Our board and staff work collaboratively with one another and with all external partners and supporters. We seek community input and feedback, and this has been a key factor in the success of our innovation.

HGHES and the education we deliver are based on the principle of mutual respect, for each other and the human and ecological communities we inhabit.

Dr. Carlos Ormond

Executive Director

For the better part of 15 years the focus of Carlos’ work has been to develop and participate in strategic initiatives to support the continuous improvement of communities and the ecological systems they are dependent on. Prior to joining the HGHES, Carlos was the founding director of the Tropical Conservation Consortium, an organization similar to the HGHES in offering place-based education programming and supporting community-based research.

Carlos is also a published author and researcher, and brings to the HGHES 10+ years teaching experience at the post-secondary level in education, community development, and environmental science programming. Five of those years have been spent teaching with Simon Fraser University interdisciplinary community-based course here on Haida Gwaii. He continues to teach with Simon Fraser University as a sessional instructor in their undergraduate and graduate environmental education program, and acts as a graduate supervisor with the Royal Roads University Masters in Environmental Education and Communication program.

He currently holds a seat on the Steering Committee for the Institute for Environmental Learning – a United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. Carlos lives in Skidegate with his wife Lais and son Felipe.

Emily-Sky Collins

Operations Manager

Emily studied cultural anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia and was a student of the very first Haida Gwaii Semester in 2010. These experiences helped to further her curiosity in the many ways that nature and culture intersect.

As Operations Manager her role involves collaborating with students, community, instructors, and staff to develop and deliver transformative education inspired by Haida Gwaii. While much of her work is behind the scenes, she is focused on supporting best practice place-based education, ensuring that all HGHES operations are running smoothly, and helping students to have the fullest experience possible.

When she is not at work, you can find her at the beach with her bad dog, Jude.

Debbie Pearson

Finance Manager

Debbie arrived on Haida Gwaii as a young adult and to this day remains enthralled with the people, lifestyle, culture and environmental richness provided by the islands. She is passionate about initiatives focused on sustainable community development that serve to protect both the people and environment.

As Finance Manager, Debbie works behind the scenes to balance budgets and report operations to the various levels of government. She has 30 years of management experience working for a wide variety of community-based and not-for-profit organizations. Her past work has included planning and implementation of public works infrastructure projects, numerous social programs, community events and festivals. Currently, she is also employed by the Hecate Strait Streamkeepers and manages projects focused on salmonid education and stewardship, assessment and habitat restoration.

In her spare time, Debbie volunteers as a Director for Literacy Haida Gwaii and spends time assisting at the Queen Charlotte Community Salmon Hatchery.

Debbie is currently working on her thesis in completion of a Master of Arts in Environment and Management, Royal Roads University.

When not working or volunteering she can be found playing in the dirt of her organic garden. She has raised two children on Haida Gwaii, both of whom she is profoundly proud of.

Patrick Shannon (Nang Ḵ'uulas)


Patrick is a First Nations professional creative and social entrepreneur from Haida Gwaii, raised by his Haida elders he endeavours to keep storytelling alive through todays modern art forms. He travels the country empowering neighbouring aboriginal communities in using technology and media, to not only address and heal social issues, but to start forging new cultural identities in the modern world.

Originally from Skidegate, after a decade of working in several creative industries throughout Vancouver BC, Patrick returned home to Haida Gwaii to reconnect with his community and culture, and to help develop new media industries.