4RG Board of Directors – 2023

Mary Ellen (Mel) Abberger is an environmentalist and activist. She grew up in Toronto before moving to Peterborough, where she graduated from Trent University with an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Science and Studies. Mel has worked on sustainable farms and in research laboratories, and is currently a volunteer and outreach coordinator and field technician for The Land Between Charity.

Mel is an active member of For Our Grandchildren, and also works on local environmental issues through other groups and networks. She has attended and organized events such as rallies, presentations, and an environmental debate. Mel is particularly passionate about nature conservation, and political environmental action and accountability.

Outside of her work and activism, Mel enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and travelling.

Mark Bullock grew up in Mount Pleasant and attended Crestwood Secondary School, which was where he first learned about the “greenhouse effect.” In 1983, he graduated from Trent University with an Honours Degree in History. After graduation he did two years of Mennonite Voluntary Service, working with the New York City Coalition for the Homeless. After returning to Canada, Mark worked in construction for six years. He obtained his carpenter’s licence in 1994. In 1996 he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Windsor. During his teaching career, Mark taught English and History, first at PCVS, until it closed in 2011, and then at Adam Scott CVI. He retired from teaching in 2020.

Mark and his wife Natalie have been married since 1989. They have three adult sons. Mark likes getting around in the out of doors – walking, cycling, canoeing, and cross-country skiing. He and Natalie often take cycle tours of places which they visit, and also ride frequently on the local trail network.

Mark joined 4RG in 2021, and has been working with the Events Committee and the Political Action Committee on various projects.

Malaika Collette (she/her) is a youth climate activist and recent graduate of Adam Scott CVI in the French Immersion program. Her activism first began following her participation in the Youth Leadership in Sustainability (YLS) program where she developed the skills, knowledge, confidence and opportunities to take action. She was and is motivated to do everything she can as both the climate crisis intensifies and the movement of concerned citizens taking action grows.

She has organized strikes, environment debates; and lobbied governments and school boards at the local level and organizes with Climate Strike Canada on a national level. Malaika has also worked as a student staff for Mock COP26, where she helped organize a two-week online conference to fill the void of COP26 being postponed. In 2021, she then attended COP26 in Scotland where she attended events, spoke on a panel and participated in youth and civil society actions on the ground.

Malaika is particularly passionate about climate education and ensuring everyone is learning about the crisis and how they can take action.

Outside of organizing, Malaika enjoys playing badminton, travelling and spending time in nature.

Geoff Daw was born in Montreal and grew up in Kanata just outside of Ottawa. Geoff graduated from Trent University in 1981 with a BSc degree in Environmental Science and Biology. He retired in 2021 after a career in the Information Technology sector where he spent most of his time as a Database Administrator and Data Engineer.

After retiring, Geoff and his wife Wendy moved to the Peterborough area and have become involved in several groups including the Peterborough New Canadian Center, Lakefield Animal Welfare Society, Fair Vote Canada and For Our Grandchildren.

They both enjoy camping, canoeing, hiking, swimming, biking, social ballroom dancing, curling and spending time with their pets.

Guy Hanchet. Born at 310 ppmCO2. Graduate of McGill University, B.Sc. Mathematics, 1972. Climate Reality leader trained by Al Gore in San Francisco in 2012, member of Citizens Climate Lobby since 2012, member of For Our Grandchildren National Steering Committee since 2009, Founder and Chair of the Peterborough Chapter of For Our Grandchildren, member of the Kawartha Loon Exchange Board of Governors, Co-Founder of Peterborough Leap Manifesto local chapter, participant in Peterborough Climate Change Action Plan Task Force. Guy has spoken many times on the topic of Climate change including as the warm up act for David Suzuki at the November 29, 2015 March for Climate Solutions in Ottawa before a crowd of 25,000.

Guy is driven to action by the need to answer his grandchildren when they ask “Grandpa, if you knew it was going to be so bad, why didn’t you do more?” He would like to be able to say “I did what I could.”

Steve Russell graduated from the University of Waterloo in Mechanical Engineering in 1968 and Management Sciences in 1969. He retired in 2008 having spent his entire career in health Information and Communication Technology (ICT). He worked across Canada and globally in Mexico, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. He witnessed first hand the impacts of climate change.

He now volunteers with Age Friendly Peterborough (AFP), the Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC)and the Peterborough Family Health Team (PFHT). He and Carol are proud parents of 6 children and 11 grandchildren. Steve is the treasurer of For Our Grandchildren (4RG),the local advocacy group to stop climate change. He is passionate about trees, health impacts and technology solutions.

Connie McCracken. New to our ‘For Our Grandchildren’, she became passionate about helping reverse climate change after the birth of her grandson.

