Earthy Chats Podcast
Episode 16: Community collaboration in built environments

Episode 16: Community collaboration in built environments

August 29, 2022

What’s the most impactful length for educational programming? How does community collaboration help us manage challenges? Why is intergenerational learning so effective? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:

*the opportunities brought about by virtual learning

*getting back to hands-on, experiential learning with SaskOutdoors

*the benefits of active transportation like the Punch Buggy Express

*indirectly educating others through public programming

*outdoor learning in built environments

*how community collaboration in inherent to outdoor and environmental learning

*outdoor educational experiences at night (in the winter)


Leah Japp lives on a small farm near Bethune, Saskatchewan with her husband and three children. Wootton Farms strives to direct market their healthy, local food while at the same time regenerating the soil and environment. Leah has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, a Bachelor of Education, and a Certificate in Ecological Education and is a recently certified Forest School Practitioner. Leah’s latest venture is offering Forest & Nature Schools in Lumsden along with Open View Preschool. For the past 12 years, Leah has been the General Manager of SaskOutdoors. Leah is the General Leader with Hillside 4-H Club and project leader for the Outdoor Living Project. Her family enjoys an active life of camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, canoeing, running, climbing snow hills, skating, tobogganing, and swimming.

Claire Miller is the founder of social-purpose business Wildernook Fresh Air Learning and children’s pedal bus initiative, the Punch Buggy Express. She is wired to design and facilitate innovative experiential learning programs and has received awards for Best Nature Business from Saskatoon’s Nature City Festival (2019), and Outstanding School Program from the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (2019). Favourite roles on her learning journey include facilitating the Certificate in Ecological Education program at the University of Saskatchewan, teaching in the Saskatoon Public Schools’ Ecoquest and Outdoor School programs, and developing the Swale Education Program at Sylvia Fedoruk School. You can find her outdoors facilitating nature experiences and connect with her online on Linkedin and on Facebook and Instagram @wildernook and @punchbuggyexpress.

Nature Magnifier (2x/4x) Habitat Jar viewfinders can be found at the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 15: Forging nature-based connections

Episode 15: Forging nature-based connections

July 27, 2022

What is a ‘nature sommelier’? How are seeing and noticing different? Why is storytelling such a powerful outdoor learning tool? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat: 

*formative moments in Jacob’s childhood as a “wild child” nature explorer

*children’s right to interact with Vitamin N

*the importance of regeneration in addition to sustainability

*the development of The Big Book of Nature Activities

*the magic of “I wonder…” and “it reminds me of…” inquiries

*learning outdoors using all senses

*fostering stewardship and kinship

*the ins and outs of Camp Kawartha

*tuning in to the “wind songs” of trees


Jacob Rodenburg is an award-winning educator, executive director of Camp Kawartha — an also award-winning summer camp and outdoor education center — and instructor in environmental education at Trent University. A 30-year outdoor teacher with a master’s in education, he is known as a ‘nature sommelier’ and has taught more than 100,000 students. Jacob is co-author of The Big Book of Nature Activities and author of The Book of Nature Connection.

The Big Book of Nature Activities and The Book of Nature Connection can be found at the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

*Episode edited by M. Angel Goñi Avila

Episode 14: Awakening to the lessons of the land

Episode 14: Awakening to the lessons of the land

June 25, 2022

How do outdoor learning and various Indigenous teachings overlap? What are some existing inequities in teaching and how can we address them? Why is the land such an effective teacher? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*exploring (and sometimes talking to) plants

*how Jenna's teaching experience has informed her admin. work

*working with students with diverse abilities

*the wonder of soil and the "wood-wide web"

*inside the Every Child Matters Year-long Learning Challenge

*becoming an ally to Indigenous voices as part of Truth and Reconciliation

*resources for weaving Indigenous perspectives into teaching


Alongside being an Indigenous Advisor to the Outdoor Learning Store, Jenna Jasek is the District Vice Principal of Indigenous Learning and Equity for Rocky Mountain School District No. 6. As an Indigenous person she is learning about her culture and loves learning about traditional teachings and knowledge of nature. She strives to provide students opportunities to explore, learn, and immerse themselves in the outdoors and outdoor education. Jenna has also taken the lead on the Every Child Matters Year-long Learning Challenge for over 100 schools/organizations, and over 1000 people to support them in deepening their understanding of Indigenous knowledge, culture, history, challenges, and perspectives. Jenna was the 2022 recipient of the community literacy award for Windermere valley.

