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Our Staff

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Rebecca Aston

Educator (Kelowna), EcoCooks Club

Originally from the Vancouver area, Rebecca is excited to now call the Okanagan her forever home. With a background in plant-based nutrition and a lover of all things food, Rebecca also works as a Retail Operations Manager at Purdys Chocolatier. When not at work, you can usually find her whipping up a new recipe, going on a new adventure, or hiking the trails near Kelowna with her dog "Wedge".

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Laura Bamsey

Program Coordinator (Metro Vancouver), EcoCooks Club

Laura Bamsey is a guest on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-watuth and Musqueam Nations and is experienced in non-profit management, community-based program development and facilitation, environmental education, and event management. She currently supports government, social enterprises, and non-profit organizations to develop youth, teacher and community programming and resources that connect to sustainability and leadership.

Laura has developed and delivered a variety of youth-focused workshops on energy and water conservation, zero-waste, food sovereignty, active transportation, climate change and much more. Laura is passionate about empowering youth to take action on climate change and is excited to have the opportunity to do this through the EcoCooks program.

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Serena Bonneville

Communications Specialist, EcoCooks School

Serena is a communications wiz, passionate about sustainability, youth engagement, outdoor-ed and all things nature. Her experiences in facilitation have shaped the strong belief that youth have the power to not only make meaningful change, but take resilient action - and she tends not to surround herself with those who agree otherwise.

After getting a strong feel for life in corporate PR as a professional communications consultant with FleishmanHillard Highroad, one of the world’s top ranked global PR agencies, she moved on to private consulting for various non-profits in and around BC including the C2C BC Education Network, eMotive, Recycle BC, Youth4Action, and the BC Parks Foundation.

She now specializes solely in community engagement with a focus on connecting local organizations to people, place & planet. As Elements Society’s Communications and Engagement Specialist, she works in supporting programs that work to facilitate, inspire, and empower youth climate action.

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Kate Broughton

Instructional Design, EcoCooks School

Kate’s teaching philosophy centers around equity, inclusion, and empowerment. Honing her teaching practice through years of teaching a diverse range of subjects across all age groups, Kate has developed countless curricular units, projects, and assessment tools. Spending time working meaningfully with the elders, youth, and leadership of a community builds a fuller picture of what is needed at an educational level.

Kate’s commitment to community, fellowship, and connectedness is what truly sets her curriculum development strategy apart. Born in North Vancouver and raised in a rural village in Wiltshire, Kate has been immersed in land stewardship and environmental sustainability from a young age. Kate strives to make more sustainable choices at a personal level through her plant-based diet and commitment to a low-waste lifestyle.

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Bonny DeMelo

Educator (Kelowna), EcoCooks Club

Bonny is passionate about exploring varieties of cuisines that focus on in-season, plant-based ingredients. Having spent over a decade in the hospitality industry in the Lower Mainland, she later earned her Master in Counselling, focused on supporting the community through encouraging healthier lifestyle choices and mindfulness-based practices.


She has volunteered as Art Therapy support with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and enjoys supporting initiatives that encourage people to develop a more intentional approach to their day-to-day living. Bonny splits her time between Vernon and Kelowna with her family and is an avid crocheter. She enjoys arts and craft, playing ukulele and sings for her 8-year old daughter and 13-year old fur baby.

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Ella Kerr

Educator (Metro Vancouver), EcoCooks Club

While growing up in the Okanagan, Ella developed an early passion for ecology during her family’s camping trips. This motivated her to move to Vancouver and pursue a B.Sc. in Biology at UBC. During her academic journey, Ella worked as a nanny and volunteered with several eco-conscious non-profit organizations in the Vancouver area, including Growing Chefs and the Stanley Park Ecology Society. These experiences ignited her passion for educating and empowering youth, particularly in guiding them toward making environmentally conscious choices to benefit our planet. 


In Ella’s free time, she loves anything creative, such as painting, jewelry making, crocheting, and DIY projects. She also enjoys exploring Pacific Spirit Park, baking and attempting to walk her cats “Joey” and “Fred” around her neighbourhood.


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Tanya Granger

Marketing Manager, EcoCooks

Tanya respectfully acknowledges that she lives and works within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation. Originally from the Republic of South Africa, Tanya lived in various communities across the nation. She learnt from a young age, how to connect with people of different cultures, as well as the importance of stewardship of animals and the environment, as a caretaker of God’s creation.

Tanya has a background in Marketing and Communications, as well as Plant-Based Nutrition Coaching. She is mission driven and loves to partner with life changing non-profit programs and initiatives that help support a well-balanced lifestyle, whilst making a lasting social impact through sustainability and community development. She believes in educating and encouraging nutritional wellness in our youth and empowering a generation of environmentally responsible citizens. In her spare time Tanya enjoys hiking, swimming and exploring this diverse and beautiful landscape with her husband and son, visiting local farmers markets and creating tasty whole food plant-based meals.

