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Ayatana Crew
Some images lead to more info
   
alex
 

Alexis Williams, Director

Alexis Williams is an artist, amateur mycologist and the director of the Ayatana Artist Researh Program. She hosts guided tours through forests where participants are invited to step off the path to make decisions with intuition and experience the forest from new perspectives. She finds giving biology lessons from an artist’s point of view to be a natural way to facilitate the apreciation of things that are often overlooked. She gives workshops on mushroom foraging and on sterile tech for DIY mushroom cultivation. Alexis is devoted to sharing her passion for biology.

uyf
 

Stephanie Williams, Chef

I am a lapsed silver smith now retired from teaching visual art to elementary and secondary students and at the Faculty of Education, Ottawa University.
My teaching practice focussed on encouraging problem solving and creativity through visual art and the integration of the arts with other disciplines such as media literacy.
Since retirement I have put my art history degree to use as a docent at the National Gallery of Canada, and the art exhibits at the Canadian War Museumgiving frequent public talks and conducting tours.
I have joined several community theatre groups and designed & built costumes & props as well as producing 5 operas. I am president of a competitive women’s barbershop chorus.

juyf
 

 

Estraven Lupino-Smith, Expedition Leader

Estraven is an artist and researcher living in Victoria. Their current work explores the interactions of human and non-human animals in various environments: natural, cultural, and constructed.

I am an interdisciplinary artist whose work investigates the historical and social forces that shape our interactions with the natural world. I am specifically interested in ideas of home and belonging, urban wildlife and spaces of wildness, human and animal migrations, and relationships between place, space, and identity. I am consistently inspired by the transformative nature of artistic expression, the power of collective action, and the wonder of things found outside.

I work primarily as a printmaker to produce multiples and a sound artist who uses the guitar and baritone guitar. In my sound work I draw on samples from the Macauley Library, the largest online database of wildlife recordings. My practice also involves collaboration, both to produce visual and sound pieces, and is informed by interactions with varied environments: natural, cultural, and constructed. I am also a researcher and a writer. As a human geographer, I investigate spatial relationships, specifically the dynamics of natural and cultural spaces, and the human interventions in the imagined geographies of these places.

My most recent body of work depicts nocturnal and crepuscular species. The prints explore the connections between humans and non-human animals through our interactions in shared environments. Many of the animals featured as a part of this series have been vilified, and are still considered pests or dangerous. I wanted to celebrate these survivors, who live among us in cities and other complicated landscapes.

 

 

Shannon Amidon, Expedition Leader

Shannon is an award winning artist from San Jose, CA. She creates mixed media artwork primarily concentrating on the ancient medium of encaustic painting. She incorporates natural, upcycled and repurposed materials into her artwork, breathing new life into objects that would otherwise be destined for a landfill. Using environmentally safe and sustainable practices is very important to her. In addition to upcycling discarded objects and materials she also makes her own paints using natural earth pigments and binders.

     
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  Alysa Ellis, Expedition Leader
Alberta

Ellis is an Albertan born artist who has an ongoing love affair with botanical poison. She studies, documents and seeks out poisonous plants that can be found growing naturally within the province of Alberta. Through the process of her work, she studies the relationships between plants and people, and the dependence one has on the other.

“I’m in a constant ongoing, revolving and dissolving love affair with botanical life. We work together, play together and by all means narrate together in order to further develop our complicated relationship. While multidisciplinary in nature, the experimental research of our stories fluctuates between textiles, drawing, performance and installation. Despite always connecting back to the idea of plant storytelling, I strive to do nothing more than to unearth stories that delve into nature’s darker side.”

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  Michael Pissano, Expedition Leader
Pittsburgh

Michael Pisano is an animator, illustrator, and filmmaker. His first career aspiration was to be a dinosaur. Later acquisition of bifocals in suburban New Jersey led to an amateur interest in small things: ants, pondscum particles, fine print, and the Earth as featured in illustrations of the solar system. 

