We are very pleased to have five passionate students joining our team for the summer. Over the summer, these five youth will contribute to several of our programs, while developing their own skills. From researching policies to protect trees to hands-on education programming for Indigenous youth, we know we will have a productive, educational and exciting summer with them.
We asked our summer students to convey a bit about themselves; read on to meet these inspiring youth and learn about each of their roles on our team.
Alex McLean – Tree Policy Protection Intern
Alex is the Tree Policy Intern for the Gulf Islands Forest Project. This research-based role has two primary focuses. The first is exploring policy measures to protect trees in the Islands Trust Area, including research into tree bylaw best practices across BC and jurisdictional issues impeding legislative reform in the Islands Trust Area. The second is critically analyzing the Capital Regional District’s parks management practices. The overarching goal of Alex’s work is to support the protection of the rare and endangered ecosystems of the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone. CDF ecosystems are under significant threat from human pressures, but their protection and conservation is extremely important due to their rich biodiversity, including many globally rare and endangered species, their great natural beauty, their immense capacity for carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, and more.
Alex has a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Philosophy from the University of British Columbia, and is currently a law student in the combined program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders at the University of Victoria. He is a Chinese/Scottish/Irish settler who is from unceded Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh territories in Vancouver. He is passionate about advancing environmental justice, and has pursued this passion through his work with organizations such as Our Time Vancouver and Climate Justice UBC. He has a keen interest in public policy, and is excited about the opportunity this summer to help Raincoast advance policy that furthers conservation efforts.
Samantha Rhodes – Summer Research and Field Assistant on Lower Fraser River Salmon Research
Samantha is thrilled to join Raincoast as a summer research and field assistant, working under Dave Scott, studying salmon on the Lower Fraser River. During her first month on the team Sam has been excited to learn and employ different sampling techniques to better understand juvenile salmon in this region, as well as develop identification skills of other aquatic plants and animals. Future opportunities for Samantha include conducting laboratory work at the University of British Columbia in the Pacific Salmon Ecology Lab and vegetation surveys.
Samantha is an outdoor enthusiast, having been born and raised on the North Shore of Vancouver. This fall, Sam will be entering her final term at UBC where she studies Natural Resource Conservation with a major in Science and Management. In the future, Sam plans on continuing her studies in a Masters program, with an eye towards a career in academia. Samantha loves dips in the ocean, journaling, and reading fantasy!
Jaya Scott – ForChange Education Intern
Jaya is the ForChange Education Intern this summer, working with both the Gulf Islands Forest Project and Salish Sea Emerging Stewards program. Jaya is really excited to facilitate land and ocean-based learning for W̱SÁNEĆ youth. On Raincoast’s research vessel, Achiever, and on excursions throughout the Gulf Islands, Jaya will lead educational programming which provides Indigenous students with the opportunity to practice two-eyed seeing, learning from scientific and Indigenous knowledge.
Jaya is a mixed East-Indian and Scottish settler on the territories of the LEKWUNGEN and SENĆOŦEN speaking Peoples, including the W̱SÁNEĆ, Esquimalt, Songhees, T’Sou-ke, and Sci-anew Nations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of Western Ontario, and will begin an MSc in environmental protection and management at the University of Edinburgh in the fall. Jaya is keenly interested in the connections between human rights and the environment. She is a member of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada’s Youth Advisory Council and has had the opportunity to advocate for climate justice in that role. In her free time, you can find her hiking, biking, or reading fantasy and sci-fi novels.
Sumeet Sidhu – Tsawassen First Nation Stewardship Program Lead
Sumeet will be the project lead for this year’s Tsawwassen First Nations summer student Stewardship program. Her role will primarily consist of implementing and overseeing an environmental stewardship program for Tsawwassen youth. Sumeet and the youth will be working on an ecological restoration project involving a local park space as well as doing environmental monitoring activities in collaboration with Raincoast.
Sumeet was born and raised in the Lower Mainland but went to the University of Alberta to study wildlife biology. While there, she developed an interest in studying urban wildlife conflict and learning more about ways to improve wildlife existence in urban spaces. Sumeet recently completed a research project in partnership with the Canadian Wildlife Service to reduce bird window collisions. She is currently working on another research project that involves analyzing the acoustic interactions between songbirds and brood parasites using Autonomous Recording Units. In her spare time Sumeet is usually riding her bike, rock climbing or spending hours reading Wikipedia articles (feel free to test her on her trivia knowledge).
Landon Underwood – Executive coordinator reefnet project
Landon is descendant of Tsawout First Nation and continues to reside as a member within the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. He is very sports-minded and continues with his educational goals while utilizing a scholarship by attending Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Landon was honoured to be part of the revitalization of the “Reef Net Fishery” project last summer and continues to be the coordinator for the project this summer. While working with members of the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership, knowledge holders and youth, Landon and youth gain a vast amount of experience by marking a net, learning the tides, experiencing being on the ocean canoe, traditional fishing, team building, and research.
Help us protect KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest
Together with Pender Islands Conservancy, we are raising funds to purchase and permanently protect a 45 acre forested property on the edge of the Salish Sea. The KELÁ_EKE Kingfisher Forest is located within the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone, one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in Canada. It is also among the most threatened in Canada. Protecting these forests is an investment in our collective future.
We are eight months into our campaign and are 65% of the way to our fundraising goal. This acquisition is a tangible way that you can help protect forest lands and build climate resilience!