Expedition Staff

The SOI Expedition Staff consists of core SOI staff who work year-round on SOI-led initiatives and form the Management Team on the 2014 Antarctic Expedition. Following the core team is a list of Expedition Staff who are experts across a variety of fields. Together, the following individuals will serve as teachers, mentors, guides, photographers, vidoegraphers and chaperones throughout the journey.

Management Team

Geoff Green (small)GEOFF GREEN
Founder & Executive Director
Expedition Leader, Students on Ice

Canadian adventurer, environmentalist and educator Geoff Green has been leading expeditions and adventures from pole to pole for the past twenty years. Many notable organizations such as the Discovery Channel, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society and the Smithsonian Institution enlist Geoff to lead their groups into the world’s most remote and interesting regions.
Geoff has received numerous awards and recognitions over the course of his career. In 2012, he was appointed to the Order of Canada in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to the nation and to humanity through his work with Students on Ice. In 2013, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Education from Nipissing University. In 2010, he was recognized as one of 25 Transformational Canadian and in 2005 he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the U.S. Congress for his work with youth and the environment. He was also voted one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40” – an annual national prize event saluting Canada’s top young leaders. In 2004, Outpost Magazine chose Geoff as one of the “Top 5 Canadian Explorers” to watch.
Geoff is the founder and Executive Director of Students on Ice Expeditions an award-winning educational organization based in Chelsea, Quebec. The program – now in its tenth year – has taken over 1,500 students, teachers and scientists from around the world on expeditions to both the Arctic and the Antarctic. The goal of this unique project is to give the world’s youth a heightened understanding and respect for the planet’s global ecosystem, and the inspiration to protect it.
As expedition leader, Geoff is a veteran of 79 Antarctic expeditions and 36 Arctic expeditions.
To read Geoff’s full biography click here. To learn more about Geoff, visit GeoffGreen.ca.
 
Shirley Manh

SHIRLEY MANH
Manager, Expedition Logistics & Participants

Shirley has spent her career working to provide innovative and transformational experiential learning opportunities to young people. She spent the early years of her career travelling and working as an Educational Tour Leader, leading innumerable trips with student groups of all ages to various cities across Canada and the United States. During her time in the educational travel industry, Shirley moved from working on the road to Operations and Management, where she trained and managed teams of up to 50 tour leaders, giving her a passion for facilitating personal growth and professional development in students and young professionals.
Shirley then stepped in to the non-profit sector and through her involvement with The Otesha Project, first as a Tour Liaison and then as the Development Director, she worked to support creative environmental education programs that explored sustainability initiatives and social justice issues on an individual, local and global level. She is passionate about living with intention, conscious consumption, and waste reduction.
Shirley first stepped on board with Students on Ice on their 2010 expedition to the Antarctic delivering youth engagement workshops to the student body. She is thrilled to continue working with SOI participants to prepare them for their journey to the Polar Regions. Her ability to smoothly coordinate expedition logistics and be the primary participant liaison is instrumental in making SOI expeditions successful. Working closely with the Expedition Leader, Shirley oversees the day-to-day operations of SOI field programs and provides support for expedition staff, educators, chaperones and student participants.
 
Justin Dearing

JUSTIN GRAHAM DEARING
Manager, Education & Alumni Programs

Justin was born in Kamloops, BC, grew up in many different communities across Canada, and has just moved to the beautiful Chelsea region of Quebec on his newest adventure with his wife and super-hero son. Having been to both poles in 2013 as an educator with SOI, he is super excited to join the team full-time!
Justin has completed his coursework towards his Masters in Coastal Zone Management, holds a graduate diploma in Integrated Coastal and Oceans Management, as well as a B. Sc. in Biology and Religious Studies. Justin has helped inspire thousands of youth to take a leadership role in changing their world through the realization that ONE person makes ALL the difference. He has spent the past 12 years working with youth, schools, communities, NGO’s, governments, and international organizations on environmental issues and policies, empowerment and engagement activities, and the ongoing effort to inspire change. In 2013, Justin was awarded the NL Environmental Award – Individual Category for excellence in environmental leadership; in 2011 he was named a Waste Reduction Hero for leading 1,000+ volunteers as they removed over 20,000 lbs of debris from more than 100 beaches; and in 2010 he was chosen as one of Atlantic Canada’s top 40 Emerging Leaders from a pool of over 400 nominees.
To Justin, the bottom line is that the depth of our challenges directly relates to the quality of our opportunities and he is committed to helping youth and communities see those opportunities realized. His personal mantra, “Waiting to make a difference, is the one thing that guarantees you never will”, motivates him to BE the change instead of WAITING for change.
 