Being plagued with many illnesses in her life, culminating in cancer, she spent many years learning how our minds and negative changes to our food and environment affect us. And has spent many years sharing how she recovered her health, hoping to help others. Now realizing how much climate change affects our health and so many other aspects of our lives, she hopes to be able to help educate people about the need to act now, for our children and grandchildren’s health. As there is ‘No planet B’.

She is the author of a children’s book “Indigo Boy & Crystalline Girl” which she wrote to help all children and their parents realize children are evolving and are all special. She was part of an anthology, “Courage under Siege: Adversity to Victory” to explain her journey to better health in the hopes of helping others. Her last book, “Nine Decades – Nine Lives: A Life in Pieces” tells the story of her father’s adventurous life and mentions some of the climate changes he lived through.

She has a background in Public Relations, working part of her time at Outboard Marine in the Public Relations Department. Leaving work to be a full time mother of two boys, she would later work again as an Executive Secretary/Assistant at Westdale United Church.

She has lived in Peterborough, Ontario her entire life and has been married for 48 years.

Beth McKinlay’s  deep connection with nature led her to work as a naturalist in parks across Canada, and then to teaching high school science.  Her understanding of the interconnectedness of environmental issues led her to expand her teaching qualifications (MA – University of Toronto) and then to teach social sciences, Indigenous Studies,  World Religions and Ethics. In her classes, and as the teacher supervisor of the school’s Social Justice Club, Beth helped to empower students realize they could be agents of positive change.

In her retirement, Beth started volunteering in order to promote climate education and activism, and is a trained Climate Reality Project leader. She also volunteers with the Kids Help Phone Crisis Text Line and enjoys spending time outdoors, playing piano, and experimenting with many art activities.

Scott McKinlay is a life-long naturalist and educator.  He grew up exploring the fields and forests of his parent’s farm, graduated from Fisheries and Wildlife Biology at University of Guelph, and worked as head naturalist at MacGregor Point Provincial Park on Lake Huron.  He has banded birds at Long Point on Lake Erie, and studied coyote ecology (MSc) at Manitoba’s Riding Mountain National Park.

A retired high school science teacher, Scott has pursued his environmental passion by leading outings for the Peterborough Field Naturalists, and contributing as a citizen scientist with the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, the Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program, and Project Feeder Watch.  As a member of 4RG he strives to rally his community to help protect this planet from the worst of the climate crisis, and is a trained Climate Reality Project leader.

David Morton graduated from The University of Toronto with a BA in Political Science followed by an MBA (Master of Business Administration) from York University and an Honorary Doctorate from Trent University. He had a successful business career with several Companies including 12 years as President and CEO of The Quaker Oats Company of Canada.

Since retirement he has focussed on volunteer work and on giving back to the community including serving on Boards such as Trent University where he served as Chair of The Board of Governors. In 2003, he was recognized by the City of Peterborough as Peterborough’s Volunteer of the Year, awarded for his leadership of the “Breaking New Ground” Fundraising Campaign which led to the building of our new Peterborough Regional Health Centre. He currently serves on the PRHC Foundation Board and on the Morton Community Healthcare Centre Board.

Always a wilderness and nature lover, David has become an ardent environmentalist who wants to help to address the existential threat of Climate Change. He is proud to be a member of For Our Grandchildren and is delighted to be sharing this experience with Patricia, his wife of over 50 years.

Ruth Perkins  was raised in a family of 10 in northern Ontario, in towns near Thunder Bay and Sudbury. My parents were educators who believed children should be outdoors as much as possible. Sometimes lunch was served to us standing on the porch, so we didn’t need to change out of our snowsuits. My first paid job, age 10, was catching frogs to put in a neighbours pond ($0.25/frog).

After studying at Trent U. and Sir Sanford College I reluctantly moved to “Big Smoky” aka Toronto, for work.  I raised 2 daughters there.  Vacations were spent camping, wilderness canoeing, bike trips, etc. They still enjoy city life, and are raising my 4 grandchildren there. I love their frequent Ptbo. visits and the outdoor recreation so accessible here. 

My first job was as Coordinator of a collective at Kensington Bellwoods Community Legal Clinic 1975-1988. Free legal services are provided for low income clients, including casework, community organizing, and law reform. Folks were helped with difficulties they experienced as injured workers, tenants, immigrants/refugees, women experiencing violence, and the many cruelties of living in poverty. After resigning I was on their community board from 1988-2003. 

There are many of these clinics in Ontario, and as a volunteer I was on the staff Union Organizing Committee, and Executive. We successfully unionized most clinics, and during my tenure I was proud we won a group supplementary health insurance plan including dental benefits. 

