Algonquin Outfitters

TEDx Algonquin Park 2012 – InvesTED

TEDx Algonquin Park Logo


On September 6th, I had the great pleasure to be one of 100 people to attend the 1st (and hopefully annual) TEDx talks held at the Algonquin Visitor Centre.  100 people who are all invested in Algonquin Park were chosen to attend.  Being a TED fan and also being “Invested” in Algonquin Park, I was the 1st person to apply, several months ago.

Who or what is TED you ask?  “TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.”


In the spirit of  “Ideas Worth Spreading”, TED has created a program called TEDx. which is local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TEDxAlgonquinPark, where x = independently organized TED event. At TEDx Algonquin Park event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including TEDxAlgonquinPark, are self-organized.

This TEDx talk brought together people who were InvesTED in Algonquin Park through Recreation, Conservation or Forestry.  their speakers where likewise from these three areas and shared varying views on Algonquin Park, through a series of 18 minute talks.

Speakers at TEDx Algonquin Park 2012

Terri LeRoux

Terri LeRoux wants people to spend more time outside and spends the better part of her life, telling people to “take a hike”. As the current Executive Director of the Credit Valley Conservation Foundation, Terri has helped the organization raise millions of dollars for honest, in the ground environmental work that would make Mother Nature proud.

Through her talk we discovered how NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder) affects many youth in today’s society.  How youth can identify over 1000 corporate logos but can’t identify with 10 species of native trees.  This dissociation with nature is raising our youth to have more concern about technology than the plants and animals that make up the wilderness of Canada.  This concerns Terri and should concern all of us.

Terri is involved in:
Terri is the co-author of two books:

Terri was awarded the Hike Ontario Volunteer of the Year Award in 2009.  She has also worked as a Park Warden for five years in Ontario Parks (Presqu’ile and Algonquin)

Kerby Whiteduck

Chief Kirby WhiteduckKirby holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Anthropology from York University and has partially completed a Masters of Social Work from Carleton University. He is the author of ‘Algonquin Traditional Culture’, published in 2002, a book that details the traditional culture of the Algonquins of the Kitchissippi Valley at the early period of European contact. Kirby has spent his career working for and with the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation and First Nation organizations in a variety of capacities.

As Chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Kerby shared his view of how the Algonquin People have been a part of Algonquin Park well before the white man visited these lands.  He shared documentation showing how explores first met the Algonquin People and how the Algonquins recorded their impact on the land of the Algonquins.  His presentation covered generations from the first explorers in the Algonquin’s lands to modern day where the Algonquins are arrested and charged with hunting in their historic hunting grounds that include Algonquin Park.

The Algonquins of Ontario and the Governments of Ontario and Canada are currently engaged in negotiations towards the development of a historic Agreement-in-Principle, and ultimately, a modern Treaty.  Chief Kirby Whiteduck proposes that the Algonquin People take a more active roll in managing and caring for their historic areas which include Algonquin Park.

Matt Ridley, “When ideas have sex” TED Video

At TEDGlobal 2010, author Matt Ridley shows how, throughout history, the engine of human progress has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas. It’s not important how clever individuals are, he says; what really matters is how smart the collective brain is.

Matt Ridley argues that, through history, the engine of human progress and prosperity has been, and is, “ideas having sex with each other.”

Jamie McRae

Jamie McRaeJamie was born and raised in the small town of Whitney, just outside the East Gate of Algonquin Park. He is the fifth generation of his family to work in the forestry business, and harvest timber from Algonquin Park and surrounding area. Since a very young age, Jamie has been passionate about Algonquin and enjoys the park on many levels. For economic livelihood, his family business is dependent on the sustainable forestry carried out inside the park, and for recreation Jamie spends all four seasons enjoying Algonquin. He is an avid canoeist, camper, hiker, cottager, x-country skier and fisherman.

Through his presentation Jamie shared with us how Algonquin Park is regulated for sustainable forestry.  He shared his great love for the park, and as a recreational user, I was able to connect with his love of Algonquin for canoeing, camping, hiking and skiing in the winter.  His presentation opened the eyes of everyone in attendance as to how generations of McRea have cared and relied on forestry in Algonquin Park for their lively hood.

