Our Instructors

David Tracey

David

Courses Taught

Courses
Living Green Infrastructure - starting semester May 2016
Locations
Gaia College - Online Instructor

Credentials

Organic Master Gardener, Gaia College
Art of Online Facilitation, Gaia College
Masters degree in Landscape Architecture, University of BC
Bachelors degree in Politics, UCSC
ISA Certified Arborist and Certified Tree Risk Assessor

Bio

My work involves helping people connect with nature. I do this as a writer, designer and community ecologist.

I started my working life in journalism. I was based for 10 years in Asia reporting for global media including the International Herald Tribune, the Economist, CBC Radio and many others. I still report and write, although my focus is now more on books. My latest publication, Vancouver Tree Book, made the BC Books Bestseller List. I also wrote Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto, Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution and The Earth Manifesto. If all of that sounds too serious or even dire, it's not meant to be, and I've also written two novels including a comedy called The Miracle Tree.

I work in environmental design and consultation through my company EcoUrbanist. Whether providing a site design or advising on policy my strategy is always rooted in the fact that an ecological approach to healthy development is best for now and future generations. I also head a small environmental nonprofit organization called Tree City which aims to "help people and tree grow together." I also now appear regularly on the CBC North by Northwest radio show as its "urban forest correspondent", and blog about trees for Vancouver Is Awesome.

I am also a public speaker and an occasional teacher for Simon Fraser University's Continuing Studies program. 

Links

David Tracey

Michelle Young

Courses Taught

Courses
Growing Food in the City - Burnaby, Instructor 2016

Locations
Burnaby

Credentials

Diploma in Organic Landcare – Gaia College 2009
Owner Operator – Just Imagine Landscape Design and Maintenance Whistler BC 2004-2013
Owner Operator – Ruby’s Run Urban Farms Sechelt BC 2013-present
Farm Manager – Salish Soils Mine Reclamation Gardens Sechelt, BC 2013-2015
Certified Professional Massage Therapist Whistler BC 1996-present  

Bio

Michelle Young is an avid organic farmer and landscape contractor who has spent the last 25 years working in the fields of healing arts and organic land-care.

Michelle’s land-care projects have ranged from ornamental landscaping to edible landscaping to organic market gardening.
An early innovative education in Ecological Landscape Design and as a Certified Organic Master Gardener propelled her to pioneer the implementation of organic land-care practices into the Whistler commercial landscape scene. Her portfolio contains a collection of Whistler strata properties and numerous private residences.

In 2005 she was mentored into an organic farming operation in the Pemberton Valley. Michelle gratefully acquired the understanding and practice of growing for market, small greenhouse production, farm-gate sales, restaurant supply and CSA weekly private orders and delivery.

She is a practitioner of healing arts and massage since1996.

Upon arriving in Sechelt in 2013, Michelle and her partner took the barren back yard of their house and transformed it into an urban market garden. With a mandate to “Feed the Neighbors”, Ruby’s Run Urban Farms was established as Sechelt’s first urban farm, providing Garden Gate Sales to local residents and restaurant customers.

In the spring of 2014/15, Michelle was invited to co-create Sechelt’s second Urban Farm, under contract to a First Nations Composting Facility. The initial task was to demonstrate land reclamation in a more wholesome fashion than what has traditionally been done. The result was a two-acre organic food farm established on an abandoned tailings pond of a large, active, gravel mining operation. The farm flourished, the surrounding ecosystem re-established and farm students were mentored.
The community benefitted.
This inspirational project was a beautiful and practical example of a waste to resource cycle, of restorative land reclamation. Michelle enthusiastically endorses the process of increasing local, natural food production while simultaneously beautifying the neighborhood. She believes the time is “now” for supplying nutritious locally grown produce to the people and understands the importance of her community having a healthy relationship with their food and those who produce it.

For the future she dreams of creating access to honorable employment on farms by teaching and empowering our youth and community to grow their food while demonstrating a “can do” approach.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I truly appreciate it.

