Vancouver team

Katarina Kuhnert
Waterloo, Ontario
McGill University

Hi I’m Kata! I was born north of the Arctic Circle in Inuvik and spent the first several years of my life in community with the Inuvialuit and Gwich’In peoples of the Western Northwest Territories. I treasure my early memories and parents’ stories of the extraordinary people, lands, and waters of the Mackenzie Delta. I am excited to make new memories and hear more stories from people around the Arctic on this year’s Students on Ice expedition and to follow their leadership as part of the Northern Engagement Team.

Though I was born in the Arctic, I am a settler Canadian who has spent most of my life in the south. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel across the country from coast to coast to coast. Our team is based on unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver British Columbia. My elementary and high school years were on the Haldimand Tract territory of the Haudenosaunee in Waterloo Ontario. I am now studying on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory in Montreal Quebec where I am majoring in the Sustainability, Science, and Society program and minoring in Biology at McGill University. I also conduct research connecting resource extraction, climate change, and Indigenous sovereignty in the Circumpolar north. From many teachers I have learned that the wellbeing of the earth and the people of the land are inherently connected. As such, I am passionate about exploring intersectional approaches to Arctic environmentalism that are based in resilience and resurgence.

The Arctic has been and will always be an active and important part of my life. I am excited to engage with the National Parks system as a context within which we can work to conserve unique Arctic environments while upholding and uplifting the knowledge that comes from the land and water.

Hannah Boomer
Ottawa, Ontario
Queen’s University

I have had a fascination with the Arctic since a young age, hearing stories of the beauty of the natural environment and the Inuit culture from my mother who worked in Baker Lake, Nunavut in the 1980’s. Last summer I had the amazing opportunity to follow in her footsteps and head North to Iqaluit, Nunavut to work as a research assistant in Arctic Hydrology for Queen’s University, where I recently completed my undergrad in Physical Geography. I am excited to return to Queen’s for Teachers College in the fall, specializing in Outdoor and Experiential Education. During my time in Iqaluit, I enjoyed long walks on the tundra, leading STEM outreach activities for local youth, and volunteering at the soup kitchen. These experiences allowed me to explore many new landscapes, soaking up and learning more about both the natural environment and the Inuit culture.

This summer I can’t wait to have the privilege to connect with many other Canadian youth, learn from experienced scientists, educators, and elders on the Students on Ice expedition. This experience will allow me to expand upon my knowledge of Northern cultures, the Arctic environment, and much more! I hope to share my Arctic experiences with you, using my passion for teaching and the environment to inspire Canadians to protect Canada’s natural beauty and learn more about the Canadian North.

Ottawa-Gatineau team

Mikayla Boulé
Ottawa, Ontario
Carleton University

Hello/Bonjour! It's pleasure to meet you. My name is Mikayla, and I am thrilled to be part of this year's Northern Outreach Team! I live in my home-town of Ottawa, but have been lucky enough to travel much of southern Canada on long family road trips. I have spent countless hours hiking with my dog, kayaking Georgian Bay, and blasting tunes on back roads. From a young age, this pace of travel instilled in me a love for every detail of Canada's places and the people that make them so special. This passion has me currently pursuing a Bachelor of Global and International Studies at Carleton, specializing in Anthropology and minoring in Biology. The great outdoors are a central part of my life, and I am endlessly curious, with a particular interest in examining the relationships between landscapes, storytelling, and identity. Where better to explore these themes than Parks Canada?!

The North is an iconic part of Canadian mythology, but like many southern Canadians I know very little about the complex ecological and cultural realities of the region today. Working as a Page in the House of Commons, I discovered that with the growing threats to the ecological and cultural heritage of the North, it is more important than ever that northern voices are heard. I am so honoured and thankful for the opportunities I will have this year to listen and learn from Inuit, Parks Canada staff, and other Students On Ice experts. I will also be sharing this adventure with you through conversations around Ottawa and Gatineau, photography, games, and a host of your own listening opportunities! There are deep connections between Canada's North and South that contradict the often isolated portrayal of Arctic regions, and I hope to play some part in facilitating or inspiring your own encounters and adventures with this amazing part of Canada.