Michael uses storytelling, from documentary to illustration series to transmedia hybrids, to educate about nature and the importance of stewardship in the Anthropocene. His nonfiction work highlights the intricacy and intertwined beauty of all living things, and the researchers and activists working to understand and protect them. His fiction work uses the treatment of nature in myth and fantasy as a point of entry into environmental justice conversations. 

Since reading E.O. Wilson’s ​Naturalist at age 11, ants remain his favorite animal. He admires the qualities they represent: collaboration, selflessness, curiosity. Ants also remind Michael of relative scale, that humans are cells on a gently revolving giant. The giant clambers a circle around an infinite cosmos. That cosmos repeats infinitely. Simultaneously, we are each a subatomic cosmos, infinite electrons arrayed into monkey shapes wearing infinite plant fiber atoms using a variety of small boxes inside of bigger boxes, all experienced inside a fractalized matroyshka series of perceived cultural boxes. Thanks, ants.

Ayatana Experts
Some images lead to more info
 

The Ayatana Artists' Research Program relies on the generous information sharing of local experts.
Thank you scientists, naturalists, aficionados and connoisseurs for your enthusiasm and for teaching and inspiring the Ayatana visiting artists in residence.

ouy
 

Marie-Jeanne Musiol,
Krilian photographer

Marie- Jean is a Gatineau based artists who uses Krilian photography to record the luminous imprints of a plant’s electromagnetic field. She exhibits photographs of botanical energy in Canada and around the world. Her recent work explores fields of light surrounding plants, revealing a mirror image of the cosmos. Her electrophotography speaks the importance of magnetic fields as information carriers and speculates on the holographic nature of the universe.

kytf
 

Cassandra Robillard,
Botanist

 

Cassandra Robillard is a botany technical assistant at the Canadian Museum of Nature. She has produced botanical illustrations for Volumes 1 & 3 of the Flore des Bryophytes du Quebec-Labrador,  and for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

ouyf
 

Christian Gigault, Physisist

Originally from the shores of the Saguenay fjord in Quebec, Christian spent some time in southern Ontario in the 1990s, completing a Ph.D. degree in experimental polymer physics at the University of Guelph in 2000. That year he moved to Ottawa to work in telecommunications research and development, and since 2003 he is with the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa. There, he is heavily involved with teaching and outreach to the community. Scientific research interests have included polymer physics, biophysics, optics, taking part in the development of a 'Cesium Fountain'-type atomic clock at the National Research Council.

yitf
 
Owen Clarkin, trees/shrubs and chemistry

I have been fascinated with trees (and shrubs) for my whole life and I love to share this passion. From the perspective of ecological conservation/change I am especially interested in uncommon native species and naturalizing non-native species, and methods for species-level identification.  As a chemist by training, plant biochemistry is a strong secondary interest.

Jim

 

Jim des Rivières,
Photographer, Moth Man

Jim des Rivières is a self-taught photographer and fine art printer. His stunning moth images are captured directly with high-resolution flatbed scanners, and printed on large format archival pigment-based inkjet printers. The large high-resolution prints allow the viewer to see them up close without a magnifying glass, opening up a marvelous world of intricate shapes, structures, and colours that surprise and delight viewers of all ages. The Canadian Museum of Nature's Winged Tapestries travelling exhibition includes 45 of his large moth prints, and has visited major nature museums in Ottawa, New York City, and Edmonton.

jf
 

Chad Cliffard, Sound Scaper

Works at his business Wilderness Rhythms, specializing in outdoor survival, nature lore, and bushcraft instruction. He is a natural sound recordist for measuring density and diversity of species. 

