Supporting the operation and building a place for ecotourism, our full time staff are also here to answer your questions and ensure a seamless voyage.
A big title, but Kevin is always the first to point out that in actual fact it is Maple Leaf and now Swell that own him.
The classic wooden boats we have, and the tourism business that supports them, demand constant care; it’s a responsibility that Kevin works hard to live up to.
Kevin’s instinct for exploration of the natural world continue on the trips he leads as captain. Fortunately this drive to discover the best has manifested itself in his CEO role as a drive for constant business innovation. The company, the boats, crew and guests all benefit from this strong push to always improve what we do. His experience as a geographer, backcountry park ranger, captain, coach and teacher all contribute to his strong leadership.
Maple Leaf Adventures has owned Kevin since 2001. In this time he has led the company to international recognition and some of the highest honours in the adventure tourism industry, including accolades and recommendations from National Geographic’s family of publications: National Geographic Traveler and National Geographic ADVENTURE. Under Kevin’s leadership, the company revenues have increased, the areas explored have increased, and customer satisfaction is extremely high, leading people to return again and again to do more trips.
Business as usual is not a good enough model for Kevin. The company is run completely on the principles of ecotourism, with a quadruple bottom line, made of environmental, social, financial and fun as the factors.
Kevin and his colleagues founded the Commercial Bear Viewing Association in 2001 to promote properly trained, professional, sustainable bear viewing in BC, and Kevin is an executive board member of the Wilderness Tourism Association of BC. He dedicates time to promoting and developing the ecotourism industry on the BC coast, and is invited to participate in government and industry roundtables.
Kevin’s vision and unwavering values set a clear course for the company. For its outstanding commitment to ecotourism and the BC coast, Maple Leaf Adventures won the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada in 2012.
Prior to Maple Leaf Adventures, Kevin was a senior backcountry marine park ranger in BC, while at the same time acting as a volunteer negotiator on the historic land use agreements for the area now known as The Great Bear Rainforest, in which his work directly protected vast areas of ancient rainforest filled with wildlife. Through this he also developed lasting relationships with members of communities along the coast. Kevin has also been a Coast Guard Auxiliary Coxswain and training officer, a sailing instructor and a rowing coach at Brentwood College.
Kevin is extremely experienced in the coastal British Columbia and Alaska wilderness. He has lived and worked with wild animals, including bears and whales, for decades. His appreciation and respect for each individual animal is apparent, and his observation of their behaviour and his understanding of it make him one of the province’s most experienced bear guides. Kevin has also trained other professionals in living with and working around bears. The status and health of British Columbia and Alaska’s population of wild bears is one of his major priorities.
Kevin has a double major honours degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Victoria. He lives in Victoria with his wife, Maureen, and continues to explore the coast aboard the Maple Leaf and Swell each year.
Fellow, Royal Canadian Geographical Society
BA Geography (University of Victoria)
Full Bear Guide (Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC)
Co-founder and director, Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC
Director, Wilderness Tourism Association of BC
Backcountry recreation and tourism representative, Great Bear Rainforest land use plan
60 ton Masters Limited (Transport Canada) 60 ton
Small Vessel Machinery Operator (Transport Canada)
Advanced Wilderness First Aid for Leaders (Slipstream)
CPR, Oxygen & AED (wilderness first aid)
Dive Master (PADI)
First Mate & Operations Manager. During the summer between grade 6 and 7, Given and his twin brother made a pact; they would swim in the ocean every single day at the beach at the bottom of the street. The deal was done, the ocean became a part of Given’s psyche, and he knew that he would forever find a way to work and play in and around the oceans of the world. Since then, Given has raced dinghy’s, taught summer sailing camps, led ‘cruise and learns’ up and down the BC coast, and managed operations for yacht charter agencies in both Victoria and Vancouver. He has also spent time exploring the Wild West coast of the Pacific Rim, where, living in Ucluelet, he and his wife developed and ran a small ferry and eco-tour company in the Broken Group Islands. Lunge feeding humpbacks and beach break surfing became an everyday occurrence, and the oceans grip on Given strengthened. From there, Given spent many years volunteering and working for the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue. He worked with many other amazing people to set-up, coordinate and led a fast rescue craft training program using full mission simulation. A mariner at heart, Given has many marine certifications, including a 60-ton limited license, simulated electronic navigation instructor certification, and fast rescue craft instructor certification. Over the past three years, Given has been working in the tech sector in Victoria developing e-learning training solutions and digital media and achieved his project management professional certification. In his spare time, Given takes as many photographs as possible (albeit his subjects have changed from the natural world to his two beautiful daughters), messes around with video editing and explores the rocky cliffs of BC. Given handles the operations at Maple Leaf Adventures. Splitting his time from mission control in Victoria and onboard, he will look after the operation of the two beautiful vessels, manage logistics, and help make the trips as smooth as possible for our guests and crew
BA Geography – University of Victoria Project Management Professional – Project Management Institute 60-ton limited Simulator Electronic Navigation Small Vessel Operators Proficiency Radio Operator Card – Maritime Commercial Marine First Aid Wilderness First Aid Marine Emergency Duties A1 Marine Emergency Duties A2 Marine Emergency Duties A3
Office Administrator & Customer Service. Jaz’s delightful voice and friendly emails greet all the people that contact Maple Leaf Adventures, as she looks after customer service and administration. After fifteen years in the alternative healthcare, wine and outdoors industries, Jaz followed her passion for deep ecology and sustainable tourism to Maple Leaf Adventures. Her reflective, friendly manner coupled with her efficiency and attention to detail make her the perfect person to assist Maple Leaf customers with questions about trips and travel. When not in her “control centre” at Maple Leaf, Jaz enjoys holistic health and fitness, hiking, dancing and helping to preserve the spectacular B.C. wilderness.
