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Crane Stookey

Founder & Captain

Crane grew up by the water in New York and Massachusetts, sailing and rowing small wooden boats. Being near water always makes him happy. He discovered as an adult that being around teenagers makes him happy too. So in 1994 he combined these joys with the aspiration to do something useful and founded the Nova Scotia Sea School.

Crane has a Masters of Architecture degree from Harvard University and practiced architecture in Boston for 8 years. In 1990 he took time off to pursue his interest in the study and practice of meditation.

However after this Crane returned, not to his architectural practice, but to his childhood love of wooden boats and sailing. He served as deck officer and seamanship instructor on tall ships in the US and Canada, including HMS ROSE, PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II, CORWITH CRAMER and others, and earned his US Master's license as captain of sailing vessels up to 200 gross tons.

In 1994 he settled in Halifax, the best move of his life. He says that Nova Scotia is a sane and decent place, and that his life has really blossomed since moving here, and that the Sea School is the fruit of it.

In 2003 Crane was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal for the Sea School's contribution to the Canadian community.

Crane is now taking what he has learned at the Sea School into the business world, with his recent book, “Keep Your People in the Boat – Workforce Engagement Lessons from the Sea,” which is filled with Sea School stories.

MEET THE FLEET

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Heather Kelday

Executive Director

Heather is approaching her 15th year with Sea School and is deeply committed to reducing barriers so that all Nova Scotian youth can access Sea School programs.

Heather advocates for outdoor recreation and leadership through her work as former President of Recreation Nova Scotia, as a member of the Nova Scotia Outdoor Network leadership team, and has supported the implementation of national initiatives including the ‘Parks for All’ strategy and the ‘Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium’.

Heather has a Bachelor of Education from Trent University, an Honours Bachelor of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism, as well as a Bachelor of Natural Science from Lakehead University. Her past professional experience includes being an educator in schools, an environmental educator with Sierra Club Atlantic, a summer camp program director in Ontario, a wilderness and backcountry guide in Northern Ontario and Nova Scotia as well as numerous personal adventures in parks and protected areas from Newfoundland to the Yukon and beyond.

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 Áine MacLellan

Program Coordinator

 Áine moved back home to Nova Scotia in 2020 after spending four years living up North in Dawson City, Yukon. It was there she discovered her love of working with youth while working as Youth Coordinator for the Tr'ondek Hwech'in First Nation. After returning home, Aine spent the last year completing a graduate certificate in public relations from NSCC. Aine is excited to bring her education and work experience with her to the Sea School. She is happiest when she is spending time in nature with her furry sidekick, Lucy. ​​

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Lucy

Boathouse pooch

You can often find Lucy at the Boat house in Lunenburg. Lucy's passions include long walks on the beach, kisses, cheese, napping, and mink hunting. 

She loves humans and will most likely love you!

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Dawn Morin

Recruitment & Operations  

Dawn has prairie roots, a wandering spirit, a passion for the outdoors, and an enthusiasm for pushing herself to try new experiences.  She’s lived many places across Western Canada, including Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia.

Dawn has loved the East Coast and dreamed of moving here since her first visit here in 2011. While planning a summer trip to Nova Scotia in the spring of 2022 an opportunity to make it a move presented itself and so in a matter of weeks Dawn moved herself and youngest daughter from the Columbia Valley in BC to the South Shore of NS. Since arriving they can be found surfing at Cherry Hill (a new love and favorite pastime), lounging on the beach at Rissers, or at the boathouse in Lunenburg. After participating in a few sailing opportunities she's also discovered that she like to learn to sail.

Dawn is excited to be a part of the team at NSSS and has felt welcomed since she flew out to join 17 Sea School strangers at Wilderness First Aid in May where she quickly came to feel part of this wonderful group of people that make up the organization.

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Dave MacCulloch

Captain

David MacCulloch is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia and he grew up sailing in the Northwest Arm. He has been sailing for as long as he can remember as his mom and dad have always sailed. He joined the sea school as a student at the age of 15, doing boat building and summer sailing programs and he has been on trips with the Sea School nearly every summer since.  He has sailed all around the Maritime provinces, south to Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. He worked his way up from a participant, to Leading Crew to Assistant Instructor, then in 2007, David graduated to a Sea School Captain and began leading trips. He loves living on and around boats, teaching people how to sail and exploring the coast of Nova Scotia.

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Charlie Wilson

Captain

Charlie left home in England bound for Northern Canada in 2000 and, many adventures later, has made the South Shore of Nova Scotia her home. Though she learned to sail dinghies as a teenager, it was not until she was in her early thirties that she finally made a voyage of her own and sailed around Southeast Alaska then down the coast to Vancouver. Her passion for boats and the sea led her to the Sea School where she thrills to see young people come alive to their own capabilities while on a voyage of their own. Her other big passions are playing the wooden Irish flute and practising the Japanese martial art of aikido.

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Ed Sturgeon

Captain

Ed grew up in the woods, above the vanishing mud flats of the southern shores of the Minas Basin.  The son of a carpenter and great-grandson of an Irish sailmaker, he followed in those footsteps, working as a carpenter, in wooden boat repair, and eventually developing an interest in sailing.  For a while, he wandered the halls of academia, but soon found his way back to the woods and the waves. Ed and his wife Louise started camp cruising their eighteen-foot open boat just as soon as he finished building it.  In this stout little craft they have explored British Columbia's Howe Sound, Desolation Sound, and the Southern Gulf Islands. This kind of cruising was a perfect prelude to instructing with the Nova Scotia Sea School, Where Ed now finds joy in exploring the sharp edges with a soft heart, strong back, and a jovial sense of humour.  

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Luke Bryan

Captain

Luke Bryan is a jack of all trades. He is an excellent wood worker, boat builder and sailor. He has extensive sailing experience and he loves sharing his passion for the sea with youth. 

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David Gibling

Assistant Instructor

David had never done any sailing before going on a Sea School expedition as a high school student back in 2008. One trip was all it took – he was hooked. Since that time David has pursued as many sailing opportunities as possible, going on many sea school trips, crewing on yacht deliveries to the US and the Bahamas, and working on large schooners such as Bluenose II and Lettie G Howard. In 2016, David acquired Molly Kool, a 16 foot sloop built by sea school participants back in the 90s. In his spare time, he can be found taking Molly on coastal expeditions anywhere from Lunenburg to Tangier. Though he has sailed on larger boats on farther flung voyages, exploring the coast of Nova Scotia in small wooden boats is still what David likes best.   

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Anna Millar

Assistant Instructor

Anna grew up sailing the west coast of BC, getting her sea legs long before learning to walk on dry land. She spent most of her youth cruising the waters inside Vancouver Island, as well as racing anything from dinghies to keel boats. When it came time to leave Vancouver in 2007, the only natural choice was Halifax and the nautical adventures of the Atlantic Ocean. Eventually, after several years of post-secondary education, travel, and time spent on different vessels, Anna found her way to the Nova Scotia Sea School.

 

When she’s not sailing, or dreaming about sailing, Anna works as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), most recently at the IWK. She enjoys making things with her hands, time spent outside on the water, and any opportunity she gets to share these joys with others.

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Richard Leckenby

Sailing Master Emeritus

As a child Richard always wanted to sail but opportunities were limited or non existent. As a teenager Richard immersed himself in river and mountain travel. When studying to become a teacher he explored ways of connecting school subjects to the natural world of land and oceans. He believes that high on a mountain peak or walking along a beach are unique places to explore the world around us and the impact humans have had on this ocean planet.

Eventually in the middle of the mountains in Northern England Richard crewed on a dinghy in a snow storm and he was hooked! Richard has instructed sailing, canoeing, mountaineering and wilderness skills in the UK and Canada, and became a Sea School instructor after the school's first instructor training course in 1995.

The impact of being with teenagers on a small open boat off Nova Scotia, or the winter wilderness, woods should not be underestimated. Richard feels privileged to see inner understanding; compassion and joy develop in the faces and eyes of his fellow crew and travelers whenever he does a Sea School trip. He believes in the Sea School because as an organization, we have worked hard to achieve our mission and provide opportunities to teenagers and adults from the full economic, social and cultural backgrounds represented in Nova Scotia and the word beyond.

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Kate Webber

Wilderness Instructor

Kate Webber resides in beautiful Wolfville Nova Scotia where she has been working for the past ten years at a small experiential school focusing on connecting at risk youth to the natural world and building resiliency through camping excursions, canoe trips, hiking journeys and playful explorations. When not at work she is preferably off exploring the waterways of Nova Scotia in her trusty canoe, Molly.

Kate And Adrien Rawley  are happily engaged in the launching of TIO Vallley and looking forward to the many adventures to come 

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Adrien Rawley

Wilderness Instructor

I grew up on the beautiful coast of Maine, looking for bird's nests, salamanders and places to build forts. The ocean, sun and forest were my teachers and now, many years later my learning forever continues! Adventuring by canoe, bike, rowboat, foot and snowshoe has taken me across Canada, to many other countries and into my own precious Nova Scotian backyard. I love all seasons equally, cherish playing music with friends, and am so honoured to share experiences with everyone who becomes involved with the Sea School...crew and instructors alike! 