 

kuf
 

Lauren Moretto, Biologist

Lauren Moretto is currently a Masters student at Carleton University, hoping to protect and inform the effective management of biodiversity. She is particularly interested in how urban development influences biodiversity and how wildlife can persist in urban environments. She is currently studying bats in Toronto, Ontario, and examining the landscape extents at which natural habitat should be managed for them in urban environments. She also worked with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for a year protecting wetlands in the Greater Toronto Area.  Lauren recognizes the importance of engaging the public in wildlife protection, and loves to share her knowledge to hopefully inspire others to take action.

lori

 

Lori Bennett, Nature Interpreter

Lori's love for nature was obvious to everyone!  ...  right from "babyhood"  The youngest of 4 with 9 years  between them, she grew up in a beautiful old neighborhood in Ottawa but was happiest at her beloved cottage. With no electricity or running water, a lot of her time was spent in the woods, exploring, collecting, enjoying each scent and sound, and admiring wildlife.  Her favorite past time was hand feeding the chipmunks!  The "Good 'ol Days" they were.  Adulthood found her working for Bell Canada for 14 years where she gained much knowledge in the world of business until the company started cutting back.  She attended Algonquin College and earned her certificate in home decor but ended up starting and running a horseback riding school offering birthday celebrations, summer camp and riding excursions for the next 20 years instead.    In 2012, she was asked to submit her resume to the Friends of Gatineau Park as they were looking to hire a nature interpreter.  Since then, Lori has been passionately offering guided tours to groups and the general public in the Gatineau park on various themes from animal tracking in the snow to the history of the first settlers in the Gatineau Hills.  She feels right at home.

 

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Beth McLarty Halfkenny, Geological Technician

As Outreach Coordinator at Carleton University, I organize classroom visits, field trips and presentations, create Earth Science teaching resources and provide teacher training opportunities.  My background includes an Honours Geology degree from University of Western Ontario, summer field work with the Ontario Geological Survey, a University Research Assistantship and several years as a Geological Technician. This together with my years working as a high school Science Teaching Assistant has shaped my mission to ensure students and teachers at all levels of education have the resources they need to learn about Earth systems and processes. I am constantly looking for new ideas to improve Earth Science literacy and help motivate students, educators and community  groups to engage with the natural world and to see the links between the “stuff” in our lives and where it comes from.  My job allows me to interact with young people and I find it incredibly gratifying to see how kids  connect with science when given the opportunity to explore for themselves.  I am a member of the Canadian Geoscience Education Network, the Ottawa Gatineau Geoheritage Project and am Co-Chair of the EdGEO Canadian Earth Science Teachers Workshop Program.

 

khgf
 

Amber Westfall, Herbalist

Amber Westfall is the owner of the Wild Garden, a small business in Ottawa, ON. Through plant walks, workshops and teaching courses on herbalism at the International Academy of Natural Health Sciences, she shares her passion about wild food and medicinal plants.
Amber is the caretaker of a 1/2 acre parcel of land as part of Just Food’s Start-up Farm Program. This site is in the early stages of becoming a certified organic, medicinal food forest. At this location Amber also runs a Young Herbalist's Apprenticeship program for youth, ages 8 and up. The Wild Garden provides community members with a variety of local, organic and sustainably harvested wild food and herb products such as herbal teas and wild food preserves.
Connecting people and plants in this way imparts a kind of nature connection that fosters a greater intimacy and deeper understanding of the local landscape, while encouraging stewardship, co-creative relationships and regenerative care of the spaces we inhabit.

kuy
 

Bev McBride, naturalist

An amateur naturalist, Bev began studying birds after realizing that one of the sparrows she was watching in her front yard was not like the others. That led to great opportunities for travel, voluntary field work and even, combined with her degree in Environmental Studies, a real job that has endured in one form or another. Twelve years’ work in a former role in the Canadian office of the North American Breeding Bird Survey, and many hours every year counting birds in field surveys, gave Bev a knack for the sometimes tricky task of identifying bird species by their sounds as well as by sight. There is always more to learn! She is also a member, field trip leader and birds committee member with the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club. Her happiest birding (or birdwatching) moments are while looking for little brown birds in the shrubbery. She has never forgotten that first, odd sparrow.