Various Indigenous Learning Resources can be found at the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

Episode 13: Talking astronomy with ”Astro” Stephenson

Episode 13: Talking astronomy with ”Astro” Stephenson

May 31, 2022

Why teach astronomy? How important is each and every one of us in the universe? Where in popular culture do we see references to space and astronomy? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*Tim's childhood visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

*the (many) differences between astronomy and astrology

*the magic of seeing Saturn's rings for the first time

*whether or not to fund space exploration

*the value of knowing more about space

*why everyone should just look up and ponder our place in the universe

*Tim's book Beyond the Classroom


Tim "Astro" Stephenson is an experienced classroom teacher who received the 2018 Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. He is highly skilled in K–12 education, astronomy, writing, and presenting. He holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Portland. He has presented for TEDx, hosts his own podcast (Science 360), runs the youtube channel Science 360 – Beyond the Sky, and wrote the 2021 book Beyond the Classroom.

The Night Sky – A Glow in the Dark Guide can be purchased from the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

Episode 12: Natural curiosity through an Indigenous lens

Episode 12: Natural curiosity through an Indigenous lens

April 27, 2022

In what ways are the land and water shaped by children's questions? How can educators light a fire of inspiration in their learners? Why do many Indigenous teachings lend themselves so well to inquiry-based learning? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*adopting a framework that challenges people to think without being prescriptive

*the flow of knowledge in Anishinaabe learning

*Natural Curiosity's four-branch framework and the accompanying Indigenous lens

*how children can ask questions that adults won't ask

*the importance of storytelling for educators and learners

*developing meaningful relationships with Indigenous people in our communities


Doug Anderson, author of the Indigenous lens for Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition

Doug Anderson (Bungee/Métis) grew up closely connected with Pasapkedjiwanong (the Rideau River) in the Ottawa Valley, and has lived in Toronto for over 30 years. He is one of the founders of Naadmaagit Ki Group (NKG), which works to restore Indigenous responsibilities to the land and water in Toronto. NKG is working with urban Indigenous people planting medicines, mound gardening, fighting invasive species, and supporting Indigenous cultural learning on land in the city. Doug also divides his time between Invert Media and Ph.D. studies in Indigenous Education at York University. 

Julie Comay, co-author of Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition

After teaching at the Lab School and in Toronto public schools for over 20 years, Julie joined the faculty at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study where she currently teaches in its graduate education program. As a researcher and practitioner with a strong interest in curiosity, imagination and children’s play, Julie has collaborated with teachers, researchers, and community members to design and implement playful, engaging and culturally relevant approaches to literacy and math in Ontario elementary schools. Her work in Indigenous communities in northwest Ontario opened her eyes to new perspectives and possibilities for working with children as they engage with the natural world.

Natural Curiosity 2nd Edition: The Importance of Indigenous Perspectives in Children's Environmental Inquiry can be purchased from the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

Episode 11: Teaching about climate change

Episode 11: Teaching about climate change

April 17, 2022

What does effective climate change education (CCed) look like? What role does outdoor learning play in it? How has the field changed over the past thirty years? What is the "new kid on the block" in CCed? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*the shift in environmental education from teaching issues to teaching core concepts

*how the collective understanding of climate change has evolved since the early 1990s

*developmentally appropriate education

*teaching about the economic opportunities of the transition to a green economy

*climate justice education

*engaging the emotional lives of students

*teaching the four dimensions of climate change 

Guest (from

Tim Grant is the publisher of Green Teacher. He co-edited the magazine with Gail Littlejohn from 1991 to 2012, at which point he became the editor. Over the years, he co-edited seven Green Teacher books, edited three and hosted the first 85 webinars. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Green Teacher's books Teaching Kids about Climate Change and Teaching Teens about Climate Change can be purchased from the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

Episode 10: Take Me Outside

Episode 10: Take Me Outside

March 28, 2022

What is it like running across Canada in nine months? How can outdoor learning become an inherent part of K–12 education? What roles does digital technology play in outdoor learning? Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*insights from Colin's 7600-km run across Canada to promote outdoor learning

*how Take Me Outside came to be

*when digital technology enhances and hinders learning

*developing resiliency from time spent outside

*looking at use of tech in school with a critical lens

*what we can learn from Indigenous perspectives

*exciting initiatives from Take Me Outside

Guest (from

Colin Harris is the founder and executive director of Take Me Outside. He initiated the organization by running 7600 km across Canada over nine months, going into 80 schools across the country and engaging 20,000 students in the conversation about their time spent in front of screens compared to their time spent outside, being active and connecting to nature. Colin has been immersed in the field of outdoor and environmental education for over 15 years. He has been the director of outdoor education at an Ontario-based centre, he has instructed canoe trips for Outward Bound Canada, and he has worked with Indigenous students in the Western Arctic Leadership Program in NWT. He has taught Grades 7 and 8 and has completed a Master’s of Environmental Education and Communication through Royal Roads University. He enjoys trail running, writing, and continuing to find ways to engage Canadian students in exploring this country’s incredible backyard. Colin lives in Banff, Alberta.