Gene Canning

Gene CanningGene Canning started painting in 1990, having never picked up a brush or shown an interest in art up until that time. He credits Glen Loates in getting his career in painting started. In 1993 Gene secured his first gallery in Bracebridge, Ontario called “Scott’s of Muskoka”, no appointment, biography or anything. For whatever reason, Gil decided to accept him as one of his artists.

Gene Canning started “On the Trail of Tom Thomson, 100 years later” on March 23rd of 2012. Over the next 2 years Gene plans to follow Tom Thomson’s canoe routes and paint 150 8×10 paintings, all done in the field. Gene is hoping to paint as many of the 150 as possible in the exact same locations as Thomson painted his, a century earlier. This is often difficult due to water level changes and a hundred years of forest growth, as well as the lack of recorded locations. Considering Gene has found several sites already it appears he is certainly on the right track.

I’ve had the great pleasure of connecting with Gene on several occasions this past year.  Following his project on Twitter and connecting it with Tom Thomson’s 100th anniversary of his arrival in Algonquin Park has truly been an adventure. Gene’s project has so captured our hearts that he’s been sponsored by Algonquin Outfitters providing Gene with some much needed camping gear to insure he stays dry and comfortable through out his project, “On the Trail of Tom Thomson 100 years later”.

Gene’s talk explored the human history of Algonquin Park and enlightened us about how the park has changed in the last 100 years.  Surprising to many is the fact that the human impact in Algonquin Park is noticeably less than it was 100 years ago.  Many of the scenes that Tom Thomson painted can not be recreated due to the fact that the once logged trees have grown back obstructing the view.  Gene joked that if he had Jamie along with his chain saw his job of recreating 150 of Tom Thomson’s paintings might be easier.

Be sure to follow Gene’s project on:

Pam Warhurst, “How we can eat our landscape” TED Video

What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

Pam Warhurst cofounded Incredible Edible, an initiative in Todmorden, England dedicated to growing food locally by planting on unused land throughout the community.

Kathtyn Lindsay

Kathy LindsayA sixth-generation resident of the Bonnechere River watershed in Renfrew County, a tributary of the Ottawa River with its headwaters in Algonquin Park. She volunteers with the Bonnechere River Watershed Project, a community-based not-for-profit whose mission is to inform and influence environmental stewardship and enhancement. That work benefits from her 28 years as a wildlife ecologist with Environment Canada in Ottawa. She has a PhD in Biology from Carleton University where she is an Adjunct Research Professor and a founding co-Director of the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Lab built through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. She worked for four years on secondment with the U.S. Environment Protection Agency in Corvallis, Oregon, and was a Loeb Fellow in the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in Boston.

Her research has explored risks to wildlife, water, and people from changes in land cover, land use (particularly agriculture and urbanization), and more recently, climate. She has specialized in the use of scenarios to understand the past in relation to the present, and to explore potential consequences of choice in alternative futures as a means to foster nature conservation and climate change adaptation in land-use policy, planning and decision-making.

Margaret Penner

Margaret PennerYes Marg fly’s over Algonquin Park and shoots lasers at it’s forest from high above.  No she’s not some kind of super hero but her work with airborne LiDAR does super hero work for forestry in Algonquin Park.

I have to say that I was amazed at how much detail was achieved through the use of LiDAR to identify the age, type, height and density of the forests in Algonquin Park.  Allowing them to concentrate on quality vs quantity.

Margaret is a consultant, specializing in statistical analysis in forestry. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from Lakehead University and a Ph.D. in Forest Biometrics from UBC. She started her forestry career as a research scientist at Petawawa National Forestry Institute. Since the closure of the Institute in 1995, she has been consulting mainly in the areas of forest growth and yield and forest inventory.

Louie Schwartzberg, “Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.”  TED Video

Nature’s beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director and producer who captures breathtaking images that celebrate life — revealing connections, universal rhythms, patterns and beauty.

