Muskoka Drawdown

Welcome to Muskoka Drawdown!

Frank De Jong

Frank de Jong lives in Huntsville, enjoys living locally, spending time outdoors, is a gardener and environmentalist. Frank has hosted Muskoka Drawdown since our original host Tamsen Tillson passed the torch in October of 2021.

Airing once a month on the local community radio station Hunters Bay Radio, Muskoka Drawdown is a radio show and podcast about climate change solutions here at home in Muskoka and beyond.

All #muskokadrawdown episodes will be available as podcasts after they air. You can click on a link below to listen to any of our past episodes.

And a huge shout-out to the amazing Canadian musician Danny Michel, who is generously allowing us to use his catchy, wrenchingly sad and wonderful song Feather, Fur and Fin as our theme song.


June 7, 2024 – Barbara Steinhoff of Earthroots

Host Frank de Jong’s guest on this episode of Muskoka Drawdown is Barbara Steinhoff, Executive Director of Earthroots, a Toronto-based, grassroots conservation organization dedicated to the protection of Ontario’s wilderness, wildlife and watersheds, through research, education and action.


May 11, 2024 – Tim Gray of Environmental Defence Canada

Host Frank de Jong’s guest on this episode of Muskoka Drawdown is Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence Canada. They discuss Highway 413, the UN plastic treaty and fossil fuel subsidies.


April 13, 2024 – Lenore Morris – Yukon lawyer and outdoors enthusiast

Lenore Morris

Host Frank de Jong’s guest on this episode of Muskoka Drawdown is Lenore Morris, a long-time Yukoner, Whitehorse lawyer, two-time federal Green Party candidate, year-round cyclist, and outdoors enthusiast.


March 16, 2024 – Sebastian Jones – Yukon Conservation Society

Sebastian Jones of Yukon Conservation Society

Frank’s guest is Sebastian Jones the Yukon Conservation Society lead on fish, wildlife and habitat issues, including land use planning, wetlands protection and land use policies. He is based in Dawson City, Yukon.


February 15, 2024 – Lewis Rifkind, Mining Analyst

Lewis Rifkind, based in Whitehorse, is the Mining Analyst for the Yukon Conservation Society. Lewis’ engineering background equips him well to produce recommendations for reducing environmental impacts of mining projects, and oppose mining projects with impacts that cannot be mitigated. 


Jan 21, 2024 – Economist David Robinson

Climate change activists and their lawyers.

This episode of Muskoka Drawdown features David Robinson, a Canadian economist and carbon taxation expert who is deeply concerned about climate change.


 Dec 23, 2023, Lucille Frith and the return of the Ontario Northlander

COP28 delegates. Photo credit: Kiara Worth | UN Climate Change

This episode of Muskoka Drawdown features Lucille Frith and her tireless, multi-decade (and ultimately successful!) campaign to bring back the Ontario Northland train.


November 25. 2023 – Remy Rodden, Eco Music Educator

Remy Roden, Yukon-based musician, educator and environmentalist.

This episode of Muskoka Drawdown features eco music educator Remy Rodden, Yukon-based musician, educator, and environmentalist who sings the ecological world-view to thousands of Canadians every year.


Oct 28, 2023 – TLDSB Educators, Ally Myers & Holly Groome

Engage Muskoka Climate Action Film Festival poster, picture of Ally Myers and Holly Groome..

This episode of Muskoka Drawdown features Trillium Lakelands District School Board educators Ally Myers and Holly Groome. The duo are part of a committee organizing Engage Muskoka: a Climate Action Film Fest, happening Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the Algonquin Theatre in Huntsville. (Get your tickets at the online box office HERE. Come out and support this event to get inspired and learn about solutions toward a more sustainable future.)


Sept 30, 2023 –  Dancer and Choreographer Julia Aplin

For the sake of the planet and the future of humanity, Toronto modern dancer and choreographer Julia Aplin uses science and embodied knowledge to foster new relationships with trees. 