My bags are packed, and I'm raring to go.

Brady Reid
Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Memorial University

Hello! My name is Brady and I’m from the west coast (best coast) of Newfoundland! Growing up in a place where snow falls eight months out of the year, people here have learned to find ways to love the outdoors. I have spent most of my time outside, whether hiking with my dog, enjoying a bonfire with friends, or snowshoeing throughout the forest. With a ski resort located five minutes from my house, I was not very old when I taught myself to snowboard.

Being a part of the Northern Engagement and Outreach team is incredibly important to me because it allows me to combine my love of the environment and outdoors with my interest in Indigenous cultures. The Arctic is not just a diverse environment that plays host to important species of animals and plants, it also happens to be where many Indigenous communities call home. As such, it is vital that we in “southern” Canada begin to learn more about how our everyday actions subsequently impact the ability of those communities in the north to thrive and continue to exist in the environment they have called home for generations. I recognize that I have the privilege to be able to learn about an environment that I have yet to experience first-hand. However it is important to note that this is a privilege that many peoples from northern communities and Indigenous communities across Canada are not awarded. Therefore, I hope that through a regime of critical research, recognizing my privilege, and remaining un-oppressive in my approach to engagement and outreach, I am able to effectively promote a conversation about the Arctic and the challenges that currently impacts this unique environment.

Montreal team

Marie-Philippe Ouellet
Berthierville, Quebec
Université Laval à Québec

Constantly torn between the countryside and the city, I moved to the Old Capital for my university studies. There, I discovered the perfect fusion of the city, the water and the mountains. With a degree in public communications from Laval University, I am certain that we learn the most out in the field. Parks Canada came into my life without warning, and I have discovered countless opportunities within the agency. My interest in the North was sparked through my experience with the Franklin Expedition’s Outreach Team. As a boundless dreamer, I strive to bring to fruition the projects that I hold dear; Northern Engagement therefore seemed like a career opportunity I could not pass up, and an impossible dream. Surrounding oneself with the right people to leverage everyone’s strengths is, in my opinion, the secret behind numerous achievements. The importance of assisting the communities in the North and the human aspect surrounding the project inspire me.

I am leaping into this summer season with a willingness to learn. It is an opportunity to grow and share. Impatient to learn more about the ecosystems, cultures and climate change, I am especially eager to share my experience with you and create the means to make a difference.

Until then, if I’m not behind my computer cooking up special projects, you will find me attending events or hiking up a mountain with my camera!

Sarah MacNeil
Pomquet, Nova Scotia
University of Ottawa

I’ve always been a child of oceans, trees, and coastlines – it’s hard to be otherwise when you grow up in the Maritimes – but the people around me have shaped me just as much as the landscape. I’ve moved around a fair bit over the years, but I always take the East Coast with me, in my deep appreciation for good stories, songs that everybody knows, simple (but delicious) food, and, most of all, the power of connection and community.

I got my first taste of Parks Canada two summers ago as a member of the Kouchibouguac National Park Outreach Team, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Last year, I spent time with both the Ottawa Learn-to Camp Team as well as the Brands Team, and now I’m beyond excited to work out of Montreal along with Marie-Philippe as a part of the Northern Engagement Team.

If my time with Parks Canada has taught me anything, it’s how you can constantly be expanding your knowledge base on our natural and cultural heritage, and yet there will still always be so much more to learn. This summer, I’m a student of the North, and I can’t wait to learn what I never knew I didn’t know.

I also still have a thesis to finish for my Masters in Literary Translation, but that’s a minor detail.

Northern engagement outreach team 2017

Vancouver team

Da Chen
Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto Scarborough

Hello there, my name is Da, short two letters. I am currently studying Cities Studies and Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Growing up in an immigrant family, my family didn’t have the tradition of travelling or camping or visiting different places. However, as a child, I was always fascinated by the mystery of the Great White North. While I was little, I read many stories regarding the adventures of various explorers such as Sir Robert Peary, the first man to reach the north pole, Ronald Amundsen, the first man to navigate the Northwest Passage (along with being the first person to reach the South Pole) and Sir John Franklin, whose adventure ended in tragedy. These explorers and their journey sowed the seed of adventure within me.