luyf
  Christina Lewis, naturalist

I’m a registered nurse in Ottawa who enjoys working with people and sharing my enjoyment of the natural world inhabited by creatures other than the human kind, especially nature’s winged wonders. In the mid-1990’s my amateur passion for bird-watching led to bug-hunting, particularly the pursuit of Odonata — the dragonflies and damselflies that have fascinated me since childhood: Who are those big beautiful bugs that zoom like helicopters snapping up mosquitoes and deerflies, but never bite us? Who are those tiny flying magic wands that drift up and fly together in heart-shaped wheels?Thanks to the generous sharing of expertise and enthusiasm by many amateur and professional naturalists within and without the Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club both my knowledge and humility about these winged wonders and so many other aspects of natural history have been greatly enriched. And it’s a joy to continue learning and sharing with others.
liy
 

Jordan Bouchard, agriculturalist

Jordan Bouchard is a program coordinator for Just Food that works primarily on seed programming & community gardens. Jordan is passionate about growing and (especailly) eating good food. Just Food is a food systems organization that operates in the Ottawa Region.  As part of their programming they work on a variety of food & farming related programming all the way up & down the food system.   The Ottawa Seed Library & Regional Seed Project, situated at Just Food Farm in the Eastern Greenbelt, are working to enhance seed skills in the Ottawa region to rebuild the base of our food system.  Why is seed important?  Nine out of every ten bites starts from seed!  

jhgc
 

Sean Butler, Farmer

Sean’s enthusiasm for growing food came first from a passion for eating good food. When he realized that one could grow or gather foods far superior to 99% of what’s available on the market, there was no looking back. He WWOOFed, apprenticed and worked on organic farms from BC’s Cortes Island to an abandoned Newfoundland outport. In 2014 he began Ferme et Forêt with his partner, Genevieve LeGal-Leblanc, on 150 acres near Wakefield, QC. Laying hens were one of the first things they got, though they also produce maple syrup, shiitake mushrooms, garlic, asparagus, wild foods, baking, and berries.

liv
 

Liv Monck-Whipp, zoologist

Liv did her BSc in Zoology at the University of Guelph, and then took off into the woods for awhile. She is interested in ways of mitigating the negative effects of human developments on wildlife, and in how animals survive in human-altered landscapes. She has worked on projects investigating nest protection for turtles, road mitigation for reptiles, and the effects of logging techniques on birds and vegetation communities. She is currently a Masters student at Carleton, studying bat communities in agricultural areas. She is hoping to discover if there are ways to arrange farmland that will benefit bats without reducing the amount of crops being grown. She also enjoys contributing to citizen science projects and creating web comics about nature and field work. 

 

anrw

 

Andrew Pelling, Biologist

Andrew Pelling is a Canada Research Chair and Professor at the University of Ottawa where he directs the Laboratory for Biophysical Manipulation, an openly curious and exploratory space where scientists, engineers and artists work in close quarters. The lab dedicated to understanding the limits of living systems and how biological entities can be controlled, manipulated and re-purposed using non-genetic and non-pharmacological means. Andrew is ultimately interested in creating functional, living, biological composites that do not naturally exist in nature.

 

an

 

Daniel Modulevsky, Biochemist

Daniel Modulevsky achieved his undergraduate Biochemistry degree at the University of Ottawa and now is a biology master student in the Pelling Lab for Biophysical Manipulation.  His main research project involves developing 3D cell culture scaffolds.  Recently, at the Pelling Lab, they optimized a protocol to decellularize plant tissue in an attempt to use the cellulose scaffolds to culture mammalian cells.  Our recent work has been published at PLoS ONE.  Daniel has collaborated with Bioartist Tristan Matheson in the past to develop paintings based on scanning electon microscope (SEM) images of decellularized apple tissue.   

