Climate-Focused Professional Learning Series

October 2022 - April 2023

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Natural Curiosity and Green Teacher are excited to launch a climate-focused virtual professional learning series to support a just recovery from COVID-19. This series is for educators who wish to deepen their own inquiry into the ecology of Natural Curiosity — growing a learning environment where educators and students experience themselves in relationship with the Land and each other in community — and how this pedagogical approach can be applied to climate change education.

Over the course of six months, educators will explore the four-branch framework of environmental inquiry and the associated Indigenous lenses, that present tangible entry points towards a reciprocal relationship with the Land participating as a co-teacher. This framework will be applied to a solutions-focused approach to climate change education that leaves students both informed and empowered about the challenges and opportunities of anthropogenic climate change. Strategies to overcome barriers will be discussed in a safe and collegial online environment where educators may process their experiences, ask questions, and share stories. A Slack communication channel will be created to allow for conversation and mutual support between sessions.

 

Program Dates

October 26 

November 16

December 7

January 18

February 22

April 5

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET; 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm PST

SOLD OUT! Please register to join the waiting list!

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Schedule

Part 1: Introduction to the Four Branches of Natural Curiosity and the Indigenous Lenses

  •  NC focus: Exploring the pedagogical framework and the Indigenous lenses
    Climate focus: Inquiry-based exploration of climate change — asking the big questions
     

Part 2: Branch 1 & Indigenous Lens I: Inquiry and Engagement/Lighting the Fire

  • NC focus: Learning from the heart and from the land; connecting to the natural world through an inquiry approach
    Climate focus: exploring climate issues and making connections


Part 3: Branch 2 & Indigenous Lens II: Experiential Learning/Sending Out Roots

  •  NC focus: Getting outside, addressing barriers and effective strategies for enhancing our relationship with the land
    Climate focus: Learning local and from the land


Part 4: Branch 3 & Indigenous Lens III: Integrated Learning/The Flow of Knowledge

  • NC focus: Deepening our inquiry through interconnections
    Climate focus: Sharing community-based solutions


Part 5: Branch 4 & Indigenous Lens IV: Moving Towards Sustainability/Breathing With The World

  • NC focus: Building reciprocal relationships with the natural world
    Climate focus: Teaching a systems-based approach to climate action


Part 6: Putting it into Action

  • NC focus: Applying and sharing Natural Curiosity through educator stories
    Climate focus: Sharing high-impact practices in climate change education

Facilitators

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Natasha Bascevan

Natasha Bascevan is Anishinaabe- Metis-Wemtigoshiikwe with family in Maniwaki and Sudbury. She completed her Master’s of Education at OISE in Leadership, Policy and Change in 2022. As the co-editor of the Turtle Island Journal of Indigenous Health and years of experience in Indigenous education having taught early learning to post-secondary, Natasha is the owner/director of Mino Mashkiki Consulting Inc. where her mission is to make safer spaces for future ancestors to step into. She continues to support schools and community organizations to apply survivance, resistance and resurgence as it pertains to learning design, physical landscapes, policies & leadership within colonial systems.

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Ian Shanahan

Ian Shanahan (OCT) is a guest and settler on Turtle Island. His combined passions of nature, education, art, writing, editing, and storytelling have led him to Green Teacher, where he became the General Editor in 2018. This role has gradually expanded to include webinar hosting, podcast co-hosting, and the facilitating of PD sessions on climate change and biodiversity education. Across 13 seasons with Ontario Parks, Ian worked as a naturalist at Presqu’ile for eight years, a Species at Risk surveyor at Charleston Lake for one year, and a naturalist at Algonquin for four years, the last of which was spent backfilling as the coordinator of Algonquin’s renowned interpretive program. Concurrently, he completed his BAH at Queen’s University and then his BEd at the University of Toronto before becoming an Ontario Certified Teacher. Off the corner of his desk, Ian works as a voice actor, nature artist, writer, environmental consultant, and nature guide.

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Maria Vamvalis

Maria Vamvalis is the daughter of Greek immigrants and grew up in Ontario, now residing as a guest and settler in Dish with One Spoon Treaty Territory. She is an experienced educator, having taught in the public school system for over a decade. In addition, she is a facilitator and curriculum consultant who works at the intersections of the climate emergency, equity, racial justice, decolonization, complex problem solving and progressive, transformative change both locally and globally. She has worked with diverse educational and social change organizations including IFEX (The International Freedom of Expression Network), the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Peace and Sustainable Development (UNESCO), I-Think, and school boards across the country with the Critical Thinking Consortium.

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Gillian Petrini

Gillian Petrini is a settler and grateful guest on the traditional territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking peoples.  Gillian holds a BEd and MEd from the University of Victoria with a focus on environmental sciences and is a Forest School Practitioner with the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada.  She has a passion for connecting children and youth with the outdoors and nurturing relationship to land and place.  Her background includes over 15 years in education from early years to adults, in classrooms and forests, on beaches and sailboats, both locally and abroad.  For the past ten years, Gillian has also worked in numerous consulting roles with various organizations connecting young people to community and place through project management and curriculum development initiatives. Currently, Gillian is the Healthy Environments for Learning Day (HELD) Project Coordinator for the Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and Environment.

Have any questions?

If you wish to chat with a member of the Natural Curiosity team to further discuss program details, please do not hesitate to contact Aleksa Nitsis, our Program Manager at naturalcuriosity@utoronto.ca.

We are able to offer this workshop free of charge thanks to funding from Community Foundations of Canada / Fondations Communautairs du Canada as part of the Canada Healthy Communities initiative.