Meet our Ambassadors, Board of Directors ,and Advisory Panel
Vancouver, British Columbia
Tim Stephenson, a science teacher at Walnut Grove Secondary School in Langley, British Columbia was a recipient of the Prime Ministers Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018.
He is an environmental champion who gets his students excited about science. Shaping his teaching to encourage students to engage in science 24 hours a day, he uses SnapChat, Twitter and a very popular course on astronomy to get students talking about science and connecting it to their life.
- Created only astronomy course in school district, which students flock to; course led to public outreach opportunities such as star parties and solar eclipse viewing.
- Lead a year-long research project in the high school, studying the effects of ocean acidification and rising water temperatures on corals and crustaceans.
- Inspired by Tim, students launched the Engineering Club, meeting regularly after school to transform single-use plastic items bags into permanent and useful objects like plastic bricks.
- Coordinated science-based field trip to Hawaii to teach students about geology, astronomy, marine biology, agriculture, and the history and culture of Hawaii
- Was featured at a local TEDx event, speaking about the importance of teachers, the near future of the environmental sciences, and the joy of learning
Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Salina Derish, a 4 year Chilliwack resident and lifelong British Columbian owns and operates PickEco Refills LTD.
Salina: SHE-E-O, director, founder, call her what you will, Salina decided to be the change she wanted to see in the world. Bringing a zero waste shopping experience to Chilliwack has been one of her proudest moments.
Michelle has always been drawn to the spirits of nature…and water.
Lakes, seas and oceans have welcomed her through her travels…and daily life.
It’s soothing life force and calming energy filled the spaces with quiet… Forging a sacred respect and reverence she holds close and deep.
But more and more she bore witness to the negative impact we humans are making on our blue planet.
Michelle reached her tipping point after a trip to Madagascar…where she saw rivers and villages choked with plastic.
Returning home to Toronto, – her focus shifted to her relationship with plastic, and that of her community.
Through education and awareness, Michelle believes in the possibility of shifting our behaviours to benefit the environment.
Baby steps are steps…and we must all start to take action in minimizing our plastic footprint.
The time is now for raising our vibration and creating positive change
Victoria, British Columbia
Margaret has been a senior biology and science teacher in Victoria for 39 years. In 2014 she received the Prime Minister’s Award for teaching Excellence.
Margaret has been a science and Biology teacher in Victoria for 39 years. She holds an Honours degree in Genetics and Biochemistry, was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and has a UNEP Certificate for expertise in Marine Litter. Margaret founded Fin Free Victoria with Rob Stewart, and has worked with school students for many years on environmental campaigns such as Fin Free, Banning the Trophy hunting of Grizzly bears and the Ban the Bag campaign. During these campaigns she empowered her students to work with their communities, NGOs, and politicians at the provincial and federal levels- the end goal being legislation. They achieved successes with a ban on Grizzly Bear trophy hunting in BC, and the use of single-use plastic bags in Victoria, and adoption of the national plastic reduction strategy. She is now schools coordinator for Surfrider Vancouver Island, and has started a single-use plastic free schools BC campaign, and is working with MPs to implement the national plastic reduction strategy.
Awarded a UNEP Certificate for expertise in Marine litter.
- Founded Fin Free Victoria with Rob Stewart
- Founded Kids for a Plastic Free Canada
Jordan first encountered the complexity of plastic pollution as a journalist covering a conference on the issue. He then joined the 5 Gyres Institute on an expedition through the North Atlantic Gyre from Bermuda to New York City collecting ocean samples the whole way and finding microplastics in every sample. The documentary A Plastic Ocean presents everything he has learned and more, and he is very excited to help spread this important resource and to work with Plastic Oceans Canada to create a wave of change in Quebec and across the country.
Board of Directors
John McCulloch was until 2011 Managing Partner of the ‘OneWorld’ global airline alliance. Prior to that he was Head of Group Marketing for HSBC worldwide, and before that spent 15 years with Cathay Pacific Airways and the Swire Group based out mainly out of Hong Kong and Japan. He has a law degree from Cambridge University, and now runs his own consulting and advisory business in Vancouver, also working as a volunteer with various not-for-profit organisations and local charities.