Sept 2, 2023 – Electric Vehicles with Peter Love

Peter Love

Electric vehicles are on the agenda as Muskoka Drawdown host Frank de Jong speaks with Peter Love, a York University professor and green policy and program expert, eco-business owner, non-profit enviro-consultant, and passionate electrical vehicle advocate.


Aug 5, 2023 – Sheryl Fink of International Fund for Animal Welfare


 Frank de Jong speaks with Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which works around the globe to rescue and rehabilitate animals, end illegal wildlife trade and conserve habitats.


July 8, 2023 – Simon Blakely, Green Economy North

Simon Blakeley of Green Economy North

Muskoka Drawdown host Frank de Jong speaks with Simon Blakely of reThink Green and the Northern Ontario hub of Green Economy Canada, which helps businesses, not-for-profits and the broader public reduce their carbon emissions.


June 10, 2023 – Jon Morton, Active Transportation Options for Muskoka


Jon wants functional and recreational people-friendly multi-use paths and trails within and between Muskoka towns to boost healthy and climate-friendly transportation.


May 13, 2023 – Frank talks to Huntsville High School Eco-Club members

Airing on the local community radio station Hunters Bay Radio
Saturday, May 13 – 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM
Sunday, May 14 – 11:00 PM to 11:30 PM

Huntsville High School Eco-Club members speaking on climate change: Bella Levesque & Julia Baeza Lage. Thank you to their teacher: Ben Schilkie.


March 28, 2023 – Frank interviews McMaster University students during their hunger strike.

Submitted by Navin Garg

CBC News -McMaster University students end hunger strike after 8 days, citing health and safety concerns.
Six students began a hunger strike on March 20 to protest McMaster University’s decision to install four natural gas-powered generators on Cootes Drive, and four were maintaining the strike on March 27.



Mar 18, 2023 – Frank talks to Gord Miller Former Environmental Commissioner


Gord Miller is the chair and a consulting ecologist of Earthroots.
Earthroots is a conservation organization dedicated to the protection of Ontario’s wilderness, wildlife and watersheds. Gord was a Former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.


Mar 2, 2023 – Muskoka Drawdown Special! – Jack Gibbons on Air Source Heat Pumps


Host Frank de Jong interviews Jack Gibbons on Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs). They clarify issues around the building of a new gas pipeline to the Hidden Valley area of Huntsville by Enbridge Gas and the failure of Enbridge to inform its potential customers there of the cost savings to be had by installing an ASHP instead of gas. (minute 11:00)


Feb 18, 2023 – Muskoka Drawdown with Dr. Jennifer Purdy

Dr. Jennifer Purdy

Frank de Jong’s guest is Dr. Jennifer Purdy, a family medicine physician practising evidence-based lifestyle medicine in Ottawa. She is also the Green Party of Canada Health Critic.


Jan 21, 2023 – Gideon Forman on The Greenbelt and Highway 413

Gideon Forman of the David Suzuki Foundation

Listen to Muskoka Drawdown. Frank de Jong’s guest is Gideon Forman, a climate change and transportation policy analyst with the David Suzuki Foundation.

“The $6 billion it will cost (at minimum) will be unavailable for vital climate solutions, including sustainable transportation options such as light rail, electric buses, and bike lanes.” 


Nov 27- Phil Pothen on Bill 23

Frank discusses Bill 23 with Phil Pothen, Ontario Environment Program Manager, Environmental Defence.

Phil is a land use planning and environmental lawyer with a background in landscape ecology, landscape architecture and 10 years of experience advising and representing provincial policymakers, select small builders, and concerned residents.

He joined EDC to advance “big-picture” approaches to problems he has dealt with case-by-case – a comprehensive alternative vision for development and industry that meets people’s needs while preserving Ontario’s natural spaces, farmland and other “greenfields” in perpetuity.


