Between The Trees Bio’s
Wisdom. Wonder. Wellness. Wildness.
Instigator of Connecting Cool People With Awesome Things
Jeff aka Willy is an out the box experiential educator, a skilled and energetic facilitator, and conference speaker, and all around creator of good times. Jeff has spent over 25 years working with schools, businesses, non-profit groups and a variety of organizations using his supportive, innovative and experiential techniques to ignite team communication, collaboration, sensitivity and staff effectiveness. His passion is derived from his breadth of understanding of experiential education, his various senior roles within the outdoor recreation industry, and successful entrepreneurial endeavors. Jeff is a committed community advocate commited to inclusiveness, and honoring diverse culture, wisdom and knowledge within urban communities.
A wise woman said “do one thing a day that scares you.” Greta Bartsch likes to save them all for one crazy adventure at a time, whether it’s paddling whitewater, teaching Kindergarten PE or starting a school in Kenya. She appreciates a little dirt in her food and the learning that comes with deep challenges. She has twenty years working as a teacher and principal in elementary schools and enjoys working with children, teachers and community partners to build culture and encourage growth and professional development. Her current passion is design thinking and its power to develop empathy and curiosity.
Michael McGuire welcomes all kinds of educational adventures- anything that feeds the mind, body and soul, which usually involves being in the outdoors. He has taught secondary and elementary school students to love the outdoors through OEE for longer than he cares to remember, and is most at home in front of a fire (inside or outdoors) with good friends and his family. Michael feels privileged to partner with several international educational adventures, which has included starting schools in Ethiopia and Kenya. His expertise in curriculum design, school development and risk management gives a solid foundation to assist in educational and outdoor pursuits. At the end of the day, he is most happy with book in hand and sand between his toes.
I'm here to help people light themselves up! Like igniting a rocket that's set to take off from within. For me, trust, courage and love rule, and invites connection, creativity, presence and fun in myself and others. As a passionately curious "Renaissance-man", I love finding the threads that knit together your strategies and visions with the adventure and fun in your life! I'm like an Expedition Partner at your side, shaking off the mud, clearing new trails and building strong and resilient muscles to summit that next exciting "passion" or "problem" peak.
My work as a classroom teacher, wilderness/adventure sport instructor and entrepreneur over the past 20 years has found me repeatedly drawn to a wide range of people who all share this: A love of learning and an unstoppable desire to develop and bring their best to others. As an ICF-accredited PCC Coach, my clients create their own success in a range of industries, from banking, consulting, accounting and marketing to massive tech companies and as solopreneurs.
Finally, the loves of my life are my family, kiteboarding, building cool stuff, and folk-rockin' out. While I'm more likely to be laughing through "Down By The Bay" with my kids in the family room these days, creating and sharing special moments with people I love is my purest joy.
Ashley Milbury is passionate about emboldening people to find their voice and the confidence to use it. The best compliment she ever received was that she knows how words work. Ashley loves to share her love of language with others. More recently, she is exploring singing and vocal improvisation as a means of communication, self-expression, and self-care. Originally from the shores of Nova Scotia, she completed her Masters of English at Concordia University in Montreal. She is now grateful to live, work and play on unceded Coast Salish territory and is committed to the process of Reconciliation and creating inclusive spaces. Ashley is proud to spend her days as a Youth Programs Manager with Minerva BC working with young women to develop their leadership potential.
Walk and Roll (combo)
Jamie has one leg, Alex has two, together they form "Walk & Roll" and have known each other since 2007, first meeting at Camp Howdy as Camp Leader and Camper. It wouldn't be until 2015 when they would work together again. Jamie had just taken over the role of Child, Family & Youth supervisor for the Langara Family YMCA, and it was here that he would learn one of his most dedicated and passionate staff was a now grown Alex. It was not only their shared love of youth work that strengthen their friendship but the shared experience in their education as well, both completing diplomas in recreation. Finding common ground has always been easy between Alex and Jamie, together they have over 20 years of experience planning, developing and implanting programs for people of all ages. Their goal has always been simple, providing high quality recreation experiences, no matter who you are or what you can do.
