Jeremy Ayotte

Instructor

Jeremy grew up here in the Shuswap where his interest in nature began and eventually shaped into a career as a consulting wildlife biologist. Jeremy provides insight into the wonder-full connections between the different edges of our landscape and the plants and animals that live here. Jeremy is happy to have helped create the the Shuswap Wild Wonders programs alongside Geoff and Ceren. He is is also one of the founding members and director with the Shuswap Outdoor Learning Foundation.

Ceren Caner

Instructor

Ceren in now in his Eighth year planning, organizing and instructing programs. He is a full time grade 4/5/6 teacher at the Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe Elementary. Ceren has a Master’s degree in Environmental Education and Communication and experience teaching at different outdoor schools throughout the province. Ceren has training in Advanced Wilderness First Aid. In his spare time, Ceren enjoys hiking, biking and skiing while carrying or towing his children behind him. Ceren is one of the founding members and director with the Shuswap Outdoor Learning Foundation.

Geoff Styles

Instructor

Geoff is now in his Eighth year planning, organizing and instructing programs. Geoff is one of the founding members and director with the Shuswap Outdoor Learning Foundation. He is a full time grade 2/3 teacher at the Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe Elementary. Geoff has done bird conservation work both here in Canada and during his three years in South Korea, and also ran student outdoor learning programs out of Busan, South Korea. In his spare time, Geoff enjoys hiking, birding, cross-country skiing and spending time with his wife, Emily and their two young children.

Katie Dawson

Instructor

Katie has been working with children in educational outdoor settings for many years, now teaching in SD83. While completing an honours degree in Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism, Katie worked as a ski and snowboard instructor and a Canadian Ski Patrol First Responder. After completing her degree Katie went on to work as a certified high ropes course conductor, mountain bike instructor and white water raft guide. During teachers college Katie continued to work as an outdoor educator at various outdoor education centers teaching team building, kick sledding, snowshoeing, caving, climbing, tracking and plant identification. Katie has planned many outdoor educational trips for the day-care groups and classes she has worked with previously. Katie is very excited to share her love and knowledge of the outdoors with young learners this summer!

Jaana Mainprize

Instructor

Jaana has been an educator for over 30 years in 2 BC school districts and has also spent summers as a Naturalist/Interpreter for 2 local Provincial Parks. She taught nature programs to hundreds of children and adults and led guided hikes. Jaana loves sharing her experiences and knowledge of local flora and fauna.

Sandra Major

Instructor

This is Sandra’s third year as a Wild Wonders instructor.  Professionally, she completed a degree in Kinesiology and then a Bachelor of Education, beginning her teaching career in Vancouver in 2003.  She also worked 5 summers as a BC wildland firefighter, travelling all over this beautiful province and spending countless hours immersed in nature.  After starting her own family (Sandra has three children aged 5, 7 and 9) she and her family moved to the Shuswap, where Sandra’s love of the great outdoors keeps her hiking and mountain biking at every opportunity.  Sandra also enjoys coaching Jackrabbits cross-country skiing in the winter, running and camping.

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Els Hryniw

Instructor

Els grew up in the West Kootenays and spent much of her time there horseback riding, hiking, rock climbing, skiing and canoeing. In 2017 Els completed the Adventure Tourism Leadership and Safety (ATLAS) academy in Nelson and has certifications in wilderness first aid, companion rescue, and flatwater canoeing. Els is passionate about animals, connecting with people (especially through theatre) and preserving nature. She is pursuing her love for the natural environment in Edmonton, where she is in taking a Bachelor of Environmental Science and playing basketball at Concordia University. Els is very excited to spend more time in the Shuswap this summer and to be involved in Wild Wonders!

Christy Wright

Instructor

Christy’s early interest in animals shaped itself into a career as a Wildlife Biologist. Over the last 20 years, this has provided many opportunities to study birds, fish, fur-bearers, plants, moose, goats, caribou and wolves in wilderness settings. More recently, she developed a successful elementary school program to engage students (K-7) in the role of a biologist. Christy enjoys camping, hiking, skiing and canoeing with her husband, Peter and 2 children. In her spare time she enjoys hockey, yoga and coaching her children’s sport teams.