While working for Parks Canada for the past three summers, I had the honour of working alongside the past three Northern Engagement Teams. Listening to their adventures and stories really inspired me to look to my past and live out the dreams my younger self. Just like all those before me, I am genuinely excited for this opportunity as a Student on Ice member to visit the Beautiful North. Just like the explorers who had visited the North all those years ago, I hope to use my experiences as a platform to help those around me. I hope to use my experiences to share the beauty to those in the cities and inspire them to work together to protect this important place. I also want to encourage those like me to live out the dreams of our younger selves and strive to make meaningful changes our younger selves would be proud of. I look forward to this upcoming adventures and hope to share my joy with all of you!

Caroline Merner
Victoria, British Columbia
Dalhousie University

I’m from Victoria, BC, where I call the mountains and open ocean home. I went from one coast to another to study Sustainability and International Development, at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS. I am very excited to combine my passions for outdoor adventure, environmental education and conservation on our northern coast with Parks Canada’s Northern Outreach Team.

While I loved guiding in Banff National Park, Canada’s first and highest attended Parks Canada site, I can’t wait to explore “the road less traveled” in the Arctic. Being on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Youth Advisory Group has continued to spark my interest for Inuit cultural heritage and the Arctic’s natural flora and fauna. I am fascinated to see first-hand the fragile ecosystems and impacts of climate change.

To me, adventure and storytelling about the Arctic create a deeper motivation to protect it. This summer of 2017 will be an incredible chance to celebrate Canada’s 150th, our parks, and centuries of Indigenous history. Hope to connect with Canadians about protecting our best places for 150 more!

Montreal team

Carl Bindman
Montreal, Quebec
Concordia University

Hey, bonjour, welcome, come on in. My name is Carl, I’m one of Montreal’s two Northern Outreach Team members.

I live in Montreal, I was born here and raised here. Right now I’m an Undergraduate student and journalist at Concordia University. I write and take photos and try to tell good stories about good people and good places.

The North is full of those people and places and stories. Having the opportunity this summer to accompany Students on Ice to the North is an impossible dream come to life. So, this summer, I aim to share that dream, and bring forward the life behind it. As a living place of history and culture, it is the fundamental responsibility of any person sharing the North to respect its people. This is a responsibility I embrace, and a privilege I cherish.

Join me as I do my part to bring more understanding and knowledge of Northern Canada to the South. It should be fun!

Sarah-Ève Perreault
Richelieu, Quebec
University of Sherbrook

As a graduating student in social and educational adaptation who teaches struggling students, I am passionate about human relations and sharing information. My abundant curiosity seeks to be filled by the knowledge of those whose paths I cross. A quote by an unknown author says that "Alone I am pretty, but together, we are a masterpiece". To me, this quote represents what I am, alone, with my own knowledge versus what I can be when combined with others’ knowledge and experiences. Thus, I am grateful and honoured to be part of the 2017 Northern Engagement Outreach Team given the lessons that I will learn and that I will be able to pass to others. I am excited to discover Sirmilik's natural treasures and indigenous culture, through which my view of Canada will be greatly changed and enriched. Thanks to Parks Canada and Students on Ice, I have the opportunity to discover my natural heritage and to learn more about our country's diversity. My challenge is to share and convey to others vital information regarding the survival of the Canadian North in order to give Sirmilik's inhabitants a voice from afar. Hoping to be worthy of this magnificent assignment!

Ottawa team

Sara-Hélène Dubé
Ottawa, Ontario
University of Ottawa

Hi! Follow me and my team as we explore Canada’s Northern natural and cultural heritage. Three quarters of our country is part of the North, and climate is changing faster there than anywhere else in the world, so let’s learn more about it. I’m in my second year at the University of Ottawa studying Environmental Studies and Biology, and I have been enjoying interacting with people about nature and culture for years.