Take Me Outside teacher apparel can be purchased from the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store.

Episode 09: Messy maths and dirty teaching

Episode 09: Messy maths and dirty teaching

February 18, 2022

Why do we have to jump through hoops just to take classes outside? What are the systemic barriers to outdoor learning? How can an outdoor "classroom" function as a leveler? These are three of the core questions we discussed with Juliet Robertson of Creative STAR Learning. Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*Juliet's unlikely path to outdoor learning

*the sagas behind her two books, Messy Maths and Dirty Teaching

*supply teaching adventures (and misadventures)

*cross-curricular learning outdoors

*using inquiry-based learning

*practical advice for educators

*Juliet's arguments with worksheets

*how the Gaelic language connects to native trees and shrubs


Juliet Robertson is one of the world’s leading education consultants who specializes in outdoor learning and play. She works at a national level delivering training; giving keynote speeches; leading and supporting innovative outdoor projects; and writing content for websites, documents, and case studies. She is passionate about enabling schools, play organizations, and early years settings to provide quality outdoor learning and play opportunities for children and young people. (from the Outdoor Learning Store website)

Juliet's books Dirty Teaching and Messy Maths can be purchased from the Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store

Episode 08: Water insights from the headwaters to the open ocean

Episode 08: Water insights from the headwaters to the open ocean

January 10, 2022

What would water tell us if it could talk? How can each of us strengthen our relationship with the waterways and water bodies near our homes? Our special guests from Ocean Wise and Water Rangers joined us to discuss these questions and more, as we covered as much territory as Canada has coastline (well, maybe not that much...). Here's what else we dove into in this Earthy Chat:  

*need-to-know facts about salt water and freshwater

*the disconnection many people have with water and how this can be addressed

*the impacts of climate change on our waterways

*sustainable fishing and agricultural practices

*citizen science and community monitoring to fill large data gaps

*action steps like the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and reducing the use of road salt


Daphne Austin is the Online Specialist for online learning and ocean literacy with Ocean Wise. Through virtual programming, she connects others to the ocean, inspiring them to become ‘ocean wise’ to make positive choices for ocean health. Ocean Wise is a globally focused not-for-profit conservation organization on a mission to protect and restore the world’s ocean.

Laura Gilbert is the Community research coordinator for Water Rangers, which involves helping run projects and supporting their community of water testers. From webinars with first graders in the Yukon to excursions with students in after-school programs in Montréal, Laura loves to spark young learners’ interest in science and caring for water.

Kat Kavanagh is the Executive Director of Water Rangers. She was part of a winning team at the 2015 Aquahacking’s Ottawa Summit, which "a two- day hack-a-thon to develop technical solutions for the Ottawa River. Her team’s citizen science platform was essentially a prototype for what would later become Water Rangers." (adapted from the Water Rangers website)

Several water-testing kits can be purchased now at Canada's Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store:

Episode 07: Playing in the muck, art activities, and the walking curriculum

Episode 07: Playing in the muck, art activities, and the walking curriculum

November 28, 2021

Friend of the show Gillian Judson was joined by artist Adelle Caunce for this lively discussion. Adelle's newest creation, the book Playing in the Muck and Other Art Activities, was designed to accompany Gillian's book, A Walking Curriculum. Here's a taste of what we covered in this Earthy Chat:  

*appreciating the underappreciated creatures (of the muck, soil, and ocean depths)

*experiencing nature through an artist's eyes

*re-assessing what we mean by "value"

*using imaginative and ecological pedagogies in multiple areas of education

*how we might consider curriculum and “curriculum-ing” as engaging in aesthetic experiences

*comparing "lovely" and "un-lovely" things to explore subjectivity and different perspectives

*Peacock Spiders, Goblin Sharks, and Anglerfishes


Dr. Gillian Judson is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. She teaches in Educational Leadership and Curriculum and Instruction programs. Her scholarship looks at imagination’s role in leadership and learning (K–post-secondary).

Adelle Caunce is an artist now residing in Surrey, BC. She has lived and had her work in galleries and shows in San Francisco and Petaluma, California, and Dallas, Texas. People from all over the world have bought her pieces, but most of her time is now devoted to raising her kids. Every so often she gets to create something new, like this book, which is great fun!

Playing in the Muck and Other Art Activities: Imaginative Art Activities for the Walking Curriculum can be purchased now at Canada's Non-profit Outdoor Learning Store: 

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App