Links

Magazine 'Sunshine Coast Life' Fall 2014, pg. 16

Weekly Community Newspaper 'the Local WEEKLY', June 18, 2014

Silvia Di Blasio

Courses Taught

Courses
Growing Food in the City - Burnaby, assistant instructor 2016

Locations
Burnaby

Credentials

Bachelor in Education mention Psychology and Pedagogy (Venezuela)
Certified Career Coach (Douglas College, BC)
Provincial Instructor Diploma and Online Instructor Certificate (Vancouver Community College)
First Aid and Emergency Preparedness Community Trainer
Food Skills Master Trainer
Citation in Sustainable Horticulture (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, unfinished)
Permaculture Certificate (Conscious Design Collective)
Advanced Permaculture Teaching Certificate (Cascadia Permaculture)
Master Organic Gardener (Gaia College)
currently completing Advanced Permaculture Design Program through Gaiacraft, the Permaculture Diploma through the Permaculture Institute (PI) and Diploma in Urban Permaculture through Gaia College. 

Bio

Silvia has 20+ years of teaching experience in different areas and has always grown a portion of her family’s food and herbs. With a passion for true sustainability, food sovereignty and community and household resilience, Silvia wears many hats: as a career coach for the Right Livelihood, she supports people to find their niche and make a living while making a difference for both the planet, communities and future generations; as a community activist and facilitator, she teaches both urban edible gardening and food skills through diverse organizations such as the Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition, the Canadian Diabetes Association, UBC-Farm, Homesteaders Junction and many more. As a Disaster Management/First Aid facilitator, she helps households and communities to plan for emergencies and adapt/plan for to climate change impacts. She coordinates a community garden and the social media for the Food Action Coalition and local food bank and now also co-teaches at Burnaby School District (continuing education) in a partnership with Gaia College.

Links

 

Astrid Muschalla

Courses Taught

Courses
Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives, online
Plant Knowledge 2 - Ornamentals, online
Growing Food Organically, online
Organic Horticulture Specialist, online
Organic Master Gardener, online
Ecological Landscape Design, co-facilitator online
Basic Botany, Seneca College
Locations
Gaia College - Online Instructor

Credentials

SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional, 2013 - present
Master Gardener, 2008 - present
Board member of Canadian standards association – Society for Organic Urban Land Care, 2012 – present
Professional Home Economist, 1990 to present
College Teacher of various diploma and certificate food, nutrition, and horticulture courses for Kemptville College, Algonquin College, Humber College, Centennial College, St. Lawrence College, Canadian Coast Guard College

Active memberships in the following professional associations

Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA)
Landscape Ontario – CLP certification will be complete in 2016
Master Gardeners of Ontario (MGOI)
Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
Canadian Home Economics Association

Education

Professional Organic Horticulturist, Humber College, 2011
Teachers of Adults Certificate - Designing, Developing and Facilitating Online Courses, Algonquin College, 2006
Horticulturist Certificate, University of Guelph, 2002
Certified Plantsman, University of Guelph, 1996
Certificate in Small Scale Poultry Production, Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology, 1990
Certificate of Organic Gardening, Kemptville College of Agricultural Technology, 1988

 

Bio

Astrid Muschalla works as a Certified Organic Land Care Professional in business, consulting and education – her company is www.oasisgardendesign.ca. Emphasis is on ecological landscape design, Astrid has over 20 years experience working on private and public lands, most notably, consulting on organic maintenance practices for Corktown Common Park, PanAm Games Athletes Village, Toronto, in 2014 and 2015. Astrid’s work has been nominated twice for the Urban Habitat Stewardship Award from Evergreen Canada on a high profile waterfront Parks Canada project working with employees and temporary staff to establish a Carolinian Park and Arboretum from barren railway lands. This work involved training, educating staff and the public on the requirements for indigenous plants and developing and maintaining healthy ecosystems. As a volunteer, with the High Park Stewardship Program in Toronto, she educated members, and public on native plants & propagation from 2008-2012. Astrid’s gardens have also been featured on Doors Open, various community garden tours, and CTV's Garden of the Month. Astrid worked as a design judge for Communities in Bloom. Astrid is the part-time coordinator for Seneca College’s Organic Land Care - Levels 1, 2 and 3.

