Team Members

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Alyssa ‘Cedar’ Stapleton was born and raised in Powell River, B.C. She has boycotted high school graduation in order to follow her passions of biking and sustainable living to come on her first Otesha cycling and performing tour. Equipped with her bike, Freda, and a back pocket full of games, activities and experience, she looks forward to learning about organic agriculture and teaching others the meaning of being Eco-Friendly-Hippie-Earth-Warrior. Currently she plans to attend a post-secondary school on the East Coast in hopes of obtaining a degree in Environmental Science.

Leslie Keating is currently a student at Ryerson University, studying Nutrition and Food. Prior to this degree, she graduated from Western University and worked as a Certified Kinesiologist and a personal trainer for two years. Previous related volunteer experience includes travelling to Honduras to volunteer at an orphanage and volunteering on an animal sanctuary for rescued farm animals. Leslie would like to become a naturopath, and while she believes it will be important to take a client-centred approach, she has a strong desire to set up a practice that acknowledges and addresses issues surrounding social justice, food politics, as well as ethical and environmental concerns. Leslie holds a strong belief that individual personal change can dramatically impact the world, and she is looking forward to the Otesha journey and learning more about sustainable farming and food production, and the personal changes she can continue to make to positively impact the world around her.

Hannah Sobel grew up in Cleveland, Ohio but has taken up Toronto as her second home in the last five years. She cares a lot about food, and has worked on organic and urban farms and with multiple community cooking projects. She graduated from University of Toronto last year, and has since been working at an independent coffee shop in the city. When she's not serving people food or coffee, Hannah can be found cycling around the city or subjecting her friends to her vegetable-pun jokes.


Hi, my name is Caroline Baaband I love to cycle. I’m looking forward to all the new sights and experiences this summer with Otesha. I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay area, but am now living and working in Toronto as a Language Travel Consultant. Over the last several years I’ve been able to explore the world whenever the opportunity arose and have enjoyed all I’ve learned from volunteering in Ghana, studying in Austria and Germany to biking through Thailand and traveling in India. During my university studies, I focused on Environment and Development and became very interested in sustainability and the amount of consumerism in the world. I’m very excited to get people thinking more about where their food comes from and living sustainably. You’ll usually find me biking, travelling, cooking, gardening, playing a board game, reading or cuddling up with my cat, Zorro. After the summer, I’ll be in Montreal pursuing a Library and Information Science degree at McGill.

My name is Hanah Nyreeand I live and love in the Winnipeg Prairies! I have enjoyed this last year soaking up the most brilliant knowledge at the University of Winnipeg, from the process of plant photosynthesis, magic and shamanism, primate behavior and howour brains change themselves. I love laughing and learning, cycling, swimming, running and dancing. Without a doubt my favourite part of my day is out cruising on the streets, with the sun, snowflakes, clouds or raindrops above! I can't wait to spend this summer along Lake Ontario taking action on food affairs, social justice and sustainability. Over the next months my goal is to learn the names and markings of as many birds, trees and flowers as my brain can hold!

Jessica Schmidt: I find energy in growing things, biking, being outside, flash mobs, spontaneous art projects, composting, exploring international communities and landscapes, yoga, creative and thought-provoking books, home-made things, and talking to people about surprising, unconventional sustainability and social justice ideas! I can't wait to see just how surprising and unconventional the ideas will be that emerge from our mobile community. After high school in Ottawa and university in Guelph, I taught English in Baie Saint Paul, volunteered with an indigenous women's weaving cooperative in Guatemala, worked on an organic permaculture farm in Ecuador, and worked at an environmental education center for urban kids in Mali. Now I’ve decided that where I really need to be is in my own community, learning about issues that are important to the people around me, and working towards positive change. I'm looking forward to getting on my bike, talking about sustainability, and exploring the diversity of farms and food organizations that produce the food we eat!

Hey, I'm Elise Barber and I am super excited to start this awesome Otesha adventure! I'm a proud University of Guelph alumni, and I've loved calling Guelph home for the last six years. I'm a psych grad and I think people are super interesting. I like speaking Spanish and French and doing yoga. I can't wait to bike through the rain, cook delicious meals together and live in an inspiring mobile community while getting to know some awesome people from all around. I love group living, working with kids, experiential education, sustainability and social justice, and I think it’s amazing that the Otesha Project beautifully combines these elements into a fantastic pedal-powered journey.

My name is Danielle d’Entremont and I am super excited to be doing my first ever tour. I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and I was first introduced to Otesha when I saw their performance when I was in elementary school. Since this time I have lived in both Ottawa and Vancouver and I am currently a first year student at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Seeing Otesha for the first time was very inspiring for me and as a vegetarian who is currently studying Global Development I avidly believe that individuals can make change. I am looking forward to going on this tour to learn and to teach others about sustainable living, and hopefully I can inspire children just like myself to start looking at ways to make change in their communities and in the world!