Adam Ruzzo

Adam RuzzoEarlier this summer I met Adam and immediately fell in love with the way he connects his love for Algonquin Park with his love for music.  Adam is a very talented classical guitarist who sees music in nature the way many of us see the opportunity to capture pictures or videos of nature.  His music mimics the sights and sounds of nature.  His demonstration of how the sound of wind or rain droplets can be recreated on the guitar was breathtaking.  He ties it all together with a multi-media presentation that includes video captured in Algonquin Park and live music that reflects a connection to the scenes in the video.  Adam is also a sponsored musician with Algonquin Outfitters, look for his music featured in our future videos.

Experience all of Adam’s Algonquin Park music on his Youtube channel:  You can also follow him on his Twitter Feed: and website:

Adam is a recent graduate of both the Bachelor and Masters degree in Classical Guitar Performance from the University of Toronto. In 2010, he represented the province of Ontario at the FCMF National Guitar Competition, winning first prize above all other provinces. An active local musician in Toronto, for six years Adam performed weekly at the prestigious Fairmont Royal York Hotel and he continues to perform at private events and concerts throughout the GTA.

Adam is also an environmental activist, well read in current environmental issues and a strong advocate for wilderness conservation. After discovering Algonquin Park’s vast interior only five years ago, he has become increasingly passionate about the park and its flora and fauna. He is now an avid canoeist and hiker, having been on solo trips of up to twelve days in length.

Janine Benyus, “Biomimicry in Action”  TED Video

Janine Benyus has a message for inventors: When solving a design problem, look to nature first. There you’ll find inspired designs for making things waterproof, aerodynamic, solar-powered and more. Here she reveals dozens of new products that take their cue from nature with spectacular results.

A self-proclaimed nature nerd, Janine Benyus’ concept of biomimicry has galvanized scientists, architects, designers and engineers into exploring new ways in which nature’s successes can inspire humanity.

Adam van Koeverden

Adam Van KoeverdenAdam is a 2 time world champion, 22 time World Cup Champion, 67 time Canadian Champion, and a Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist at the Athens and Beijing Olympic Games. He also attended the 2012 London Olympic Games.  His passion for striving for Gold starts with understanding that hard things come about from hard work.  Algonquin Park has been his basis for this theory.

Betting back to the basics in Algonquin has helped him train for the Olympics.  Constructing a cabin on his lease hold in Algonquin with his brother has helped him realize that things you do with your own hands sometimes achieve the largest rewards.  The sound of the rain on the tin roof of his little cabin is just that much better than rain on his condo in Toronto, where he wouldn’t even notice it’s raining.

When things get hard in life he just remembers that in a matter of weeks he’ll return to Algonquin Park where he can swim, kayak and chop wood in the peace and quiet of Algonquin’s wilderness.

Adam is an athlete ambassador for Right to Play, and the David Suzuki Foundation, as well as a National Spokesperson for Colon Cancer Canada. He has spoken on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund and at countless schools on the importance of healthy and active living, community involvement, and his experiences as a Canadian Olympian. Adam graduated Valedictorian of his class in 2007 from McMaster University, with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology.

TEDx Algonquin ParkThe TEDx Algonquin Park Logo projected on the wall of the theater at the Algonquin Visitor Centre

TEDx RegistrationRegistration for Tedx Algonquin Park

TEDx Group Photo

TedX Algonquin Park Website:

Facebook Page:

Twitter Feed:  #TEDxAP


Thank you once again to the organizers, volunteers and sponsors who made this even possible

Other reports from TEDxAlgonquinPark:

Talks from TEDxAlgonquinPark 2012 have been Released!

If you were unable to attend or want to relive the magic from TEDxAlgonquinPark in September, you are now able to view our Talks online. Visit our YouTube channel to view, share and comment on all of our fantastic speakers from 2012!

Terri LeRoux: Algonquin Deficit Disorder
Jamie McCrae: A Place For Forestry in Algonquin Park
Gene Canning:Tom Thompson’s Algonquin
Chief Kirby Whiteduck: The Algonquins and Algonquin
Kathryn Lindsay: Our Watersheds, Our Future
Margaret Penner: Algonquin Park from the Air
Adam Ruzzo: Music for Algonquin Park
Adam van Koeverden: On the Virtue of Hard Work

View all videos here!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *