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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

Heather Kelday

Executive Director

Heather is approaching her 11 th 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 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.

Erin Philp

Programs Coordinator

Erin’s first trip with the Sea School, was at fifteen as an exchange with Toronto Brigantine, the Sail-Training organization she worked for throughout high school. Crane was her instructor and what she remembers most was the foghorns at night. After finishing university, Erin was inspired by her sailing experiences to pursue a career in wooden boatbuilding. She first attended the Fine Furniture program at Camosun College in Victoria BC and after completing her apprenticeship with Abernethy and Gaudin Boat Builders, she received her Journeyman Joiner’s Certificate and created her own woodworking company. She has worked as a sailor and shipwright across Canada.   As the Programs Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Sea School, Erin's hope is to foster profound and foundational skills, and inspire youth with the experiences sail-training and the great outdoors can provide.

Erin Robison

Communications & Administration Coordinator

Erin originally hails from Edmonton, AB, arriving in Nova Scotia in 2010 to attend Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax.  Art school taught her to think critically, solve problems, stay curious, and hone her artistic skills mainly in ceramics, drawing, and art history.  She fell completely in love with the personality and beauty of the East Coast, through both living in the cultural hub of Halifax and hiking remote trails across the Maritimes.  Shortly after finishing her degree she moved to Lunenburg where she became fascinated with the wooden boat culture and worked as many jobs on boats as she could from cutting plugs for a 60' wooden schooner, to painting custom lettering on transoms, to working for two years in a sailloft, to creating her own small industrial sewing & canvaswork company.  Now a permanent resident of the South Shore, Erin is excited to join the Sea School in its endeavour to give youth the unique opportunity to learn true self determination, reflection, appreciation, humility and much more through nature & the ocean.

Richard Leckenby

Assistant Instructor

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.

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 

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! 

Luke Brian

Assistant Instructor

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Dave McCulloch

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.

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.  

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.

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.   

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.

Liesel Carlsson

ALC Instructor- Kayak

Liesel Carlsson is a Sea School alumni. She attended the adult professional development course in 2006, and fell in love. She was a member of the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2009 and supported the Take it Outside winter survival skills program in 2011. She loves all things ocean, has worked as a sea kayaking guide in PEI, and Nova Scotia. Liesel co-pilots the ALC sea kayaking portion from time to time, with the extraordinary Glenn Coltman. In between Sea School trips she studies food systems and sustainability, and teaches in the School of Nutrition and Dietetics at Acadia University.

Glenn Coltman

ALC Instructor- Kayak

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