kimmererDr. Robin Wall Kimmerer

… mother, author, storyteller, professor, scientist, & member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her latest book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants” was released in 2013 and was awarded the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to the land. She is the Distinguished Teaching Professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. She serves as the founding Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

Keynote Presentation: The Land as Our Teacher (Thursday, 7 pm, Denton Hall)
In indigenous ways of knowing, the land is understood as a source of knowledge and among our oldest teachers. If the land is our teacher, how do we be better students? What are our responsibilities in return for all the land gives to us? Robin Wall Kimmerer draws upon her Potawatomi heritage and experience as a plant scientist, writer and educator, to integrate traditional and scientific knowledges in support of healing our relationship with the living world.

boris_worm_sampling-copyDr. Boris Worm

Boris Worm is an internationally recognized marine ecologist, educator and and Professor in Marine Conservation Biology at the Biology Department, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is committed to understanding, promoting and protecting both biodiversity in the oceans and ocean literacy in our hearts. He is known as the “Oceans Guy” for his popular contributions on CBC Radio.  His research focuses on the interrelations between people and marine biodiversity, and its conservation on a global scale. He is well known for his studies on the global effects fishing and climate change on ocean ecosystems. His educational work explores how one can best teach about the oceans using technology and multi-media, to overcome the hurdle of getting students beneath the waves and into sea.

Keynote Presentation: From Ocean Science to Ocean Literacy: A Personal Perspective
Friday, 11 am, Denton Hall
This talk will provide a perspective on the state of ocean science and ocean literacy in Canada, and how to forge linkages between the two. He will highlight both opportunities and challenges in making ocean issues count in Canada, and around the world

A for Adventure… Jan Sebastian LaPierre & Chris Surette

Jan Sebastian LaPierre and Chris Surette  are adventurers, storytellers and entrepreneurs who will challenge us to build a movement to inspire people to get outdoors and experience nature. They are gifted in using new media and video and have written a wonderful children’s book to engage Maritimers, which has become a cult classic among the youngsters. Their regular CBC radio stories and viral social media campaigns have grabbed the public’s imagination. Their recent book tour across Nova Scotia was a youthful mob scene. Expect to be engaged, challenged and inspired.

Keynote Presentation: A for Adventure (Saturday, 9 am, Denton Hall)Jan and Chris
Using captivating storytelling, this presentation will take participants on a journey across Canada, focusing on why connecting with nature is more important than ever.  A for Adventure aims to have a conversation about the need for more curiosity, creativity, resiliency and they want you to join in!
“A is for Adventure, as you’ll come to see,
Like hiking or biking or climbing a tree,
Or a trip to the beach just to play in the sand or taking plane to a faraway land.
Yes A is for Adventure, as you’ll come to know, so get ready, get set, get ready let’s go!!”
— From the “A is for Adventure” book.


Keynote Presentation: MindShift (Saturday, 4 pm, Denton Hall)
MindShift is a powerful, award winning, theatrical production designed and performed by high school youth working with the Halifax Regional Adventure Earth Centre that asks all of us to shift our awareness and actions, making sustainability a core value in our lives, workplaces and communities.

ShiftItDance_colour-w-300x189The production consistently receives standing ovations and elicits deep emotional responses and commitments among audience members to make a difference. It speaks to and embodies the power of youth to promote a “see change”. MindShift has been performed in many large and small venues over the last decade for thousands of adults and youth. It was originally written and performed by a team of eight high school students in 2007 who have gone onto sustainability related careers as young adults.  Currently this is the fifth generation team who have only evolved and upped the bar on the quality and sophistication of the performances. A number of past MindShift performers are attending the conference.

Beyond being a keynote for adults, the MindShift performance is also a part of a peer-led sustainability education program where youth perform and work with youth in Halifax high schools. The third generation team toured Quebec and Ontario high schools and the program has received the Nova Scotia Environmental Youth Leadership Award.