ORTM Alumni

Allison Bray

BSc Outdoor Recreation and Tourism / ENPL Environmental Planning
Outdoor Instructor/Guide
Utah-Canmore and beyond

I work for NOLS, mainly in Utah, as a river (canoe, kayak, raft, swift water rescue) and hiking Instructor for about half the year. I work for Outward Bound Canada as an Instructor and Course Director, for Indigenous programs out of Canmore, AB for the other half. Since ORTM, I’ve been a raft guide, silver medallist at the Rafting World Cup, Instructor and guide for a whole bunch of companies and organizations, a youth addictions support worker for a couple wilderness addictions treatment programs, a success coach for Indigenous high school students, and am starting to try my hand at program management and curriculum development! I’ve definitely been living up the nomadic aspect the outdoor industry offers, and I can’t say I’m quite done with it yet! Having worked in Costa Rica, New Zealand, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Ontario, Quebec, Yukon, Alberta, and BC, the list keeps growing! It took a few years to really hit my stride, find my niche, and thrive in this industry. At first it was slow and shoulder and off seasons required a lot of hustling to find work. I hung in long enough, however, and diversified my skill set within related fields to finally be employed as many months out of the year as I can handle in the Outdoor Industry! While there are easier, more stable career paths, I still haven’t had a season of work where I haven’t been amazed by the people I get to meet, the places I get to call my office, and the things I get to do as ‘my daily grind’. I still feel that I’m living the dream or at least my dream! (But maybe don’t ask me how I feel about it all when I’m sleep deprived, the bug apocalypse turns into a microburst that knocks down my tent at 1130 at night and a student needs help setting up their tent and the zipper won’t close, and I’m in pain because I fractured a finger earlier that day, Ok?) Even I have [rare] moments before I start laughing about it all where I’d rather be tucked up in a cozy bed somewhere with a nice safe, bug and extreme weather free 9-5!).

ORTM set me on my way toward this by linking me to NOLS; giving me an amazing broader understanding of conservation, leadership, Indigenous context and issues, land and protected areas management, recreation and tourism, as well as strong writing and research skill sets; the program also provided me a first hand experience of the impact of excellence in experiential education which still inspires me to be the best educator I can be!

Carling Breuning (nee Mathews)

BA Nature-Based Tourism Management
MA Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and Conservation

Group Sales Manager
Ski Marmot Basin & Jasper SkyTram
Jasper, Alberta

The major focus of my job includes providing opportunities for regional and international school/youth groups to connect with the mountains through snow sports or hiking. We have a unique tri-partnership with Parks Canada and the Grande Yellowhead School District that provides additional opportunities for youth to learn about and connect with nature.

Every aspect of the ORTM program has set me up for success from knowledge to organization and research skills. The lifestyle here is way beyond anything I could have imagined. In the winter I ski just about every day, in the summer the dogs and I are out doing alpine hikes pretty much every weekend.

Shannon Champion

BSc. Outdoor Recreation and Conservation
Vancouver, BC

Since my graduation from the ORTM program in 2010 I have had a few different highly rewarding jobs, including working for Metro Vancouver Regional Parks in Burns Bog Conservation Area, as a Wildland Firefighter for the Province of BC, and now as a physiotherapist for Providence Health Care in Vancouver. I find my work as a physiotherapist in public health care rewarding because I enjoy helping empower people to have more autonomy and confidence in their mobility. I also just started volunteering with an organization that helps individuals living with a disability or barrier access nature and outdoor recreation opportunities, something I feel really passionate about!

The ORTM program was a great launching pad in helping me explore my passions and pursue all the things I have since I graduated. It also helped kickstart my love of Northern BC and interest in rural communities, something I explored further as a physiotherapy student. I now look forward to moving to a smaller community down the road, which my job as a physiotherapist will likely allow me to do. Last but definitely not least, my time in the ORTM program is where I developed some of my most special and meaningful connections and friendships, which I still hold close to my heart today.

Dawn Hansen

BSc. Outdoor Recreation and Conservation
Whitehorse, Yukon

I work with a private company where we "study living things and where they live" as well and a few other components. The majority of the work that I am involved in includes Fish and Wildlife studies. These projects are often research based and are collaborative work between local First Nation Governments and EDI. These projects start with locals having concerns, and we help them develop a question (or series of questions) that can be explored, we help develop local capacity and provide training for environmental stewardship (including youth).

We are also involved with abandoned mines (monitoring and reclamation) as well as collecting baseline information and writing Environmental Assessments for upcoming mining companies - we help them maximize their ability to work/profit while maintaining the environmental integrity of the area. This is often viewed as a negative/contentious component of consultant work, however I firmly believe that by being involved in this kind of work, allows us to help developers see where concerns of the locals are coming from and promote open dialect between parties, maximizing benefits for all involved (this will never be smooth or easy and there will always be trade offs, but there are many success stories).

My favorite part of my job is getting to work with an amazing group of people that ask hard questions and remind you to always question: Why are you doing this work, what are the effects of your study and how can you minimize those effects on the local flora and fauna? Also, getting paid to go hiking, fishing and camping is pretty unreal :)

When I think back to the ORTM program, I have very fond memories of fantastic profs, asking hard questions and promoting us to think outside the box to find our answer/solution to questions/concerns. The field schools that I was able to participate in were absolutely amazing experiences and something I still remember with very fond memories.

Vernon Hofferd

BA Nature-Based Tourism Management

After graduating from UNBC Vernon followed love and moved to Europe with an ORTM exchange student. He works as a climbing instructor at the Vadehavscentret in Denmark and ref’s professional ice hockey in Europe.