 

Ashley bio photo (small)ASHLEY BRASFIELD
Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Ashley joined Students on Ice in September 2013 with more than 15 years of experience in the corporate and non-profit sectors in the U.S., Czech Republic, Australia and for the past decade, in Canada.
Ashley’s work experience includes a lead communications role with WWF-Canada’s national fundraising and conservation campaigns, part of Molson-Coors’ Corporate Affairs team and most recently as volunteer communications support for Ottawa Riverkeeper, a local non-profit that looks after the health of the Ottawa River.
Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business from Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham, Alabama) and a post grad certificate in Public Relations from Ryerson University. She is excited to leverage her communications experience and her passion for the environment to tell SOI’s story and help educate and inspire youth as global ambassadors. On expedition, she will coordinate media between the expedition and the SOI home team to ensure ongoing updates, photos and video throughout the journey.
Ashley lives in Ottawa with her husband and two daughters. 
 

Expedition Staff 

Anna Abella (small)Anna Abella
Biochemist, Science Teacher

Anna is a Science Teacher at an International School in Switzerland. Originally from Barcelona, she studied Biochemistry and has a doctorate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Anna then left Spain to do a Post-doc in France. It was during her time in France when Anna realised that she wanted to become a teacher and decided to stop her research career.
Anna moved to Switzerland to teach Biology and Chemistry at a boarding school in the Swiss Alps. This was an incredible opportunity to be in contact with nature and the mountains and be able to practice her passions; rock climbing, alpinism and ski-touring. After two years, Anna moved to a bigger international school where she teaches middle school science and high school biology.
Anna is a very active woman who loves travelling, diving and exploring mountains around the world.  She has trekked to Everest base camp, up to Kilimanjaro and in Peru. Anna is also passionate about yoga; she regularly practices and also teaches it to high school students. Anna was a member of the SOI 2013 Arctic Expedition and firmly believes that the most important part of teaching does not happen in within the walls of a classroom. This is why she cannot wait to join the SOI 2014-15 Antarctic Expedition.
 
Daniele Bianchi

DANIELE BIANCHI
Oceanographer

Postdoctoral fellow at McGill University
I’m originally from Italy, from the town of Imola, near Bologna. After completing my undergraduate in Marine Environmental Sciences at University of Bologna, I moved to the United States, where I received a PhD from the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences Department at Princeton University. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal.
I am an oceanographer by training and in my research I look at the interactions between ocean circulation and the marine ecosystem. I am particularly interested the mechanisms that regulate marine life at the global scale, and in particular how marine organisms, from microscopic phytoplankton up to large zooplankton and fish, respond to changes in their physical environment, and end up influencing it. For this research, I use a synthesis of global oceanographic data, for example in situ measurements, satellite and acoustic data, together with mathematical models that describe the physics, chemistry and ecology of the ocean.
 

Dr Katherine BreenKATHERINE BREEN
Expedition Physician

Dr. Katherine Breen is a family physician specializing in remote and rural medicine. Passionate about leading a healthy and adventurous lifestyle, she has spent most of her career practicing in the Canadian Arctic.
In 2003 Kate graduated with a BA in Political Science and Human Rights and the following year worked as a program manager with the Rwanda NGO Forum on HIV/AIDS in Kigali. The experience of working in Rwanda led Kate to pursue a career in medicine. She earned her MD from McMaster University in 2007.
After completing her post-graduate training in Family Medicine, Kate began practicing medicine in Iqaluit where she focused on the areas of Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics, and Tuberculosis.
In 2013, along with her partner Eric, Kate completed a 1000km kayak journey across Baffin Island in a traditional Inuit style kayak that she made herself. In search of her next big adventur​e she​ recently moved to Yellowknife where she continues to work as a physician.
Kate is a certified yoga teacher. She enjoys a style of yoga that incorporates nature appreciation and mindfulness with an energetic physical flow. She is a member of the Wilderness Medical Society, the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada, and the Canadian College of Family Physicians.
 
