When Mary was in Grade 7, she travelled with her cousins to Florida, where she saw a dolphin pack swimming in the ocean not far from the beach. That amazed her and it became the spark that ignited her love for environmental education. She now shares her personal story, recounting many moments along the way that served as catalysts for her current involvement in environmental and community sustainability issues.
What inspired you to pursue this career path and how did you get started in this field?
As a teenager, I always gravitated toward anything having to do with environmental education, and had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica and work for two months in a Grade ⅘ classroom teaching science and environmental education. This solidified my interest and I applied to study International Development in a co-op program at the University of Toronto, with an emphasis on environmental science and education.
My co-op placement took place over the course of a year in Senegal, West Africa, where I helped a large international NGO and the Ministry of Education create and pilot an environmental education program for elementary schools. I entered a Masters of Education program upon returning to Canada, while working full-time with Environmental Defence Canada on many public education projects. I then became the founding Executive Director of an organization called EcoSpark which engages youth in ‘citizen science.’ This experience led me to start an organization with a friend called Small Change Fund, which aims to generate resources and support for community environmental projects. That led me to GreenLearning, where I am so excited to be supporting youth to engage in learning and action on important environmental and community sustainability issues.