Next steps for Project TEACH

We are working toward mobilizing education into action.

Project TEACH was co created by Raincoast and the Coexisting with Carnivores Alliance (CwCA) in the winter of 2021, whose efforts were later supported by the Wildlife Coexistence Lab based at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Raincoast’s Applied Conservation Science Lab (ACSL) at the University of Victoria (UVic). 

This project was a response to the gradual weakening of protections in parks being observed across the Capital Regional District (CRD) due to increasing recreation and development pressure. Ecosystems in this region are characteristic of the Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) biogeoclimatic zone and its neighbouring Coastal Western Hemlock (CWH) zone. The former is the smallest and most endangered of 16 such zones in British Columbia. It is also among the least protected, despite its ecological communities being among the most biodiverse in BC. The CWH zone is now well-known across the country due to the iconic old growth forests it supports, which are being destroyed on an ongoing basis by industrial-scale logging practices. 

Over the course of two months, Project TEACH partners organized and facilitated five webinar episodes and one in-person Solutions Session, to collect and disseminate scientific and Traditional conservation expertise with the aim of mobilizing it to influence stronger environmental protection policy throughout the range of the CDF and CWH zones. Webinars occurred between May 12th and June 9th and covered a wide range of topics, which are synthesized below. On June 23rd we hosted the Solutions Session, which included a multi-group brainstorm to explore pathways toward implementing stronger environmental protection policy within the target ecosystems. Recordings to each session (including the in-person Solutions Session) can be found on the Project TEACH page.

Boardwalk through an old growth forest.
Photo by Alex Harris.

What is next for Project TEACH?

In the weeks to come, Raincoast’s Gulf Islands Forest Project Coordinator will be compiling teachings from the Project TEACH webinar series and in-person sessions, along with information gathered during the Solution Session brainstorm, into a final report. This report will be delivered to municipal policymakers across the CRD and Islands Trust in advance of the upcoming October elections. If you were unable to attend the Solutions Session and would like your feedback to be considered and included in the final report, please consider completing this survey prior to August 17, 2022. An article synthesizing each Project TEACH presentation has been prepared as a complement to the webinar recordings. We hope these resources will be helpful in completing the survey.

This series has strived to combine efforts across institutions, non-governmental organizations, and local communities to establish new relationships, increase knowledge sharing, and ultimately result in an improved support network to advocate for better environmental protections. One outcome we hope Project TEACH has achieved is the empowerment of community members to participate in local decision-making thus contributing to the “culture of conservation” we envision for the priceless ecosystems of Vancouver Island and surrounding area. 

These habitats are highly fragmented and under stress, as well as experiencing a decline from former levels of diversity and abundance; we must work together toward local solutions.

A big thank you to UBC’s Community-University Engagement Fund, Stream of Consciousness, and ANIÁN for your part in making Project TEACH possible.

Support our mobile lab, Tracker!

Our new mobile lab will enable the Healthy Waters Program to deliver capacity, learning, and training to watershed-based communities. We need your support to convert the vehicle and equip it with lab instrumentation. This will allow us to deliver insight into pollutants of concern in local watersheds, and contribute to solution-oriented practices that protect and restore fish habitat.

Sam Scott and Peter Ross standing in front of the future mobile lab, which is a grey sprinter van.