Markus Pukonen is the founder and leader of the Routes of Change organization. He was recently named one of Canada’s Top Modern Day Explorers by Canadian Geographic. His adventure education work with OAR Northwest spans three major expeditions in three years: the CWF Africa to the Americas Expedition, where he spent 73 days at sea rowing across the Atlantic Ocean; a three month source to sea trip down the Mississippi River; and the CWF Salish Sea Expedition; a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island in a rowboat. Markus has delivered presentations to both national and international audiences. In addition, he has presented to thousands of students and reached hundreds of schools with these expeditions. Markus studied Documentary Film Production at Capilano University with a goal of sharing the Routes of Change project with more people. He has biked 2500km of the Pacific coast and was the first person to Standup Paddleboard across the Georgia Strait, 55km from Vancouver to Nanaimo. Born and raised in Toronto he is based near his nieces in Tofino, BC, Canada.
Juliet Van Vliet is a planning professional specializing in public engagement, policy development, land use planning and decision analysis with local governments and First Nations communities. A skilled facilitator and active transport enthusiast, Juliet holds a Master’s degree in planning from the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC. She currently works with the Coastal Family Resource Coalition as a Community Developer supporting local health and early development linkages with eight remote communities around her hometown of Tofino. She is also a volunteer firefighter with the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department, and loves her dog Bru!
Rein Tammemagi brings a wealth of environmental sustainability and outdoor education knowledge and experience to everything he does with Routes of Change. After receiving a joint honours Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Biology from Trent University, Rein began developing programming designed to inspire kids to lead healthier environmental lifestyles. While working as an outdoor educator at YMCA Cedar Glen Outdoor Centre, he met the staff and students of The YMCA Academy (who were visiting Cedar Glen on their annual overnight excursion). He was blown away by the Academy — students and staff alike — and soon began volunteering at the school. This experience inspired him to become a classroom teacher, and he obtained his Bachelor of Education from Trent before returning to the Academy in the winter of 2013. Rein teaches a wide range of subjects, including Science (with a particular emphasis on Environmental Science), Food and Nutrition, and Healthy Active Living. He is an avid cyclist and appreciates every opportunity to reconnect with the natural world.
Katherine is busy being the change in the world working as a creative communications professional and photographer in the charitable, social sector. She is a social innovator, change agent, community builder, and storyteller. Katherine admires the beauty of our collective humanity and natural world. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Katherine is the Creative Director at Volunteer Alberta and photographer at KBT Photography.
Jen Pukonen. An avid naturalist and educator, Jen enjoys sharing her love of the natural world with others. Her studies in geography led to international work in community mapping, sustainable living and conservation. For close to ten years Jen worked with the Raincoast Education Society in Tofino on a variety of environmental education and stewardship initiatives. Her experiences in Clayoquot Sound inspired her to continue her studies and in 2009 she completed an MSc in Ethnoecology (the relationships between people and their environment). To help fund her studies, she often sailed away... and worked as a naturalist aboard a sailboat in Haida Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest. A common theme throughout her work has been to help create opportunities for people of all ages to connect with and learn about their environment. These days most of her adventures are closer to home. She can often be found playing in the waves and exploring local beaches and forest trails with her two daughters (and Uncle “Marmu” Markus whenever he’s in town!).
Jessie Hannigan. With a background in marketing, communications, and project management, Jessie has contributed to numerous social and environmental non-profits over the years. He's an avid outdoorsman, spending much of his time in the mountains or on the sea. If he's not travelling, working outside, writing his masters, or out on an adventure somewhere, than he's probably helping his long-time friend Markus with Routes of Change.