May-June 2018 Biosphere Research and Education Program Update

Laura Loucks, CBT’s Research Director, has been busy this spring working on a number of environmental research and education projects within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region, and presenting on CBT activities at two conferences on the east coast! Read more below:

The Clayoquot Sound Natural Area Conservation Plan:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is working with local advisors to create a Clayoquot Sound Natural Area Conservation Plan. The geographic area of the proposed plan corresponds closely with the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Designation, extending seaward from HesquiahtPeninsula south and including provincial and federal protected areas with inland boundaries following the height of land along the watershed boundaries. Last month local team members Saya Masso,  Barb Beasely, Josie Osborne and Laura Loucks, met with NCC staff Jocylyn Wood and Tamara Baldwin to review ecological targets, threats and indicators for Clayoquot Sound. Once the background knowledge has been researched, NCC staff will return to Tofino and present the proposed conservation plan to achieve the following vision:

“The Clayoquot Sound Natural Area is a functioning, resilient, coastal ecosystem that provides for thriving plant, animal, and human communities. In the spirit of collaboration, conservation groups work together with community groups and Indigenous, provincial and federal governments to ensure ecological and cultural values are protected, while supporting sustainable use of natural resources to achieve greater well-being of communities and nature in this landscape”. NCC Clayoquot Sound NACP planning notes, May 18, 2018.


Community, Conservation & Livelihood Conference, May 27-29, Halifax, Nova Scotia:

The innovative West Coast NEST (Nature. Education. Sustainability. Transformation) attracted numerous viewers at a recent conference co-hosted by the Community Conservation Research Network (CCRN) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  The conference brought together indigenous, community, university, government, and NGO people from 52 countries to share important lessons on conservation livelihoods, build partnerships, and shape future linkages between community members, academics and policy makers. You can read more about the West Coast NEST and other west coast community conservation stories including the Clayoquot Sound Salmon Roundtable and the Nuu-chah-nulth Fishing Rights, on the CCRN website.

The conference also hosted a special session on Ecosystem Governance and Biosphere Reserves. CBT Research Director, Dr. Laura Loucks joined panel participants Dr. Liette Vasseur, President of Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and Dr. Esperanza Arnes, co-chair of the Biosphere Group for the IUCN Commission for Ecosystem Management, to discuss governing Biosphere Reserve designated areas. Several common challenges among Biosphere Reserve communities included: 1) the large scale of area to manage; 2) the need to build shared awareness of sustainability and what it means to be designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; 3) the importance of ongoing funding support; and 4) the relationship between Indigenous language revitalization and sustainable governance models. For more information, check-out the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management Biosphere Reserve working group website.

Community Conservation Research Network Meeting, May 30-31, Martin’s River, Nova Scotia:

Over 50 researchers from around the world have contributed to the Community Conservation Research Network since its inception in 2011. Last month the core group met for the last time to share their knowledge on collaborative approaches to sustainable community governance. Much of their research and writing over the last seven years has focused on community resilience, including the ability to cope with and adapt to change. CCRN member Dr. Fikret Berkes, and keynote lecturer, highlighted the importance of understanding community conservation as a commons problem. Moreover, the attributes that contribute to social-ecological interdependency are also essential factors for successful conservation practices and sustainable community livelihoods. Several CCRN west coast members participated in the meeting, including Dawn Foxcroft, from Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council Fisheries, Tawney Lem, Executive Director of West Coast Aquatic, and Laura Loucks, from the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust. Findings from the CCRN team of researchers are highlighted in their recent book, Governing the Coastal Commons: Communities, Resilience and Transformation, edited by Derek ArmitageAnthony Charles, and Fikret Berkes. Detailed case studies in the book explore how coastal communities are adapting to environmental change, and governing the coastal commons, emphasizing a social-ecological systems perspective, and the role of resilience and transformation.

CBT engages at the national level!

This week, Ahousaht resident Arlene Paul, executive director Rebecca Hurwitz, and board co-chairs Tammy Dorward and Cathy Thicke travelled to Ottawa alongside representatives from 18 biosphere reserves (BRs) to co-host the second annual Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) reception on Parliament Hill on June 5th, co-sponsored by our local MP, Gord Johns: Courtenay-Alberni Member of Parliament.

The CBT delegation pictured with our Member of Parliament (from left to right: Rebecca Hurwitz, MP Gord Johns, Cathy Thicke, Alrene Paul, Tammy Dorward).


The non-partisan Reception on the Hill was an opportunity to celebrate and showcase how Canada’s BRs are creating vibrant, healthy, and sustainable communities across Canada by promoting biodiversity conservation, sustainable development and reconciliation at the local level.

“It means a lot to work with MPs from all parties and Canada’s 18 BRs to co-host the event,” said Rebecca. “BRs are key to implementing global UNESCO aspirations and commitments at the local level, but we can do more to raise awareness of our work at the political level.”

She noted that last year’s event was critical to leveraging funding for national CBRA projects, and that BRs are seeing the results of political and financial support in 41 constituencies across Canada.”

Staff and representatives of Canada’s 18 BRs pictured with MPs and other federal dignitaries at the event.


Among topics discussed, relationship-building and reconciliation was highlighted as integral to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. National Coordinator of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association Monica Shore noted that,

Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves are leaders in implementing national projects at the local level in the spirit and practice of reconciliation. They catalyze community-based initiatives that embrace multiple worldviews to support biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Their collective work in these areas is unparalleled in Canada.

