The Gaia Project is a non-profit charitable organization with the mission to empower youth to take action on climate change through education.
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.
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 is vegan.
Anna-Lee has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the Université de Moncton and has a passion social empowerment, working with youth and nature.
She brings over 10 years of experience in community development in the not-for-profit sector. She joined The Gaia Project in 2020 to build the Green Experts Program which was created to showcase existing green careers in the province, and to inspire youth to explore meaningful jobs.
Anna-Lee has had many opportunities to work in management positions and seeks to become an authentic leader with continuous self-reflection and professional development. She lives and learns on the unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Wolastoqiyik peoples and shares her life with her wife, dog, cat and chickens.
Travis joins The Gaia Project team as Fundraising Manager bringing with him both leadership and business experience. A graduate of the University of New Brunswick’s Renaissance College, Travis holds a Bachelors in Interdisciplinary Leadership. Having worked as Communications Coordinator for the New Brunswick Child, Youth, and Senior Advocates’ Office and as Recruitment Officer with UNB, Travis is always keen to engage with the passion and excitement of young people.
From Fredericton, when he is not at work you can find Travis exploring the city trails, kayaking along the Nashwaak, or visiting the Boyce Farmers Market on Saturdays.
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.
Katelyn is a natural planner, strategist and writer. Having earned her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies; Philosophy, Art, Technology and Education, at York University, Katelyn has focused her career within the nonprofit sector. Contributing to positive social change has always been an important element of her professional pursuits, though she has focused on developing her skills and expertise on content creation, event planning, and leadership.
In 2020, Katelyn earned a Certificate in Digital Strategy and Communications Management through the University of Toronto. Her passion for communication, storytelling and digital accessibility as well as her roots in environmental studies helps Katelyn to bring unique perspectives and insights to The Gaia Project team.
When it’s time to recharge, Katelyn enjoys spending time with her family, playing guitar and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
Guylaine is passionate about learning and education. She holds a BSc-BEd in biology and history from Université de Moncton. Born in Bathurst, she moved to Fredericton in 2012 upon completing her degree. Before joining Gaia, Guylaine worked for several years as a fifth-grade teacher in a francophone school. There, she witnessed the way project and inquiry-based teaching methods made a meaningful impact on students’ learning. She loved seeing them develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills using real life problems. Guylaine strongly believes today’s youth shows incredible promise, and that educating children and getting them involved in the fight against climate change is key to significant change.
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 Coordinator. 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 Coordinator, 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.
Bobbi-Jo’s passion for food was established early at her grandmother’s U-Pick blueberry fields, on Prince Edward Island. After years spent traveling abroad, she became a holistic chef at Bauman College and learned to help others develop a healthy connection to food.
Following her degree in sustainability from the University of Maine, she has worked with youth building gardens, growing food, composting and teaching cooking classes in their communities. Educating students on the importance of local organic foods, reducing waste and regenerative agriculture practices has been a driving factor in her work within the non-profit sector.
She is currently taking a Market Gardener Master Class with one of her heroes, JM Fortier. When she is not working with food, she can be found doing qi gong, playing her drum and spending time in nature with her cat, Harvey.
Adam (he/him) has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Thomas University where he completed a double major in History and Economics and a Master of Arts in Public History from Carleton University. He has a passion for the history of New Brunswick, its environment, and helping to make it a better place for future generations.
He was born and raised in Fredericton where he grew up fishing and picking fiddleheads along the Nashwaak River Valley every Spring. He now takes his wife and daughter along to share in the experience.
Adam is an outcomes-focused professional who has worked in both the public and private sectors. He has experience in research, advocacy, and public education and hopes to apply his skillset to help Gaia educate the next generation of climate conscious citizens.
Sébastien has obtained a background in Social Sciences through his studies at St. Thomas University. With his training in Psychology, he seeks to learn more about the interpersonal connections that are associated with climate action and eco-anxiety. At any rate, ecological consciousness has always been an important determinant of his agenda, as he developed many environmental initiatives with the Polyvalente Thomas-Albert high school in Grand Falls. After his work with the Fredericton Salvation Army Therapeutic Garden, he is pleased to pursue his efforts in sustainability by joining a team of ambitious people at The Gaia Project. During his free time, Sébastien enjoys reading and long-distance running.
Hayley (she/her) joined The Gaia Project as a summer student and Program Coordinator for the summer of 2023. She is a student at the University of New Brunswick’s Renaissance College, entering her third year completing a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership with a minor in Political Science. She plans to pursue a career in law. She is passionate about climate justice, sustainability, and education, and hopes to pursue a career in these fields. Hayley is originally from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, and in her free time enjoys reading, crocheting, and spending time outdoors.
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.”
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.
As a lifelong educator, I’m excited to be a member of the Gaia Board of Directors. The environmental impacts of climate change and harmful human activity are critical issues for all of us. Educating our youth about these environmental issues while challenging them to develop possible solutions, gives me hope that our world can be saved. The Gaia Project endeavours to provide enriching learning opportunities for all New Brunswick youth, from kindergarten to graduation, that tackle real life environmental problems. So, it’s an honour to be a part of the board and contribute to Gaia’s important mission.
