April 15 (the second Monday of the month) is the 120th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario.  Preregistration is on Zoom, and a link will be sent to your email inbox.  This event also appears at https://systems-watersheds.eventbrite.ca .

What Can Systems Thinkers Learn From Watershed Stewardship?

Systems thinkers seek to understand the whole and the parts, and their relations. When we apply this to water management, it can bring up a wide-range of reflections between systems thinking and aspects of watershed stewardship. We can ask how Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews braided within Great Lakes water governance? How can broadening the conversations from the epistemological to the ontological lens help to include a broader set of frames and values?

In this session, we’ll host Susan Robertson and Natalija Vojno in conversation to learn about how they approach watershed management. The pair will discuss their experiences in working across cultures to engage people in source water protection. They’ll also discuss how worldviews shape methodologies for treating water as a living system rather than an inert resource.

Together, we’ll explore what we can learn from the field of water resource management. What can be learned from working with water as a connector of dynamic parts and wholes? We’ll connect systems thinking, public engagement design, and water management to ask how we can foster dynamics that support more liveable systems to emerge.


Susan Robertson is the Principal Planner of People Plan Community. As a French-speaking Scottish/Irish Settler born and raised in Anishinaabe territory, her goal is to build meaningful relations between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples through environmental initiatives for a better future together. She is a Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners and a Registered Professional Planner in Ontario. Award-winning and notable projects she has supported include the restoration of the Historic Council House at the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Shared Path/Le Sentier Partagé, the Credit Valley Trail Strategy, the Credit Valley Trail Indigenous Experience Plan, Indigenous engagement sessions within the Great Lakes with various levels of government, the Indigenous Municipal Engagement Program, and the Moccasin Identifier.

Susan has worked with First Nations, Métis and Indigenous communities ancestral to the Greater Golden Horseshoe for over fifteen years. She has an honours undergraduate joint degree in Cultural Anthropology and Human Geography and has studied Indigenous cultures around the world. She was the first person to be nominated and awarded The Credits Award by the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for contributions to promoting Indigenous cultural heritage and she serves as a Board Member on the Shared Path Consultation Initiative.


Natalija Vojno works at the intersection of water policy and positive peace. Whether as an environmental campaigner or facilitating environmental multi-stakeholder dialogues in the Great Lakes or abroad, she enjoys creating spaces for more liveable futures to emerge.

Globally, she has spoken at the UN High-Level Political Forum on the role of youth in transboundary water governance, was a founding member of the Water Youth Network, and is an advisor to UNEP's inaugural Faith for Earth Youth Council. She founded Our Future First to deliver peacebuilding initiatives e.g. the Balkan Youth Environmental Assembly and In Flow for the Humber. As the Business Director of RainGrid she is growing a climate tech startup.

Natalija is a trained mediator and facilitator. She is a Rotary Peace Fellow graduate of ICU in Tokyo (MA), IHE-Delft in the Netherlands (MSc) and the University of Toronto (BA).



Suggested pre-reading(s): 


Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.