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Daniel Gregorash

Coordinator, Education Programs (Calgary), EcoCooks School

Growing up, Daniel idolized Bill Nye the Science Guy. As an educator, he is now living his dream of making science engaging, entertaining, and easy to understand. With a background in physics and mathematics, Daniel has always been interested in science and the natural world, but he also has love for the theatre and a flair for the dramatic. Through roles at museums, zoos, parks, and as a full-time teacher, he has found a way to merge these two passions and bring science to life, be it through classroom lessons or guided fossil hunting expeditions or even singing about decomposition while dressed as a mushroom. In all of his jobs, he has connected with learners of all ages, encouraging them to—as another of his idols, Miss Frizzle, would say—“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”

Daniel is a worldwide traveller and loves going to exotic destinations to take in the amazing landscapes and wildlife. He has sunbathed with penguins in Africa, swam with whale sharks in Australia, and chilled with komodo dragons in Indonesia. He has also seen firsthand the impact our choices have on the environment, like plastic waste floating in the oceans and wild animal habitats being taken over by people. He understands how our choices may not seem impactful when we don’t see the consequences, and he wants to generate more awareness and urgency, but also more hope.

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Cailey Meuse

Manager, Education Programs, EcoCooks School

Growing up in Calgary, Cailey developed a strong connection to the land as she explored the nearby mountains, foothills and prairies with her friends and family. This love for the outdoors, genuine curiosity, and connection to place is what led her to completing a B.Sc. in Geography. Paired with her B.Ed, she has become a strong educator with an interest in finding ways to empower young leaders by creating authentic experiences that build capacity and understanding - especially around environmental issues.

Cailey is a well-rounded educator who has worked with all ages, teaching a variety of skills and subjects. She enjoys working with others who are passionate about improving themselves and the world around them.As a recent transplant to Vancouver, Cailey is excited to explore and learn more about the traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations in which she now finds herself.

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Pamela Murkin

Executive Director, EcoCooks

After graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, Pamela has enjoyed a community-minded career in fundraising, event planning and project management. She lives in Kelowna and volunteers on the VegFest Kelowna Organizing Committee. She is passionate about solving the climate crisis to leave a better planet for the next generation, including her own two kiddos.

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Jennifer Pont

Educator (Kelowna), EcoCooks Club

Jennifer is a fun-loving and enthusiastic instructor whose training business sends her throughout the Okanagan, consulting and teaching Foodsafe and Superhost courses. She grew up in culturally rich Nelson, BC, a town of environmentally-minded people who enjoy nature and open-minded conversations.

Since moving to Kelowna in 2003 for her Bachelor of Education degree, she has volunteered at a local shelter serving meals, spent 2 years with the Peachland Fire & Rescue Service and worked at the YMCA of Okanagan for 11 years before starting her training business. Jennifer and her husband are passionate about plant-based eating and love experimenting with different recipes!

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Lillijana Rakose

Educator (Metro Vancouver), EcoCooks Club

Lillijana is a student at UBC in Vancouver studying Food, Nutrition, and Health Sciences on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam People. She has a passion for the sciences and uses the kitchen as her lab where she often experiments with plant-based recipes in her free time.

Lillijana is experienced in working with youth as a lifelong member of Girl Guides and enjoys creating an inclusive and enthusiastic learning environment. She values hands-on learning, collaboration, and compassion and keeps these in focus when she interacts with youth. She also has a strong understanding of the complex system of connections between our food choices and the health of the planet. She cares very deeply about creating more awareness about the impacts of our everyday actions on our surroundings.

In her free time, you will likely find her on the pickleball courts or making collages with old magazines at home.


Samantha Rogers

Executive Director, EcoCooks

With a formal education in both business and the environment, Samantha has dedicated her career to organizations focused on supporting people and the planet. As an undergraduate student, Samantha wove her love for the environment into her business studies regularly.

Since graduating at the top of her class, Samantha has turned her focus to the social sector where for 10 years she has brought a progressive, solutions-oriented approach to non-profits focused on health and conservation.

On a personal level, Samantha prioritizes frequent connections to nature through outdoor recreation while pursuing a Master’s of Environment and Business at the University of Waterloo. Joining Elements as the Executive Director in 2021 , Samantha is focused on advancing the high-value environmental leadership work that has been the cornerstone of the organization’s mission since its founding.

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Samantha Sears

Educator, EcoCooks School

Originally from Toronto, Sam attended camp in Algonquin Park and highlands, where her appreciation and sense of wonder for the outdoors was formed. As a student, she found a passion for science and pursued a Bsc. in Biology, with a keen interest in learning about our natural world and environment.

