The Gaia Project is a non-profit charitable organization with the mission to empower youth to take action on climate change through education.
At The Gaia Project, we use a unique approach to empower youth to take action. We incorporate inquiry-based education, curriculum links, and local action in each of our projects.
Strategic Partnerships: We work with a range of partners dedicated to creating rich, real-world learning opportunities for students and teachers
Teachers Supports: We help teachers through professional learning activities , resources and in classroom support to bring climate change into their pedagogy.
Enhance Student Learning: We give students of all ages hands-on experiences to explore issues around energy, waste, water, transportation and general sustainability.
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: We give students the resources they need to take local action on the global issue of climate change
Improve understanding of the climate and energy's complex relationship in our society
Helping to develop the next generation of global citizens
Encourage students to consider their future prospects in green job markets
Resulting in concrete and meaningful actions developing students’ capacity for critical thinking and project management
Lizzy is a passionate environmentalist who believes in taking practical steps forward in the fight against climate change. Prior to joining Gaia, she worked for a number of national and provincial non-profits, including Learning for a Sustainable Future, Evergreen Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. Lizzy holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Acadia University and a master’s in environmental studies and a business and environment certificate from York University. As she leads the Gaia Project, she is raising two growing girls and taking care of her dog and two cats with her husband Matt.
Jimmy brings an international perspective and passion to his role of empowering youth to improve sustainability in their communities. Before joining Gaia in 2011, Jimmy worked for an environmental education research group on projects in Romania, Morocco, the U.S. and Canada. He holds a bachelor of science degree and a master’s in environmental studies from Université de Moncton. In 2015, he was named one of Atlantic Canada’s under-40 leaders by 21Inc. Jimmy is an avid cyclist and runner and a vegan.
Jane joined Gaia in 2016, bringing extensive experience in youth facilitation to her role. Jane has developed and delivered youth programs for the Red Cross, and held subsequent positions there and at the Saint John Community Loan Fund. Jane has a bachelor’s in environmental science from Saint Mary’s University, where she was president of the Environmental Society and a member of the Sustainability Committee. Recently Jane was selected as a Youth Delegate for the Generation Energy Conference and the Clean Energy Ministerial/Mission Innovation meetings. Jane enjoys spending time outdoors and being active.
For over a decade, Geoff has shared science activities and experiments with youth. As a science education researcher, Geoff wants to improve the student experience in science classrooms around New Brunswick. He joined the Gaia Project in 2018 to develop the Climate Change Education Plan. This ambitious project targets K-12 educational goals, integrating project-based topics around sustainable living, climate-change mitigation and energy literacy. With a master’s degree in inquiry-based science instruction and curriculum development, Geoff enjoys seeing students think outside the box and making inquiry-based connections.
Having joined Gaia in May 2019 working as a Special Projects Coordinator, Ainslee sees the importance in finding ways to inspire youth to take climate action. Throughout her time earning a B.Sc in Environment and Natural Resources, she gained experience working in the environmental sector, doing both fieldwork and research. Fieldwork was an eye-opening experience but she is thrilled to be back working on climate change. Being born and raised in Fredericton has allowed her to gain an appreciation of the surrounding nature in which she spends her free time exploring.
Catherine was born in Shippagan, grew up in Edmundston and has been living in Moncton for more than 10 years. After studying education, Catherine decided to continue her training in marketing. During her studies, she went to Finland to learn more about sustainable development and the bio-economy. It is with her heterogeneous background and her need to act for environmental causes that pushed her to join The Gaia Project as a Program Delivery Officer. She believes that by giving confidence and hope to students they will be able to take action against climate change.
Joining Gaia in August 2019 as a Program Delivery Officer, Brittany knows that encouraging youth and teaching them about climate change is critical. With a B. A in anthropology and history, she believes that being able to understand the science of human behaviour is key to leading the societal changes necessary to fight climate change. Holding a Masters in Environmental Management focused on methods of composting and specializing in vermi-composting, she is ready to share her knowledge with New Brunswick schools to help them understand the importance of innovative waste management techniques.
George Dashner has worked in the field of climate change for close to 40 years which included a 30 year career with NB Power focused on energy efficiency and sustainability. George’s NB Power career included developing and delivering energy efficiency programs, research and development, Integrated Resource planning, renewable energy, and Demand Side Management.
“Energy and climate sustainability is a long term goal that will require behavioural change in all of us to be successful. We at The Gaia Project believe that providing our youth with the skills to identify and address the challenges of sustainability will be critical in helping them develop a cleaner environment for themselves and their children.”
George has been a volunteer and board member at The Gaia Project for the past seven years; he enjoys working with the Gaia team, he is inspired by their passion and commitment for developing and delivering first class programs on sustainability to New Brunswick schools.
Janet started her career in the healthcare field and within five years began work in the area of economic development. She has over 30 years experience working with various provincial government departments in New Brunswick and with the private sector. In 2013, she retired from the federal government as Vice President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency for the province of New Brunswick.
Janet’s work in economic development included regional and international development with countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, China, the European Economic Community and the United States. Over the years, her work involved the delivery of programs and services to assist companies grow and expand into export markets; to increase productivity through innovation; and to support community groups and the non-profit sector to build capacity in support of economic development of the province.
Since her retirement, Janet has been involved with a number of community organizations, including the Research and Productivity Council, Elementary Literacy Inc., the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Cat Rescue Maritimes, the St Dunstan’s Refugee Sponsorship Initiative, the Renaissance College, and The Gaia Project.
Janet is living in Fredericton with her husband George Phillips. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys world travel.
“The reason I got involved with The Gaia Project is because of its approach to the environment and climate change, working with youth in a hands on way to help them to make practical decisions for sustainability of our environment into the future. The significance of climate change on our lives has never been greater than it is now and Gaia is preparing our future citizens to think seriously about how they can contribute to a sustainable environment into the future.”
