OUR 2017 ECO-YARDS CREW
My lifelong passion is beautifying landscapes in ways that enhance the natural environment. I have been landscaping most of my life, from helping my parent’s landscape yards as a child, in towns across Western Canada, to beautifying landscapes as an adult. Traveling and living in different landscapes around the world and North America has inspired my designs.
I love flowers, especially designing landscapes with hardy, perennial flowers to provide colour and joy all growing season long. I also love delighting my clients with landscape designs that go beyond their desires and bring them more than they imagined. This involves listening, intuition and sharing ideas.
I’ve taken courses, read lots of books and magazines, visited and spoken to gardeners whenever and wherever I can, and experimented with what works and what doesn’t in many different kinds of yards.
I have worked as an international development educator, public involvement consultant, management consultant specializing in creativity, and as a shamanic healer and teacher.
I work with a crew and sub-contractors who love the earth and beauty and pleasing clients too!
John is a curious and forward-thinking individual who loves to work with people, plants, and the communities that contain them. He has worked with Eco-Yards for five years, and his skills have grown every year under Laureen’s guidance and mentorship. With training in permaculture (Permaculture Design Certification completed in 2012 with Verge Permaculture), resilient design, and socio-ecological systems, he is equipped to handle both the day to day work and the ‘bigger picture’ aspects of landscaping and site design. In addition, he has completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology (focusing on environmental and social psychology) and is currently pursuing a Graduate degree in Environmental Design. He has years of experience in landscaping, growing food, and improving living spaces.
It is important to understand how all parts of a system interact, and that includes people; with this in mind, John favors a full system approach that utilizes all elements in an efficient and adaptable design model. He is actively involved in research at the University of Calgary, pursuing a better understanding of concepts of resilience, the integration of the built environment and natural processes, and urban/regional food systems. John is also an avid record collector and DJ, and he loves making and recording music, having achieved success and recognition from a variety of sources. On his own time, he enjoys growing food, flowers, and connections, approaching each day as a new adventure. John appreciates every day working with the best co-workers and clients in Calgary!
Matt Walkey has been landscaping and gardening in Calgary for nearly 10 years, including 5 seasons with the City of Calgary in the horticultural department of the Calgary Zoo. He studied Integrated Pest Management and Plant Biology at Olds College, and is thankful to be working with Eco-Yards for his second season, being aligned with a natural design and maintenance philosophy, and trying to change peoples interactions with modern landscapes. He is also a musician who has toured across Canada and recorded on several albums, as well as studied Web Development at SAIT Polytech in Calgary. A portfolio of musical and web works can be seen and heard at; http://mw.meterroom.ca.
This will be entering Caelen’s sixth season of landscaping this summer, and his third with Eco-Yards. During his first 2 seasons with another company, he learned the basics of landscaping, primarily working with stone to build patios, retaining walls, rock walls and now and then with wood for fences and decks. Once he came to work with Laureen and Eco-Yards I have learned more about plants and their sustainable uses as well as techniques to work with the land harmoniously, while also providing my experience with stone work and learning to work more and more with natural stone.
Recently, he has been educating himself on principles of sustainability, self-sufficiency and as always, consciousness and how expanded consciousness is applicable to working towards a more sustainable, harmonious society whether through shamanic practice or simply mindful awareness. Working with Eco-Yards has allowed him to continue gaining more experience in all these areas as well as learning from the experience of my co-workers, all the while working towards what we hope will be a more wondrous future for Calgary.
Maintenance Supervisor, Landscaper
Ginger has had years of experience in gardening and landscaping from providing my her own gardening service here in Calgary to working in an orchard in the Kootenays, an organic farm on Vancouver Island and various landscaping companies along the way. Her passions include art and science. In her early 20’s she studied painting at the Alberta College of Art & Design and later studied biology and geography at Mount Royal University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in 2014. Ginger has worked for the federal government at the Agroforestry Development Centre in Indian Head, Saskatchewan as well as for the Municipal Government of Calgary in Waste & Recycling. She enjoys working with the earth and being in the elements. Her previous personal and educational endeavors have taught her the importance of working with the planet in a sustainable manner for the benefit of not only our species but every other species as we are all intricately connected. Ginger is happy to be a part of efforts to naturalize and beautify my hometown in my first season working with Eco-yards.
Landscape Designer, Landscaper
Ysabel is a recent graduate student from University of Alberta majoring in Environmental Studies. She has earned certifications in Sustainability and Urban Design from University of Alberta and Simon Fraser University, respectively. For the past four summers, she has been working at Macdonald Island Miskanaw Golf Course in Fort McMurray as a Golf Operator. Her job there entails a diverse array of jobs such as horticulture, course maintenance, and events set-up.
Ysabel is excited to work for Eco-Yards due to the similarities in personal values, most notably green initiatives and sustainability. She believes that transitioning into this company will be ideal for her career as it will allow her to continue two things she is passionate about: working outdoors and design work. In today’s society, general plans for infrastructure development involves eradicating rich, vegetated areas for new infrastructures to take place.Ysabel believes that through research and effective design strategies, there is the potential of developing a successful and resilient project without having the need to wipe out the area’s natural state. Thereby, one of her biggest goals in life is to learn how to work and design with nature, as well as how to enhance the aesthetics of natural systems and maintain its integrity. Ysabel is excited to become a part of Eco-Yards, to grow within the company and to gain continuing experience and knowledge in this field.
Labourer / Landscaper
This will be Brett’s fourth season in landscaping and his first with Eco-Yards. His previous experience has been in gardening and landscape maintenance but he wishes to transition this season to a company that reflects his values. He considers it a great privilege to work with a company that is helping people to lighten their ecological footprint.
Brett is currently finishing his first year in the Horticulture program at Olds College and it has been a great experience for him. He has gained lots of knowledge and insight into this industry and has had the chance to meet many industry leaders through this program. He draws inspiration from the great work that is being carried out by native plant producers, seed collectors, wild foragers, permaculture designers, educators, farmers (urban and rural) and companies like Eco-Yards who are empowering people with greener solutions.
Brett believes that this will be a great season and he looks forward to learning and growing with Eco-Yards.
Our Process is beautiful and sustainable too!
Every morning our crews circle up and set the intention to work harmoniously, lovingly, safely, efficiently, all while creating beauty. And they do! They work with joy and respect for each other and our clients. Our clients often say that as much as they love what we have done, they love the energy our crews bring to their home just as much.
We work to avoid using techniques that are harmful to the environment. This is what makes us stand out from other landscaping companies in the city. Here are some of our techniques:
- When we remove sod we take it for composting.
- Cover-over lawns with newspaper rather than hauling sod to the landfill.
- We usually use shovel, pick axe and wheelbarrow rather than bobcats.
- Minimize driving.
- Use materials that are local and organic.
Here are a few yards and projects designed and installed by our Eco-yards™ crews.