Business Administration Diploma, Camosun College First aid
Marketing Manager & Co-Owner. Maureen was born and raised in Victoria. She spent summers on the beaches of B.C.’s southern coast. Her maternal grandfather’s saltwater fish tank — teeming with flounders, hermit crabs and sea anemones — and her paternal grandfather’s patient observations of backyard birds encouraged her interest in nature as a girl.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing with an interest in history and environmental studies, as well as certificates in business management, boating and bear guiding.
After ten years in the high tech industry, and earlier stints in journalism, publishing and tourism, Maureen realigned her life with her priority to spend more time in the natural world, and sharing the stories and ideas of her beloved coastal home.
After meeting Kevin and observing the business for a couple of years, she and Kevin decided to try a year of working in Maple Leaf Adventures together. That was 2003 and ever since Maureen has committed to Maple Leaf Adventures as a key part of her life’s work.
She has explored the coast aboard the Maple Leaf, and now Swell, too, since 2001. She is responsible for marketing other business administration, and she spends a portion of each year as crew on the ships.
Maureen’s publication credits span the spectrum from the technical to the artistic; from co-editing a computer language submission to the World Wide Web Consortium, to a humourous national book chapter, to poetry in the Malahat Review. Her feature writing, photography and package design have won awards, and her writing has been published in many serials, including The Globe and Mail, the International Journal of Ecoforestry, and British Columbia magazine.
Maureen is on the boards of Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the BC Ocean Boating Tourism Association (Ahoy BC). She is inspired by the ability of values-based businesses to help change the world by being successful without compromising the nature and culture that they operate in.
Bachelor of Arts – Creative Writing, University of Victoria Small Vessel Operator Proficiency Marine Emergency Duties A2 Radio Operator Card – Maritime Commercial Marine First Aid Wilderness First Aid Assistant Bear Guide Food Safe
Operations & Adventure Coordinator, Deckhand. From small, silvery smelt to giant humpback whales, Robyn has helped research and introduce guests to the entire ecosystem on the BC coast. During her childhood in BC’s Okanagan, Robyn developed a love of the coast through her mother, who frequently brought her to the edge of the Pacific. At age five, Robyn decided she’d live here when she grew up, and managed to devour all books on whales in her elementary school library. Since university, where she earned a double-major in Geography and Environmental Studies, Robyn has lived and worked all along the coast, from historic Victoria, to the west coast town of Bamfield, to remote research stations on islands in the Great Bear Rainforest, including OrcaLab, Cetacealab and the Hakai Institute. She has experience as a biology research assistant, a marine sciences educator and a kayak guide, and certificate in coastal adventure tourism from North Island College. She has studied the conservation and ecology of forage fish, the songs and signature markings of whales, and the interface between marine and terrestrial environments. What keeps her interested in this coast? “I think it’s fascinating that this part of the coast is so intricate, that you can explore your whole lifetime and not see it all. The seasonal changes that determine the ebb and flow of life is something to experience.” Robyn brings her passionate interest, her research and analytical skills, and her teaching skills to her roles as our operations and administration coordinator, and deckhand. Sharing the rich world of rainforest, ocean and islands with Maple Leaf’s guests is a great pleasure for her. “I like the smallness of the trips. The crew can really share who they are and what they know, and our guests can experience the place in a way that you only can with people who are passionate about a place and know it well.”
Bachelor of Arts – Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Victoria
Small Vessel Operator Proficiency
Marine Emergency Duties A2
Marine Emergency Duties A3
Radio Operator Card – Maritme Commercial
Marine & Wilderness First Aid
Assistant Bear Guide