Ian Merkel was born in South Africa and emigrated to Canada in 1975. He is a retired CPA, CA who specialized in technology and has served on a number of N.P.O’s and Charities as a Director and Treasurer. Most recently he was Treasurer /VP of Reel Causes Society an N.P.O. screening and hosting social justice films for local Non Profits and Charities. He served on the board for over 5 years. He is President and the founder of the Vancouver Foreign Film Society an N.P.O. screening monthly international foreign films. He has participated as a documentary juror for the Leo Awards and has run a number of film festivals in Vancouver. He continues to promote and advise film festivals locally. Since retiring Ian has volunteered with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. For the past 4 years he has managed the volunteers for the environmental section of the Jazz festival working closely with recycling organizations and food vendors to reduce waste. Since the inception of the environmental program in 2015 the festival has seen a reduction of more than 60% in general garbage, plastic and non-organic waste .
Founder and CEO of Barnacle Babe Productions Inc. (aka Barnacle Babes), an international magazine, web-series, Warrior Women of the Sea Conferences, she is also a catalyst of change for human development and ocean conservation, as well as a life-long lover of all things water. Jodi’s love for community, conservation and a never-ending quest for vibing higher, she continues her lifelong pursuit and passion of elevating the human race into a community of givers, lovers, and protectors.
Over 20 years in the textiles (materials) and clothing industry has provided Odessa with insight into manufacturing, materials analysis, finished goods construction, chemical usage and global industry trends. Holding a degree in Textiles science and clothing design with double minors in Management and Linguistics she has worked with companies all over the world. Throughout her career she has always pushed for efficient and responsible manufacturing knowing the impact her industry has on the environment. She has and still works with companies including: Lululemon, Under Armour, SportChek (FGL Sports), Sweaty Betty, McKinsey, Volkswagon, LeChateau, Endasa Corp, to name a few
Truly understanding natural and synthetic materials and their joint need in the world helps her work towards a balance in the industry and help impart the importance of knowledge, reuse, recycling and conservative resource usages. Her goal is to reduce the use of primary materials, increase recycling and provide ecologically friendly alternatives. We cannot eliminate the use of plastics, but we can better understand how to reprocess them while looking at alternatives that don’t reduce important wildlife habitat.
Max Wensel is the Senior Financial Analyst at Pacific M&A and Business Brokers, where his areas of work include business planning, corporate development and strategy, forecasting, and data analysis. He attended the University of Calgary with an initial desire to work in the fields of ecology or marine biology. After making a career switch into finance, he found a need to continue to explore his passion for environmental and ecological causes through volunteerism and engagement with non-profits and charitable organizations which brought him to Plastic Oceans Canada. An avid lover of nature, Max can often be found sailing, kayaking, or on extended hikes throughout the Pacific Northwest and Rocky mountains.
Eliot Cohen Perinne
Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, near the Caribbean coast, Eliot grew up with a strong sense of belonging to the ocean. He spent is high school years diving and fishing throughout the coast and in close contact with the sea. 20 years ago the impact of humans on these fragile environments was already apparent and inspired an urgent sense of environmental advocacy. As an industrial designer who’s worked in the outdoor and sports industry for over 15 years, he believes in the power of organizations to lead change from within the industry and make an impact through more durable and responsibly made products. He is currently a Design Director at Lululemon where he co-founded an internal collective specifically aiming at reducing single-use plastic waste through education and awareness in the workplace, he is also involved in internal initiatives tackling sustainability and wellness in the product lifecycle.
Sandra has been a healthcare professional and practitioner of yoga for more than 20 years. As a Dentist with masters degrees in implantology, aesthetics, and clinical psychology, she has a passion for leading patients to improve their preventive health through positive habits. Also, as a yoga instructor, she encourages her students to discover how these practices increase awareness of mind and body, and to expand their yoga practice to their daily lives. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Sandra comes from a country of immense natural beauty and ancestral culture, as such she understands the urgency to preserve these values through education and advocacy. Through her volunteer work with different local organisations such as Yoga Outreach and various Neighbourhood Houses, Sandra is committed to spreading the word on all the different ways each person can care for the planet.
Julie has over ten years experience in both the private and public sectors. Having worked in the sustainability field for lululemon and the BC and Ontario governments, she is an inspired leader who is adept at communications, project management and consensus-building to achieve results. She studied international development and political economy and Queen’s University and the London School of Economics. Julie has recently traveled to South America and Europe, and volunteered with refugees in Greece. She enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, cycling, and everything outdoors.