Molly Patterson is a trained wildlife biologist, and current Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student who is passionate about wildlife conservation and welfare.
Molly believes in the inherent value of wildlife species, both big and small, and the value of the natural landscape. She has contributed to these causes through research with organizations such as the Alberta Conservation Association and Natural Resources Canada. She is also interested in anthropogenic impacts on wildlife and explored this interest through employment at Orcalab in British Columbia and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton. While focusing on veterinary school, Molly’s current projects are geared towards improving student life, and she recently helped plan and facilitate the first annual wellness weekend for veterinary students at the University of Calgary. Molly graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in Ecology in 2010, gained a Masters of Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2014 and will graduate from the University of Calgary in 2018.
In her free time, Molly spends time trying out new vegetarian recipes, skiing, watching superhero TV shows, and cuddling with her rescue cat Bramble.
Kari-Dawn Wuttunee is a young Cree woman from the Red Pheasant First Nation in Treaty Six Territory who now resides in Saskatoon. She has been spending her time passionately advocating for young women within her community, tackling issues such as HIV, harm reduction strategies, poverty and violence prevention. This work has opened up the platform for Kari-dawn to speak at Saskatoon community gatherings and Canada’s Safe Schools conferences involving topics of decolonization and anti-racism methods.
She is currently a youth regional director for the Native Women’s Association of Canada and represents youth for the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation. Through her experience within her community and volunteer work with National Aboriginal Organizations, it became apparent that neo-colonialism and racism often govern the decisions of Indigenous peoples rights. This has sparked a fire that burns in Kari-dawn, as she works towards facilitating change, and restructuring at different levels of governing systems.
To begin this story I think it important to tell the story of our meet-up to write this biography. On Friday, October 24th 2011 Melissa came and met me at Aden Bowman where we commenced our discussion. I had no idea what to ask her, but knew this couldn’t be a traditional biography. Sure she is 21 years old, her family is Malaysian-Chinese, she is from Saskatoon, speaks four languages some better than others, and may or may not love long walks on the beach. None of those things really tell us who she is. Our discussion began at about 3:45 and did not end until 6:00. Yes, we talked for over 2 hrs, but I think that in itself tells something about who Melissa is. She is the kind of person you can sit down with and just talk to for hours. I learned a lot about her life, who she is, where she’s been, and where she’s going. Her first experience with activism began in high school where she began working with WAM (“We Are Many”), a youth group dedicated to environmental justice and sustainability; a group that she is still a part of today. Initially she volunteered for self-gratifying reasons, but this changed as she grew as an individual. After high school she did a 10 month exchange in Japan that opened her eyes to the world around her, and the connections that exist. As a result she enrolled in international studies and loves it. My experience chatting with Melissa was splendid she is a wonderful, sincere person who truly cares about the work she is doing. She said something very insightful to me during our meeting. By only volunteering absent mindfully or by only studying a subject in University it is impossible to gain real understanding regarding what is going on in our world. True understanding can only be accomplished by truly, full-heartedly getting involved.
Maggie McBride graduated from Augustana, a small liberal arts college in Alberta, with a B.A majoring in Environmental Studies and Outdoor Education and a certificate in Community Service Learning. Maggie likes traveling and has studied abroad in both Mexico and Norway. Maggie loves the outdoors, rivers, forests and helping people to enjoy them. She also loves running, skiing, canoeing and hiking. Maggie’s goals are to work within small food production systems to mainstream enviromental design. She is currently working at Floating Gardens and with the Saskatchewan Eco Network. Maggie is back in Saskatoon, reconnecting with family and friends, hoping to get her Masters in a couple years and to build up a market garden of her own.
Laura is a native of Ottawa, Ontario. She came to Saskatoon in 2008 to attend the University of Saskatchewan. Since then, she has come to appreciate the sense of community and wonderful people in this city. In 2010 she completed a Master of Public Health and began a PhD in Community Health and Epidemiology. Laura is passionate about about the connection between local and global health, gender equity, politics, and addressing the many social determinants of health. She is currently a board member of the Sexual Health Centre in Saskatoon, and an advisory member for Next Up Saskatchewan.
Justin is michif from Saskatoon (Métis and Treaty 6 Territory), who currently lives as an uninvited guest in Toronto on Dish with One Spoon Territory Territory. For years, Justin has worked and volunteered in a variety of capacities with different Indigenous communities and organizations. Justin is a skilled facilitator and educator, with experience as a planner, researcher, and community organizer. He is currently a Co-Chair on the Board of Directors of Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) a national organization that builds bridges between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through leadership development, conferences, and community exchanges. Justin is passionate about Indigenous planning and decolonization in the city, youth leadership and capacity building, and education and community development. He holds a Master’s Degree in Planning from SCARP at UBC, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Saskatchewan.
James (Jae) Ford was born in the mid-eighties, right around the time that a-ha’s rubbish song “Take on Me” was occupying the number one spot on the pop charts. This song now occupies the number 27 spot on his iPod playlist.
Jae is currently employed by the Saskatoon Health Region, where he spends his days learning interesting things from centenarians, all while helping them put on their socks. His activist activities are currently dominated by passions for patient advocacy in long-term care, and youth political engagement. As a Secular Humanist, Jae rejects the supernatural and religious dogma as a basis for morality and decision-making.
In his fleeting spare time, Jae can be found building and launching model rockets, playing ping-pong, although not very well, and singing karaoke, but nothing by a-ha. He also has fun hiking, camping, reading, chilling in hippy drum-circles, campaigning for the New Democratic Party, vegan cooking, and using the Oxford comma. He enjoys the number 42, and wearing Toms shoes.
Jae presently resides in Saskatoon with his wife and three cats.
Geordie Gescha, his name may sound familiar to you for several reasons. Gescha was born and raised in a Romanian-Asian home here in Saskatoon. He paints, he is a community organizer and he mentors youth at risk. His talent, life-experience and hard work have lead him to be and to work on several impressive projects. In February his hip-hop single “Love Pirates” off the album Crayon Politics climbed the Canadian single sales chart to #7. Along with his numerous other albums he has helped with the production of Kumva Neza: Where the Land of Living Skies Meets the Land of a Thousand Hills. His last two years have been spent mentoring at risk youth here in Saskatoon. Currently he is helping set up a centre for youth to learn the skills to succeed in the music trade, working on a creative project to express what he has learned at occupy Saskatoon along with many other projects. Geordie Gescha is a charismatic and passionate young man. He has done a lot for Saskatoon and we are all excited to see his future unfold.
Born in Harare Zimbabwe, Boni moved to Saskatoon SK at the age of six and she has resided here in Canada ever since. Boni is now 25 years young and has graduated with a Sociology degree, and has made a documentary about Rwanda called “Kumva Neza”. Other than being a proud member of Next Up, Boni also volunteers with Victim Services as a support worker for people with Mental and physically disabilities. Her goal is to finish social work and to continue being involved in social justice. Boni is also a Netflix and Musicacholic!
“My passion is being involved of being part of a social justice, our world is changing. Sometimes it could be for the worse, but I believe that standing up for our rights and have to power to change, we can!” -Boni Nleya