The WAV 2017 Team

Wild About Vancouver Outdoor Education Festival is a local, grassroots, democratic organization that relies on the generous volunteerism of our community members. We have assembled a wonderful team of individuals who are deeply committed to getting more people outside more often.

Become a volunteer and get IN-volved in getting people OUT-doors!

WAV Steering Committee

Dr. Hartley Banack – WAV Festival Chair
Lecturer – Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, UBC

I am rather passionate about outdoor education, and I am attempting to live more ‘locally’ (whatever that might mean), and explore this in my approach to outdoor education. I know myself to be an educator, philosopher, poet, and a fierce advocate by nature. I hold a BC teaching certificate from SFU, and have taught with various age groups and indistinct educational settings, including pre-school, elementary school, high school, post-secondary school, and with adults and seniors.

 Jenna Benko – Communications Sub-Committee

Jenna grew up in Alberta and fondly remembers summer days spent in her parents’ massive garden. Between university semesters she worked at an outdoor adventure camp in Whistler, BC and this launched her love of outdoor experiential learning. Working as a flight attendant Jenna spent several years on international adventures. She moved to BC in 2014 and now spends her time eagerly exploring all British Columbia has to offer. As an educator and outdoor enthusiast she is excited by the opportunity to engage with like-minded Vancouverites and adventurers through the WAV community.

 Lauren Black – Events Sub-Committee

Lauren is an avid explorer of nature and has a constant desire to adventure outdoors. Originally from Ontario, she continues to fuel her outdoor passion with the BC mountains as her new playground. Lauren currently teaches at an elementary school in the private sector of Vancouver and is passionate about engaging students with the world around them through outdoor and environmental learning.

 Jason Camp – Events Sub-Committee

Born in Vancouver, Jason has called the city home his whole life. In addition, Jason has been lucky enough to explore, not just the wilderness just outside the city limits, but the great outdoors around the world. From mountaineering in the St. Elias range in Canada, to rock climbing in the deserts of Australia, to scuba diving in the Caribbean, to hiking in Iceland, Jason has listened to the call of the wild and answered to the best of his ability. A teacher for the past 10 years, Jason is passionate about hands-on learning experiences, and has done his best to encourage his students to explore the natural world.

 Susanna Chan – Outreach Sub-Committee and FNIS Practicum Student

Susanna is an outdoor adventurer who enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring new places. She grew up on Vancouver Island, where she also learned about hunting, wildlife, and fishing. She is currently finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of British Columbia in the First Nations & Indigenous Studies Program.

 Irene Chang – Outreach Sub-Committee

I am a Grade 11 student, studying at Stratford Hall IB School. This is my second year living in Vancouver, so everything is new and unfamiliar to me. What I find most familiar here is all things “nature”. Back in Taiwan, I would go camping with my family; I enjoyed being outside, and had more opportunities to connect with nature. In many ways, nature calms me down and releases me from the daily stress of school. Last year, I joined WAV as an event photographer, and this year I am on the Outreach Sub-Committee. Our goal as a Sub-Committee is to bring more languages into WAV and get people with different backgrounds involved with nature and the ‘wild’. To me, being outdoors and connecting with nature is relaxing!

 Spring Cheng  – Outreach Sub-Committee

I first started loving the outdoors when I started climbing trees in my native country, Taiwan, and Vancouver has so much to give in terms of outdoor fun. It is a very exciting opportunity for me to be a part of the WAV team as a student, currently attending my last year at David Thompson Secondary. The encouraging environment makes the effort to support this organization that has such a great cause enjoyable.

 Kate Inch – Events Sub-Committee

Kate is an outdoor enthusiast and loves to explore the beautiful and rugged landscapes of British Columbia.  As a Secondary teacher with the Vancouver School Board, Kate works to promote outdoor education and nature-based learning with her students.  Focusing on education for sustainability, she looks forward to participating in this year’s WAV festival with students and community members from around Vancouver.

 Marian Lucas Lane – Member-at-large

Growing up on the Gulf Islands, exploring the outdoors defined much of Marian’s early years. Rural life meant long walks to school, growing and preserving food, tending chickens and extensive beach-combing. Marian moved to Vancouver to study design at the Emily Carr University. Now a Communications Manager with a BA in Visual Communications, she is lending her experience to WAV for its second year. Committed to living a rural life in urban Vancouver, Marian hopes to encourage others to connect with the outdoors.

