In addition to our voluntary board, the Elements Society maintains a Director of Programs, Director of Partnerships and Business Developement, DC Program Coordinator, as well as a dedicated group of consultants to carry out its work.
- Director of Programs - Laura Bamsey
- Director of Partnerships and Business Development - Marnie Olson
- DC Program Coordinator - Tania Leon
- Custodial Training Coordinator - Maya Chorobik
- Regional Coordinator, Vancouver Island - Pam Teasdale
- Education Consultant - Gerry Anderson
- Education Consultant - Monica Nissen
- Education Consultant - Deborah Calderon
- Partner and Regional Coordinator, Peace Region - Northern Environmental Action Team (NEAT)
- Partner and Regional Coordinator, Calgary - Green Calgary
Laura Bamsey – Director of Programs
I have always enjoyed spending time outside in nature. As a child I spent lots of time camping, canoeing, hiking and biking around Ontario with my family. I then decided to get my Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo, where I did a variety of Co-op positions in the municipal and regional government sector and various field courses and exchanges that took me to Texas, Mexico and Australia. I have been living in Vancouver since 2007 and have really enjoyed meeting great people doing amazing work in the environmental sector. Before working with Element Society I was involved in the BC Sustainable Energy's Climate Change Showdown education program.
I love working for Elements and the DC program because it is an excellent organization that not only educates students, teaches, parents, school staff and the community about how to take action for the environment, it also gives participants a variety of tools to empower them to make change, which gives them a sense of accomplishment and success. I started out with Element Society in 2008 working on a pilot project and I have stayed on to coordinate and facilitate DC workshops all over BC, develop education materials for teachers and work on a variety of other fun and exciting collaboration projects.
In my free time I enjoy sea kayaking, hiking, snowboarding, biking around town, testing out vegetarian restaurants and going to see concerts.
Marnie Olson - Director of Partnerships and Business Development
An instructional strategist specializing in resource development for the social sciences, she has facilitated professional development training for more than 10,000 teachers in BC and Ontario since 1984. Author of numerous teachers' guides on a series of urban environmental issues, including sustainability, climate change and energy conservation, Marnie also managed the corporate education program for the Greater Vancouver Regional District of 21 municipalities and 11 school districts for a decade. Her work in sustainability has been recognized by UBC Faculty of Education, BC Teachers Provincial Specialists Associations and Marnie was a project finalist and presenter at the Stockholm Partnerships Sustainability Awards (2002). In addition, her work internationally as the coordinator of the school twinning project between Canada and China has contributed to federal capacity building initiatives with training, programs and resources.
Tania Leon - DC Program Coordinator
I joined the Elements Society in December 2014 and I've had a blast designing, organizing and facilitating sustainability workshops and conference activities across BC and Calgary.
I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability Studies where I dove into interdisciplinary projects that integrated an understanding of natural sciences, business and social sciences. Throughout my studies, I worked on many local and global issues related to solid waste management, food systems and sustainable development. I have a passion for zero waste and sharing knowledge about our food and other resource systems so individuals can make conscious, informed decisions. I also love travelling and being outdoors - whether it's rock climbing or skiing on the mountains or just biking around!
The best part about being a DC Program Coordinator is seeing the students get super excited about learning how to help the environment and just knowing that they'll go home to teach their parents!
Pam Teasdale – Regional Coordinator, Vancouver Island
I am lucky to have joined the DC team as a grade 6 teacher in my final year of teaching. I began teaching intermediate students in 1972, with science, art and outdoor education as my areas of expertise. Throughout my years of teaching I have always enjoyed getting students outdoors, taking them on field trips and getting them involved in environmental projects. Hands on learning and investigative, research projects are the most meaningful methods of learning for students of all ages. Our DC team at Colwood Elementary was creative and keen to spread the word on energy conservation. Our school was also a leader in recycling in our district, with a comprehensive program in composting, paper and beverage container recycling, hard and soft plastic recycling and ink cartridge recycling. Student groups continue to work hard to rejuvenate the Garry Oak ecosystem next door to the school grounds and maintain the raised gardens and compost boxes at the the West Shore Learning Centre.
I became a regional coordinator of DC in September of 2009 and am enjoying delivering the workshops to the students and teachers of Sooke School District. I believe that each DC team takes on a leadership role at their school and has the power to make a difference in their environment and their future.
I have been involved in Girl Guides of Canada for over 25 years and have participated in planning and running numerous camps, meetings and outdoor activities for girls of all ages. Conservation and environmental studies continue to be a focus of Guiding, along with building friendships and confidence and having a lot of fun at the same time.