 

ut
 

Dr. Sandra M. Barr is Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  During her 40+-year academic career she has shared her passion for Earth science with thousands of students, helping them to better understand and appreciate Earth processes and history, while seeking through her own research to better understand the details of that history herself.  Her research has a strong emphasis on studying rocks in the field, and to see them she has hiked many of the rivers, streams, and shorelines in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.  Dr. Barr has over 200 publications in peer-reviewed research journals, and numerous book chapters, government reports, maps, field trip guides, open-file reports, and a popular book co-authored with Martha Hild on the “Geology of Nova Scotia”.  She has presented the results of her work at conferences world-wide.  In addition to teaching and research, she has also been active as a volunteer. She is co-editor of the Atlantic Geoscience Society journal "Atlantic Geology".  In 2015, she received the Ambrose Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in recognition of her exemplary service to Canadian geoscience.

gt

  Rob Raeside grew up in Scotland, studying at Aberdeen University, before coming to Canada to complete a Masters degree at Queen’s University.  He obtained his PhD from the University of Calgary, where he worked on rocks from the mountains in central BC.  He has taught at Acadia University since 1982. His focus is on minerals, metamorphism and mountain building, and the courses he teaches match that.  Outside the classroom, he has been department head for most of the past twenty years in the Earth and Environmental Science Department, and he conducts research into the origin of the Appalachian Mountain chain, mainly in Cape Breton Island and southern Nova Scotia.  Much of his work involves microscopic examination of mineral and rocks, and he always enjoys introducing his students to the mysteries and colours of the world of mineral optics.
ku
 

Ruth E. Newell is a graduate of both Acadia University (Wolfville, NS) and the University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario) where she has received degrees in biology and botany. Since graduating, she has worked for over thirty years at Acadia University as the Curator of the E.C. Smith Herbarium (part of the Irving Biodiversity Collection, in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre). This position involves taking care of a collection of over 200,000 dried botanical specimens including flowering plants, ferns and fern allies, mosses, lichens and liverworts and fungi. This invaluable collection documents the past and current wild flora of the Acadian Forest Region and is utilized by researchers, students, artists, professional botanists and many others. Ruth is keenly interested in wild plants and their preservation and is currently a member of several rare plant recovery teams, and the Nova Scotia Species at Risk Working Group. She has recently co-authored (together with Marian C Munro and Nicolas M. Hill) Nova Scotia’s first e-flora entitled Nova Scotia Plants (https://ojs.library.dal.ca/NSM/pages/view/Plants).  This document is a comprehensive guide to Nova Scotia’s wild flora.

Kvin
 

Kevin, Sound healer

dad
 

 

Ridgeley Williams, Geologist

Since retiring as a museum scientist, Ridgeley Williams has enjoyed cooking and eating traditional European and Mediterranean foods as well as following interests in local history (for example, transcribing C19th Welsh census records) and family history (tracing the life of a serial-bigamist gt-great uncle). He was educated at the Universities of Exeter, U.K., and Ottawa, Canada, and led fossil-collecting expeditions to the High Arctic. He became Chief Curator of Mineral Sciences and Assistant Director of the National Museum of Natural Sciences (now called the Canadian Museum of Nature). Responsibility for exhibit production & education programmes highlighted the need for better information on how learning and communication actually takes place in museums and galleries. He helped establish and was President of the Visitor Studies Association, which sponsored research and published results of exhibit evaluations, science literacy levels, and studies of visitor behaviour in informal-learning environments.

 

 

 

sky diving

 

David Williamson, pilot, skydiver

David Williamson is a professional skydiver and owner of the Atlantic School of Skydiving. Having made close to 8000 jumps since 1975 David focuses on keeping skydiving active in Nova Scotia. He provides introductory training and progression to advanced skydiver levels. David also takes much pleasure in providing tandem skydiving opportunities for those wishing to experience a freefall skydive. Since skydiving is seasonal in Nova Scotia, David finds winter training and work opportunities in many southern countries.

 

Tom Cosman, beekeeper

In 1977 Tom Cosman saw some bee hives in the neighbour’s backyard. “You’d better not let your bees hurt my baby girl,” he said “Or else!”