Oct 29 – The Green Budget Coalition


 Frank de Jong’s guest is Andrew Van Iterson, manager of the Green Budget Coalition at Nature Canada since 2005. The coalition works for the adoption of strategic, potentially transformative federal government environmental budget recommendations. Andrew’s Green Budget Coaliton bio.


October 3, 2022 – Activist Jennifer Alexis


In this episode of Muskoka Drawdown, host Frank de Jong’s guest is Jennifer Alexis, whose work includes campaigns and programs for endangered species, youth leadership, poverty alleviation, climate mitigation, biodiversity, sustainable enterprises and fair trade. Jennifer holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Political Science and lives in Huntsville.



September 3, 2022 – Green Roof Professional Steve Peck


In this episode of Muskoka Drawdown, host Frank de Jong’s guest is Steve Peck, a GRP (Green Roof Professional), honorary member of American Society of Landscape Architects, and founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a non-profit professional industry association.



Aug 6, 2022 – Renewable Energy and Electric Cars with Paul Gipe


Host Frank de Jong’s guest is Paul Gipe, a world-renowned Canadian author, advocate, and analyst of the renewable energy industry, with a focus on wind power and electric cars. Paul’s latest book is Wind Energy for the Rest of Us. Learn more about his work at http://www.wind-works.org/cms/



July 9, 2022 – Discussion With Energy Conservation Specialist Bruce Hanson

Bruce Hanson, Frank de Jong's guest on Muskoka Drawdown.

Host Frank de Jong speaks with this month’s guest, Bruce Hanson, who has worked for over three decades in energy efficiency and solar energy, conducting residential and industrial energy audits, achieving cost effective savings, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions for clients. His current focus is implementation of heat pumps for heating and hot water systems.


June 11, 2022 – John Meyer – The Post Pandemic World


Host Frank de Jong speaks with John Meyer, author of The Post Pandemic World and a semi-retired small business owner.

John lives in Parry Sound and is currently President of the NGO “Canadians for a Sustainable Society”. He dabbles in solar electric and heating systems as well as electric bikes and has just built a house which he expects to be (eventually) energy positive.

His primary interests are the changes necessary to achieve a sustainable society, population cycles, energy and civilization. 


May 14, 2022 – “Dr Laurie Houston — Greening Healthcare”

Dr Laurie Huston in Guatamala

Dr. Laurie Houston ran a solo dental practice in Bracebridge from 1987 until 2012 . She sold her practice to devote more time to volunteer dental projects abroad and being a voice for effective change in organized Dentistry.

Laurie created a nonprofit corporation, “CanHelp Through HealthCare” in 2019 and organizes volunteer dental teams for work in developing countries. She calls upon her international colleagues from various sectors to address and discuss issues of pressing global consequence.

She is past president of Muskoka Simcoe Dental Society and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Dental Association, as a strong voice for sustainability in healthcare and addressing ESGs.

Currently she works as an associate dentist part time in Orillia, and monthly at an Indigenous community in the Georgian Bay area. She lives in Gravenhurst with her husband Frank and dog Georgie.


April 16, 2022 – Franks guest is Angela Bischoff, Director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Angela Bischoff

Angela Bischoff has worked with the environmental non-profit sector for more than 3 decades working on issues ranging from eco-cities, transportation, climate, mental health and elections. She is the Director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a small but mighty group aiming to move Ontario onto a 100% renewable energy path. She also practices and teaches yoga, commutes daily by bike, and cares for her aging mother.


March 19, 2022 – Host Frank de Jong speaks with Dianne Saxe

Dianne Saxe Green Party

One of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers and one of the top environmental lawyers in the world. Dianne Saxe was the independent Environmental Commissioner of Ontario until the Ford government eliminated that position. Saxe is the host of Green Economy Heroes podcast. Throughout her career she has worked on environmental and justice issues. She is currently Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Ontario 


February 19, 2022 – Frank’s guest is Susan Brandum.

