As scientists we are constantly learning. We learn from each other, our Indigenous partners, the wildlife we study and the youth we engage.
For over 15 years, as guests of the Heiltsuk Nation, Raincoast staff scientists have supported the development of local youth as future stewards of the environment at a yearly kids camp. We count many previous participants as friends, colleagues and our own teachers. Importantly, the concept of consilience, blending different types of learning and ways of knowing, recognizes the value of Indigenous knowledge that we blend with our own methods. This concept of consilience sits at the heart of our Salish Sea Emerging Stewards program.
Raincoast’s Emerging Stewards program is designed to help inspire a new generation of conservation leaders in the Salish Sea. We connect local youth with Raincoast scientists and Salish Sea Indigenous knowledge holders through a variety of nature-based experiential learning activities. Field and class visits lead up to the program’s centrepiece where our research vessel Achiever serves as a floating classroom. We visit ancient midden sites, learn about marine mammal identification as we sail through their habitat and play games that teach key ecological concepts – like predator-prey dynamics – which are directly relevant to conservation issues in the Salish Sea and local communities.
We’ve worked with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, WŚANÉC School board, and the Cowichan School district to develop the program, as well as groups supporting youth in need of extra support including those supported by the Take a Hike Foundation and the Urban Native Youth Alliance.
We currently have a funding shortfall of $18,000, which is needed for using Achiever (including fuel, first mate and Captain), supporting a dedicated educator (marine biologist Maureen Vo), engaging in the production of educational materials, and purchasing essential safety equipment and supplies.
Please consider lending your support to our Salish Sea Emerging Stewards program with a donation to Raincoast. Donate now.
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