I am hopeful that my forty-four years as a classroom teacher, principal, and student services administrator/director at both the K-12 and university levels will be an asset to the Gaia organization. Nelson Mandala once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I couldn’t agree more!
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.
Dr. Michel T. Léger is an Associate Professor of Education at the Université de Moncton. Before completing a PhD in Environmental Education (2012), Dr. Léger earned previous bachelor’s degrees in both Science (Biology) and Education, as well as a master’s degree in Education. After teaching high school science for 11 years, he now teaches classes in research methods, cognitive learning strategies and environmental education, in both undergraduate and postgraduate education programs. Dr. Léger also conducts research in the fields of Environmental Education, Technopedagogy and Educational Psychology, specializing not only in the potential role and the limits of technologies in fostering environmental action, but also the processes behind green habit adoption in the context of family.
I am passionate about contributing to a sustainable future. A very large challenge! However, as I look around the world I see leaders that recognize education and sustainable practices are the key to reaching this goal. In my view the Gaia Project is a leading example of how youth can become informed about climate change and enable action to address our changing climate. A critical part of our sustainable future.
I hope to be able to share my forty years of science-based experience, my on-going personal passion for sustainability and contribute to the on-going success of the Gaia team!
Laura has taught in Hampton, NB, for more than 30 years. She has taught primarily high school mathematics and after watching “Before the Flood” on Earth Day in 2017, she decided it was time to explicitly incorporate climate change into her math classes. The students in her grade 11 class decided they wanted to build a greenhouse and what developed after that was a sequence of events leading to the HHS greenhouse, the creation of the Climate Action Team, becoming a platinum Eco School, being featured in Canadian Geographic, building a food forest, and many other climate action initiatives. In 2019, Laura was trained as a Climate Reality Leader through the Climate Reality Project and in 2020, she started teaching Environmental Science 120. In 2022, she was awarded the 2022 Gaia Champion Teacher Award for excellence in climate action and youth empowerment. In June of 2022, she decided to retire from classroom teaching and made climate change education her primary focus when she joined Learning for a Sustainable Future as an environmental educational consultant. She helps high school teachers incorporate climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals across the curriculum.
Christy leads all aspects of the human resources function at LuminUltra Technologies Ltd., a biotech leader in developing tests and reagents for environmental, industrial, and diagnostic monitoring. She has over 15 years’ experience in HR, is a Certified Professional in Human Resources, and holds her MBA from Université de Moncton (’15). Christy is passionate about giving back to her community and is a Connector for those new to Canada as part of the Ignite Connector Program. She is also the co-founder of HR Leadership Connect-NB, a peer mentoring forum for HR leaders.
I am excited to participate on The Gaia Project Board as climate change and sustainability is an issue that affects us all, and the key to initiating real change is through education of our youth. I’m looking forward to helping The Gaia Project grow and increase awareness in our community!
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Now advisor for The Gaia Project, George was a volunteer and board member for over ten 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.
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.
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.
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.”
Shelley has had an interesting and varied career. After graduating with her Bachelor of Business Administration from UNBSJ, Shelley joined NBTel and took on various roles from accounting to sales and customer service. After 18 years with NBTel/Aliant she moved on to take roles leading various call centers including Avis and CIBC. From there Shelley fulfilled a lifelong dream to build and operate her own business while also becoming more focused on Human Resources in her professional life. In Human Resources Shelley found the discipline she is most passionate about and continues to concentrate on to this day as Director of Human Resources, Research and Productivity Council (RPC).
Shelley has always been involved in the community, playing various sports and assisting with the associated teams and leagues. While she and her husband were raising their daughters, she contributed in various ways to their sporting life including coaching, and/or managing teams various teams, and serving as board members of the governing association(s). Now as an empty nest approaches Shelley has rekindled her personal involvement in sports as well as sought out other opportunities for community involvement. She currently is a Board member of the Fredericton SPCA as well as Treasurer for the Fredericton Freeze, a woman’s basketball team, and entrant in the Maritime Woman’s Basketball League.
Joining The Gaia Project as a consultant will give Shelley the opportunity to contribute in a different way, assisting an impactful organization such as the Gaia Project with its goal of education at the most fundamental level, our children.
“I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to understanding more about the organization and how I can contribute.”
The youth of today are the leaders, innovators, scientists, entrepreneurs and decision makers of tomorrow. The Gaia Project is a unique organization helping students to understand and take action against this existential threat, now and in the future.
Young people have a role in protecting our climate today and tomorrow, this is why we're happy to support The Gaia Project in their mission of empowering youth.
Opportunities with The Gaia Project have helped to bring about real changes, not only in the students' understanding and views of the world around them and their capacity to help, but also in the way the school is actually run as we have made concrete changes in some of our energy consumption strategies and practices.
Thank you, I told my parents what we did in class and now they want to recycle at home!