Andrei is an educator and Mental Performance Consultant, specializing in performance psychology and adolescent well-being. He holds a Masters of Science in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology, and has spent the last decade helping athletes, teams, and organisations to maximize their abilities, and lead more fulfilled lives. Splitting his work-life equally between high performance and in the high school system, Andrei has a knack for delivering evidence based messages and content in an interactive experiential manner. In his free time he can be found climbing rocks, skiing lines, or running trails.
From east coast to west coast comes Alex. A Maritimer forever at heart, Alex has spent his whole life pursuing connection with others, with the belief that any progress in our world can only be made when people are ready, open and willing to work with one another. Alex spent his youth working through the Boys and Girls Club organization where he first started as a member, and worked his way to become a counsellor, program coordinator, and provincial and national youth council representative. After working in the film and television industry for almost 10 years, Alex finds himself back in the helping field, finishing up his Professional Counsellor’s diploma which he hopes to use in his pursuit to help youth and adults alike discover their true authentic voice. An experienced Muay Thai instructor and Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter, Alex believes that health for young and old alike comes from a holistic balance of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well being.
Allie has been playing in the dirt since she was a little sprout. Her love of the natural world has taken her in many directions (including up many mountains!) She has spent many years care-taking the land by working on organic farms, creating gardens, wandering through the woods, and wild-crafting. She is a recent graduate from Trent University where she studied Indigenous Environmental Studies and Science and is interested in honouring and integrating knowledge systems through experiential education. Over the past few years, her love of plants has taken root and bloomed into the world of herbalism.
She is passionate about exploring and sharing the uses of the plants that inhabit our world, and creating dynamic learning environments to share this spark with others. When she’s not out exploring the forest, Allie has worked in youth centers, YMCA day camps, girls empowerment groups, after school programs, and is currently working at a nature connection and education centre in Ontario. She loves to bring people of all ages outside! She hopes that through her work with Fireside Adventures she can help others foster a deep connection and relationship with themselves, each other and with the land.
“Majo” Maria Jose Obando Paez, MA Ed
Coming from Ecuador, I have grown up in a place surrounded by so many beautiful landscapes and unique animal and plant species. Ecuador is a place where you can be amazed by the mountains, beaches, rain forest, and islands. Since I was child, I enjoyed traveling around my country with my family and discovering new and amazing places in nature. I love to be outside
My passion for environmental studies started when I realized that my country’s ecosystems were being destroyed by uncontrolled human activities. I decided not to be part of the destruction, but part of the solution. During my university studies in Environmental Engineering, I found out that education is the key to changing our relationship with nature. I firmly believe that to connect people with nature will lead humans to protect the Earth, our home, instead of destroying it. I truly believe that education can change the world.
Four years ago I came to Canada to earn my masters degree in Environmental Education, and I fell in love with Canada. I love to hike, camp, admire the starry nights, seek out animals and wildlife, and swim in the lakes and oceans. I will continue to learn, explore and seek out new places and hope to inspire others to join me on this journey.
Raised a Vancouverite, Brenna grew up with a passion for helping and a playful, creative energy which she has channelled through community theatre, dance, and working with kids. In her high school days, Brenna volunteered with children and youth in church programs, Coquitlam’s Reading Buddies program, and directing teen acting students in MetFest, a community-based theatrical arts showcase. She’s continued to work with kids into her adult years through day camps and sports activities.
Through her own lived experience, she decided that she wanted to pursue play therapy for children, and decided to make this goal a reality by beginning her studies in the realm of child & youth care, and eventually transitioning into professional counselling and life skills coaching. She is set to graduate with her diploma this coming March and aims to work with families, focusing on the value in connection and healthy relationship. Brenna is an advocate for holistic wellbeing, self-exploration, and self-love. She hopes to offer young people a safe space to explore who they authentically are and who they want to be, without limitations.
