Meet Broti Kar, Our Environmentalist in Residence for Spring 2019!

April 17, 2019 | Diana L.

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From April 22 to June 29, Toronto Public Library welcomes Broti Kar, our spring Environmentalist in Residence (EnvIR) presented as part of the Our Fragile Planet program series!

Broti Kar

Broti is an Ontario certified teacher and a graduate of the Environmental Studies program from York University. She has over six years of experience working in environmental education with prominent environmental organizations such as the Centre for Urban Ecology and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. In her various roles, she has designed and taught outdoor education programs on topics including wetland ecosystems, food production, urban wildlife and waste reduction.

Currently, Broti is the Children's Education Supervisor of Community Programs at the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG). In this capacity, she leads, develops and delivers interactive programs for children and their families, as well as large-scale community events. Her immense creativity, energy and generosity result in impactful and inspiring environmental education.

Broti and her students outside looking closely at plants.
Broti and her students looking for monarch butterfly eggs at TBG's Teaching Garden. Photo credit: Broti Kar.

The Environmentalist in Residence (EnvIR) program supports the Our Fragile Planet program series and will serve as an industry expert in the area of conservation and sustainability.

This residency and the Our Fragile Planet program series is made possible through the generous support from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation logo

Broti will lead free, engaging programs, hands-on workshops and offer community consultations at the S. Walter Stewart Branch from April 23 to June 29, 2019.


Get to know Broti

Recently, I had a short question and answer session with Broti to get to know her better.

What interested you about TPL's Environmentalist in Residence (EnvIR) position and what are you looking most forward to during your residency?

My experience working as an environmental educator in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) shaped my understanding of different barriers that many encounter in connecting with the natural environment. Toronto Public Library’s (TPL) EnvIR position interested me because I would like to continue supporting individuals and communities find ways in which they can live in harmony with nature. So, I am most looking forward to connecting with library visitors and making them feel empowered to take small steps towards sustainable living. I am also looking forward to hosting workshops and lectures on topics related to the City of Toronto’s green initiatives. TPL’s branches are neighbourhood hubs where learning is made accessible, and I am honoured to be a part of this learning community.

Broti and children examining what's in their nets outside.
Dip netting for macroinvertebrates at Wilket Creek during TBGKids Bug-o-logy Camp. Photo credit: Broti Kar.

The EnvIR program was developed with Indigenous communities and relationships in mind. What steps would you take to ensure that your work honours and respects the role of local Indigenous groups and communities as stewards of this land and its waters?

To start, I think that a simple and necessary step would be to begin lectures and workshops that I host with appropriate land acknowledgement. Land acknowledgements provide an opportunity to reflect on the history of the Indigenous lands, peoples and treaties. Having worked with school boards and not-for-profit environmental organizations in Ontario, I have experienced including Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into educational programming. So, at TPL, I would continue to plan programs that incorporate knowledge of the First Nations peoples of this land. I am also excited to make use of available TPL resources to further expand my understanding of Indigenous culture and its teachings.

What is the environmental issue that you would like to tackle as the Environmentalist in Residence?

Waste! Data collected by the City of Toronto shows that annually we produce over 350,000 tonnes garbage. A significant part of the waste problem is that we are contaminating our blue bins. When recycling is contaminated, it ends up in the landfill. So, if we become more aware of where we put our waste, and the life cycles of products we use, we can lower the amount of garbage we send to the landfill. As the EnvIR, I am going to do my best to make waste diversion as fun and engaging as possible!

I am also interested in planning programs that focus on the protection of Toronto’s urban green spaces and build awareness about what we can do to support healthy natural ecosystems. 

What do you enjoy the most about your environmental work?

I absolutely love that a career in environmental education demands continuous learning. I am always researching new topics for programming, finding creative ways to teach different demographics, and engaging in professional development opportunities whenever possible.

Also, teaching at the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG), I really enjoy witnessing and helping children and families nurture positive relationships with nature.

What inspires the environmental work you do? 

Nature inspires me. Nature provides us with valuable services, and our duty is to protect it.

I am also inspired by the work of other dedicated environmental educators in Toronto. I have been fortunate to get to know many educators who are making significant contributions to the environmental and social well-being of our city.

Grade 2 students working in groups outside.
Building nature boats with a grade 2 class during TBGKids' Wind and Water Hike. Photo credit: Broti Kar.

Can you tell us about your upcoming projects?

I am currently getting ready for TBGKids Earth Day Celebration coming up on April 27th. This free event at TBG’s Teaching Garden is an opportunity for families from diverse backgrounds to come together and enjoy a day filled with activities designed to connect with nature, made possible with the help of our partners and volunteers. We are expecting over 400 people to attend this year!

I am excited to be developing lectures and workshops that will be relevant to Torontonians and cover topics such as waste reduction, responsible gardening, invasive versus native species and urban wildlife. Once I start at the S. Walter Stewart Branch, please feel free to come by and let me know about any environmentally related topics that you think will be fitting for lectures and workshops.


Broti teaching children indoors.
Teaching about carnivorous plants of the world at Plant Superheroes Camp at the TBG. Photo credit: Broti Kar.

Don't pass up this exciting opportunity to meet Broti, our spring Environmentalist in Residence at the S. Walter Stewart Branch! Here are some of her upcoming programs: 

Check back for more program and workshop dates.

You can also get a sneak peek at who our fall EnvIR is by checking out the Environmentalist in Residence webpage. 


Updated April 23, 2019 - added programs and dates.