Staff Profiles

 Teacher   –   Amy Westenberg                                       Amy

Nature Name: Stump

Why this name?  Once upon a time I was a Bronte Creek Project Student and STUMP was the Nature Name my friends selected for me! I can`t really remember why, but it has stuck with me for 23 years, so I will continue to use it!

Began at BCP: 2014

# of years in education:  14 years

What brought you to BCP?: I truly believe that the BCP is a PHENOMENAL place to learn. It really is a life changing program that all students need to experience. I am here because I know that the program is good for students and I want to be a part of that!

Most enjoyable aspect of working with BCP:  The most enjoyed aspects of the BCP for me included working in a small tight knit community of staff and students that are all working towards common goals, watching students try new things and succeed in new challenges! Making memories to last a lifetime!!

Favourite memory or highlight of time outdoors: I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be immersed in the out of doors for most of my life. As a family, we camped, hiked, swam, sailed, canoed, skied, snowboarded etc. In my adulthood, I have continued to spend as much time outside that I possibly can. A favourite memory of mine is from a recent trip to Algonquin Park with my Husband. It was his first time in the backcountry. Being able to share that experience with him and be out in one of the most beautiful places on earth is something I will never forget!

Something related to BCP of which you are most proud:  I am most proud of the students I have had at the BCP. I am always amazed at their courage to try something new, to leave their home schools and a place of comfort to join us at Sidrabene and do something out of the ordinary. Their passion for learning outside, their enthusiasm for their learning’s drives me to be a better teacher and person!

Teacher Assistant   –   Courtney Pickering                           Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.18.38 PM                      
Nature Name: Welkyn
Why this name?  It was chosen when I was a BCP student in 2004.  It is an old English word to describe the rays of sunshine that stream through the clouds.  My father was a hot air balloonist and photographer and being high in the air they were seen on most flights.
What brought you to Trailhead?:  Initially as a student, I was drawn to being outside and in a small community.  The program inspired my career path into outdoor education and my teaching style, so it felt right to return to a community that is super supportive and has great opportunities for students.
Most enjoyable aspects of working with Trailhead: Watching students develop their leadership skills over the semester and take ownership for their learning. 
Favourite memory or highlight: Algonquin with the students.  It’s great to see students succeed at skills that they were nervous about before the trip. 
Something related to BCP of which you are most proud: The way students learn here.  The experiential nature of the program allows students to really thrive and discover how they learn best.


Occasional teacher / Marketer / Trip Leader: Ryan Beach     Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.16.30 PM

Nature Name: Tick (yes the insect. It’s for awareness folks)

Why this name? Shortly before shipping out on an Algonquin trip with the school I realized, I needed a nature name. The students would need to learn my name quickly since I was new, so I chose a single syllable. I always I liked the name Nick, so I swopped a T for an N and have been spreading Tick awareness ever since.

Began at BCP: 2015

# of years in education:  4 years

What brought you to BCP?: The uniqueness of the program. This is a school with a sincere approach to education that breathes fresh air in how the staff interacts with the students. I have seen this approach successfully work with the students in the class, kitchen, outdoors and in the backcountry. I believe it matures a student in ways they need.

Most enjoyable aspect of working with BCP:  The competitive advantage of this school is the site and community. It has a 100 acre river-running and forested setting. Any student who enjoys the outdoors is an ideal candidate for this program. The community that calls it home is so supportive and welcoming it feels more like you have a family here.

Favourite memory or highlight of time outdoors: Every spring I load up the canoe and head to Algonquin Park for that long sought after Portage. When all the hard work of paddling, carrying gear and wood collecting pauses, I enjoy the peace and reward that this hard work brings.

Something related to BCP of which you are most proud:  Watching the students on the Algonquin Trips lift a canoe over their head for the first time, then carry it through the forest. Knowing that they are developing skills and confidence is a great outcome from their hard work and perseverance.

Guidance Secretary   –   Joanne Grysak                                joanne

Began at BCP: 2013

# of years in education: 24 years

What brought you to BCP?: The great staff and awesome program!

Most enjoyable aspects of working with BCP: I don’t have much contact with the students, however, I’d love to see the site and meet some of the students.  I enjoy the work I do with the software programs, keeping the records accurate for all Bronte Creek and Trailhead students.

Favourite memory or highlight: I really like the New Street Staff and I worked with Jodie Schnurr at Burlington Central High School when she was the Student Services Department Head for 3 years.  She is one of the main reasons I applied for the position here.

Something related to BCP of which you are most proud:  I think it is wonderful that the Halton District School Board runs such a great program for students to explore and learn.  The program runs under the wonderful leadership and great teachers and staff!

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Funding provided by the Halton District School Board, the Halton Learning Foundation and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

Halton District School Board Gary Allan High School

The Bronte Creek Project is a Gary Allan High School program in the Halton District School Board.