Teaching in Context

I am committed to place-based, experiential educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students as they provide potential opportunities for transformational learning.  Place-based education promotes learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique history, environment, culture, economy, literature, and art of a particular place.  The place-based, experiential opportunities I have been able to offer my students include: the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society’s Conservation Biology course, “Applications of Multiple Sources of Ecological Knowledge”; Introduction to Indigenous Knowledge for Environmental Studies Students - co–taught with Anishanaabe Elder Peter Schuler; and, Land-craft and Primitive Skills.



ERS 475/675: Land-craft and Primitive Skills, University of Waterloo Field Course

In human history land-craft and primitive skills involved (and for a tiny minority, still involve) a continuous interplay between social stocks of knowledge, stories, ritual practices, cognitive models of natural entities and processes  (i.e. landscapes, ecology, raw materials etc.) and the tactile/craft skills through which people intervene, mould and transform ‘nature.’ This course will combine academic seminars with a bespoke, one week course in survival and landcraft skills provided by David Arama (the man who trained ‘survivor man’ Les Stroud). 

ERS 675 - Introduction to Indigenous Knowledge for Environmental Studies Students, University of Waterloo Pilot Course

This unique course, co-taught with Traditional Knowledge Holder/Elder Peter Schuler from the Mississauga’s of the New Credit First Nation, will provide students an introduction to First Nations issues in Canada and to Traditional Knowledge and Practice.  The course introduces students to academic literature that documents historic and current Indigenous issues in Canada as well as decolonizing and critical Indigenous methodologies but more importantly, the course gives students the opportunity to learn directly from a Traditional Knowledge Holder in both classroom and experiential contexts.  Small group discussions will address themes such as Traditional Medicine, understanding our relations, invasive species, different conceptions of time as well as the nature of knowledge. Students taking the course have the opportunity to participate in a Sweat Lodge Ceremony led by Mr. Schuler. 

HGSE 358: Conservation Ecology: Applications of Multiple Sources of Ecological Knowledge, Haida Gwaii Semester Module

This course provides an opportunity to learn and apply conceptual tools in the context of a real case study of fostering social change and building adaptive capacity through interactions with groups/agencies on Haida Gwaii. Students are provided with an introduction to the conceptual tools of systems thinking and resilience that help understand the dynamics of social change and social innovation.