Congratulations to chuutsqa Layla Rorick, this year’s recipient of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s (CBT) Biosphere Research Award. chuutsqa grew up in Hot Springs Cove and, as an advanced adult learner of the Hesquiaht language, has dedicated much of her life to Nuu-chah-nulth (NCN) language revitalization. chuutsqa is a doctoral student at the University of Victoria and her research “aims to collaborate with fluent NCN elders to identify compatible approaches for training a working-age generation of NCN educators,” and create a land-based NCN language revitalization program in Clayoquot Sound.
This is the third year that the CBT has offered the Biosphere Research Award, a single grant of $20,000. The purpose of the award is to support research within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region (CSBR) that advances local understanding of conservation challenges within the marine and/or terrestrial ecosystems and helps us to prioritize conservation actions. To be eligible, research must address key species and ecosystems threats and/or address a degrading trend for species or ecosystems of ecological and/or cultural importance. The percentage of fluent NCN language speakers in the CSBR has decreased from 3.1% in 2012 to 1.7% in 2016 (Vital Signs, 2016). Furthermore, the majority of fluent speakers are elders, making the threat of NCN language and culture loss that much more imminent.
In discussing the intrinsic relationship between language and land/place, chuutsqa states, “NCN language and worldview has grown out of a coastal location, and contains environmental markers that tie our language and our daily actions to the land and seascape.” She further explains that, “NCN culture and the biodiversity of the region, cultivated from our ancient system of unique socio-cultural relations on this land and seascape over thousands of years, has been subjected to continuously erosive and targeted threats since the beginning of the relatively recent settler colonial era.” Therefore, NCN language revitalization is crucial to preserve “culturally based, intrinsically sustainable stewardship principles embedded in NCN language,” and “aligns with the intent of UNESCO biosphere [regions], which are meant to nurture learning places where conservation of biodiversity is embedded in social and economic development.”
The CBT received four high quality applications for this year’s Biosphere Research Award which were reviewed by a Technical Review Committee composed of local experts. According to Dr. Laura Loucks, CBT’s Research Coordinator, “the CBT’s volunteer Research Award Technical Review Committee was very impressed with the high caliber of chuutsqa’s application and the decision to bequeath her with the 2017 CBT Research award was unanimous. One of the outstanding aspects of chuutsqa’s research proposal was her ability to make the link between endangered ecosystems and endangered cultures, explaining how Nuu-chah-nulth language patterns are inherently connected to both. As one Committee member put it, ‘if language is the most endangered element on the west coast, this is the conservation action we need to take’.” The CBT Board of Directors approved the Committee’s recommendation for funding at their June meeting and are equally impressed with chuutsqa’s research proposal.
Photo by Melody Charlie
My summer work experience with Clayoquot Biosphere Trust has been truly rewarding and I am thankful for every opportunity. I have had the chance to work with incredible people and participate in stimulating multidisciplinary research and monitoring projects. I spent time working in the office at my standing desk, sitting at regional meetings with important stakeholders, navigating the ocean inlets and passages, walking through the rainforest, and kneeling on the intertidal zone helping scientists gather data to inform coastal restoration management plans. For a student in Environmental Geography, this is what we call living the dream!
Here is a list of a few ongoing projects that I had the chance to be a part of:
-Sydney Inlet Soundscape Project
-Clayoquot Salmon Roundtable
-Human-wildlife interactions meetings with Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
-Amphibian surveys with the Association of Wetland Stewards for Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds
–Sustainability in the Biosphere university field course taught by Dr. Laura Loucks, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust’s amazing Research Coordinator and adjunct professor at Royal Roads University
-Promoting the Clayoquot Sound Wild Salmon Fund
Summer Research Assistant with Clayoquot Biosphere Trust
We are thrilled to welcome 3 new staff members joining our team at the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust!
Nicole Gerbrandt is the new Education Coordinator for the West Coast N.E.S.T, and is leading the next phase of the Regional Education Tourism Initiative. She’s looking forward to developing and supporting existing learning opportunities in our communities and using the NEST to link visitors seeking immersive, place-based learning experiences with local organizations and communities. Nicole recently moved to Ucluelet from Bamfield, where she worked as the University Programs Coordinator at the Bamfield Marine Science Centre. She has a background in salmon ecology, a MSc. in Biology through Simon Fraser University, and many years of teaching experience.
Rochelle Tom is our Nuu-chah-nulth Office Assistant! This summer, she will be helping us with many administrative tasks and with special events outside of the office. After taking a gap year, Rochelle will be attending Vancouver Island University starting September 2017, as she will be upgrading some courses to pursue her interests in Psychology. Rochelle is very excited to be travelling to Baie-Comeau Quebec for a conference called Co-building Sustainability & Reconciliation, and is very keen to learn more about biosphere reserves.
Mathieu St-Laurent-Addison is our Summer Research Assistant. He is completing his Bachelor of Science with a major in Environmental Geography at Concordia University and will be working on a number of interesting projects this summer, including promoting the Clayoquot Sound Wild Salmon Fund, the LEO network monitoring program and the Sydney Inlet remote listening soundscape project.
If you see the new CBT staff in and around our communities be sure to say hi and welcome them!
Living with Wildlife Symposium
The second annual Living with Wildlife Symposium was hosted in partnership by the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and the Raincoast Education Society as a celebratory wrap-up event for everyone involved in the ‘Connecting Students with Wildlife Program’ (CSWP).