 Sophia de Jesus – Fundraising Sub-Committee

By nature, Sophia de Jesus is an entrepreneur.  Her forte is to help companies make money and find different channels to increase revenue.  With over 25 years of experience in sales and management in high technology sector, her revenue philosophy is to focus on the bottom line and the re-tooling of organizations to produce more money.  Her most recent success is the establishment of an office in Pune, India consisting of 60 employees – hiring, training and development.  This India office now generates over $5 million in revenue after only 3 years.  In the non profit sector, Sophia was involved with Vancouver Native Health, the Surrey BCSPCA, and ASIA ( Asian Society for the Intervention of Aids) to advise on efficient business management, and as fundraiser and event organizer.  Sophia’s educational background includes a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Victoria, a post graduate diploma in Business Administration from BCIT and a French Literature Diploma from the Sorbonne University in Paris.

 Ofira Roll – Outreach Sub-Committee

My journey had begun in Israel, where I swam in the Mediterranean water all year round, hiked with my Scouts peers, and biked everywhere. Later in life, while backpacking in different corners of the world, I related to outdoor experiences through people and to people through the outdoors. These years of exploring places, cultures, educational approaches, as well as, teaching in different countries in K-12, higher education, and adult education, informed my research. Presently, I live with my partner and our three amazing young beings in East Van, where I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education at UBC. Joining WAV felt like reaching out to my extended family.

 Olivia Shaw – Fundraising Sub-Committee

Olivia thrives off of creative adventure especially when experienced in the outdoors. Having grown up in downtown Montreal, which was balanced by weekends and summers spent on a lake in the Laurentian mountains, much of her own self-discovery was done hiking or canoeing, with a song to sing as company wherever she went. Having recently finished her degree in Global Resource Systems at UBC, she looks forward to propelling herself further into the work of community organizing around creative youth empowerment, outdoor learning and food justice. To her, Wild About Vancouver invites everyone to share what they love in free and outdoor fashion–re-imagining what public space looks like and feels like.

 Laura Taves – Member-at-large

Growing up in the prairies, Laura spent a lot of time exploring her neighbourhood with the other community kids. She now calls BC home and spends her time trying out all the outdoor activities that the lower mainland has to offer. Laura is on the WAV Steering Committee for a second year and is looking forward to encouraging others to get outside more often in our incredible urban outdoors we call home.

Nick Townley – Secretary and Oversight Committee

Nick is an avid adventurer and sustainability crusader. He feeds his sense of wonder by self propelling through the magnificent waterways and wild spaces of Earth Island. For the past 15 years, he has been taking students outside on edutaining adventures. He now teaches with the Vancouver School Board’s TREK Outdoor Education Program.

Jennifer Wilson – Events Sub-committee

Jennifer has always had a passion for the outdoors. Originally from a small town in Ontario, Jenn’s love of outdoor sport eventually brought her to the BC mountains where she continues to enjoy and appreciate what nature has to offer. Jennifer is a teacher with the Vancouver School Board and is focussed on connecting young people to the outdoors and sustainable initiatives. She has been involved with a number of organizations aimed at getting young people active, specifically in outdoor settings. Jenn is excited to be working with WAV this year and looks forward to sharing her love and passion for nature with others. ​


School and Educator Partners

Carrie Froese – Vice-Prinicpal at Tecumseh Elementary

Carrie Froese has worked in three school districts teaching Kindergarten to Gr. 8 students, International Education, preservice teachers at SFU and practising teachers in China. Her quest to explore the outdoors started during her early years living by Jericho beach. Her husband and kids LOVE skiing and snowboarding as much as she does.  She is also a hiking, biking, swimming and golf enthusiast.  She has experienced the thrill of water skiing, zip lining and rappelling.  She enjoys introducing students to the joy of sport and the outdoor classroom.


WAV Staff

Rhiannon Johnson – Project Coordinator

Rhiannon supports the WAV team by providing project management, strategic, communication, and event organizing skills.  With an MBA in sustainability, she has 20+ years of experience in large companies and smaller non-profits such as Village Vancouver and the Environmental Youth Alliance.  She consults on organizational development and business issues and specializes in culture change, employee engagement, team development, and change management with organizations wishing to make changes.  As an avid outdoorswoman, she most recently hiked the 4,200 km Pacific Crest Trail, 1,000 km of the Continental Divide Trail, and 1,000 km of the Appalachian Trail.  In the rainier months, she teaches gardening courses, writes, consults, and gives talks about her adventures.  She is excited to help Vancouverites get outside and learn how much they value nature and the outdoors by returning as the WAV Coordinator for the second year in 2017!