Rachelle Linde

Honours BA Nature-Based Tourism Management

I finished my BA Honours in Nature-Based Tourism Management this December, and am currently working both as a youth climbing coach at Overhang Climbing Gym in Prince George, and as Brain Builder at The Exploration Place, Prince George’s own heritage and natural history museum. At the Exploration Place, I help care for all their many-legged critters, deliver programing to school groups, and lead interpretive tours of the gallery.

ORTM has taught me so many ways to learn, to teach, and to appreciate the value of experiencing the ‘wilderness’, while understanding my role in keeping it healthy. This program has led me all over BC, from Chetwynd to Telegraph Cove, and I wouldn’t trade away a minute of it!

Carmen Marer

Nature-Based Tourism Management (BA)
Media Relations Administration Assistant
Destination BC

Working for DBC has been a goal of mine since UNBC. I get to work with Media members (writers, bloggers, publications, and film) to promote the province I love!

The majority of my day to day work is collecting all the articles that include any mention of BC...then I ensure all our tourism partners (large and small tour businesses) as well as local DMOs and regions are aware of the articles (online and print). This includes media from our 6 overseas markets where we have representatives. I am the gate keeper of all media and assist our tourism partners in getting everything they need.

Shannon McGinty

BSc. Outdoor Recreation and Conservation
Recreation Director at Sunchaser Vacation Villas in Fairmont Hot Springs (Columbia Valley)

During my studies I worked at OverHang and at Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre. After graduation I worked for a few years as the program director at the Climbing Wall at the Richmond Olympic Oval and did a short contract again at Gavin Lake. I’ve just taken up a new position at Sunchaser where I am responsible for programming and running the recreation program for the entire resort. This gives me the freedom to run a variety of events that I find interesting, and believe the guests will as well, while still being involved as an instructor. I am also responsible for tracking and reporting session successes and areas in improve. ORTM prepared me for this position by exposing me to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, skills to work with all ages, and key organization and management techniques.

Dani McIntosh

BA Nature-Based Tourism Management
MA Natural Resources and Env. Studies
Parks Canada – Environmental Impact Assessment
Cochrane, AB

Dani worked seasonally for Parks Canada in the Mountain Parks throughout her bachelors and masters degrees at UNBC in a range of positions from fire communications, to research and now works as an Environmental Impact Assessment officer.

Emily Nusse

B.A. in Nature-Based Tourism Management
Recreation Technician with Recreation Sites and Trails BC
Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Dawson Creek (District (19% of province) all of Northeast Pine Pass, to Yukon and Alberta borders)

My role as a Recreation Technician in the Northeast is to ensure recreational values on crown land are preserved for the public to enjoy. In a dynamic resource driven part of the province this is achieved by building relationships and partnerships both internally with other BC Government Branches and externally with key stakeholders and interest groups such as Recreation Associations, First Nations and Industry to help manage different recreation sites and trails. Working with so many interest groups is both challenging and rewarding as each one brings forward different values around land use.

Brock Paciejewski

BSc Outdoor Recreation and Conservation
Recreation Technician
Rec Sites and Trails BC – Prince George

We (1 Rec Officer/1 Rec Tech) manage all recreation on crown land within the PG/Mackenzie Forest Districts outside of municipalities and parks. This is equal to about 8 million hectares! Although it is within the mandate of our branch to manage dispersed recreation, a lack of staff/resources means that we generally focus on our legally established sites and trails.

The Recreation Technician position is a rewarding but often challenging position. Every day is different, but in general my main duties involve inspections of sites and trails, administration and management of contracts for various types of services, actively engaging in maintenance/construction of sites and trails, maintaining relationships with our partnership groups/stakeholders, and addressing public inquiries/complaints. Dealing with the public and stakeholders can be one of the most challenging aspects, as people are often very passionate about recreation and land use issues. This can lead to some fairly intense social interactions. Handling some of these intense social situations has been the steepest learning curve for me.

I strongly believe in the importance of providing outdoor recreation opportunities for healthy people and communities. Keeping that bigger picture in mind is what really helps me through some of the tougher days. Getting out to visit some of the beautiful sites and trails around PG and Mackenzie is always good to boost the spirits as well! Working for the public service allows me to have an excellent work/life balance. In my free time I’m able to pursue my main passions, which are fly-fishing, hiking and playing music.

I’m enjoying my normal “adult” routine, but my time spent at UNBC was without a doubt some of the best days of my life. I met a lot of awesome people who I’m still friends with today. The small class sizes allowed extremely high levels of engagement. The diversity of courses offered through the ORTM program provided amazing opportunities to learn about many different aspects of recreation and tourism. One of the shining highlights of my time at UNBC was the chance to visit the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area for the ORTM field school in 2012. Honestly this trip helped put a lot of things into perspective and was life changing for me. During the summers I was able to find awesome jobs as a trails/maintenance student with Parks Canada, a BC Parks contractor, an environmental consultant and a wildland fire fighter.

Dan Wiggins

BA Nature-Based Tourism Management

Dan has worked in a wide range of adventure tourism and cultural tourism positions. He was a climbing guide at WildPlay Elements Park and now works for the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in West Kelowna.

ORTM Entrepreneurs

A number of ORTM/RRT grads have started or bought outdoor recreation or tourism businesses. We'd love to share your accomplishments with others and maybe generate a bit of business for you. If you're a business owner send us a photo/description and website (if available) so we can tag you here. Remind us which degree you pursued and what year you graduated!

Where are you now?