Too Many Children and Families Left Behind

Friday, 25 February 2022 via Zoom

Speaker: Johanna Filp-Hanke

Lecture Summary:

Improving the lives of children and families who live in poverty has been my life-long aspiration. Brain research tells us that early childhood experiences and poverty affect lifelong health and learning. According to UNICEF, in almost half of all rich countries, more than one in five children live in poverty. A variety of early childhood care and education programs exist to mitigate the negative effects of poverty. Some successful programs are center based; others include active family involvement.  I will describe the “Proyecto Padres e Hijos,” which my colleagues and I designed and implemented in poor rural communities in Chile during the early years of the military dictatorship. We were inspired by Paulo Freire’s ideas about education, summarized in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Freire argued for openness, humility, tolerance, attentiveness, rigor and political commitment in education. Themes of love and hope figure prominently in his work. As educators we were transformed by our project experience. The lessons learned provide insights into how we can support families and children from different cultural backgrounds, including immigrant families and children of marginalized communities.

Bio: Johanna Filp-Hanke:


I grew up in Chile, and began studying Psychology at the Catholic University there, moving to Vancouver at the age of 21. I continued my education at the University of British Columbia, receiving B.A. and M.A. degrees in Psychology there. Many years later, I earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Freiburg in Germany. In 1994 I became a Guggenheim Fellow. My professional experience includes 20 years of work in Chile and 23 years in California. In Chile I worked at the Center for Research and Development in Education (C.I.D.E.), a nonprofit progressive think tank, conducting research and developing programs to improve the quality of early education in poor communities. In 1996 I joined the Faculty of Early Childhood Studies at Sonoma State University  where I taught immigrant and first-generation college students, preparing them to work with young children and their families. I’m now a Professor Emeritus, having retired two years ago.

The “Stages” of Community Theatre in Almonte

Friday, 28 January 2022 via Zoom

Speaker: Kris Riendeau

Lecture Summary:

From the very first Valley Players’ production back in 1983 to the 2021 theatrical fundraiser for Puppets Up, community theatre has played a dynamic role (pun intended) in this area. On stage, backstage or in the audience — there’s a place for everyone! In this lecture, Kris Riendeau will walk you through some of the past highlights and key players, examine ways in which amateur theatre has evolved locally, and attempt to infuse you with her passion for this creative community-building tool.

Bio: Kris Riendeau:


Kris Riendeau first trod the boards of the Almonte Old Town Hall in the Valley Players’ 2001 production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Since then, she has been involved in numerous shows, and began directing in 2015. In 2019 she formed “Humm Team Productions” with her partner Rob Riendeau.

Dirty Secrets of the Oil Industry in Canada

Friday, 26 November 2021 via Zoom

Speaker: Bill Adams

Lecture Summary:

I will show how oil spills on our Canadian coasts are handled under a closed industry-controlled system that places priority on creating the impression of “world-class” capability to cleanup spilled oil which is not based on reality. The regulators are captured by the industry which makes it very difficult to improve the system and to provide optimum protection for the coastal communities that bear the brunt of oil spill impacts such as those on the West Coast of Canada where shipping operates in dangerous waters and narrow channels. Arctic communities are also at risk as they depend on oil deliveries for their communities and the moratorium on oil developments in the Arctic is shortly to be revisited and may be lifted which again puts the Canadian Arctic at risk. Expansion of tar sand activities and the Transmountain Pipeline in Western Canada are a threat, not only to the coastal waters of BC, but to the health of all ecosystem down-stream of the extractive operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Bio: Bill Adams:


During the 1970s Dr. Adams was a Research Scientist with Environment Canada where he conducted Arctic research on oil spill impacts and then a senior Defence Scientist with DND where he did research on high energy battery systems until 1986. He was the founder and Director of the Electrochemical Science and Technology Centre of the University of Ottawa over the period 1986 to 1995 which conducted research on electric vehicles, medical power sources (artificial heart project), and defence power sources. From 1995 he was President of the first spin-off company from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Adams is currently VP, Strategic Planning for RESTCO that was formed in 2010 (see www.restco.ca) that has been actively working on oil spill remediation technologies.