Links

Oasis Garden Design

Karen Heisz

Karen Heisz 200Courses Taught

Courses
Organic Master Gardener
Locations
Toronto

Credentials

Business Skills for Land Care Professionals course, Gaia College
Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner, SOUL
Diploma in Organic Land Care, Gaia College
Sustainable Urban Horticulture and Agriculture certificates, University of Guelph

Bio

Karen’s love of joining her environmental club students on stewardship activities in the Toronto area led her to completing her Sustainable Urban Horticulture and Agriculture certificates with the University of Guelph. Her interest in planting for diversity and in the impact of homeowners’ actions on the environment prompted her to complete the Diploma in Organic Land Care from Gaia College.

Although no longer teaching in the formal education system, Karen teaches the Organic Master Gardener course for the Canadian Organic Growers in Toronto and is an Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner with SOUL. This year she took the knowledge gained from the Business Skills for Land Care Professionals course and started 'Return to Eden', a consulting business dedicated to sharing the philosophy and techniques of organic gardening and ecological garden design.

Links

Return to Eden

 

Manon Tremblay

 

Courses Taught                       

Courses
Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives - Online
Locations
Gaia College - Online Instructor

Credentials

Community Garden Coordinator, Penelakut Health Society
Instructor at the Horticulture Center of the Pacific (Landscape Business Instructor and Master Gardener Instructor)
Landscape Horticulturist Technician
Environment and Communication, RRU
Certified Journeyman in the Landscape Horticultural Trade by ITA
Head Gardener of Abkhazi Garden
Computer Assisted Landscape Design Certificate, Guelph University
Organic Master Gardener, Gaia College

Bio

Manon Tremblay has been living on the West Coast of British Columbia for the past 12 years. In 2002, she received her certification as a Landscape Horticulturist Technician. Manon had the opportunity to study at Royal Roads in Environment and Communication where she developed skills leading to Environmental Education. From 2008 to 2010, Manon worked at Glendale Gardens as a practical skill and pruning instructor. In 2010, she received an accreditation from the ITA and was certified as a Journeyman in the Landscape Horticultural trade. That same year, Manon took on a beautiful challenge and accepted a position as Head Gardener of Abkhazi Garden. Over the past 15 years, Manon has travelled extensively through Canada, Europe, South America and Asia where she volunteered and worked on organic farms learning about Permaculture and small scale farming. In her free time, Manon loves hiking the beautiful coast of BC and learning about native plant communities. She is currently working as an instructor, landscape designer and consultant in Victoria, BC.

Links

Manon Tremblay Garden Design
Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives Online

Karl S. North

Karl North

Courses Taught

Courses
Systems Thinking - online
Locations
Gaia College, online facilitator

Credentials

Co-creator and facilitator of Gaia College course "Systems Thinking - online"
Courses in System Dynamics, Cornell University
Education, accreditation and teaching as an educator in Holistic Management
BA Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.

Bio

Secondary school teaching, Republic of Mali, West Africa
Graduate work in Anthropology and African Studies, Indiana University, University of Rochester
Secondary School Teaching, Rochester Public Schools
Co-designer and teacher of an experimental high school, Rochester Educational Alternatives
Farmsteading, Pyrénées Orientales, France
Creation and operation of Northland Sheep Dairy, Marathon, NY
Teacher of Afro-Cuban music and percussion instruments
Instructor in Ecological Agriculture, Binghamton University


Links

Ken Nentwig

Ken 200

Courses Taught

Courses
Rainwater Harvesting & Management - online
SketchUp Pro for Landscape Design - online
Ecological Landscape Design - online, co-facilitator
Locations
Gaia College, online facilitator

