Gaia College Instructors

Christina Nikolic

Christina

Courses Taught

Courses
Ecological Landscape Design
Organic Master Gardener
Plant Knowledge For Organic Gardeners
Locations
Victoria

Credentials

SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional (Victoria 2005)
Graduate of Gaia College's on-line Organic Landscape Management course (Victoria 2004)
Master Composter/Waste Advisor (Calgary 2000)
Landscape Architecture degree (Germany 1996)
Landscape Gardening apprenticeship (Germany 1991)

Bio

My current main occupation is running The Organic Gardener's Pantry in Victoria, B.C., which I took over from Phil Nauta, a friend and colleague at Gaia College, in 2010. Up until then I'd been operating Stewardship Natural Landscape Design, offering garden design and consultation as well as planting service and light garden maintenance since 2003. I still do the odd design and maintenance job, for fun and diversion. Together with teaching Gaia College courses in the fall and winter, this keeps me nicely busy.

Though I had received a degree in landscape architecture and extensive industry training in Germany, I always felt that there was something important missing. I found the answer to that "something" upon moving to Victoria BC, joining SOUL, and meeting Heide and Michael Hermary. My approach to horticulture shifted completely towards organic principles. Looking back, I can say this has been a life changing development, not only professionally but personally. Finally a lot of things make a lot more sense...!

A graduate of Gaia College, I became a SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional in 2005 and soon after that, an instructor with Gaia College, first teaching the Ecological Landscape Design program, then the SOUL Organic Master Gardener course, and more recently the Plant Knowledge classes in Victoria.

When I can spare some volunteer time, it goes toward SOUL, where I currently serve on the Board of Directors.

I look forward to further broadening the mind by exchanging thoughts, knowledge, and experience with like-minded people. A "student of life" in times of considerable local and global challenges, I feel an strong dedication to living in harmony with each other and with the earth. My garden is home to many beautiful ornamental and food plants mixing and mingling happily, with a thick mulch layer covering the ground at all times. Puttering around the yard keeps me grounded, as does playing Sudoku, and listening to music from Renaissance to Pink Floyd. I enjoy Victoria's lively cultural scene, walking the beaches, practicing yoga, kayaking, and zooming around on my 250 Kawasaki Ninja!

Links

The Organic Gardener's Pantry

I co-wrote the three free e-books you can find at the SOUL web site:

Society For Organic Urban Land Care

Heide Hermary (September 30, 1948 – March 18, 2016)

Heide Portrait small

Credentials

Master's degree in Sustainable Agriculture
Diploma in Horticulture (Landscape Design, Installation & Maintenance)
Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Agriculture
SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional
CNLA Certified Horticultural Technician (retired)
ISA Certified Arborist (retired)
IIABC Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (retired)
Landscape Inspection Certificate
Provincial Instructor Diploma with Post-Secondary Endorsement
BC Landscape & Nursery Association Educator of the Year, 2007
Organic Master Gardener
Master Woodland Manager
Naturescape Ambassador
Co-founder and past chair of the Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
Author of Working with Nature - Shifting Paradigms (book), The Essence of Organic Gardening - Seeing and Doing Things Differently (book) and What pesticides really do in your garden (DVD)

Bio

Heide worked many years in her landscape design and installation practice. She enjoyed creating all these beautiful, thriving gardens - from the tiniest urban backyard to 10 acre rural estates. Two of "her" gardens were even featured on the CBC "Canadian Gardener" television show with David Tarrant (a Canadian gardening celebrity).

As an educator she developed and taught seminars, short courses, and comprehensive professional development programs in all aspects of horticulture. Her audience included landscape professionals and arborists from the private and public sector, horticulture students, master gardeners, high school students, and the general public. Her focus was the continuing curriculum development for Gaia College, but she still taught occasional intensive professional workshops for landscape professionals.

Heide was very grateful to have been blessed with such an interesting professional life. 

Heide stated: "When we choose to dwell in joy and love every day, we lead enchanted lives and are so much more effective."...words to live by!

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

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 previous 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

http://rainwatercanada.ca/about-ken-nentwig/

https://www.behance.net/KenNentwig

Karen Heisz

Karen Heisz 200Courses Taught

Courses
Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives
Organic Master Gardener
Locations
Online Instructor
Toronto

Credentials

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

Bio

A former high school science teacher and facilitator of the environmental club, Karen loved to have her students involved in stewardship activities. Out of personal interest, she completed the Sustainable Urban Horticulture and Agriculture certificate programs from the University of Guelph in 2012. These experiences led her to books such as Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods”, Douglas Tallamy’s “Bringing Nature Home” and Sara Stein’s “Noah’s Garden”, all of which profoundly affected Karen's outlook on our responsibilities as home gardeners. Karen realized that somehow, in some way, she needed to share her love of nature, of gardening, and of practices that sustain and improve nature’s biodiversity with others. She completed the Diploma in Organic Land Care from Gaia College in 2013, became a SOUL Accredited Organic Land Care Practitioner in 2014, and a SOUL Certified Organic Land Care Professional in 2017. Return to Eden was started in 2014, with the goal of sharing her knowledge of organic land care practices, native plants and composting practices within her community. After 3 ½ years of teaching this course at The Stop, Karen is grateful for this opportunity to co-teach the course with one of her former students, Angel Beyde.

Links

Return to Eden

 

Astrid Muschalla

Astrid

Courses Taught

Current Courses
Plant Knowledge 2 - Ornamentals, online

Past Courses Taught
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 AstridKnowsPlants.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

AstridKnowsPlants.com

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 

Julia Alards-Tomalin

Julia Alards-Tomalin

Courses Taught

Courses
Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives, online

Locations
Gaia College - Online Instructor

Bio

Julia Alards-Tomalin studied Forestry and Ecological Restoration at BCIT and is currently a Masters of Education student at SFU.

She is both an Instructor in the Renewable Resources department at BCIT and the Program Coordinator for the Residential Landscape Technician program at BCCE. Julia also co-runs an ecological restoration business, Echo Ecological, which focuses on invasive plant removal and the re-establishment of native plants in urban estuaries and riparian areas.

Links

https://www.echoecological.com/

Jennifer Burns-Robinson

Courses Taught

Courses
Growing Food (Online)
Organic Master Gardener (Stony Plain)

Locations
Gaia College - Online Instructor
Stony Plain

Credentials

2015 Organic Master Gardener Certificate in Stony Plain (Gaia partnership)
2008 Received Certified Arborist status with ISA (International Society of Arboriculture)
2007 Completed the Landscape Architectural Technology program at NAIT (Edmonton)
2006 Became a Master Composter/Recycler with the City of Edmonton (volunteer program)
2002 Completed the Prairie Horticulture Certificate program through Assiniboine College (Manitoba)

Bio

Jennifer Burns-Robinson studied Landscape Architectural Technology and taught in the same program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton for two years after graduation. She worked at Stantec Edmonton for 3 years as an LAT before taking some time to start a family. Prior to that, she had her own residential landscape design business for two years and worked in retail garden centres for a total of 7 years. That experience was invaluable to becoming an instructor in the Stony Plain Organic Master Gardener program in 2014, and then becoming the administrator in 2016. Now retired from the administrative position, she has plans to write a book and is working on developing her 3.5 acres in Alberta into a productive sustainable food paradise.