Introducing the Manitoba Summer Staff Team

Get to know the awesome folks doing the work of creation care this summer

By Zoe Matties, Manitoba Program Manager

June 1, 2023

Every summer I get the privilege of walking alongside a group of young creation care leaders. Whether they realize it at the beginning or not, the summer experience with A Rocha in Manitoba is not simply about doing a job, and going home at the end of the day. It is about discipleship, and helping these young people answer the question of “what kind of person do I want to become?”

Built into our daily and weekly routines are waypoints that help us to stop and take a moment for learning and reflection. For example, we start off each day with daily prayer. Most days we follow along with the Northumbria Community’s Celtic Daily Prayer – with our own scripture and meditations. This practice reminds us that the work we do is rooted in our belief in God’s love for the whole world, including creation.

Each week we explore a theme related to the work we do. This year we’re examining ecological virtues. According to Steven Bouma-Prediger, “a virtue is a story-shaped, praiseworthy character trait formed by practices over time that disposes us to act in certain ways.” What makes a virtue ecological in nature is that they “describe exemplary earthkeepers.”* Some of the virtues we’re exploring include: wonder, humility, wisdom, justice, love, courage, and hope.

Our hope is that not only do these young people contribute to the mission of A Rocha, and gain valuable work experience, but they also feel like we have invested in them as people and budding leaders. No matter what their work looks like in the future, we hope they all will be equipped to be conservationists in whatever they do.

So without further ado, here are this year’s batch of summer staff in Manitoba.

Lauren Ens

Role: Environmental Education Coordinator

Favourite Animal: My favourite animal would be a dolphin! I find it neat that they are able to problem solve and communicate in complex ways.

Favourite Plant: My favourite plant is a hydrangea as they are beautiful and they remind me of my mom’s garden.

I am looking forward to another fun summer meeting new campers/re-connecting with previous campers at day camp! One of my favourite parts of day camp is witnessing campers (and leaders!) as they notice something beautiful in creation that makes them curious to explore more.

Marnie Klassen

Role: Urban Agriculture Coordinator

Favourite Animal: I have a particular affinity for the dungeness crab – perhaps it’s the gorgeous orange colour, or the feisty yet calm way they navigate the world. We also share a home in British Columbia!

Favourite Plant: My favourite plant changes, but right now it’s Tamarack trees – I love their little buds in the spring!

Every year in the garden, I’m amazed by something different. Last year it was how fast the corn shot up after being fertilized with turkey trot – the thing I’m most excited for this summer is to be surprised by something new in the garden, and to witness the way God ultimately makes the plants grow.

Dara Neufeld

Role: Environmental Education Coordinator

Favourite Animal: My favourite animal is the red panda because they are super adorable and I bet they would be very cuddly.

Favourite plant: My favourite plant would have to be rhubarb because it is very nostalgic for me. As a child, many of my memories involve snacking on some rhubarb from my yard while spending time outside.

I am excited to learn more about the life and growth that occurs around Manitoba as we plan to include nature explorations in the MB A Rocha day camps!

Josh Wall

Role: Conservation Science Assistant

Favourite Animal: Favourite animals are reptiles, specifically snakes.

Favourite Plant: The willow tree that’s in my front yard. I used to love climbing it when I was younger.
One thing I look forward to this summer is learning more about God’s creation, the nature around us and how I can learn from it and protect it.

* Steven Bouma-Prediger, Earthkeeping and Character

Photos: Zoe Matties

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