Heat Eat Grow Go

HEAT, EAT, GROW, GO Join the Journey to a sustainable future with solutions you can do now! Hear both experts and your neighbours share actions to HEAT more efficiently, EAT to reduce our footprint, GROW natural gardens and shorelines, GO with less

Heat Eat Grow Go – Saturday, April 20, 2024

Event Itinerary:

Selection of which workshops you would like to attend will be made on the day of the event and seating is on a first come, first serve basis.  Register here

Who are the experts?

Dr. Bonnie Simpson – Keynote Speaker –  Setting the Stage for Climate Choices

Dr. Bonnie Simpson will join us to set the stage on what motivates people to change their behaviour and make climate-friendly choices – and what barriers exist to doing so – better equipping us to understand and shift our own behaviours and those of others. Bonnie is a consumer researcher at Western University interested in when and why individuals engage in actions such as sustainable behaviours and purchasing that supports social good. Her research has been published and presented in more than 20 countries around the world.  


This session will explore heating and cooling with heat pumps and building/retrofitting with low carbon materials.

Audrey Bayens – Heat pumps and how they work
Cold air source heat pump technology, how heat pumps work and common misconceptions.

Audrey Bayens is a Registered Energy Advisor with Goldfinch Energy, an Advisor for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Community Building Retrofit Program and a volunteer with weRcircular, a circular economy community awareness group.

Melinda Zytaruk – Want to fight climate Change? Fix housing.
How to choose materials for building and retrofitting that will have a low carbon impact. How to advocate for change.

Melinda Zytaruk, MES. CEO of Tooketree Passive House – a low carbon, high performance panelized housing builder in Baysville, Muskoka. Melinda is a founding board member of the Muskoka Community Land Trust, the Lake of Bays Renewable Energy Co-op and is the vice chair of the Muskoka Housing Task Force. A registered designer, Net Zero and Passive House builder, Melinda has 30 years of experience in working to build sustainable, inclusive, resilient communities.

Local residents sharing personal stories
Lesley Hastie – Home heating and cooling with our heat pump
Christi Gardner – Living “Off-Grid” in Bracebridge. Energy conservation and solar heating.


This session will explore why sourcing food locally makes a difference and how to include more plant-based eating in our diet.

Colin Sober-Williams
Colin Sober-Williams is the founder of the local food-box initiative: Eat Local Muskoka. He organizes a collaboration of seven other farmers to produce food boxes that are grown within a 100 mile radius and organically grown. These food boxes, containing a variety of seasonal produce, are available to order locally. Colin is a graduate of the sustainable agriculture program at Fleming College.

Justine BrownHow to eat a more plant-based diet.
Justine Brown is a plant-based nutrition educator and chef who specializes in helping people to transition into eating whole food, plant based. She blends simple, delicious cooking techniques with practical, easy to implement, planning strategies. Her Reboot with Real Foods program teaches people how to find their food joy so that they can fall in love with eating for optimal health.

Local resident sharing experiences
My experiences transitioning to a more plant-based diet.
Mackenzie Martin-Padfield


This session will explore the benefits of naturalizing our shorelines and why sourcing and planting native species matters. There will be programs on how to and first hand examples shared.

Rebecca Willison
Rebecca will talk about how the Natural Edge program and resources can help landowners get a start on their own re-naturalization projects.
Rebecca has been with the Muskoka Watershed Council since 2002 and the District of Muskoka since 2003. She has a degree in Zoology and a certificate in Environmental Conservation from the University of Guelph, as well as a certificate in Restoration Ecology from Niagara College. Through her work with the District and the Muskoka Watershed Council, Rebecca is active in promoting good stewardship practices across the watershed, with an emphasis on maintaining good water quality.

Laura Thomas
Laura will talk about the why and how of using natural and native species from an ecological and climate perspective.
A graduate of the University of Waterloo’s Environment and Resource Studies program, Laura has worked in the landscape industry for over fifteen years, blending her passion for conservation and landscape design. Laura saw the need for better, sustainable land management practices especially within the realm of private landowners. Given her expertise in ecology, native plants and landscape design she knew that one could still have the simplicity and impact of a modern garden while providing food and shelter for local wildlife. Her unique and thoughtful designs demonstrate that healthy landscapes can be beautiful landscapes.

Tamsen Tillson – Rewilding your lawn
Tamsen Tillson is a Bracebridge resident, digital marketer, mother or one, and a founding member of Climate Action Muskoka. She had her front yard rewilded last summer; one of many projects she has undertaken to reduce her carbon footprint. She is grateful for the opportunity to be here today with so many like-minded people to learn from one another.


This session will discuss EV vehicles including myths and truths about their use and function. It will also share a vision for a more active transportation network throughout our region.

Steve Lapp – Are you EV ready?
Steve graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from Queen’s University in 1980 and worked for two years in the works engineering department of Stelco in Hamilton. Through that experience his passion shifted to the environmental side of mechanical engineering and he went back to school and completed an M.Sc. in solar thermal processes in 1985. Over the next twenty years his career covered design engineering and lead engineer roles for transit vehicles with UTDC and fuel cells and batteries for electric vehicles with Alcan. As an independent consultant he designed renewable energy systems for on and off grid systems in Ontario, Lesotho, India and Jamaica. After teaching part time in the Mechanical Engineering Department of Queen’s University in 2003-2004, in 2005 he was recruited by St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario to develop a program in Sustainable Energy Systems Engineering and Technology. Fourteen wonderful years, dozens of new courses developed and hundreds of students later, Steve retired from the college in 2018.

It is a pressing emergency that humanity must get to a low-carbon future ASAP. Steve regularly presents to various groups on how electrification of transportation and most other systems using cost effective electricity from wind and solar resources combined with strategic storage can achieve that goal.

Gordon Laxer – A car-less dream of a Muskoka for all.
Gordon Laxer (PhD) is a political economist, professor emeritus and the founding Director of Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta.
Gordon is author of the award winning book: After the Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians, five other books and over 50 peer-reviewed publications. His op eds regularly appear in the Toronto Star, the Edmonton Journal, and other newspapers.
Website: www.gordonlaxer.com

Local residents sharing experiences
Jamie Honderick, Pam Carnochan going from hybrid to EV – why?
Ian Hastie Effect of cold on EV range in winter in town