 

Paul BrettPAUL BRETT
Chair, Ocean Mapping Program at the School of Ocean Technology (Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University)

Paul Brett is from Pt. Leamington, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.
He is an instructor and Chair of the Ocean Mapping program for the Marine Institute’s School of Ocean Technology (SOT). Mr. Brett has a Masters of Science (Geography) from Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as an undergraduate degrees in Education (post-secondary), Physics, and Geography.Paul is a specialist in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, he has widespread experience working with synthetic aperture radar (SAR), multispectral imaging, Multi-beam sonar, side scan sonar, and geographic information systems application and development.
An explorer at heart, he has traveled extensively through Canadian Arctic conducting interview with local on traditional hunting and fishing, and marine species. 19th and 20th century Arctic and Antarctic exploration has always been a passions, and the ability to visit the locations of some of these explorer has been a very rewarding experience.
 
 

Diane BurkoDIANE BURKO
Landscape Painter & Photographer

Artist Diane Burko’s work is exhibited throughout the US and is in many museum collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Hood Museum and Chicago Art Institute. She has multiple awards from: the National Endowment of the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, residencies in Giverny, and the Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center. Diane was a college art professor for almost thirty years and is currently an affiliate of INSTAAR. Monumental geological phenomenon of the world are her main focus. Her passion for the environment has located her artistic practice to the intersection of Art and Science. 
“I want my art to be more than appreciated – I want it to be a tool for social change and environmental policy, bringing attention to the urgent issues of climate change.”
That goal compels her to reach behond the isolatio of her studio. She has witnessed global warming firsthand in the Arctic Circle (Svalbard and Greenland) and Antarctica. She engages with glaciologists in the field and at conferences as a participant. She interacts with various youth groups and lectures to museum and gallery audiences. Her art and advocacy has been featured on various United States National Public radio and TV affiliates and blogs. www.dianeburko.com
 
Olle Carlsson

OLLE CARLSSON
Polar Naturalist & Historian

Born and raised in Sweden, Olle Carlsson was formerly a school teacher and professional jazz musician before embarking on a life of polar adventure, writing, photography, and education. For over twenty years Olle has been sharing the migration route of the Arctic tern – Arctic adventures in the summer, and Antarctic adventures in the winter.
His fascination in the Polar world is grounded on the integrity and beauty of these remote places, as well as the astounding adaptations for survival under harsh conditions that the wildlife has suffered. Our need for places largely unaffected by humans will not decrease, and it goes without saying that they promote a deep engagement in environmental questions.
With his colleague, Stefan Lungren, Olle has co-authored several books about the Poles, including the award-winningAntarctica – In the Interest of All Mankind and the popularAntarctica – A Souvenir Book for the 7th Continent. Olle lives in Sweden and still practices Jazz!
 

Sira Chayer

SIRA CHAYER
Journalist, Photographer and Videographer

Her bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Biological Sciences led to a journalism certificate at Université de Montréal and many years working in the media as a journalist, photographer and videographer for Canoe.ca and QMI Agency, and more recently as a videographer and head of division of the photo department for La Presse newspaper in Montreal and it’s new ipad application La Presse+. Her camera and her passion for traveling led her to take part in different video projects not only for La Presse, but also as a freelancer, like with the Students on Ice project. Sira has a new strong interest for medicinal plants and health and is now undertaking studies in herbalism. One day, she plans to combine her passion for video production and health into a documentary film project.
 
David Fletcher

DAVID FLETCHER
Polar Historian

David Fletcher has spent the last 39 years in the polar regions, including 4 winters and 35 summers. He spent fifteen years with the British Antarctic Survey (B.A.S.) as a dog driver, Base Commander and Field Operations Manager.
David is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and was awarded the prestigious Polar Medal. He has also received the Fuchs medal from the British Antarctic Survey. David has participated on several Students on Ice expeditions as a polar educator.
 

Santiago Imberti

SANTIAGO IMBERTI
Naturalist

An ornithologist, photographer and writer, Santiago was born and raised in southern Patagonia, Argentina. He obtained a degree in tourism and later in ornithology, which allowed him to combine his love for nature and the outdoors with his work as a bird watcher, naturalist, fly fisher and mountain guide. He has been guiding trips in Patagonia, the Antarctic and Arctic for some 25 years.
However, his main passion is conservation and research therefore in the off-season Santiago does field work on birds, mostly in southern Patagonia and is the Director of Conservation for Asociación Ambiente Sur; an NGO that seeks to protect the environment and educate the new generations on a sustainable way of life in southern Patagonia. Since 2009 he coordinates the project to save the now Critically Endangered and Patagonian endemic, Hooded Grebe; and also the creation of Patagonia National Park, a massive protected area that aims to save the grebe and some of the least know habitats in South America.
His many articles and stories have been published in scientific journals and popular travel magazines. In the last years, three of his books on birds and Antarctica have been published, he has become a certified wilderness first aid responder and, since his singing abilities are rather poor, he has produced a couple cds of the beautiful bird sounds of South America, Patagonia and Antarctica.
 

