Michael Dunn

Michael was born in Victoria, British Columbia; the third generation for his family. He graduated from the University of Victoria (1974) in Geography and has since included graduate courses in local and administrative law and ecological restoration. He spent over 30 years professionally in the environmental field, primarily with the federal government. Here, he was well known for his team building, leadership, and innovation skills. His hands-on experiences include the classification, mapping and inventory of coastal ecosystems; organization and leadership of multi-disciplinary science teams; selection and securement of private lands for conservation; and, marine protected areas identification. He has authored or co-authored numerous papers on coastal issues including sea level rise, human impacts on the coastal zone, sea grass ecosystems and marine conservation. In 2002, he received the Queen’s Jubilee Gold Medal for his contributions to his workplace and to his co-workers.

Mr. Dunn is a passionate life long learner and as such has spent 40 years as a naturalist and community educator, developing creative and fun experiential environmental education programs and activities for learners of all ages.

As an accomplished naturalist, he founded two natural history groups within the Gulf Islands; he has increased community awareness of the ecology of their home place through workshops on mapping, birding, plants and forest and marine ecology; he continues to work with young people and adults alike providing natural history interpretation, guided walks and has developed school level inventory techniques for studying forest and intertidal ecosystems. He has also developed and coordinated experiential school-based programs for Environment Week and Oceans Day as well as community-wide events such as Oceans Day, Environment Week, Wildlife Week, Earth Day and summer nature camp programs. He is known for his original, creative and engaging techniques for communicating ecological concepts to learners including immersing them in natural surroundings, theatre, and stories. This extensive experience and his own observations of how people interact with, and are taught about nature helped to create his vision for an ecological learning centre within the world-class natural assets of the southern Gulf Islands; the Gulf Islands Centre for Ecological Learning. The realization of the Centre in 2000 was the culmination of his life’s work and it continues to deliver his personal goal of developing ecologically literate citizenry for the 21st Century.

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