With complimentary degrees in Environmental Studies and Architecture from the University of Waterloo, Krista believes that all building typologies and development can and should subscribe to sustainable building practices. Krista’s full service, award winning sustainable design firm provides consultation, design and management to numerous green building projects throughout North America. Leading by example is an important and practiced philosophy and Krista strongly advocates for sustainability and climate change educations in our schools. Empowering the youth of today will encourage a healthier planet for tomorrow.
Nick Russon is a practicing lawyer with the law firm of Stewart McKelvey in Fredericton. With a keen interest in the environment and the outdoors, Nick considers it essential that all New Brunswick students be exposed to energy and sustainability education to expose them to new career possibilities and to provide a starting point in making informed decisions on energy and sustainability issues throughout their lives.
Carolyn Barnhart is entering her 28th year of teaching science. She has enjoyed a variety of teaching opportunities from a Cree school in Moosonee, a Teacher’s academy in Malawi, to her current position as SPR of Science at Fredericton High School.
As an educator, Carolyn saw the benefits of the Gaia Project early on – the hand’s on, problem solving model challenged her as a “traditional” educator, but she knew it would benefit her students, providing them with 21st century skills and excellent opportunities to learn and grow as citizens. Building relationships with outside agencies (Gaia, Brilliant Labs and DU) provides the students with opportunities to identify and solve real world problems and make a difference!
She has recently been recognized by the APEGNB with the Inspirational STEM Award Teacher and received a Prime Ministers Award Certificate for Teaching Excellence in STEM. This past fall, she was quoted in a NYTimes article “Making Education Inclusive”.
At Fredericton High School she is the co-advisor of Student Council and Kats Kitchen. She and her husband are passionate about renovating and enjoy their cliff edge “tiny home” on Grand Manan.
What it means to be on the board….
“I am humbled to be a member of the Gaia Board of Directors. It gives me an opportunity to give back to an organization that has given me and my students so many amazing opportunities and experiences. They have had a profound impact on me as an educator.”
Monique LeBlanc brings over 30 years of government experience to the Gaia Project. Currently an economic development manager with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, she has worked in both federal and provincial departments, agencies and councils in policy, communications and program delivery positions. As a volunteer, she has served at the executive and board member level of several organizations working on environmental and social issues. Her strong connection and love for nature has grounded her belief in the importance of maintaining a balance between our human footprint and our environment, and in building consensus to adopt sustainable practices.
I joined the Gaia Project because I believe experiential learning is pivotal in supporting the critical thinking and innovation skills required of this and future generations to address environmental challenges. The Gaia Project is making a real difference by supporting teachers and students across New Brunswick in learning about the causes and impacts of climate change and in harnessing their creativity in building solutions for sustainable energy production and use.
CEO and co-founder of Stash Energy
Jordan leads the business development, corporate/business strategy and financial management aspects of Stash Energy. Jordan received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and has successfully completed his Masters of Engineering in UNB’s Technology Management and Entrepreneurship Program. Jordan also participated in the Summer Institute Accelerator Program at UNB and in 2017 received the Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur Award. Jordan has previous experience as Teaching Assistant at UNB.
Brian attended Queen’s University where he obtained a
Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics and a Bachelor of
Arts in Music, both in 2005. After graduation he went to
work in Saskatchewan and the UK on carbon capture and
storage projects, including serving as lead technical advisor
to the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change on
carbon capture technologies.
In 2009, he founded The Gaia Project, a charitable
organization that provides students with hands on
opportunities to make informed decisions about energy and
its impact on the environment.
John is a senior executive with over forty years of leadership experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He has worked for the governments of Canada, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories and has held executive positions in the oil and gas, hi-tech and professional services industries. He has served on the Board of Directors of charitable organizations active the education, international development and community service fields. He is a graduate of the environmental sciences program at the University of Waterloo.
John has a long-standing interest in environmental matters generally and believes that the best way to strengthen environmental stewardship is through education about the consequences resulting from unsustainable practices and the opportunities which exist today for individuals to act to lessen environmental degradation. The Gaia Project speaks directly to this by training and inspiring students – our future leaders – to assess environmental issues and develop practical responses which can be implemented now.
Jake Arsenault is a serial high-tech entrepreneur. His related areas of interest include marketing, team building and new product creation. He has a PhD in engineering from the University of New Brunswick (UNB). Jake founded Inversa Systems, a pioneer of gamma-ray imaging for infrastructure based on his PhD research. He is also co-founder of The Black Arcs (TBA), an impact venture design to disrupt. TBA creates land-use and mobility models of cities, but built as web games for a broader civic discussion of sustainability.
Helping to support start-ups in the region, Jake mentors various early stage ventures. He enjoyed his time as Entrepreneur in Residence at UNB so much that he can still be found kicking around at TME’s Summer Institute. He also serves on the WMI Order board of directors and has been asked to contribute to the Ignite Fredericton’s Creative Sector Task Force.
Jakes feels that development of critical thinking through programs, such as the Gaia Project, are essential to Canada’s future success. He also wishes the program existed when he was in school.
I have been working on climate change for over 35 years; I believe that The Gaia Project has a piece of the puzzle that will help us solve it!
Education is a key component of our sponsorship priorities and this program (Trash Tracker) was a perfect fit.
I am humbled to be a member of the Gaia Board of Directors. It gives me an opportunity to give back to an organization that has given me and my students so many amazing opportunities and experiences. They have had a profound impact on me as an educator.
Climate change comes off as a complex subject to most, but The Gaia Project makes it approachable for students. When students feel empowered to take action, amazing progress can be made!