Team Members

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Maya Tekavcic : Hi, I am a fresh graduate from York University with a major in Theatre and Dance. Now as my scholarly days come to an end I am onto my next big adventure by joining The Otesha Project. Generally, I find myself tree planting during the summers, hosting kids birthday parties in the fall and taking splendor in life’s joys such as woodland creatures, literature, finger painting, eggs benedict, mud, play-dough, head massages and tall grass (unless there is a possibility of velociraptors). I am so very excited to be involved in this exciting journey and all that it entails.

Hannah Milne: Currently, I am in the midst of wrapping up my Masters in Glaciology in Edmonton and all the while, trying to squeeze in summer bike rides. Originally, I’m from Scotland, and as it is also the land of rain and hills, cycling in Vancouver may feel like going home, I am really looking forward to it. I got my first taste of cycle touring in Iceland a few years ago, and I have been itching to do more ever since. My bike is my main mode of transportation and it continually amazes me what I can fit in some panniers: tomato plants, 100+ reusable plates, 5-gallon wine brewing bottles, eggs, potting soil… I’m looking forward to thought-provoking discussions and inspiration, delicious meals made with local foods and hopefully not just ‘sidekicks’, cycling down big hills (and up I guess, hmm…), having fun interacting with the school children and trying my hand at acting. Otesha here I come!

 

Jade Gregg : As I contemplate describing myself I am humbled
by the fact that I am just one portion of an ingredient in ourrevolutionary recipes. I pay tribute to that forgiving academic paradox which stipulates: the more one learns, the more one realizes how little they really know. My name is Jade Gregg and well, I am an ever-growing being. I am currently living and working as community support liaison and gardener in and around Prince George, BC.

Born in Edmonton, I have since lived all across Canada and then some. I feel I have come full circle because for the last year or so I have led Katimavik projects in Alberta and British Columbia.

For the past 8 years I have been studying and researching our global socio-economic organization. Many well-read people have identified our economy as “one at war with nature.” I am discouraged by the power war has on a society. Consumer support of this war has enraged me for some time now. I have had to learn to find ways to direct my energy.

I garden and cook. I love to cook! I mainly dance and play cards but I also swim, cycle, read, do yoga, meditate, listen to groovy music and enjoy life through smiles and laughter.

Paramount goal right now: to further simplify my life. I feel my engagement in Otesha will really help jump-start this endeavor. I am so excited to cook, eat, perform and cycle with the sunshine, the coast and all of you!

Enough about me though, I am most interested in what we are all going to bring to the table, how we are going to become a strong team, what we plan to accomplish and how.

I think I am a stone. Which ingredient are you? 


Monica Chamberland: "Hello. My name is Monica Meandering. Some people call me Patch. here are some great jokes:

Someone who makes bicycle wheels is a spokes person.

A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.

Yesterday I rode my bike twice, I guess that makes me a recycler.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.

Big shout-outs to my friends at community bike shop, Recycle Cycles in Kitchener, Ontario. Much thanks for sharing so much bicycle knowledge and all the good times! Also thanks to so many folks who helped and encouraged me to go on tour! Ya'll are awesome!!"

Tricia Enns:  I grew up in Waterloo, Ontario. Having completed a degree in Systems Design Engineering I ended up bounced around and experiencing life in many locations during internships and exchange terms. I lived in numerous provinces, cities, countries and now I am trying to make it in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I want to put my degree to good use environmentally and socially.

I love being active! I am frequently running or cycling, but have actually recently taken up
swimming in an effort to train for a triathlon. When I am not running around at full force, don’t be surprised to me off in the corner meditating or doing downward dog in hopes for some quiet space and relaxation.

I also love to cook and experiment with growing and preserving anything one can harvest. In
the future I hope to own my own cafe where cooking classes will be taught to children and lower income community members. I think that healthy food, healthy living and social community can aid in changing the world for the better.

Kayla SiefriedI'm stoked to be hitting the road with The Otesha Project again, excited to share my passion for this wonderful life with others. I'm a lover of growing, cooking and eating good food, and enjoy almost any time spent on my bicycle, Poppy. 

I'm an advocate for simple sustainable lifestyles, community living, sharing, and diversity. I love to learn, and am looking forward to learning more from everyone and everything around me this fall! 

What can I say?  I am excited to see the west coast, make new friends and experience what life has to offer.

Emily Kay:  "Hey there... I am stoked to be gearing up for this Otesha journey! Most recently, I completed a Humanities and Fine Arts Degree at UVic (woohoo!), and moved back to the Rockies to work as a Bear Guardian.  After growing up in Steveston BC, I’ve been lucky enough to explore many beautiful places; somewhere between life in England and Germany, floating on the Pacific Ocean, playing amidst the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and a handful of other adventures, Vancouver Island has become home.  I am excited to connect with the communities and landscape of the west coast and, most importantly, give back to this special place. This year’s food production theme is of particular interest to me, as I believe food plays a vital role in connecting us to our bodies, the earth, and each other.

 

When not cycling, I may be found gallivanting around the greatout-of-doors, laughing so hard I cry, grooving it up with friends, and crafting monkeys out of old wool socks…

Let’s ride like the wind!"

Melissa Hull: I am an island girl from Twillingate, NFL, but am currently living in Victoria, BC where I just finished a Master’s degree in la langue Française. Hoorah! Biking, books and baking are amongst my favourite things, making me incredibly excited about the fall tour. I am passionate about love, love, loving our earth, and am looking forward to learning and growing from the Otesha experience while raising environmental awareness along the way.

