Coastal Insights: Eyes on the Coast is complete

A two-eyed reflection on the series from our hosts, Peter Underwood and Maureen Vo

Insights from Maureen Vo

Coastal Insights season 1 allowed Raincoast to really dip our feet into online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic to engage people from all over the world on coastal British Columbia, it’s rich culture and conservation issues. With the success of season 1 and continued status of the pandemic, we decided to dive right back into it with a second season, but this time, revamping it with a few tweaks and lessons learned along the way. 

Season 2 took on a sleek new interactive platform, fascinating lineup of topics and guests and a different approach to the learning. With season 2, I wanted to take a slightly different approach to both developing and delivering the series. Much of Raincoast’s learning and work is guided by the concept of two-eyed seeing or drawing from the strengths of Indigenous and Western Knowledge systems. To develop this further I felt it was important to fully create and deliver a series in tandem with our Indigenous partners to equally determine the direction of the learning, topics and showcase the different lenses and voices of the coast.

It was with great pleasure and honour that I got to work alongside my co-creator and co-host, Peter Underwood, from the Tsawout First Nation to craft and deliver the entire program. Peter is a passionate young W̱SÁNEĆ leader who helped bring in so much valuable knowledge on W̱SÁNEĆ teachings, stories, practices and perspectives. The partnership was fun and effortless as we bounced ideas off each other to craft each episode. Although we recognize that each Nation holds in itself specific teachings and practices, there are many fundamental principles that span across nations and regions that the W̱SÁNEĆ model helped showcase. 

With Peter bringing in the Indigenous lens and myself bringing in learning from a Western science lens our new series was born. We had some incredible guests that included Mi’kmaw Elder, Albert Marshall, who coined the term two-eyed seeing, along with Indigenous harvesters, Raincoast scientists, and young and inspiring stewards of the coast. I fed off the great energy we got each week from visiting classrooms and viewers and was blown away by all the great comments and insightful questions. Each episode, we had teachers and individuals share with us the impacts some of these topics and guests had on their learning, many of which led to powerful conversations conducted in classrooms and among groups that continued far beyond the episode.

I myself learned, among many things, some valuable lessons on seasonal indicators, the 13 moon calendar and the current changes to this, harvesting throughout the year, and the importance of thinking not only about the next generation, but the next 7 generations, and the 7 generations before. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to work with Peter and everyone who was a part of this series and I raise my hands in thanks including to our amazing sponsors who make these programs possible. HÍSW̱ḴE! 

Please stay tuned as we are planning more exciting and innovative educational opportunities to come including the launch of our student innovation challenge to showcase the many inspiring ways youth are creating impacts in their communities. 

Insights from Peter Underwood

Coastal Insights is what I would have loved to see in my school’s curriculum. I loved putting together lessons on our ocean because I got to include cultural teachings that were always extra curricular when I was a student. Including Indigenous sciences shows students that education, science, and a thorough understanding of the natural world isn’t something new to the Salish Sea, it’s something Indigenous people have valued and worked on for ages. 

One of my favourite parts of co-hosting Coastal Insights was definitely connecting with the guest speakers and classes. Learning what other nations are doing to protect their homelands is a great way to explore what’s being done in the world and gets you thinking about what can be done locally too. It’s been so inspiring to see such passionate classes come to the webinars and ask clever questions.

The focus on traditional ecological knowledge is growing in environmental science, conservation and restoration, but there’s still so much that could be continued to work upon. I see growing efforts in native plant education, traditional burns resurgence, and water stewardship and think that if these efforts continue, especially with youth, then we will be on a better path as inhabitants of the Salish Sea & Salish territory.


We’d love your feedback on the series!  If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to fill out our online survey, which enters you for a chance to win a beautiful coastal pin or print from Owl and Bear Studio.

You can help

Raincoast’s in-house scientists, collaborating graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professors make us unique among conservation groups. We work with First Nations, academic institutions, government, and other NGOs to build support and inform decisions that protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and the wildlife that depend on them. We conduct ethically applied, process-oriented, and hypothesis-driven research that has immediate and relevant utility for conservation deliberations and the collective body of scientific knowledge.

We investigate to understand coastal species and processes. We inform by bringing science to decision-makers and communities. We inspire action to protect wildlife and wildlife habitats.

Coastal wolf with a salmon in its month.
Photo by Dene Rossouw.