In her spare time, you’ll find Brenna with friends or family, outside exploring the beauty in West Coast nature, or learning new skills, whether it be a new instrument, singing, or physical activities.
I am a Fireside Adventures writer, photographer, media producer who is a self proclaimed #natureaddict. With a background is in project management, public relations, and copywriting my passion is in storytelling, and capturing moments of authentic human connection, community building and joy. Influenced by my Polish grandmothers daring, perseverance and boldness I recently moved to a tiny Gulf island to pursue homesteading, and a more creative life, indulging in landscape photography and storytelling. You can find me on Instagram, as a proud #momwithacamera, adventuring with my two #goatworthy young girls on Galiano Island.
Candace, ancestral name xets’emits’a , a member of the Shishalh community, started her company, Talaysay Tours, in 2002. Trained as an anthropologist and school teacher, Candace enjoys providing unique and authentic cultural experiences to students and visitors throughout the world. Candace teaches outdoor education, traditional indigenous knowledge, history and indigenous culture throughout Vancouver and the lower mainland. Candace is a volunteer with the Jane Goodall Institute Canada Roots and Shoots and travels to Uganda to support an Indigenous Youth Cohort represent JGI Canada and their mandate of protecting the environment through the people, environment and wildlife. Candace is a communications representative for Greenpeace (GP) and and has participated in various campaigns to bring attention to the environmental concerns of fossil fuel extraction and it’s impacts. In her work, Candace aspires to reach students and the community to understand the interconnection of people, animals and the land. “We are the land and the land is us”.
Candace with her husband Larry own and operate Talaysay Tours and Aboriginal Eco Tours. We live in the Squamish Nation community in West Vancouver and are the proud parents of two adult children Talaysay and Elias.
"Rebecca is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for food and spending time in the great outdoors. She has a background from the earth as a Geography Major which winds its way through the kitchen in her role as a Holistic Nutritionist. Her cooking escapades began over a campfire while canoe tripping for several years in Northern Ontario. This experience offered her the opportunity to experiment and learn more about how we cook and the impact it has on our health, as well as the natural environment. Supporting people from all walks of life gain access to, and understanding of good whole foods is a goal of hers. Cooking is a special favourite, in both the indoor and outdoor kitchen, as well as empowering people on their food journey to loving, appreciating and experimenting with foods that nourish and heal them and their natural environments."
This is great, just made a few changes around 'Holistic Chef' and nutrition as thats my area of expertise and I am less of a trained chef more of a nutritious food lover with a background in the environment/outdoor cooking, health and how it relates to your food choices :)
Lukas wants to spread the joys and wonders of nature and creativity to as many people as he can, helping youth and adults find their imagination and connect with the earth. He has spent his childhood exploring, hiking and camping with his family and has grown a true love for the peaceful outdoors. While growing up in the greater Vancouver area, he discovered his talent for music and has been experimenting with it ever since. Now he plays with multiple musical acts in Vancouver and finds it is a very therapeutic part of his life. Lukas has experience working with youth, teaching them guitar and working with them in a studio setting. Aside from music, a passion for using multiple creative arts such as comedy, improv, acting, visual arts, and film are the most important things to him in his professional life. In the future Lukas hopes to lend a helping hand to those in need through music and expressive arts therapy.
Sheldon Franken (B.Ed, M.A.) is a school counsellor for the Vancouver School Board and the workshop facilitator and owner of Inquiry Adventures. Sheldon has been on the Association of Experiential Education(AEE) NW Regional Council and was the AEE NW Region Conference Coordinator. Sheldon is known for his activity based and hands-on learning style of facilitation. Sheldon has presented workshops and Keynotes on active and experiential social-emotional learning to educational and wellness organizations across North America.