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Tim Then!

In Their Own Words: Alumni Updates — Timothy Straka

Post Series: In Their Own Words -- Alumni Updates

Feel inspired by our engaged alumni and learn how significant bus Resource Experiences still impact them years after the fact!

Timothy Straka – Canadian education & sustainability consultant, sometimes green builder, trail runner, skier, paddler, Frisbee hucker, fence builder, and so much more!

Tim now!

Tim now!

I live on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, where I am the managing partner of an education and sustainability consultancy. I also work (and study) at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) as a ‘Sustainability Scholar’. Recent work at UBC includes coordinating the strategic efforts of the University’s Sustainability Nexus Group and designing/developing/launching a new graduate cohort program in urban education and sustainability that partners UBC, the City of Vancouver, and CityStudio. I continue to enjoy trail running, skiing, paddling, swimming, biking, hucking Frisbees, and back-country travel.

Since leaving the bus I’ve carried forward my commitment to environmental and civic education across North America, in the Arctic, and Antarctica. My interests continue to range from education policy and practice, to ecopsychology, to bioregionalism, to youth empowerment, and politics. Some of the organizations I’ve worked with include Outward Bound Canada, the Students on Ice Foundation, Metro Vancouver, the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, school districts in British Columbia and Ontario, Camp Kawartha and the Kawartha Outdoor Education Centre, Ontario’s Ministry of Education, and several Canadian Parliamentarians. My Passive House – the first residence in Canada designed, built and certified to the PHIUS standard – is also  CaGBC LEED for Homes Platinum certified.

Tim then!

Tim then!

One of the most memorable resource experiences I had while on “The Bus” was building fences and cleaning up land on a ranch adjacent to the U.S./Mexico border. Some members of our learning community came across a group of Mexican migrants who had illegally crossed over into the United States. The students and staff member notified the ranch’s managers. The managers notified the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, who eventually arrived and proceeded to take the migrants into custody. That evening we had a long debrief about the day with students and faculty. I remember participating in some difficult conversations that night and over subsequent weeks that centered on power, ethics, privilege, and social justice as equity. Our learning community’s shared experience on the ranch (coupled with another visiting a U.S. border detention facility) reinforced my understanding of some of the migration challenges confronting that region and how, more generally, lines fragmenting land can affect lives. That semester we were invited to consider more deeply the social and political forces that shape and share power in American society, across borders, and around the world.

Tim was a graduate student from 2003-2005 (Summer/Fall 2003 – Alaska; Winter/Spring 2004 – Desert Southwest; Summer/Fall 2004 – Atlantic Coast; Winter/Spring 2005 – Outward Bound Canada College)