Our team of over 50 people includes Specialists in each of the participating northern communities as well as staff and students based out of Laurentian University’s School of the Environment.
Community Climate Change Specialists
Each participating community has a designated Climate Change Specialist. These specialists play a integral role in the project. They interview community Elders, learning what has changed in the lifetime of these knowledge keepers, in the weather, on the land, in the animals and plants. Specialists offer insights into life in the north and contribute local observations of current climate impacts in their communities. They host community meetings to encourage individuals and communities to think of their adaptation options in the face of coming climate change. Learn more about each of the communities involved in this project on the Community Map.
Dr. David Pearson
Professor & Project Lead, Climate Change and Science Communication
Dr. David Pearson is a professor in the School of the Environment at Laurentian University. He studies how changing climate will affect the communities, landscape and wildlife of Ontario between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay. He began working with First Nations in the north in 2009 and is now very pleased to be leading the project described on this site, visiting communities with a small team of scientists, speaking with chiefs, councillors, community members, and young people in school classes.
David was a member of the Geology Department at Laurentian for many years, teaching geology courses. He now teaches communication of science. Between 1980 and 1986 he was on leave from the university as the first Director of Science North, the public science centre in Sudbury. Ever since then he has been a strong supporter of engaging young people with hands-on science activities.
Associate Project Lead, Ecology & Climate Change
Chantal Sarrazin-Delay is the Associate Project Lead of the Climate Change Adaptation project with a special interest in changes on the land in the North; the plants, the animals. Working with First Nations to understand these changes, she has a particular interest in the decline in frogs observed by elders. Chantal practiced biomonitoring science with the Cooperative Freshwater Ecology Unit for many years and is certified to train people in benthic invertebrate sampling and identification. These “bugs” that live in sediments are used to determine the health of lakes and streams.
She can also identify plants and trees, a skill she learned as part of her Masters of Biology project looking at plants that are resistant to fire. Chantal shares her love and knowledge of the land whenever the opportunity arises, spending time in classrooms and outdoors with enthusiastic young people, and the young-at-heart.
Administrative Assistant, Data Visualization & Finance
Emily Smenderovac works part time for the project doing data visualization and finance related work. She is currently working on finding different ways of displaying the climate data from Environment Canada weather stations between the Great Lakes and Hudson Bay.
Emily is the first in her family to pursue a career in science. She studied microbiology at University of Guelph, followed by a Masters researching the impacts different intensities of forest harvesting on forest soil microorganisms. Growing up in Southern Ontario, and being a second generation Canadian, she is excited to have the opportunity to learn from and work with Far North Ontario First Nation community members.
Communications Specialist, Science & Digital Media
Kat Middleton was the science communication specialist for the project creating, editing and managing the website, outreach materials, photos, videos and infographics. She is often seen with a camera and tripod while visiting far north communities, capturing the stories of Elders, community members and climate change impacts.
She is a marine scientist who has studied and worked in aquatic and ocean conservation over the last decade. She is a graduate of the Laurentian University Science Communication Graduate Program and has a Masters of Science in salmon biology.
GIS & Reporting Assistant, Environmental Science & Ecology
Andrea Hanson is working on creating maps related to climate change, assists with research on forest fires and climate change monitoring, as well as with report writing. She also visits communities with the team where she helps engage students in science activities.
Andrea recently graduated from the Bachelor of Science (Honours) Environmental Earth Science and Master of Science Biology programs at Laurentian University. Andrea is always looking forward to learning new things. Besides climate change, she is also interested in soil science, ecology, geography, and geology.
As a research associate for the Climate Change Adaptation project, Kim has been enjoying learning from Traditional Ecological Knowledge and meeting people from participating communities.
Born and raised in Sudbury, Ontario, Kim got her Bachelor of Science in Ecology from the
University of Toronto in 2003. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Co-operative Freshwater Ecology Unit
where she’s worked for the last 14 years on projects involving benthic invertebrates, zooplankton, and
lake monitoring. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, music, and spending time with her two small children.
Brittany Rantala-Sykes is primarily working on summarizing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)
concerning the environmental changes that have been observed in northern
communities. As a researcher, she pairs these observations with supportive science and with
possible climate change adaptation options. She has a keen interest in science communication
and bridging the two approaches of study, that being TEK and the scientific method.
Brittany is a recent graduate, who received a Master’s degree in biology from Laurentian
University. Her research focused on the collection of local, native plant seeds for landscape
restoration in northern Ontario. More recently she has developed a passion for science
education and delivering land-based lessons and workshops to youth.
Candice helps with researching the history of dams in the north and has created GIS maps. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and Geography. As part of her project, she is examining the relationship between land cover and permafrost distribution in and around the community of Fort Severn First Nation, Ontario using both satellite imagery and field data. She enjoys working with First Nations and remote communities, and is of Aboriginal heritage herself.