Kristin Lidstrom

KRISTIN LIDSTROM
People to People Delegation Leader

I live in Noblesville, Indiana (a suburb just North of Indianapolis) and have taught Marketing for 10 years at Hamilton Southeastern High School, in Fishers, Indiana. When not teaching, I enjoy reading, writing, painting, horseback riding, and playing with my two Siberian huskies.
I have been traveling with People to People as a delegation leader for 8 years, and am so excited to be setting foot on my 6th and 7th continents with Students On Ice!
 

Eric McNair-LandryERIC MCNAIR-LANDRY
Adventurer

One of the youngest individuals to ski unsupported to the South Pole, Eric has kite-skied over 19,000 km on expeditions and has crossed the Greenland Icecap 6 times. He currently holds the record for the longest kite-skiing distance in 24 hours at 595 km! His dog sledding skills led him to embark on a two-month dog sledding expedition in
The high arctic with legendary explorer Will Steger. He has crossed the Gobi desert, guided a kite-ski traverse of Antarctica, kite-skiing Northwest Passage, and recently has traversed southern Baffin Island in a kayak he hand built.
 
 

Derek Mueller smallDEREK MUELLER
Assistant Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University

Derek is a geography professor at Carleton University where he teaches field courses, climate change, geomorphology and statistics. His research interests are focused on floating ice, in particular the ice shelves along the northern coast of Ellesmere Island and drifting ice islands (large tabular icebergs) in the Arctic Ocean. He has documented the loss of half of Canada’s remaining ice shelves (about 500 square kilometers) over the last decade and tracked numerous ice islands that resulted from dramatic break-up events using satellite beacons and imagery. Derek has also worked on the biology of ice shelves and polar glaciers in the past, including in Antarctica (in the Ross Sea Sector). He is looking forward to exchanging polar cryosphere and climate change knowledge on this trip with students and staff. In his spare time, Derek enjoys cross-country skiing and canoe tripping with his family.
 
 

Lee Narraway 2014LEE NARRAWAY
Adventure Photographer

Lee Narraway spent her childhood exploring the wetlands, forests and lakes of Eastern Canada with her father, an outstanding naturalist and environmentalist. This ignited a passion and curiosity for the outdoors that continues to this day.
Lee received her first camera at ten years of age and soon discovered the joy of sharing her view of the world with others. She uses natural light and her ability to communicate with people to create unique environmental portraits. Her professional career is now focused on travel and adventure photography.
In her quest for outstanding images, Lee has skied, hiked, canoed, backpacked, and traveled by dog team, horseback, snow machine, helicopter, hot air balloon and icebreaker to remote and isolated parts of the world.
When she visited Canada’s High Arctic, Lee became fascinated with its diversity and haunting beauty. Now, she strives to capture its mystery and magic on film by documenting the dramatic scenery, the wildlife and the evolving lifestyle and culture of the Inuit.
Based in White Lake, Ontario, this professional adventure photographer continues to travel the world, discovering wildlife, landscapes and characters through the lens of her camera. Her popular photography workshops have been taught in such diverse areas as Australia, Canada, Chile and the Arctic.
 

Barbara Peutler (cropped)BARBARA PEUTLER
Mathematician and Traveler

Barbara is a German native and just finished her Master’s degree in Mathematics in Munich, Germany. As a student she spent several months interning and studying in Ukraine, Reunion Island and South Africa. Due to this experience abroad she became passionate about traveling and nature – one reason why she is currently touring Central and South America. Fascinated by the beauty of Antarctica and its important role in the global ecosystem, Barbara is thrilled to be able to explore this unique place for environmental protection and science. She is not only looking forward to the incredible nature and wildlife in Antarctica, but also wants to draw connections between our daily behaviour and its affect on climate change and the environment as a whole.
For the past four years, Barbara has volunteered for an international student organization, where she takes care of foreign students who come to Munich for internships. She supports them during their stay abroad, and organizes trips and activities in Munich and the Alps. Her passion for working in a multi-cultural team with open-minded and interested people motivated her to join the Students on Ice 2014 Antarctic Expedition.
 