I have always enjoyed travelling and have been on many international holidays and camps. With my husband, Al and our two girls, we spent many summer holidays hiking, camping and exploring British Columbia and beyond. I have always had an interest in plants, birds and learning about new cultures and languages. Now that I have retired from teaching, I look forward to more opportunities for travel, learning and socializing with friends. At home, I love gardening and am an avid quilter and seamstress. More artistic endeavors await. I am focusing on leading an active life and am making a bigger effort to cycle and walk and become physically fit. Victoria is a great city to do just that!
Gerry Anderson - Education Consultant
My journey in education has taken me to three school districts in BC, challenged me to a year of teaching exchange in a foreign country (England), and involved me in several years of Ministry of Education jobs. I have served as classroom teacher, special educator, workshop facilitator, vice-principal, principal, and consultant.
After thirty-two years in education work as teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, and consulting work with DC since 2000, I am even more convinced that education is the best way to invest in the future through conservation and energy savings and developing healthy lifestyles for our most precious resource--our children.
My interest in the environment has developed over the years, as I have grown to see the personal, community, and global value of a healthy, green lifestyle. I live on a small, farm-like property in the tiny village of Naramata, BC. We raise organic vegetables, fruits, flowers, and chickens; and treasure the good fortune of living in the country. I love working in our gardens with my expert gardener, best friend, and life partner, Audrey.
I also love working with Destination Conservation, and Elements. It is rewarding to share the DC program with districts, communities, schools, teachers, and students. The value, both monetary and environmental, of conserving energy, water, and waste, is immeasurable. I am proud to be a part of it, and hope to continue to help saving our planet, one classroom at a time.
Monica Nissen - Education Consultant
A passion for the wilderness, a gift for teaching and a commitment to sustainability have drawn me into the field of environmental education, where I have worked both inside and outside the classroom. From guiding mountaineering trips, to designing workshops on sustainability, to leading hands-on ecosystem awareness field trips for school kids, I have spent the last 15 years developing and delivering educational programs that inspire the next generation of stewards of the Earth. I am now serving as the Program Manger for Wildsight’s environmental education program. Along with my team of educators, I deliver ecosystem awareness field trips and other environmental education curriculum to 3,000 kids a year in the Columbia Basin.
I got involved with DC in 2008 as the Regional Coordinator for the Kootenay Lake District. I love to facilitate workshops that empower kids and lead to action, and it has been wonderful to see the impact of the program on schools in my area.
When not in the classroom, out in the field or at my desk, I enjoy working in my veggie garden, hiking, climbing, biking, canoeing, skiing … and sometimes even just sitting and reading!
Deborah Calderon - Education Consultant
My personal motto is Bringing Learning Alive, and I really mean it. Since I started teaching in the classroom in Powell River I realized that hands-on learning was the best way for me to get a message across. Ten years as an educator at Science World, and the curator of the Search Gallery, gave me an opportunity to see hands-on, minds-on in action. Today I give workshops for a variety of agencies and have my own business, Calderon Consulting.
I love working with teachers. When you ask them to get involved, they really get involved, and that's why my working with Destination Conservation is so exciting to me.
Originally from England, and hailing from Victoria, I make Powell River my home, and never get tired of an ocean view. I look forward to meeting teachers who are eager to make changes in their schools and enjoy being part of the Destination Conservation team.
Northern Environmental Action Team (NEAT)
NEAT is a non-profit organization that focuses on environmental education for schools, community and businesses. As well, NEAT works alongside organisations to help them develop strategic plans for reducing waste and conserving resources. Starting out as a volunteer group in 1989, NEAT aimed at lessening the environmental impacts of the local waste stream, NEAT has now expanded to a broader focus on building sustainable communities. NEAT’s main office is in Fort St. John with branches in Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Fort Nelson. As a part of the Destination Conservation Program, NEAT provides communication and support for participating schools and assists in planning each workshop. As well, NEAT helps schools on an as needed basis with assistance for their destination conservation projects. www.neat.ca
Green Calgary is a dynamic, non-profit urban environmental organization with a mission to empower Calgarians to create healthy homes and communities through environmental education, products and services. Since 1978 Green Calgary has sought to address a range of pressing urban environmental issues including pollution, waste management and resource conservation. As the nature and understanding of these and other issues has evolved over the years, so too has Green Calgarys focus, programs and approach. In addition to providing information and raising awareness, our organization strives to provide the specific tools and resources that empower individuals and groups to make positive environmental changes. As a part of the Destination Conservation Program, Green Calgary coordinates and co-facilitates the workshops. Additionally, Green Calgary provides support for participating schools through resources and information, additional programming through our Green Kids presentations, and connects teachers & educators to potential partners such as the City of Calgary and other non-profit organizations. www.greencalgary.org