Veronique Boily: I was born in a small Francophone community in Northern Ontario where I was able to spend a lot of my time outside playing and enjoying the surrounding environment. With this I developed a passion for being active which led me to completing a Bachelors degree in Human Kinetics, followed by my current pursuit of a Masters in Sport Sociology. Through this, I am presently studying the reproduction of youth's Francophone identity through sport and cultural events. Cycling has always been a love of mine, but moving to Ottawa has really accentuated my zest for two wheels as it has allowed me freedom, health, a minimized carbon footprint and an ability to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Recently I worked at la FESFO (Franco-Ontarian Youth Federation) which is what spurred my consciousness of current environmental issues and the impacts that we have as individuals. While I was working there, my colleagues developed a workshop based on the Otesha material to bring awareness amongst Francophone youth about the impact of our daily choices on the environment. Last spring, I had the opportunity to facilitate and learn from this workshop which was incredible, but I still feel that I have much to learn. Doing an Otesha performance and cycling tour is a chance for me to learn about sustainable living and the impact that MY and OUR daily actions have on the planet. I am so excited to share my knowledge and passion for both cycling and the environment with my fellow global community members; I think it will be amazing. That said... see you on the road; stay green and active!

Ashley Thackaberry:  By occupation I am a high school physical education and biology teacher, but personally I prefer to be referred to as a “student of life.” After finishing university I've started slowing down in order to embrace the things I truly love like writing, music, poetry, theatre and food. Reluctantly, these things were severely neglected during my five years of university along with my humanness in general so I am really enjoying focusing on them presently. Now that I have time to slow down, I have been able to reflect on my educational learning and genuinely recognize the importance of our life support systems. I have also garnered an understanding of how they are being compromised under our current systems, but fortunately there are these incredible communities of inspirational people whom give me hope that positive change is feasible. These are the people who represent Otesha to me, and this is why I signed up.

Rana Campbell: I'm Râna (pronounced Raw-na.) I'm full of contradictions, genuine and interesting. I'm most myself at the top of a mountain or under a tree, or dancing into an altered state of consciousness and I aspire to reincarnate as a moss-covered rock.

I graduated from Concordia University in Montreal (home) with a double major in Philosophy and Western Society and Culture; my education and intellectual leanings strongly inform the way I live and see the world.

I'm currently the Community Living Facilitator for a social housing program for low-income women. I love what I do- I love the challenges of addressing real social problems and striving towards the cultivation of strong communities. Beneath this love lies a profound enthusiasm for nature, the planet, and everything that touches on our relationships, individually and as a species. I've been involved in several environmental initiatives, most notably as a conservation volunteer in Iceland and an environmental education intern for local community organization. I'm interested in numerous issues, from wilderness management to urban agriculture. I'm hoping to return to Iceland next year to do an interdisciplinary Master's degree in Environment and Natural Resources, with a focus on applied environmental ethics. I've often said that my ideal job would allow me to merge my passion for the environment with my social work. I want to aid in empowering marginalized people and communities to improve their lives by connecting to the earth and becoming its advocate... a little idealistic, I know, but we have reason to dream...

I lived in B.C for the better part of five years, and I'm thrilled about returning to explore and connect with land and people along the way. I'm looking forward to being a part of Otesha and learning from others, challenging myself, and becoming a stronger individual and community figure.

Stephanee Passant: I grew up in a small town just one hour east of Toronto and spent my summers at a cottage in Southern Ontario where my love for nature all began.  I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Environment and Resource Studies in the co-op program at the University of Waterloo.  I learned so much from my classes and gained a lot of experience on my placements, but something seemed to be missing.  I decided I had to ‘step out of the box’ and take part in this unique volunteer opportunity with Otesha.  I’m passionate about environmental education, travelling and meeting new people so I feel this is a great opportunity to do all of the above!   I got back on my bike a few years ago and I’m so excited to start my first ever bike tour, plus I was in my high school musical so I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with my theatre roots.  I am beyond excited for the Otesha journey and can’t wait to head to B.C. for it all to begin! 

Colette DeSousa: Hey there! My name is Colette and I am super stoked about embarking on the Otesha adventure and spreading the Otesha love all around, not just while on tour but ongoing. I am passionate about people, the outdoors, all things green and inspiring others. I can’t think of anything more all encompassing than this project. I believe it’s crucial for one’s personal growth and development to embrace new challenges and new experiences in order to reach new heights. The best thing about Otesha is – that it’s different things to different folk. Now that’s amaaazing!!!

Monika Banel: Hiya, I’m Monika and I find joy in life, love and making meals from scratch, but I’m happiest when I’m on my bike- exploring alleyways and neighbourhoods in my home city of Toronto. I consider myself a lifelong learner, approaching every situation I encounter in my life’s journey as a chance to be challenged and to grow. My most recent accomplishment has been finishing a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies at York University. I’m passionate about backyard vegetable-growing, birth work and sustainable living and I am thrilled to embark on this adventure with you all!  

Tinu Johnson:Hi my name is Tinu Johnson, I grew up in Calgary, Alberta and just finished my undergrad degree in Business at the University of Alberta. I enjoy reading, singing, and watching movies. Living sustainably and being informed on how to take care of the environment is a big interest of mine. I look forward to learning, growing and making new friends on the tour.