Susan lives outside Perth, Ontario, where she spends as much time as possible meditating over the songbirds at her feeders. She is a co-founder and co-director of Climate Network Lanark, a grassroots organization focused on system changes that will result in cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half in her county.


Jan 22, 2022 – Frank’s interview with Laura Thomas of Hidden Habitat


November 27, 2021 – Frank’s guest is Evan Ferrari – (Executive Director Of EMERGE Guelph)


October 30, 2021 – End Of The Month Vs End Of The World



About host Tamsen Tillson – Host Of Muskoka Drawdown from February, 2020 to May, 2021

Tamsen Tillson is a Bracebridge resident and one of the founders of Climate Action Muskoka. A former journalist, she’s a communications and marketing consultant. You can find her waving her No Plan(et) B banner, Fridays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. #climatestrike #fridaysforfuture #gogretago.

And a huge shout-out to the amazing Canadian musician Danny Michel, who is generously allowing us to use his catchy, wrenchingly sad and wonderful song Feather, Fur and Fin as our theme song. ??


Episode 11: Land Use > GEORGIAN BAY MNIDOO GAMII BIOSPHERE

We’ve all heard of the 30,000 islands of Georgian Bay. The Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere is the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, designated by the United Nations as a world biosphere region. GBB is a fabulous local example of sustainable land use and what it looks like to create, experience, and maintain healthy communities while also protecting the climate. We speak with executive director Becky Pollock about partnerships, community engagement and the power of starting where you are. Premiere Air Date: May 15, 2021

Picture of Georgian Bay with freshwater lake, rocky outcropping and blue sky with text: Georgian Bay Biosphere Mnidoo Gamii.

Episode 10: The Grid > SPEEDIER

It’s no secret that as we transition to a fossil-fuel-free society, The Grid is going to have to change. Motivated by necessity, Parry Sound is making an innovative start at it with a collection of conservation and alternative energy solutions called SPEEDIER. How innovative? This is the first demonstration project of this scope in Canada. Many thanks to our guests, Parry Sound Mayor Jamie McGarvey and Lakeland Holdings COO Vince Kulchycki for telling us about it. Find out about the project, how you can stay informed, and maybe even get involved. Premiere Air Date: March 20, 2021



Episode 9: Food Waste > Food Rescue

If food waste was a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet. About a third of food in high-income economies is thrown out by consumers. According to Project Drawdown, turning that around is the number three solution — out of 100 — to solving the climate crisis. Muskoka based volunteer and activist Amy Snow tells us about The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation’s food rescue program, which serves all of Muskoka. And a huge kudos to all of the volunteers and contributors [including the Hunters Bay Radio Food Crew!] who are feeding our community and taking climate action, all during a pandemic! 👏 You are heroes! 🥇. Premiere Air Date: January 23, 2021


Episode 8: Green Houses

What climate action enthusiast doesn’t fantasize about designing, building and living in an energy efficient, environmentally friendly house? In this episode we speak with Paul Ecclestone and Scott Young, two Muskoka residents who tell us about their innovative homes (each of which is a “mosaic of separate solutions”, built approximately 15 years ago); what they did, what they thought about doing but didn’t, what has worked out and what hasn’t. We’ll also get some tips, for those of you thinking of taking the plunge.
Premiere Air Date: December 26, 2020

Guests Scott Young and Paul Ecclestone in front of their straw bale houses.


Episode 7 : Road Salt

Imagine 1,000 salt trucks dumping their load into Lake Muskoka. It’s too scary for Halloween. Unfortunately, that much road salt really is in the lake. In this episode we explore the true cost of road salt with our guest, Dr. Norman Yan, one of the top experts in this field. He tells us about some ground-breaking research he has just published with the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed. Their “Halt the Salt” program in Muskoka offers further evidence emphasizing the need to act quickly in reducing and, in some cases, eliminating the use of road salt on Muskoka’s roads and highways. Also includes some tips on how you can help. Premiere Air Date: October 31, 2020

Picture of salt truck on highway
Doesn’t this just make you cringe? It should. Research indicates that road salt has environmental costs that we urgently need to start taking into account.