My 2nd job was as Executive Director at the Graduate Students’ Union, at the University of Toronto 1989-2013.  We represented about 16,000 masters and PhD students in about 85 departments, on 4 campuses. (The university is a city within a city!) I worked closely with the elected Executive and Council (with over 100 representatives), campus groups, and many faculty and staff. As the priorities of the Union changed over time I was fortunate to work on campaigns for affordable post secondary education, affordable housing, violence against women, racism, sustainability and waste reduction, and more. It was never boring!  (My friends teased me that my real job title was Sh— Disturber.) 

I was Treasurer on the board of St. Bartholomew’s Childrens Centre, Regent Park, Toronto, 2014-2018. 

I enjoy non-motorized activities, and believe the climate crisis is an existential and immediate threat. I admire the folks, and work done, in 4RG, and I’m grateful to be welcomed into this effective, well organized, and caring community. 

Alan Slavin is retired from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Trent University where he taught and did research on solid surfaces, with about 60 peer-reviewed papers. He holds teaching awards from Trent University, as well as provincial and national awards. He has worked in the past towards nuclear disarmament through the Peterborough branch of Project Ploughshares, and is a member of Science for Peace and Canadian Pugwash.

He was on the steering committee that oversaw the development of the local Climate Change Action Plans, and is on the GHG Emission Data subcommittee of the Peterborough Environmental Advisory Committee. Al enjoys badminton, cross-country skiing, reading, and playing harmonica.

Linda Slavin is retired from community organizing (social entrepreneurship, gender rights, anti-racism/colonialism, food security, anti poverty, environment and reconciliation) as well as international development through Trent, working 7 years in Mexico and Ecuador. She is a founding member of Sustainable Peterborough and sits on its Coordinating Committee and Food and Farming Working Group.

She was a member of the Peterborough chapter of Project Ploughshares, working towards nuclear disarmament. She is a founder of the local Raging Grannies and ran for elected government office 5 times. Linda holds 6 awards for her work in community and international development. She enjoys cooking, reading, movies and walking.

Honorary Board Members

Patricia Marie Morton commenced her long career as an educator at the University of Toronto, where she attained her M.A. and PH.D degrees. In the 1970’s she joined Peterborough’s Trent University where she became a Professor of History & Women’s Studies. Well-published author of journal articles & books, she loved both research & teaching, and is proud to have retired from Trent as a Professor Emerita.

She has also contributed many years of volunteer work to the Peterborough & Lakefield area where she worked to establish the Morton Community Healthcare Centre as a member of its Foundation Board and then as a MCHC Board Director. She & her husband David were together inducted into Peterborough’s Pathway of Fame, for Community Building and Philanthropy.

As a nature lover & active environmentalist, and also as a mother of two amazing children and grandma of six dear grandchildren, she is proud to have been made an Honorary Board Member of For Our Grandchildren.

Kate Grierson is a graduate of Carleton University B. Eng. Lit/Sociology and Ottawa University B.Ed. and taught high school for over twenty years for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and The Trillium Lakelands School Board. Kate became a Climate Reality leader trained by Al Gore in Pittsburgh in 2017 and now provides presentations on the science of the climate crisis to the public. She also supports and engages in various environmental initiatives in both the Ottawa and Peterborough area. Kate is on the organizing committee of For Our Grandchildren as well as being on the organizing committee of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, Peterborough Chapter. This organization supports education for women and girls in Afghanistan.

Kate is an avid photographer having exhibited several times in the Spark Photography Festival; she spent six winters sailing the Antilles Islands with her husband and is a busy grandmother to six, who are her pride and joy.

Drew Monkman is a graduate of Université Laval (B.A. Communications, 1976) and the University of Toronto (M.A. Education, 1992). He worked as a French Immersion teacher, until retiring in 2011. For over 20 years, Drew oversaw the development of a schoolyard naturalization project in Peterborough. Drew is a lifelong naturalist and writer whose nature column, “Our Changing Seasons,” appears regularly in the Peterborough Examiner.

He is the author of three books, including Nature’s Year in the Kawarthas (2002) and Nature’s Year: Changing seasons in Central and Eastern Ontario (2012). Drew also co-authored “The Big Book of Nature Activities” (2016) with Jacob Rodenburg. Drew also maintains a website (drewmonkman.com) where he posts past columns (500+), recent wildlife sightings, and information on climate change in the Kawarthas region of Ontario. Drew regularly leads wildlife walks and makes presentations on nature and climate change.

He has been an active member of For Our Grandchildren since it began in Peterborough in 2013. Drew has also been involved with numerous other local environmental groups like Peterborough Pollinators, Peterborough Field Naturalists, and Pathway to Stewardship. In 2015, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Trent University.

Drew has six grandchildren.