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Meet the I CAN-T.E.R. Team


Karen van der Zalm

Executive Director



"Nature does not hurry, yet everything gets accomplished."

Lao Tzu

Karen has always had a real passion for horses and feels so blessed by all the joys they have brought into her life and the lives of those she has taught.  She has been working with horses in the fields of therapy, education and recreation for over 20 years, and there is no other place she would rather be than on the farm!  Karen became involved with I CAN-T.E.R. during it’s foundational years in the early 1990’s where she was instrumental in helping to establish riding programs as well as integrated summer day camps for children with special needs.


Karen is a certified Horse Groom with the Ontario College of Trades and is the head instructor of the Agricultural Apprenticeship Horse Groom - 600H Program offered at I CAN -T.E.R.  Karen also holds an Honors Degree in Physical Education from Brock University with specialization in Adaptive Recreation & Sport.  In addition, she has earned her Educational Assistant Special Needs Support Diploma from Niagara College. 



When Karen is not working on farms in the Niagara Region, much of her time is spent at home caring for her herd of boys and attending all their sporting events.

Some of Karen’s greatest pleasures and pastimes are spent outdoors gardening and enjoying nature. Karen’s unique combination of education, work ethic and life experiences enables her to provide a high standard and successful program delivery at I CAN -T.E.R.



Karen's future goals are to:

  • help expand I CAN -T.E.R.’s agricultural based programs for therapy, education and recreational purposes.

  • provide more skilled training for employment opportunities to those interested in experiencing all the benefits agriculture has to offer. 

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