Circles of Connection with Al Howard and Laurie Clark:
Creating Communities of Care and Belonging

Al will introduce restorative communication strategies where people come together with a shared purpose, generate knowledge and learn from each other in real time.
Laurie will share how an Indigenous Allyship and Anishinaabe restorative land based circle practices have deepened her connection with her self, with the land and with others.

Circle Classroom on Elementary School Playground

Al Howard:
Born and raised on the western prairies, Al has worked since 1986 as a
director and consultant in communications and business development, an
educator and environmental scientist. His work in alternative dispute
resolution began with graduate studies in Counseling Psychology in 2008.
In the time since, his practice has grown to include inter-nation
mediation, civil claims under the Ontario Superior Court and restorative
justice conferencing under mandate of the Ministry of the Attorney

Al’s approach reflects his belief in the capacity of individuals and
organizations to find the most appropriate answers to their own questions.
His work has focused in three areas:

Development of rural and indigenous communication networks across
western and northern Canada
• Program research and planning in health, social and emergency services
• Restorative practice in justice and education aimed at peace making in
communities and schools from the remote north to urban south.

Al moved from Sioux Lookout to Lanark County in 1994 and lives in Perth.

Passing the Talking Piece

Laurie Clark, RECE/ Outdoor Educator/ Bereavement and RP Facilitator initiated her work with children in 1995 in Guelph, Ontario. She was introduced to restorative communication practices with Indigenous Elders and foster children in the Canadian Rocky backcountry (Banff) at a Rediscovery Cultural Outdoor Education Program (2003-2009): “The ‘Rediscovery’ model based on Aboriginal teachings bridges for participants new understandings of themselves, other cultures and the natural world”.

She travelled from Banff National Park to work with youth in Podocarpus National Park in Loja, Ecuador where she facilitated a Nature Walk Youth Program for teenage girls (2010-2011). She returned to Canada to settle in the Ottawa Valley to deliver her Nature Immersion programs (youth/adult) in the Lanark Highlands where she presently resides with her family (2013-present).
With the intention of supporting community spirit, Laurie co-facilitates restorative communication practices for vulnerable community members in circles of connection within local non-profit associations: Lanark County Community Justice and Lanark County Home Support’s seven week bereavement programs.

Maple Grove Restorative Communication