“You’re overreacting,” said his wife, Mary Ann Whidden, when she got home from work. The next day she gave Tom a book: The Joys of Bee keeping by Richard Taylor. After reading it, Tom was hooked.

Tom and Mary Ann’s 1500 honeybee colonies now pollinate commercial fruit farms across the province. Cosman and Whidden Honey is available in most markets in Nova Scotia.

 

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Chris Mansky, geologist

Chris Mansky, curator of the Blue Beach Fossil Museum & Research Center had a passion for fossils from childhood. He spent many years building his collection from the West Coast of Canada, but in 1995 found his way to the Eastern shores of Nova Scotia (Blue Beach, Kings County). A self taught citizen-paleontologist, Chris was intrigued to have a chance to find trace fossils and bones of the first creatures ever, to move out of water and walk on land 350 000 000 years ago, the tetrapods.  He spent the first three years of his time at Blue Beach wondering if he'd ever find the illusive bones or footprints; then he did and since has amassed the largest and most important track collections of this time period, the Lower Carboniferous.  Thirteen years ago, Chris and his partner, Sonja Wood set up the small home-based museum on their property to allow Local, National and International Visitors the chance to see some of the amazing collection gathered from the shoreline. Their mission is to build a new fossil institute at Blue Beach in order to house the ever-growing collection of world-class fossils and to host the ever-growing number of people who enjoy this amazing location on the head-waters of the Bay of Fundy.

 

 

Mathieu Gregoire, marine biologist, astronomer

My fascination with aquatic life began early when I received my first aquarium as a gift for my 8th birthday.  Since then I've developed a passion for aquarium-keeping which ultimately led me to enroll at Acadia.  I graduated with a B.Sc. in biology in 2013 after taking nearly every available marine or ecology related course.  Since graduation I have begun my own research as a part of an M.Sc. in Marine Biology.  My research involves the monitoring and evaluation of fish passage on fish ladders near the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border, and I hope to graduate in the spring of 2015.  
During my first semester I decided to enroll in an Astronomy course as an elective.  I was hooked immediately.  I excelled in the course and was asked if I would be willing to work as a Teaching Assistant the following year.  This fall will be the 5th straight year that I hold the position.

 

 

uyf

 

 

Jim Wolford, biologist

I am a retired university biology instructor from Acadia University, retired 1995, and before that I taught at the University of Alberta, Edmonton (1963 to 1975).  I have a Master’s degree in Biology from Univ. of Alberta, 1966, where I studied herons in southern cattail marshes.  My interests are diverse, from bacteria to whales (a biodiversity freak) but am especially interested in chimney swifts, local bald eagles, amphibians and reptiles, pond life, importance of extensive, representative, protected lands and their biodiversity, etc.  

 

 

yvon

 

Yvon Haché, aerial photographer

Passionate for kites and photography, Yvon Haché began building kites in 2003 and started using them for aerial photography in 2004 with a camera rig that he built. Being an electronic engineer, he likes playing with electronic circuits and microcontrollers to control his camera.  He built 4 different camera rigs so far and he's currently working on a fifth one to improve stability, add functionality and reduce weight.
Many of his aerial pictures have made the headlines in local newspapers and on television with Peter Coade and Kalin Mitchell on CBC weather reports.  
Yvon has been a kite flyer at the Dieppe international kite festival since 2004.  Since then, he built and experimented with different kind of kites to improve stability in different wind range for his camera and also to participate in kite creation contests.  He uses a technique called appliquee for his graphics on his kites which consist of pieces of different colors of fabrics sewed together.
In 2012, Yvon won first place at the Dieppe International Kite festival kite creation contest with his Olympic Maxi-Dopero and he won 2nd place in 2013 for his kite with a view of the Solar System from the moon.
Yvon is currently secretary/treasurer of the Dieppe kite club Sky-Lines and he participates/teaches kite building with the kite club members.