This summer, I’m excited to visit the Arctic for the first time, to witness Parks Canada’s presence there, and to learn from locals as well as the researchers, students, staff and colleagues that I will be travelling with on the Students on Ice expedition. Going into this experience, I am most interested in discovering how Northern communities and ecosystems can adapt to climate change in order to meet their needs, how they subsist in remote environments, and what the rest of the world can learn from them as well as contribute to resolving the challenges that they face. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Megan Harvey
Thornbury, Ontario
Western University

Growing up playing on the beautiful Niagara Escarpment in Thornbury, Ontario, I developed a passion for being outside. Currently I attend Western University pursuing a dual degree in media studies and business administration at Ivey Business School. I aim to integrate my formal education with the lessons I’ve learned through my experiences outside.

As Canadians, we are so lucky to have some incredible places in our own backyard and my family embraced that whole-heartedly as we spent our summers exploring Canada from the East to West coast. Those trips sparked a life-long desire to explore, learn, and share my experience with others. In my role with Parks Canada, I love connecting Canadians to our shared natural, historical and cultural treasures. I am very grateful for the opportunity to experience the Canadian Arctic this summer with Students on Ice. With an open heart and an open mind, I hope to gain a better understanding of the Arctic’s rapidly changing cultural and ecological landscapes. I am excited to explore and learn as much as I can about the northern environments that Parks Canada works hard to protect so that I can share with other Canadians what it means to live in the Great White North.

James Takkiruq
Gjoa Haven, Nunavut
Nunavut Sivuniksavut

Hi! My name is James Takkiruq and I am an Inuk from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. Being from Nunavut I have always had a deep connection with the land around me and have always appreciated its beauty. My passion is practicing my culture in any way I can, including gaining the survival skills necessary to survive in the intimidating great Arctic that I call home. I have just completed the one-year program at Nunavut Sivuniksavut (NS) and have just been accepted to the law program being offered in Iqaluit. I have always known the physical part of my home, like the land and sea, but my time at NS has helped me to understand the cultural importance of my Inuit homeland. I am very excited to work for Parks Canada as a Northern Engagement Student; I believe that being straight from the Arctic, I can greatly improve the team this year. During my time at NS, I learned how to be an advocate for the North so I am eager to use my skills and knowledge to educate about the Arctic! I am also very excited to participate in the Students on Ice expedition this year as I am always thankful to experience the different aspects of the Arctic. All in all, I’m sure I will have a great time during my time at Parks Canada as well as Students on Ice.

Northern engagement outreach team 2016

Vancouver team

Sarah Gutzmann
North Vancouver, British Columbia
Simon Fraser University

I can honestly say that I cannot remember an age in my life when I have not been in love with nature. Most of my childhood memories have been formed around seeing an interesting creature, whether it was something as small as a field mouse, to larger animals like the mountain goats and elk in Jasper National Park.  Thus, it was only natural that I chose to pursue a major in Environmental Sciences, focusing in Applied Biology, and a minor in Environmental Toxicology at Simon Fraser University. Now, wrapping up my third year, I am extremely excited and honoured to have the chance to work with Parks Canada and Students on Ice.

Of all the incredible natural regions in Canada, experiencing the Arctic has always been on the top of my bucket list. To be able to do so surrounded by hands-on learning opportunities and amazing people is more than I could have hoped for. I look forward to better understanding the communities of people, animals, and plants that call the Arctic home, and how the unprecedented changes in global climate are impacting Arctic life.

Elise Pullar
Calgary, Alberta
University of Victoria

I’m so grateful to have found my place here in the Parks Canada family while working on the Youth Engagement Team last summer. I was able to combine my passion for outdoor education, youth leadership and environmental activism to create new outreach programs for youth. I’m thrilled to have the chance to work with urban youth again this summer and learn in the “greatest outdoor classroom on earth” as a Students on Ice participant. What a combination of opportunities!

To me, the Arctic is a landscape of hidden treasures. I am so curious about the rich Inuit culture, diverse ecosystems and beautiful marine life in the North. To some, the Arctic is a symbol of environmental fragility, as global warming melts the ice away. In my university Biology/Environmental Studies courses, I am constantly reminded of devastating global influences of climate change and pollution in the Arctic. Humans are now faced with major environmental challenges, but we can’t lose hope. I see the Arctic as a place of resilience, with the Inuit, flora and fauna steadily adapting to the changes in their environment. Throughout my expedition with Students on Ice, I hope to find inspiration in each conversation, activity and encounter up North.