Working as a camp counselor teaching canoeing, high ropes and waterskiing, and as a ski instructor at her childhood ski club, sparked Sam's love for working with youth. After relocating to BC, Sam continued to build on her experience, this time as an ecotour guide, where she led groups on ziplining tours through the old-growth forest in Whistler while educating them on environmental topics and practices.

Sam incorporates sustainability into her everyday life through food and by cutting back her use of plastic. She enjoys thrift-shopping and buying used or recycled options whenever possible, as well as advocating for change. She strongly believes that education and awareness are two of the most successful factors that will lead us to a more sustainable future.

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Abdo Souraya

Educator (Metro Vancouver), EcoCooks Club

An environmental advocate and lover of plant-based cooking, Abdo feels right at home as an EcoCooks educator. Meandering down different academic disiplines, Abdo became fascinated with the socioeconomic, nutritional, and environmental complexities of food. This lead him to pursue an interdisciplinary B.S.c focusing on community food security. He has held research assistant positions in nutritional epidemiology and rural health evaluation.

Abdo is inspired by the transformative power of unified communities, believing that all individuals have influence on the food system. Having worked with youth across a number of local non-profit food settings, he feels particularly privileged to get to tap into that yearning for impact that so many young people carry.

When not in the classroom, Abdo can be found in the forest listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops against the forest's myriad surfaces, looking under the duff for fungi, or climbing rocks and trees with friends.

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Ally Steele

Educator (Metro Vancouver), EcoCooks Club

Ally is passionate about working with the community to help aid in providing food literacy education and decreasing food insecurity. She is currently a nutrition student at UBC Vancouver.

It is important to Ally, that in providing environmental and nutritional education, it provides a perfect pair to help aid in global and local food insecurity. Climate change is one of the greatest risks to global malnutrition as many individuals depend on various resources that are directly or indirectly affected. Additionally, providing nutritional education to individuals provides the opportunity to better be able to optimize their diets.

Furthermore, Ally enjoys building her repertoire of experiences to gain new insight into the ever-growing field of nutrition and dietetics. Previously, she has had the opportunity to provide peer support for individuals struggling with eating disorders, helping a local dietitian and curating/teaching small nutrition curricula to students in designated Vancouver public schools with UBC Nutrikids. Ally is passionate about encouraging a healthy relationship with food while keeping nutrition education fun and enjoyable!

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Danielle Tan

Education Facilitator, EcoCooks School

Having completed a Master of Education with a focus on environmental education at UBC, Danielle is passionate about educating youth to become leaders for sustainability. Born and raised in Fuzhou, a city famous for banyan trees, Danielle’s love of stewardship and environmental sustainability emerged from spending time on her grandmother’s balcony garden.

With a background in English Literature and teaching English as an additional language, Danielle seeks ways to integrate language, storytelling, and social justice with sustainability. She has helped develop and lead educational programs and projects that aim to empower youth through gardening, community-building, and environmental justice, having previously worked with the Amir Project, and interned at UBC farm and WWF-Canada. Danielle is excited about her work as a bilingual facilitator at Elements Society. She speaks three languages, English, French and Mandarin.

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Ceci Wardley

Educator, (Metro Vancouver) EcoCooks Club

Ceci is a writer, ongoing student of ecology and nature, educator, and visual artist. Ceci studied environmental science and ecology through a B.Sc, and continues to educate themselves on the topics of inclusivity, as well as social and disability justice. They have spent many years working as a facilitator in various outdoor schools and summer camps, and are thrilled about combining all of their interests as an Educator for the EcoCooks Club. They take great joy in plant-based cooking, especially through finding and creating recipes that help them centre and reclaim their heritage.


Ceci encourages ongoing creativity through many mediums, including cooking for both themselves and others. They continue to explore the idea of how creativity increases resiliency and strengthens ourselves and thus our communities. Their current artistic practice centres ceramics, fibre arts, and writing.

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Anna Webster

Educator (Kelowna), EcoCooks Club

From a young age, Anna was encouraged to experiment in the kitchen. Through cooking and baking she learned how creativity and fun could play an integral part of the enjoyment of the meal. Anna’s love of food was further nurtured during her time working at a culinary school. During this time she was introduced to a variety of diverse cuisines; many of which piqued her interest in plant-based nutrition.

Anna has completed a degree at the University of Winnipeg in Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies and Psychology. She has facilitated programs for children, youth, adults and families in various work and volunteer settings; specifically with a passion for helping vulnerable populations and communities.

Anna has lived in the Okanagan for over a decade and enjoys swimming, running, cooking, baking, making fresh pasta, and playing piano. She loves spending time with her friends, husband and her two wonderful sons.

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