committees as well as working groups; principle among these are Walking the Talk Society (Environmental Educators of BC), Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA), NatureKids BC, VancouverMetro Education Advisory Committee, North Vancouver and Archives Commission and past member of BC Premier’s Citizen’s Conservation Council.
Over the decades Victor’s work and accomplishments through Environmental Learning endeavours including North Vancouver Outdoor School have included the Hilroy Fellowship Program Award (CTF), BC Ministry of Environment Excellence Award, Roger Tory Peterson Institute, ROEE Jim Jackson Award, NS Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards (Environment), Canadian Environmental Awards (Silver), Habitat Canada Excellence Award, Fraser Basin Council Salmon Hero Award, Coho Society Excellence Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Victor joined the Board in 2013.
Vanessa is passionately involved with anything green, watery or mountainous! The love affair all started about 11 years ago with tracking snakes in Ontario Provincial Parks has continued since with environmental education and interpretation out west in various positions, from a Richmond classroom teacher, a Vancouver Aquarium interpreter to my current position as a Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Interpretation Leader. She has also previously dedicated her time volunteering for the David Suzuki Foundation, and is currently on the executive committees of Interpretation Canada and EEPSA (Environmental Educators Provincial Specialist Association). She has been dedicated to connecting people to nature’s awe and wonder, and hope to inspire care of place and wild things. Vanessa recently completed a Masters of Ecological Education. Vanessa joined the board in 2011.
Frances has deep experience in connecting people with nature through environmental education and hands-on outdoor experiences. She was a Park Interpreter for 12 years working for a variety of organizations including Scout Island Nature Centre, Metro Vancouver Parks, The Richmond Nature Park, Mount Seymour Outdoor Education Department and Waterton Lakes National Park. She volunteered for 5 months as a Guide at a lodge in the Peruvian Jungle on the Tambopata River and more locally, was instrumental in starting a citizen science project at Belcarra Regional Park which monitors the size and gender ratio of Red Rock and Dungeness crabs.
Next year, Frances will be a nature teacher and mentor/elementary school teacher where she continues to bring the nature into the classroom as well as taking her Kindergarten and Grade 7 students into the natural world. Frances joined the NatureKids’ Board in 2014.
I grew up in the country, surrounded by nature. We selectively harvested the maple bush every year, to optimize the forest’s health while cutting the firewood that would heat our home. We ate the wild asparagus, but not all of it – because we wanted it to grow back the next year. A well-supplied my house with water, and in the summer it could run dry if we weren’t careful. Our intimate relationship with the natural environment has been an obvious, unavoidable truth in my life for as long as I can remember.
Valery’s passion for conservation and natural sciences drove her to study biology and mathematics at the University of Ottawa. She has a background in research that includes mathematical modeling at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and conservation work in Taiwan. Valery traveled Canada extensively by motorcycle before settling in Vancouver to build a life near the sea and the mountains. She has contributed to several projects with the David Suzuki Foundation and currently works in HR & volunteer engagement at the Canadian Cancer Society. Valery joined the NatureKids Board in 2014.
Daphne is the founder and Honorary President of NatureKids BC. She joined Nature Vancouver in 1985 and has served as a director and in various other roles since then. She is also past president of Nature Vancouver, and of BC Nature. Having come to the enjoyment of nature late in life, she created the NatureKids BC, launched in 2000. Currently, she is involved in the evolution of NatureKids from a mostly volunteer organization to a mature and professionally led organization. She continues to edit the magazine NatureWILD and to administer the Passport to Nature and Action Awards programs.
Romy is a Certified Management Accountant who enjoys outdoor activities in her spare time. She has over 10 years of working experience in various accounting and finance roles in different industries, including banking, tech companies, the public sector and private companies. She loves to contribute community development by utilizing her skills on finance and management. Romy grew up in China and moved to Canada in 2006, and she immersed herself into local culture and enjoys her life in the beautiful British Columbia, the greenest place in Canada. Hiking in the spring, swimming in the summer, cycling in the fall and skiing in the winter, Romy treasures every moment when she is in Mother Nature. Romy joined the Board in 2015.