Episode 6: Permaculture Gardening

Permaculture is the application of holistic, sustainable principles and practices. We’ll talk about how you can apply these to what we in Muskoka can grow in our own back yards, and how we grow it. Our guests are Bet Smith and Tricia Bilissis. Listen to the podcast. Follow-up resources for those who want to learn more include: Jeff Lowenfels’ Teaming with Microbes, Regeneration Canada, and Good Work Canada. | Air date: September 5, 2020

Picture of Tricia Bilissis and Bet Smith with a sign that says "Permaculture Garden for the Community."
Tricia Bilissis and Bet Smith in Tricia’s Permaculture Garden in Bracebridge. Bet’s tee says, “Introverted but willing to discuss plants”.

Episode 5: Forests

You probably already know that one of the best ways to combat deforestation & climate change is to plant more trees. But what about the trees that are already here? The fact is that Muskoka’s forests are struggling with the legacy of damage done decades ago. Healing them will greatly improve their ability to absorb greenhouse gas out of the air, among other positive things. Dr. Norman Yan, Chair of the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed, tells us about ASHMuskoka, a local program that promises to help them bounce back, with our help. | Air date: August 8, 2020

Picture of volunteer scattering wood ash in forest.

Episode 4: Electric Vehicles

Guest: Local engineer and electric vehicle enthusiast Mark Walker. | Air date: July 11, 2020

Electric Vehicle enthusiast Mark Walker with his wife Ellen, daugher Meredith and their Hyundai Kona.
Electric Vehicle enthusiast Mark Walker with his wife Ellen, daugher Meredith and their Hyundai Kona.

Episode 3: Food

Guests: Collin Sober-Williams of Eat Local Muskoka and Kelli Ebbs of Muskoka North Good Food Co-op. | Air date: May 16, 2020

American Gothic by Grant Wood, from the Art Institute of Chicago
American Gothic by Grant Wood, from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Episode 2: Renewable Energy

Guest: Melinda Zyaruk of Fourth Pig Building Cooperative | Premiere Air Date: March 21, 2020

Straw bale house with wood, earth plaster, LED lights and "truth window". Photos by Riley Snelling

Episode 1: Overcoming Eco-Anxiety, Household Recycling

Guests: Dr. Steve Stewart, Celine Mackay | Premiere Air date: February 22, 2020.

Dr. Steve Stewart, Celine Mackay and Tamsen Tillson
Steve Stewart, Celine Mackay and host Tamsen Tillson. Celine is showing the District of Muskoka’s recycling app on her phone and Tamsen’s got Drawdown, the show’s inspiration.

About the Show

We follow the framework of Project Drawdown, an international team of research gurus that reviews, analyses, and ranks 100 of the most viable climate solutions worldwide. Drawdown isn’t about stopping global warming. It’s about reversing it. Through innovations in energy, food, land use, and more.

Image of the cover of the book Drawdown over blue sky with clouds
The website and/or book is a must-read if you want to know more about climate solutions. Look for it at your public library.

You’re probably saying, it’s all very well to talk about what can be done in China, Africa, Europe, and what-not; but what about us, here in Muskoka? The fact is that many of these solutions are happening, right now, right here, in our own back yards. We talk to the innovators who are taking the lead. So you can jump in.

About host Tamsen Tillson

Tamsen Tillson is a Bracebridge resident and one of the founders of Climate Action Muskoka. A former journalist, she’s a communications and marketing consultant. You can find her waving her No Plan(et) B banner, Fridays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. #climatestrike #fridaysforfuture #gogretago.

And a huge shout-out to the amazing Canadian musician Danny Michel, who is generously allowing us to use his catchy, wrenchingly sad and wonderful song Feather, Fur and Fin as our theme song. ??