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Emily Styles

Instructor

Emily currently is a full time Kindergarten teacher at the Outdoor Learning Program at South Canoe Elementary. Emily has taken a leadership role in SD83, leading an outdoor professional development series in outdoor learning and is currently in courses obtaining her forest schools teaching certification. Emily is a proud mother to two young children. 

Sonya Rokosh

Instructor and Summer Camp Program Coordinator

Sonya Rokosh hails from Vancouver Island, and has started calling the Shuswap her home since September of 2016. Sonya studied Environmental Studies and Environmental Restoration at the University of Victoria. She has training in horticulture from Thompson Rivers University and is now working as an elementary classroom teacher in Valemount. She has over 10 years of experience working in outdoor education settings with children and youth, and hopes to share her knowledge with anyone who will listen. In her free time you can find her in the pottery studio, practicing yoga, or writing letters to her multiple pen pals!

Sonya brings her organizational and communication skills to the role of Summer Camp Program Coordinator - she will be our primary contact regarding Shuswap Wild Wonders camps this summer. 

Michelle Atkins

Michelle is in her second year of running the Art & Drama in Nature program with Shuswap Wild Wonders. She is in her ninth year of running kids’ art and drama programs in the Shuswap (Shuswap Kids Arts). She is a teacher with School District 83 as well as a painter and creative project enthusiast.  Michelle did her undergraduate degree at UBC (drama major) and her graphic design education through Emily Carr University of Art & Design with BCIT (joint program). She later returned to UBC to do her education degree after a few years of working with the environmental organization, The Sierra Club BC (in communications and design). All of Michelle’s fine art is inspired by nature’s lines, colors and form, as well as by whimsical and youthful play. Michelle enjoys playing with her young son, being out in nature through walks, hikes, camping and exploring. Working on creative projects/programs and teaching kids is where her heart is at.

Cameron Wallace

Instructor

Joining us this year will be Cameron Wallace, teacher at Valemount Secondary, with a musical background in guitar and keys. Cam is passionate about outdoor education, and has been working in the field for over ten years. Fun fact about Cam: he lived in a cave for a month in Spain, and managed to craft a version of Settlers of Catan, made from cereal boxes, reeds, and snail shells.

Launa Payne

Instructor

Launa Payne is a St'at'imc woman from Port Douglas reserve and Graddaughter to Alice Purcell. She is a mother of two children and has worked as an Aboriginal Educator for 20 years in School District 83. Launa enjoys traditional storytelling and all things that bring her outdoors.

Laura Dolha

Instructor

Laura Dolha, a member of the Lake Babine Nation, grew up in the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people. An avid traveler, ethnobotany enthusiast, hiker, swimmer and snowboarder, she has worked with students within School District #83 for 12 years. She loves to share her passion for the outdoors, as well as, the beauty, depth and vibrancy found in the traditional teachings of our Aboriginal cultures in honouring and respecting our environment and our inherent ties to the land.

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Tekki Brown-Hryniw

Tekki grew up in Salmon Arm and spent her summers on the lake.  Before moving back with her family, she was the Outdoor Education and Leadership Program teacher in Slocan where the focus was canoeing, water safety, and skill-building in the outdoors. She has degrees in both Education and the Arts, and recently completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training. She is passionate about paddling, birding, skiing and sustainable food production.

Kris Hryniw

Kris spent his childhood running and playing and hiding and seeking and BEING outside as much as he could. Aside from his greying beard, not much has changed. A passionate outdoor educator, Kris values his connection to the land, and enjoys the lifestyle of responsibly living off of the land through fishing and hunting, picking berries and mushrooms, and growing fruits and vegetables. Kris has led youth into the wilderness for several years on trips that have involved dog-sledding, canoeing, rock climbing, back-country skiing, winter camping, and tree planting. Kris is also a CORE hunter training instructor, is certified in wilderness first-aid, and carries with him a wealth of wilderness survival skills. 

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