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Scott McCormack

Instructor- Kayak

Scott first learned to paddle as a child on the rivers, lakes and ocean of Nova Scotia’s South Shore. With over 15 years of experience guiding sea-kayaking trips from Antarctica to the Norwegian Arctic and from Newfoundland to coastal British Columbia, Scott is excited to return to Nova Scotia’s South Shore as a co-founder of Cape LaHave Adventures.

Scott holds degrees in Outdoor Experiential Education and a Masters of Environmental Studies specializing in Environmental and Sustainability Education. He has worked extensively in the wilderness guiding and outdoor education field in a wide range of programmes with such organizations as East Coast Outfitters, the Nova Scotia Sea School, Outward Bound Canada, Quark Expeditions and Coastline Challenges. A certified canoe, SUP and sea kayak Instructor with Paddle Canada, having extensive open-ocean guiding experience and an easy going attitude, Scott delivers safe, fun and accessible trips for all populations and skill levels.

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Ryan Fisk

Take it Outside Coordinator

Ryan Fisk is a Haligonian born and raised. He has always enjoyed getting out of the city though; exploring all of the different ecosystems Nova Scotia has to offer. This includes taking part in activities such as hiking, biking, paddling, camping, diving and sailing to name a few. 

 

Ryan first got involved with Sea School at the age of 15 when he did his first 7-day trip. That first trip ended up being exactly what he needed at that time in his life. Since then Ryan has stayed involved with Sea School either as a participant, staff member or volunteer. He is very happy to be working for Sea School again and helping to provide such amazing programs for youth. 

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Jennifer Constable

Provisions

Jennifer will be provisioning the trips this summer and when she isn’t cooking she’s probably swimming or sailing somewhere in Mahone Bay.

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Olivier Tardif

Assistant Instructor

Olivier is a young man from Halifax, Nova Scotia who has, since his first Sea School trip, been pursuing the endless paths our Blue planet has to offer. 

 

Collaborating together to travel these paths is something Olivier is very excited to do with anyone.

Olivier began sailing regularly at the age of 10; Olivier was a trainee aboard the Picton Castle for three weeks midway through High School and realized not only did he love small boats, he also loved big boats! Olivier began teaching sailing at 16, first with his local boat club then as a member of the Sea Schools staff. Most recently he has been sailing the Eastern side of the Atlantic on Tall ships Eye of the Wind and Blue Clipper. Primarily charter ships, Olivier especially enjoyed the sail training, and maneuvering aspects. After two years of sailing on tall ships Olivier realized the sailing organization he cared for the most was the Nova Scotia Sea School. Olivier is thrilled to be back.

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Liam Oland

Facility &Programs
Assistant

Liam grew up in Cape Breton (Baddeck) sailing on the Bras D'or Lakes as a young person. His first Sea School trip was when he was 14 and the last one was at 19. He has worked for the Bras D'or Yacht Club as an assistant sailing instructor, at Baddeck Marine doing boat servicing and maintenance, and then on the Bluenose II for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

His father used to work on various boats and tallships when he was Liam’s age, so he’s kind of carrying on a tradition of sorts. Liam loves being on the water and playing around with boats. He always has.

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Gavin is a bona fide south shore lad who loves the great outdoors. He’s spent time sailing aboard tall ships and traveling to Central/South America, and Spain, but Nova Scotia’s charms have always brought him home.

He gets a kick out of meeting new people as well as spotting and identifying plants and animals. Gavin has been making paddling trips to the Lahave Islands since he was a tot to camp and explore but it’s only been within the last three years that he’s decided to get certified as a kayak guide.

Although most of his experience has been gained here in Nova Scotia he has also kayaked in
places like Lake Nicaragua, Bocas del Torres and even the Amazon River. He can catch a grape in his mouth from 30 meters.

Gavin Cameron

Kayak Instructor

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Sarah Hrdlicka 

Kayak Instructor

While Sarah has always loved the outdoors, she didn't consider a career outside until she found herself taking a break from urban planning to run a ship-based yoga program in Antarctica. Inspired by the transformative potential of combining exceptional wilderness experiences with yoga & meditation, she decided to continue down this unexpected and wild garden path. This has led her on many great paddling adventures, from Patagonia to Newfoundland. 

 

As co-founder of Cape LaHave Adventures, you'll find her on the water guiding & instructing, putting together next year's brochure or out teaching yoga on a remote island beach. Sarah is Paddle Canada Instructor for sea kayaking & SUP (Advanced Flatwater, Touring and River), and an a 500hr Advanced Yoga Instructor. She has served as the director of Stand-Up Paddleboard Instruction for Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia. Sarah loves meeting new people and helping them them unplug, be present and experience beautiful places by water.