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Learn About Us

Green Schools Nova Scotia is an exciting initiative brought to you by Efficiency Nova Scotia to enhance environmental sustainability at schools. This free program helps support students, teachers, and the larger school community as they learn to waste less and become more energy efficient. 

Reducing energy consumption is the best way to mitigate climate change, and we are focused on energy! While we start from that foundation, we cover a spectrum of environmental concerns including energy, waste, water, transportation, and food. There are five pillars to the Green Schools NS program: Getting Started With Energy, Minimizing Waste, Using Water Responsibly, Living and Moving Green, and Supporting Local. 

Engagement Officers work with students, teachers, and school communities across the province to strengthen sustainable behaviour that helps the Earth. The program supports community efforts to reduce energy waste and to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Through curriculum linked education, resources, presentations, and initiatives, Green Schools community members can discover more about the impact of consumption habits, and how to waste less. 

Using resources efficiently and considering our environmental footprint are necessary skills as the global community unites to address climate change. The foundational experience students gain from Green Schools NS cultivates sustainable choices and behaviours that stick around for good.

Meet Our Team

Ruvi Mugara

Director of Projects
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Ruvi is originally from the small country of Zimbabwe, in Africa and she joined the Green Schools team back in 2018, as an Engagement Officer. Growing up in Africa meant she learnt all about resource conservation at a very young age, and has always been aware of how fortunate we are to have the earth provide us with everything we would need.

She is a real DIY queen and believes we can repurpose anything old into something new and beautiful with a little love and patience. She is a mom of 2 kids, and so when not working, you can catch her enjoying walks or working on a craft with her kiddies.

Shandel Brown

Program Manager
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Shandel joined the Green Schools team in January 2016 as the Engagement Officer for Cape Breton and is now the Program Coordinator. Originally from Alberta, Shandel has been slowly making her way around the country, recently making Cape Breton her home. She explored the west coast of British Columbia while taking a Liberal Arts and Science degree at Quest University Canada. Quest broadened her world view and prompted her to question our relationship with the Earth’s complex ecosystems. After a year of learning French and teaching English in Sherbrooke, Québec, Shandel made her first visit to the Maritimes for a summer job in Chéticamp, Cape Breton. Her master’s degree in Environment and Resource Studies from the University of Waterloo allowed her to return to Nova Scotia to study how a sense of place affects fishermens’ ability to deal with climate change and other social and economic changes. Shandel recently came back to her farming roots when she moved to a fifth generation farm in the picturesque Margaree Valley where she now lives with her partner, Ben. When she’s not encouraging kids to play outside, grow vegetables and reduce energy consumption, you can find her cross-country skiing or feeding her pet calf named Coo.

Angie VanKessel

Program Coordinator
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Angie has over 15 years of experience developing and delivering fun presentations on environmentally sustainable practices through both professional and volunteer activities for a wide range of ages,  the Green Schools initiative aligns perfectly with her personal goals

As a horticulturist, she has always had a passion for the environment and sharing her nature-friendly growing with students and members of her community. Her favorite topic is soil, which may sound boring to most but she likes to say, “soil is the immune system and the digestive system of a plant” so it’s really important to keep it healthy.

When she’s not teaching about caring for the environment and the soil, Angie can be found either exploring the woods with her kids, Nick and Caroline or driving them to their many activities (Mom’s Taxi). She is also a proud mom of two retired racehorses, Pasta Vera and Fedora – recycling isn’t just for plastics and these two have proven they have so much more to offer after the track.

Angie is an enthusiastic supporter! She and her son sell lemonade to help Type 1’s cover costs to go to D-Camps each summer and they actively help out other T1D families to find the support they need to deal with this diagnosis. She also loves motivating and helping local entrepreneurs find the network to support them or sort through their ideas.

Chang Liu

Project Assistant
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Chang is a passionate Program Assistant at Green Schools. Originally from China, Chang embarked on a journey to pursue her academic aspirations, culminating in a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Dalhousie University. Her diverse background and extensive knowledge have ignited within her a deep passion for energy conservation and sustainability.

During her leisure time, Chang finds solace in the simple pleasures of life. She can often be found strolling through the park, accompanied by her beloved Shiba Inu, cherishing the beauty of nature. Additionally, she embraces a sustainable lifestyle by cultivating edible plants, enhancing self-sufficiency in her daily routines.

Emma Hines

Green Career Specialist
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Emma is thrilled to come on board as Green Schools Green Career Specialist.

Freshly graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Sustainability, Emma’s passion lies in all things related to our beautiful planet.

When she’s not busy with her work, you can spot Emma backpacking into the great outdoors, perfecting her moves at the dance studio, or enjoying some quality snuggle time with her furry feline companions. Emma’s enthusiasm for environmental sustainability is contagious, and she can’t wait to share her knowledge and passion with the Green Schools community.

Katie Reeves

Engagement Officer
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Katie, our Engagement Officer at Green Schools this year, brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for sustainability to the team. With a background in Animal Science and a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science, she’s well-versed in the interconnectedness of nature.

Outside of work, Katie enjoys exploring our beautiful province with her husband, hiking in nature, and spending time with her 3 horses. She also enjoys learning the sport of dressage (ballet on horseback). Her love for the great outdoors fuels her commitment to environmental causes.

Ian Keating

Engagement Officer
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Ian is our Bilingual Engagement Officer here at Green Schools Nova Scotia. Upon graduation from St. Francis Xavier University in 2021, Ian has gained multiple years of experience working in outdoor education and in the eco-tourism industry.
He possesses a passion for environmental sustainability and environmental education, teaching others the importance of protecting our home planet. When he is not connecting with students, you can find him backpacking throughout the woods of the Maritimes or skiing wherever there is snow.

Avery Varnes

Engagement Officer
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With his background in marketing and communications, Avery brings his love of people and energetic personality to Green Schools Nova Scotia. Based in Sydney, Nova Scotia, he is incredibly excited to work with the schools of Cape Breton Island.

Olivia Hivon

Engagement Officer
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Olivia has recently joined the Green Schools NS as an Engagement Officer! Since graduating from McGill University in 2022 with a degree in Environment and Development, Olivia has been involved in various roles related to environmental education and is very passionate about green energy solutions!

When she’s not at work, Olivia can often be found immersed in outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming in the sea, or cycling through the countryside. Having grown up spending summers in the small fishing village of Sandy Cove on Digby Neck, Olivia developed a deep appreciation for Nova Scotia’s natural landscapes, which she now channels into her climate-related work, including her new position with Green Schools!

Jonah Campbell

Engagement Officer

Jonah – One of Green School’s new Engagement Officers!

Inspired by a long career in the summer-camp sphere Jonah is a lover of all things camping, hiking, and the great outdoors. He’s spent quality outdoor time in our beautiful provinces of BC, Alberta, Ontario, and of course my home province of Nova Scotia.

Jonah graduated from Dalhousie University with a degree is Theatre, so when he has to spend time inside you can usually find him at the theatre performing in local improv comedy shows. Jonah loves to live, laugh, and eat, and is a big fan of good food from around the world.

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