Credentials

Society for Organic Urban Land Care, Executive Director
University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, College Professor
Landscape Architect and Educator (retired)

Bio

As a ‘retired’ landscape architect and educator, Ken relocated to Vancouver Island from Ontario in 2010. His four-plus decades in land planning and/or education included major land development projects and seventeen years with the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, as College Professor. Since that time he has developed and facilitates online courses in Rainwater Management and in SketchUp for Landscape Design for Gaia College, which are also offered through Royal Roads University (BC), and Humber and Seneca Colleges (ON). With CANARM, Ken created and delivered a Canadian rainwater harvesting certification course, now superseded by the ARCSA Accredited Professional (AP) program.

Other ‘hats’ include trainer for ARCSA; the position of Executive Director for the Society for Organic Urban Land Care; and co-facilitator for Ecological Landscape Design (Gaia College). As a consultant, Ken undertakes landscape and site planning, along with rainwater harvesting system planning in association with landscape contractors, builders, and rainwater specialists. Other interests include watercolours and pencil/ink sketching, and with his wife he is very active in their church.

Links

Elmarie Roberts

Elmarie

Courses Taught

Courses
Growing Food In The City
Organic Master Gardener components
Locations
Victoria

Credentials

BA degree and Diploma in Secondary Education, South Africa
Teacher of English as a Second Language, TESL Canada
Certified Aromatherapist, Toronto
Organic Farming as a Business course, Camosun College, Victoria
Organic Master Gardener certificate, Gaia College, Duncan
Growing Food certificate, Gaia College, Duncan

Bio

Elmarie germinated as a grower after starting as a volunteer at Haliburton Farm, Victoria in 2003. Nourished by an apprenticeship and a short course, she went on to co-farm for 4 years, before passing on the leased 1 acre to new growers. Since then, she has enjoyed supporting the farm’s educational vision by serving on the Board, hosting tours, schools and interns. On a demonstration section she grows herbs, flowers and seeds. These contribute to supplying the farm markets and add to funds for the non-profit that governs the 7 acre farm. Today she is honoured to steward land with 8 other businesses, 12 growers and 2 interns. She wishes every day that there were more places like Haliburton Farm, where agricultural land is reserved for pure food grown in harmony with the surrounding ecosystem.

Links

Haliburton Farm

Molly Abbot

Courses Taught

Courses
Growing Food In The City
Organic Master Gardener

Locations
Victoria

Credentials

BA Geography 2002, Universityof Victoria
Organic Master Gardener Certificate, Winter 2008, Gaia College
Ecological Landscape Design Certificate, 2009, Gaia College
Owner of landscaping company established 2004

Bio

I was first introduced to gardening in both its art and function at the age of 14. I was lead by a talented plant designer by the name of Dimity O'Neal who is a friend of the family. She saw in me that I am sensitive to my environment, that I have an artistic eye, and that I take pleasure in hard work. From then it has been a lifelong journey of focused learning.

Before, during, and after University, I supported myself with garden work. I have logged many hours in the garden. I have seen all types of plantings, soil conditions, mulches, composts, DIY gardens, "professionally" designed gardens: some exceptionally good, and some maybe not so good. It's all about finding the perfect plant for the spot, and taking care of the soil.

Gardening makes me feel good. It puts a jump in my step. I find it thrilling to work on an untended garden and reveal it's treasures, whether that be a glorious old rose, or a little nest of baby bunnies; a fruiting blueberry, or a colony of tree frogs. Then there are the highly maintained gardens, where flowering times are colour coordinated and weeds never get bigger than a coin. Each garden is a unique experience. To garden is to appreciate, and embody the abundance that is the earth. It is to notice the glory of a simple flower hanging like a treasure. A lingering scent floating in fresh air. The satisfaction of sprouting seeds. After all of that richness, there is more. Harvest. Gardening is to participate in the true value of all things. It makes one rich beyond what money can buy. I garden for a living, and I garden to live.

Links