Nicholas Castel
Mono, Ontario
Queen’s University

Hi there! My name is Nick and I’m a student of earth science and multimedia at Queen’s University. I grew up in the rolling hills and forests of Mono, Ontario and was raised with a strong sense of curiosity and wonderment of our planet. This energy has taken me on adventures around the globe, but I’ve recently turned my focus to the incredible opportunities we have right in our own backyards as Canadians. I believe that as a generation more connected than ever before, it is our responsibility to share the beautiful complexities of our country with the world: through science, through adventure and through storytelling.

I believe the preservation and exploration of our natural spaces is the perfect intersection of these ideas - and the Arctic can hold answers to some of our biggest questions about sharing a common Canadian identity. The Arctic is a mysterious place, evolving in ways never seen before. This summer, I am excited to direct my compass north to this landscape and share its rich culture and vibrant ecosystem with all Canadians. Everyone has a lens through which they view the world, and I believe our diverse country offers ample opportunity to refine that lens. Feel free to reach out at anytime, I’d love to chat.

Cory Fournier
Ottawa, Ontario
University of Ottawa

I’ve always had a deep connection with nature and a passion to protect it at every opportunity. My experience living in a rural part of North Bay, ON where seeing diverse wildlife on our property was a common occurrence to transitioning into the living in the urban centre of University of Ottawa has taught me to appreciate the importance of having access to nature no matter where you are. The Arctic is a place of wonder, culture, adventure, and serenity which I have only dreamed of exploring, but due to climate change it is unfortunately changing at an extremely rapid rate. I plan to share my Arctic experiences with urban Canadians that live in Toronto this summer and continue to educate youth when I attend the University of Northern British Columbia for Natural Resource Management this fall. I hope to contribute to educating Canadians on the beauty and importance of Canadian nature and our northern culture. I am beyond excited to have such an amazing opportunity to experience and share the true fundamental aspects that make Canada the great land it is and has always been.

Kim Mathieu
Montréal, Quebec
McGill University

My name is Kim and I am in my last year of undergraduate studies at McGill University in the environmental sciences, with a special interest for the ecological determinants of health. Last summer I worked for Parks Canada in Montréal and had the chance to meet two of the 2015 Northern Outreach team members where their work inspired me to apply and to follow suit to their journey. As a nature enthusiast, I have traveled to many of North America's National Parks and am excited to be visiting my first ever northern park: Auyuittuq National Park!
Having done research on environmental pollution and its impact on health, I am also excited to witness and learn about the impacts of climate change where they can be most observed: in the Arctic. With this opportunity, I will get the chance to ask questions to lead scientists participating in the expedition and soak in local cultures and knowledge in order to most appropriately represent the Arctic upon my return. I hope to be able to portray the resilience and strength of its people, the beauty of its cultures and landscapes, and the unfortunate challenges which are being faced.

Samantha Mcbeth
Gatineau, Quebec
University of Quebec, Montréal

I am from the small town of Chelsea, Quebec, which is an odd place for a mermaid. I love the sea, and am thoroughly passionate about nature, science, art and history, so I think the museums of Ottawa may have rubbed off on me. Fascinated with remote areas, I became a biologist with an interest in protecting the environment and helping preserve biodiversity and the Canadian Arctic. Always on the lookout for adventure in our beautiful country, I’ve scuba-dived the cold waters of the St. Lawrence and the Georgia Strait, hugged the mighty trees of Pacific Rim National Park, touched the ruins of l’Anses-aux-Meadows and wandered many beautiful trails. I’ve worked as a scientific educator at the Montréal Biodome for many years, sharing my wonderment in the naturel world. This led to joining the 1,000 Days for the Planet Mission, aboard the oceanic schooner Sedna IV, as a writer and scientific communicator. I sailed to the Arctic through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Sea of Labrador, reaching a land of mountains and glaciers: Sirmilik National Park. I found a North where its beauty and fragility will take your breath away. A rich and vibrant culture has left me forever charmed. I dream to see the tundra again, to feel the midnight sun, and hear the bowhead whales in the mist. I hope all Canadians have the good fortune to one day explore such a place and be seduced.