Michael Hermary is co-founder and President of Gaia College. He has been active in the organic land care community since 2003 and currently also serves on the board of the Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL). He has BSc. and MSc. degrees in mathematics and statistics, and qualifications in actuarial science. Michael has worked in the financial industry, systems development, post-secondary education, and has read widely. Michael is a lifelong environmentalist and is blessed to be serving the organic land care community through his work with Gaia College and SOUL.
Michael and Heide Hermary (deceased 2016) launched Gaia College to help people make a transition to sustainable land care practices. They wanted people to be aware of the connectedness of life and the importance of their choices and activities in making a difference in the world.
“Many people want to do things differently and we want to show them how.”
- Michael Hermary
David Tracey is Dean of Gaia College. His role is to manage all faculty, student and staff operations, monitor and contribute to curriculum reviews, steer creative campaigns in marketing and outreach, oversee visioning and opportunities for Gaia College’s growth and uphold academic integrity.
David has been involved with Gaia College as an instructor since 2016, facilitating our Ecological Landscape Design course and Living Green Infrastructure courses. He has been active as Dean since 2023.
David holds a Bachelors degree in Politics from University of California Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from University of British Columbia. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and Certified Tree Risk Assessor, Organic Master Gardener and certified Online Facilitator (from Gaia College).
Beyond his work for Gaia College, David is an author, educator, designer and community ecologist. He has written six books, including Vancouver Tree Book, Guerilla Gardening: a Manualfesto, Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution and The Earth Manifesto. He owns the ecological design and consultation company EcoUrbanist and heads a Vancouver urban forest advocacy group called Tree City. He is also known as a frequent workshop leader and public speaker with experience addressing audiences in North America, Europe and Asia.
Julia’s main role at Gaia College is course management and enrolments, ensuring students are able to register and access their respective online classrooms at the beginning of each semester.
Julia came to Gaia College in a roundabout way after completing a BSc in Chemistry and working for some time in both medicinal and inorganic chemistry labs. After completing a term position as a Program Coordinator at Canadian Organic Growers (COG) and being the Administrator at SOUL, Julia joined Gaia College in 2016 to take over management of the website and moodle. Since then her role has expanded to include administrator and registrar duties in addition to IT/IM duties.
Julia holds a MSc. (Environment and Management) from Royal Roads University, is an Accredited Practitioner (SOUL), Certified Chemist (ACPO) and Certified Lab Tech (Soil Food Web).
Julia currently lives in Ottawa with her husband and 3 kids where she maintains a growing worm farm and dabbles in thermal composting while trying to grow enormous amounts of food in a small garden. She is the proprietor of Soils Alive Composting & Consulting, a microscopy lab that focuses on microorganisms in soil and compost and helps people improve their soil health. Julia also sits on the SOUL Board of Directors.
While completing a masters at Royal Roads, her cohort’s mantra for a big project was “be the change”. Being a part of Gaia College, makes Julia feel like she is a part of the change that is helping gardeners and landscapers adapt to more holistic practices.
Being part of an online college has its challenges as we never see our students. Julia takes the opportunities she can before and throughout a course to connect with students to not only engage, but get to know them. By remembering who they are, whether they are on the diploma path or taking courses at leisure, Julia hopes that connecting with them makes them feel welcomed at Gaia College.
Kenza is Gaia College’s administrator & marketing manager. She works behind the scenes to support the educational team and fellow staff members so students can get the best learning experience. She also runs the social media and newsletter pages, so the public knows exactly what Gaia College is all about! She’s grateful to be a part of the Gaia College team, where forward-thinking ecological practices are taught to fellow nature-enthusiasts.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Urban Sustainability from Toronto Metropolitan University. Growing up working at farmers markets for her family's vendor booth, she developed a deep passion for sustainability, locally grown food, and community-building. In university, she volunteered for sustainability organizations, urban farms, and worked as a research assistant in the geography department where she conducted urban forestry research. After university, she worked for a holistic psychotherapy clinic doing administration, business management, and social media and newsletter management.
In her free time, she does freelance photography, working with local musicians and artists in Toronto. She loves watching live music, traveling, and spending time in nature.