Meet Our Team

*in alphabetical order

We are delighted to introduce our Program Team who will be ensuring our visiting teachers, students and volunteers have a fun and memorable learning experience at Cheakamus Centre. Joining Conor AKA "Steelhead" and the rest of the core team are new and returning staff members who are multi-talented and bring many years of experience and passion to their positions:

Onyx "Willow" Bailey

Group Sales Coordinator

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Onyx joined the sales team at Cheakamus Centre in the winter of 2016. Before coming to the centre she was the owner/operator of a sustainably focused wedding and events business. She brings a diverse professional background to the team with strong skills in sustainable planning, management, sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. Onyx is delighted to be part of the Cheakamus Centre team where she can utilize her professional skills and passion for customer service. Onyx grew up on the Sunshine Coast and moved to Squamish just after her son was born in 2013. Community and sustainability are very important to her and she is very pleased to have found an exceptional place to live and work that meshes well with her values. When Onyx is not at work she can be found on the local trails with her family, reading about health & wellness or baking sourdough bread.

Gini "Juniper" Beaumont

Residential Program Coordinator

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Gini is excited to be joining Cheakamus Centre. Gini brings over a decade of experience in program development, planning and coordination across three provinces. Previous work experience includes program coordination roles with YoWoChAs Outdoor Education Centre, Tim Hortons Onondaga Farms, and most recently with The Yellow Fish Road. Gina‘s responsibilities at Cheakamus Centre involve coordinating programs and activities, overnight supervision and managing youth leaders and other program volunteers. Gini graduated from the City of Edmonton’s Master Naturalist program and currently sits on YWCA Canada’s Young Women’s Leadership and Engagement Committee.

Ellyn "Lemur" D'Uva

Education Booking Coordinator

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We are delighted to welcome Ellyn as the newest member of the Cheakamus Centre sales team. Ellyn has a contagious passion for nature and strongly advocates environmental education and conservation. She completed a Bachelor of Science with a Honours Specialization in Environmental Science at the University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Management at the Sauder School of Business. Ellyn brings a diverse professional background to the team, with strong skills in research, data analysis, sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. Her attention to detail is a key asset for delivering seamless service to our education groups, managing administrative tasks and keeping the team organized. Ellyn grew up in Niagara Falls and has been fortunate to travel across the globe. She has recently made a new home in Squamish. Ellyn chases adventures and memories, and is constantly admiring nature’s power and beauty through her hiking, snowboarding, climbing and backpacking endeavors.

Cassandra “Lupin” Gunton

Program Support Assistant

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Cassandra has been a valuable member of the program team since 2014. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from her previous role as Program Support Specialist, and past work experience as an outdoor educator and guide at Strathcona Park Lodge. Cassandra resides in Squamish and continues to teach children’s programs at Brennon Park Recreation Centre in her spare time. In her new role as Program Support Assistant, Cassandra is responsible for providing administrative and program support to the education team. Her goal is to make the planning process as smooth as possible so that visiting school groups can focus entirely on their immersive experience.

Kate "Coho" Keogh

Vice Principal

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Kate has been at Cheakamus Centre for nine salmon seasons and looks forward to many more. As Vice Principal her role includes program instruction, designing curriculum, facilitating Outdoor School, Field School and Cultural programs at the Bighouse, and liaising with visiting staff and administrators. Kate has Bachelor degrees in Zoology and Education, as well as a Master of Arts in science and environmental education. Her work in environmental education began at an early age in Alberta, continued to the foothills outside Calgary and to a small island in Howe Sound. As a classroom teacher for more than a decade, she enjoys incorporating environmental education concepts into her lessons. Other passions include marine education and research, photography, rowing, cycle touring and hiking.

Teresa "Granite" Rowley

Teacher

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We are delighted to welcome back Teresa for a second year on the program team. Teresa brings with her a strong background in outdoor experiential and environmental education. She has worked with a diverse group of learners in a variety of education settings beyond the classroom, including outdoor school, day and residential camp programs, wilderness trips, local field studies, and service learning with community organizations. Teresa holds a Masters degree in Environmental Education and Communication, and specializes in curriculum integration. Prior to joining Cheakamus Centre, Teresa most recently served as the department head of the TREK Outdoor Education Program at the Vancouver School Board. Before that, Teresa was a teacher in the Explore program at Collingwood Independent School, camp director at Camp Madawaska, and mountaineering instructor at Outward Bound Canada. Teresa has lived in the Sea to Sky Corridor for over three decades. Her childhood experiences exploring the temperate rainforest and waters of Howe Sound continue to inspire her work today.

Temma “Poppy” Shandon

Senior Counsellor

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Temma is a familiar, friendly face at Cheakamus Centre. Temma is an avid volunteer and has held the roles of High School Counsellor, Counsellor Trainer and Environmental Education Leadership Assistant. She has also worked as a Camp Counsellor for Grouse Mountain Resort and the Paradise Valley Summer School of Visual Arts. Other volunteer experience includes School Program Assistant at the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre and Coach for the Carson Graham Improv. In her new role as Senior Counsellor, Temma assists the program team with afternoon and evening programming, and acts as a mentor for youth volunteers. Temma’s goal is to carry on the lineage of fun and approachable senior counsellors that positively impacted her as a high school counsellor.

Heidi "Glacier" Lessman Simm

Teacher

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Heidi is excited to join the Outdoor School Program at Cheakamus Centre. Heidi completed her degree in Geography and Natural Resource Management at the University of Northern BC and started her career working with BC Parks and Water Resources. She was introduced to teaching experiential, environmental and outdoor education in New Zealand and the Yukon Territory. These experiences as a teacher were transformative and she has worked with a variety of schools and experiential education programs in BC ever since. Heidi has worked with programs such as the Sea to Sky School for Sustainability Education, the Explore Program at Collingwood School and the Sea to Sky School District. She has also designed and delivered Zero Waste and Sustainability Workshops in the Squamish to Lillooet Region for several years. Heidi recently completed Mindfulness for Educators Training. She believes that spending time in nature is a perfect classroom for mindfulness. When Heidi is not teaching she enjoys spending time in the forest or by the ocean with family and friends.

Alison “Nimbus” Sokalski

Program Support Specialist

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Alison is a new member on the program team. She brings an understanding of children’s emotional & development needs from her volunteer and work experience at BC Easter Seals Camp Squamish, Camp Goodtimes, & Alberta Easter Seals Camp Horizon. Alison has also worked as a Lifeguard, Swim Instructor & First Aid Instructor for the City of Edmonton & the District of Squamish. As Program Support Specialist, Alison is responsible for supporting the physical, social & emotional well-being of students, youth volunteers & visitors. Her philosophy is to treat every day & new experience as an opportunity for growth. Alison looks forward to making the visitor experience the best it can be.

Matt “Nembwe” Van Oostdam

Cultural Programs Coordinator

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After a successful Outdoor School Teacher Candidate practicum last spring, Matt is happy to be back as our Cultural Programs Coordinator. In this new role, Matt is responsible for the overall delivery and coordination of the Coast Salish cultural programs at Cheakamus Centre. Matt has a desire to explore cultures and especially water ecosystems through his passion for fly fishing and adventure. He has travelled extensively across East and Southern Africa, where he worked as a Program Assistant to Canadian International Development Projects and the Ministry of Agricultural Training Institute, and as an Instructor at the Peace Matunda School and Orphanage in Tangeru. Matt has a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia, a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Anthropology from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is stoked to be here and excited for the upcoming year!