OC Speakers Series

Location Description:
Lecture Theatre, (PL 107), Ashnola Building

A lineup of experts and authorities will offer presentations, touching on a range of topics like Mindful Self-Compassion, Okanagan salmon restoration and more. See full presentation details below. 

Talks will be held in the Lecture Theatre (PL 107) of the Ashnola Building.  Admission is by donation, with proceeds going to support students in need.

OC Speakers Series

Winter 2022 Speakers Series schedule


Anna Skurikhina: The role of the public in cat and wildlife welfare

Free-roaming domestic cats are an example of a complex issue of animal welfare, wildlife conservation and human health, aligning with the One Health context. When cats are allowed to roam freely, they may be harmed by many things such as wild animals, cars, toxins or disease. After habitat loss, roaming cats are the #1 human-caused source of bird mortality. It is estimated that cats kill between 100 and 350 million birds annually in Canada alone. In addition, cats can transmit parasites and diseases to humans. In this presentation, Anna will talk about a collaborative BC-based Cats and Birds campaign and share insights into the ongoing outreach, on the ground research on cats and birds in Vancouver and Okanagan, as well as organizational partnerships that help make our communities safer for cats, birds, other wildlife and people. Anna will also share simple tips and solutions for keeping cats and birds safe in your neighbourhood. 

Anna Skurikhina (she/her) is a Cats and Birds Project Coordinator with the Stewardship Centre for British Columbia (SCBC). In 2019, she joined SCBC with education and training in natural resource sciences and extensive experience in wildlife research and conservation of species-at-risk in the Okanagan. As part of the project advisory committee, Anna works with animal welfare groups, conservation organizations, academia and governments to help address the issue of roaming cats in BC.​

Jeremy Beaulne:  The Hazards of Love

Join English professor Jeremy Beaulne for a Valentine’s Day presentation of poetry and drama that explores the pleasures, pains, and perils of romance. 

Barb Regasz: An Introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion

Simply put, Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) is treating yourself with the same kindness that you treat others. Combining self-compassion with mindfulness, we learn to respond to difficult thoughts, feelings and experiences with kindness and understanding. This in turn cultivates powerful skills to build emotional resilience and well-being.

It's a courageous attitude that stands up to harm, including the harm that we unwittingly inflict on ourselves through self-criticism, self-isolation, or self-absorption. Self-compassion provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, motivate ourselves with kindness, forgive ourselves when needed, relate wholeheartedly to others, and be more authentically ourselves.

The MSC program is based on the groundbreaking research of Dr. Kristin Neff and the clinical expertise of Dr. Christopher Germer. It is offered in over 30 countries world-wide. Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with less: anxiety, depression and stress, and increased emotional wellbeing. And it’s easier than you think.

                          A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day,
                                  a string of these moments can change your life .
                                                    - Christopher Germer

Barb Regasz has worked in the helping profession for over 20years. She has worked with families of children with developmental challenges, children dealing with grief and loss and people impacted by the justice system. She has a degree in Social Work and is a trained Mindful Self-Compassion teacher.

LFG: A film about the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team's fight for Equal Pay

LFG is a no-holds-barred, inside account of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s ongoing fight for equal pay as told by Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O’Hara, Sam Mewis, Christen Press, Julie Foudy and others. The film is directed by Academy Award®-winners Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine, and produced by the Fines and Abby Greensfelder with Howard T. Owens and Ben Silverman serving as executive producers. The film is an Everywoman Studios and Change Content production, in association with Propagate Content in collaboration with CNN Films and HBO Max.

​Three months before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the players filed a class-action, gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, which sets the stage for LFG. The film interweaves transcendent athletic performances, including a record-breaking World Cup victory in 2019, with the players’ ongoing pursuit for equal pay. LFG grants viewers unprecedented access to these game-changers as they meet the physical demands and pressures of being some of the world’s top athletes, while showcasing their courage, unflinching spirit and resiliency in an effort to create long-lasting social change with the biggest fight for women’s rights since Title IX.

Karilyn Alex: Restoring Okanagan Salmon – what we have learned over the past 20 years of restoration

Natural variation, ecosystem complexity, competing objectives and other multi-agency communication barriers are challenges faced in restoring once abundant salmon resources.  The Okanagan River Restoration Initiative (ORRI) is a collaborative, ecosystem based steering committee that has completed 11 restoration projects over the past 20 years.  We have learned a lot about each other and this river, but climate change is about to throw a wrench into our perception of resiliency. 

Kari is a fisheries biologist and fluvial geomorphologist working with the Okanagan Nations Alliance.  The ONA is working in collaboration with the province, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other local agencies to build high quality spawning areas (raised beds) in the upper section of Penticton Channel.

Howie Richardson - The Evolution of the Selfie

From 45,000 year-old cave paintings to Instagram tweets people have tried to capture what they have seen or done in some permanent format. How and why they have done so is the topic of this photographic presentation. 

Dr. Shao-kang Chu: Giraffes and dogs: fun facts about certain animals through Chinese eyes

Dr. Chu is always a favourite of our Monday night Speaker Series audience.  Come on out to enjoy his sense of humour for our wrap-up talk.

Don Gayton:  Climate, Fire and Us

After an Okanagan summer of record-breaking weather, wildfire and smoke, it is time for a re-think. Ecologist and environmentalist Don Gayton will present an overview of fire ecology in the Okanagan, followed by an interactive discussion on how we can confront the twin challenges of climate change and wildfire. Fire history, the role of Indigenous cultural burning and options for the future will be explored.

Penticton FireSmart – Protecting your home from wildfire risk

Miyoko McKeown operates as the FireSmart Team Lead for the City of Penticton (Fire Department), reporting to the FireSmart Coordinator. She is a certified Local FireSmart Representative and a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist. Her background in wildfire, including an understanding of wildfire behavior, assists in her role assessing individual residential properties and providing wildfire risk reduction recommendations based on FireSmart guidelines

Kerry Riess is the Firesmart Coordinator for RDOS. His background includes 12 years with the BC Wildfire Service, managing crews on initial attack and Unit Crews. His experience brings the knowledge of fire behaviour and suppression to the wildfire prevention side. 

Andre - The Man From Eldorado:  The poems of Robert Service and Robbie Burns

Howdy folks, my name is Andre and I'm a storyteller. I'm an Indigenous member of the "Storyteller's of Canada". My stories are in poem form and my favorite poet is Robert W. Service. I have been reciting these poems now for 21 years at retirement homes and public venues, theatres, museums and festivals. My favorite winter trek is up to Whitehorse for the annual Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous performing as "The Man From Eldorado" in the great white north where Robert Service struck his claim to fame and fortune. "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee" were his two most famous poems and made him over a million dollars in his lifetime! I'll share little tidbits about how the poems came about and an interesting bio on his life and times. As my original date to be with you was Jan. 24th I might also share the poem "Tam O'Shanter" by one of Service's distant relatives Robbie Burns!