This year, CSWP has been delivered in grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 in five schools across the west coast. The Living with Wildlife Symposium is a unique opportunity to bring students together across the region to extend their learnings from the program and apply their wildlife monitoring and tracking knowledge and skills in a fun, inclusive environment. This year, the Living with Wildlife Symposium, brought together over 110 students from Ahousaht, Tofino, Ty-Histanis, Esowista, Opitsaht, Ucluelet and Hitacu.
Goals of the Symposium
Over the course of the day, students heard from our keynote speaker, Gisele Martin, who discussed Nuu-chah-nulth perspectives and teachings on the relationship between humans, wildlife, and the environment. After Gisele’s presentation we took the students outside to get to know each other playing wildlife games. After lunch the students broke into their animal clans and navigated through eight different field stations in the school forest. This activity gave students a chance to demonstrate their tracking skills and knowledge gained from the CSWP program. The field stations were hosted by Bob Hansen, co-founder of the CSWP, Kaylyn Kwasnecha, CSWP lead, and ten Parks Canada summer students.
Thank you to everyone involved in CSWP and the Living with Wildlife Symposium!
It costs $20.11 per hour to live, and raise a family, in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region . $20.11/hour is our regional living wage; the hourly pay that two parents working full-time each need to earn, once government taxes and credits have been accounted for, to maintain an adequate quality of life for a family of four (one boy aged seven and one girl aged four). This equates to a total household income of $73,200.40 annually. Our living wage rose 84 cents from the 2015 living wage rate of $19.27 and we are now the second highest living wage region in BC (Vancouver is the highest at $20.62 per hour).
The living wage calculation is based on the bare-bones expenses of an average family of four; it includes costs such as rent, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and a modest budget for social participation and parent education. Once the family expenses have been covered, our living wage family has only five dollars remaining to cover some of the costs not included in the living wage calculation such as savings or debt payments.
New this year in the calculation is the inclusion of two cellphones (talk and text only) rather than a landline, and a basic internet connection. These days more Canadians have cell phones than landlines and a home internet connection is recognized as a requirement for social participation as well as for accessing many government services. The latter is particularly true in rural and remote areas which lack Service Canada centres.
Once again housing and childcare are the top two costs in the living wage calculation this year. Housing costs (median cost of a 3-bedroom rental, utilities, and tenant insurance) rose almost $60 per month since 2015 (rent alone is up $50/month). The median rental cost is used rather than the average cost because the median reflects the true mid-point cost within a range, and therefore is not influenced by high-end rentals and is a more realistic measure of what a low-income family can afford. Childcare costs are up $324 per month and include the median cost of full-time care for a 4-year-old and after-school care and care during school breaks for the 7-year-old.
To illustrate the power of healthy public policy in reducing the living wage we decided to highlight the excellent work being done by some of our communities around highly-subsidized childcare (and in some cases fully- subsidized!). Using the median cost of full-time subsidized childcare for the 4-year-old in the calculation brings our living wage down to $16.77 per hour! Enacting a childcare subsidy policy increases affordability for families and provides social, economic, and health benefits at the community level. In July 2016 the federal government introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a tax-free, targeted, monthly payment that helps families cover the costs of raising children. Our living wage family will receive $7,722.95 in CCB payments in 2017 which will significantly reduce their financial stress and increase their ability to participate, both socially and economically, in their community.
Issues such as affordable housing and childcare are shared by communities throughout the province and across the nation. By participating in the living wage campaign we hope to raise awareness and encourage advocacy around these issues and others related to working poverty. Please share the living wage information with your friends, family, local elected officials and employers.
The Tofino Chapter of the West Coast Fishing Guide Association is proud to
announce its recent inception. In late March 2017, Tofino charter fishing guides
finalized the formation of a Tofino chapter of the West Coast Fishing Guides
Association (WCFGA). The WCFGA is a professional organization representing the
interests of sport fishing guides on Vancouver Island. The organization focuses on a
variety of objectives. These objectives include: achieving a heightened level of
professionalism and safety on the water, adhering to strict ethics of conservation
and stewardship, and encouraging a high degree of knowledge, dialogue and
education amongst members. In addition, the Association focuses on engaging and
participating in various fisheries management consultative processes such as the
Sport Fishing Advisory Board (SFAB), International Pacific Halibut Commission
(IPHC), and the Clayoquot Salmon Roundtable.
The restoration and recovery of Clayoquot Sound wild salmon stocks is a major
priority of the Tofino Chapter of the WCFGA. Member guides commend and support
all local enhancement, research and restoration efforts relating to this goal. In order
to support this continued effort, Tofino WCFGA member guides have donated over
$7000 in seed funding to the recently developed Clayoquot Sound Wild Salmon
Fund. The fund priorities are directed by the Clayoquot Salmon Roundtable, which
brings together sport, aboriginal and commercial fishing, environment, stewardship,
enhancement, aquaculture, forestry, processing, local government, Parks, Fisheries
and Oceans Canada, and other interests in a consensus based, co-management forum. Saya Masso, co-chair of the Roundtable said,
“Sport fishing guides have taken
the formation of the Tofino WCFGA and the Clayoquot Sound Wild Salmon Fund,
many local guides were donating funds to support local enhancement efforts.”
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) will provide financial administration of the fund.
“As a community foundation, the CBT will manage the endowment fund and direct
the income towards prioritized projects. It’s exciting to see the WCFGA working with all of the stakeholders to take
action. As guides, they are both stewards and spokespeople for the salmon
ecosystem.” said Rebecca Hurwitz, CBT Executive Director.
Additional donations to the fund can be made
WCFGA member guides strongly support the spirit of the endowment fund and hope
that their donation contributes positively to future generations of both salmon and