Scobie Pye

TERRY (SCOBIE) PYE
Polar Scientist & Explorer

“Scobie” Pye is a research scientist with a Master of Science degree awarded by the University of Tasmania, Australia.
Over the past 30 years much of his life has been spent in southern latitudes working with the British Antarctic Survey (B.A.S.), the Australian Antarctic Division and the University of Tasmania. He has spent four winters and seven summers on the island of South Georgia, two summers on the floating ice shelf station of Halley Bay in the Weddell Sea and two winters and nine summers on Australia’s Macquarie Island.
Scobie’s main scientific interests are focused on the conservation and management of Polar Regions. He has worked and traveled extensively in the northern latitudes. In 1978, Scobie was awarded the Fuchs Medal for outstanding service to B.A.S.
 

Richard Ryan (small)RICHARD RYAN
Artist

Richard Ryan raised in the Mojave desert of California lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Diane Burko.  He is an artist, photographer, animator, sculptor, designer, cabinet maker, Chef de cuisine at home and a Landscape Architect, who is especially interested in gardens, maps, motion and food.
His deep interest in the landscape stems from an early appreciation for the flora and fauna as well as the physical features and broad topography of the hot & dry Mojave desert.
He sees his expeditions to the Polar regions and their cold desert landscape as an interesting contrast to his experiences in the Mojave desert.
The SOI expedition will be his second journey to Antarctica.  In 2013 hewas selected along with 25 other artists for a residency program inn the Arctic Circle aboard the Antigua, a three masted Barkentine sailing ship. Post expedition he is off to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field.
 

Beth Ann SmithBETH ANN SMITH
Attorney

Beth Ann is an active scouter and mother of five children – including two sets of twins. She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the Georgetown University Law Center. She is managing partner of a law firm in Augusta, Georgia, specializing in family law. As an adult scout leader and crew advisor, she has been actively involved with encouraging kids to be involved with enjoying and protecting the environment for many years. She has studied and traveled extensively throughout the world and is eager to assist the Students on Ice participants in gaining as much as they can from this unique experience. She looks forward to advocating for Antarctica upon her return to her home community of Augusta, Georgia.
 

Trevor Taylor

TREVOR TAYLOR
Fisherman and Former Minister of Fisheries

Over the past twenty-five years Trevor has worked extensively in many aspects of the fishery.
Prior to the moratorium on Northern Cod in 1992 he worked as a crewmember on fishing boats involved in the cod, turbot and crab fisheries off the northeast coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. He was an instructor in fishery related courses for the Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, was a fisheries observer and has worked in international fisheries development with Oxfam in Nicaragua.
During the 1990s he served on the executive board of the fishermen’s union in Newfoundland (FFAW) and spent six years as a staff member of the FFAW.  He served six years as a member of the Fisheries Resource Conservation Council and was chair of its Gear Technology Sub Committee.
From 1998 to 2000 he was captain of a 55’ fishing vessel, fishing shrimp and crab off Newfoundland and Labrador.
In 2001 he was elected, for the first of three terms, as a Member of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly. As a member of cabinet he served as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Minister of Transportation and Works,   Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs, Minister Responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and Minister Responsible for the Rural Secretariat. He also served on government’s Economic Policy Committee, Social Policy Committee, and the Planning and Priorities Committee of Cabinet.
On October 2, 2009 he stepped down from politics to assume his current position with Oceans North Canada. Oceans North Canada is a fisheries and marine conservation organization, dedicated to advancing conservation goals in Canada’s Arctic marine areas. It is led by the PEW Environment Group in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited Canada.
Trevor is also a columnist for the Telegram in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
 
 

Volunteers 

Donna Johnson croppedDONNA JOHNSON
Traveler

Donna has backpacked off the beaten track all over the world, seeking ways of travel that promote learning and connection. She is passionate about human rights, social justice and the development of critical thinking. As a social worker and teacher her work has focussed on promoting justice for women. Donna likes to read, write and explore ideas. She loves the outdoors, ships and the sea and has always wanted to travel to the Polar Regions, but in a purposeful way, not as a traditional tourist. She looks forward to a powerful personal and educational experience-and to joining the Antarctic Swim Team!