Ian Wearmouth feels that Otesha is a perfect combination of his four favorite things: meeting new and amazing people, camping and being outdoors, drama and theatre, and the environmental movement. During the tour Ian shall be graduating from Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Leadership where he spent the last four years living in and learning about the great outdoors, during that time he feels as though he learnt a great amount that will help during the tour. Also, during his college years he led the Medicine Hat College improv group where, once a week a group of people would get together to play improvisational games. He has been involved in many different organizations including: Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Sierra, Arusha, Calgary Dollars and much, much more. He is very excited to get started and feels this will be an amazing journey. Some of the things that he looks forward to are: learning more about where food comes from, how it is made, or how its raised, the interactions between the Otesha troupe and the leaders of both today and tomorrow and the amazing people he will be going on the tour with as well as Growing as an individual as he imagines he will see things that will surprise him, shock him, inspire him, and change him.

Samantha Tavenor: My passion for the environment started when I was young and muddy in the field behind my house. The field is now a housing development but the trees along the edge where we built our forts are still there. I can see them from the window in my bedroom and it’s a daily reminder of my environmental beginnings. As I grew older, I went to summer camps and outdoor education centers with school. I always loved the outdoor education centers, maybe because I always won the games, but probably because I realized that you can turn an enjoyable pastime of hanging around outside into something more meaningful by teaching! I found that environmental education programs can cultivate sustainable lifestyle practices, and I want to keep promoting that growth in others. I went to the University of Waterloo for Environment and Resource Studies. Since graduating I made my way to the west coast to work in the ecotourism industry and with the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler, British Columbia. Most recently, I have been overseas traveling through India, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Australia. But I am back in Canada and ready to bike like a rockstar!

Kira Burger: Otesha first caught my eye four years ago as an undergraduate student keen on ‘sustainability’ and committed to impressing everyone with my steely, cycling-ready quads. I quickly realized that my journey with Otesha was not about being the perfect ‘environmentalist’ or about elite athleticism, but rather a journey of learning to live as a community, broadening perspectives, personal challenge, understanding the inextricable links between sustainability and social justice and the human side of ‘environmentalism’, and, of course, about having fun. When I’m not distracting the Otesha office staff with shenanigans or reading Michael Pollan books in the sunshine, I enjoy cooking, dancing, exploring, and fantasizing about becoming a guru on food security and a wizard at food production. Also, singing obnoxiously loud.

Lindsey Tulloch has been on (and sometimes off) her bike since 2005. She fell in love with cycling first in Canada but more intensely during her job as an English teacher with the JET program in Japan. She slowly grew more and more addicted to her bicycle. She started doing group rides, riding back and forth to school every day, participated in the PEPY ride (www.pepy.org) in 2008-09 and after quitting her job, and leaving most of her worldly possessions behind, lived off her panniers and bike as the leader of the 75-day BEE ride (beejapan.org) across Japan in 2009. She went on to backpack and volunteer in India and returned to Canada in early 2010 to participate in a Canada World Youth exchange which led her on another amazing adventure to Perth, Ontario and Blue Chicory Organic Farm and Gracias de Lempira, Honduras. Lindsey is looking forward to meeting lots of people on the road, living off her bike (again) and being able to bring some of her experiences back to Canada. She believes that education and experience sharing is a key element in understanding others and building harmonious and sustainable communities and societies. As well as the obvious mentioned above, she loves, learning new things, traveling, reading, knitting, cooking, farming, nature, world issues and Canadian Indie music. 

Gwenda Koo: Hey everyone in the Otesha Project! I'm Gwenda and I'm 19 years old, currently a second year undergrad student at UofT. I'm studying Psychology and English in hopes of being a high school teacher in the future. My hometown is Hong Kong, but I really enjoy life in Toronto too!  After spending 18 years in Hong Kong, I'm super eager to go out and explore the world, and right now my time in Toronto is a great start. Traveling is by far my favourite activity; I think it would be amazing to travel the world and visit as many places as possible. Also I really enjoy the interaction that arises from traveling, the ability to get to know people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries.  It creates an entirely new way of understanding the world and what lies within it.

Other favourite hobbies are mine include reading, playing the piano, watching TV, web surfing, talking, sleeping (this probably doesn't count as hobby), doing nothing.... I'm pretty adventurous and always seeking opportunities to do something different; for example joining this cycling tour. I'm not an experienced biker, I usually just cycle for fun but why not challenge myself?  I really enjoy cycling and am incredibly excited about the upcoming tour and the connections with people I will make both on the tour and with other Otesha members.