The reception was followed by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO Annual General Meeting and Symposium on the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Abedan – Together in a Circle. Arlene Paul hosting a table at the #ccunesco2018 Symposium on the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages. Thank you for sharing your Nuu-chah-nulth language knowledge and experiences Arlene!


The delegation to Ottawa was an important opportunity to contribute to our national network and to share our work from the local level. Canada’s 18 BRs share the opportunities and challenges associated with sustainable development and conservation. We always appreciate the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences, and to draw inspiration from the other members of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association. We’re excited for the year to come as we work together on national projects.

Ocean Friendly Businesses (Surfrider Campaign)

With the support from CBT, Surfrider Pacific Rim was able to carry out a successful campaign to support businesses to phase out single-use plastic and make their practices more ocean-friendly! The project is part of Surfrider’s larger goal to create a “plastic-free corridor” from Ucluelet to Tofino. Check out the list of businesses below who participated in the campaign!

Download (SurfRider_OFB_04.12.2018.pdf)

CBT Receives Partnership Award from the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association

Last Friday (May 11th), on behalf of the CBT, Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz received one of five 2018 Partnership Award from the BC Principals and Vice Principals Association alongside Ucluelet Secondary School (USS) Principal Carol Sedgewick, who nominated CBT for the award. 

Rebecca receiving a 2018 Partnership Award from BCPVPA President Kevin Reimer.

The BCPVPA Partnership Award recognizes and honours the valuable support provided to principals, vice-principals, teachers and students by individuals and groups who have, over an extended period of time, shared their time, energy and expertise to support schools. The CBT extends thanks to to Carol for the nomination, recognizing that effective partnerships require effort from all collaborators; the students and staff at USS have been incredible partners helping the CBT to grow the vitality of the communities and ecosystem in our Biosphere Region. 

Rebecca with USS Principal Carol Sedgewick

The Award itself is a beautiful framed print by Haida Gwaii artist Bill Bedard. The Partnership Award print features an owl and eagle. Bill says the eagle travels between the physical world and spiritual world and signifies focus, strength, peace, leadership, and prestige. The Owl, he says, reflects the wisdom and the world of educators and their supporters because “the work does not end when the students go home, but requires many nights of hard work and reflection as we strive to prepare our students for a better tomorrow.”

The CBT is excited to continue engaging in and facilitating meaningful and effective partnerships in the Clayoquot Biosphere Region!

Read more about the BCPVPA Partnership Awards here.

Be a Part of the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust

Download (Be-a-part-of-the-Clayoquot-Biosphere-Trust-May-2018.pdf)

May Newsletter: Tree Planting, Vital Grants Recipients Announced, Education Awards, & More!

To view the May Newsletter, follow THIS LINK

Vital Grants Recipients Announced!

This past Friday, CBT hosted a small reception at Darwin’s cafe here in traditional Tla-o-qui-aht territory to celebrate the first annual Vital Grants awards with representatives from the receiving organizations! As the rain drummed hard on the roof of the cafe, attendees were welcomed into the space with a traditional opening from Tla-o-qui-aht teacher, singer, and carver, Dwayne Martin.

CBT Executive Director Rebecca Hurwitz then gave an introduction to Vital Grants, explaining how, as one former grantee pointed out during last year’s grant review process, “small grants make it difficult to address larger issues.” Vital Grants is a new stream of partnership funding to address regional priorities and complex challenges.

Through 4 grants of $20,000 each, the goal is to achieve and integrate all aspects of sustainability – cultural, social, economic, and environmental – in order to meet the mandate of the UNESCO Biosphere designation. The partnership approach is vital to achieving this mandate as grantees bring together the strengths of organizations, cultures, and communities.

Representatives from each grantee project then came forward to talk about the work they’re embarking on, and officially accept letters confirming their Vital Grant. The following organizations and projects were funded:

Carving on the Edge Festival SocietyPutting the culture in the hands of our children
The Nuu-chah- nulth Living Archive (nested under the Carving on the Edge Festival Society) will partner with the Language Keepers Society (LKS), cultural educator Gisele Martin, and the University of Victoria Clayoquot Sound Field School to offer intergenerational language and culture programming in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve Region.

Raincoast Education SocietyRaincoast Field School at Ucluelet Elementary School
The Raincoast Field School will implement a hands-on outdoor education program at Ucluelet Elementary School on a long-term basis. Raincoast Field School is an outdoor, experiential learning program designed to meet BC curricular learning outcomes taught by trained and experienced Raincoast Education Society staff. Students in Field School learn key aspects of the BC curriculum in a hands-on outdoor setting instead of the classroom. Since its inauguration in June 2014, Raincoast Field School has become a major part of the school community in Tofino, and the program has had many positive impacts on student learning and well being. Working hand in hand with teachers, RES instructors tailor individual lessons for each class in each grade, highlighting specific curricular material in structured activities and field trips.

Surfrider Foundation2018 Remote Clean Up Series & Ahousaht Beach Clean Team
Surfrider Pacific Rim will execute six remote shoreline clean up trips in both Clayoquot and Barkley Sound. Each clean up will contain a different theme pertaining to culture and environment, including Nuu-chah- nulth history and worldview, which will cultivate a variety of perspectives on challenging plastic pollution and marine debris. This project will lead to the creation of a beach clean team in Ahousaht who will participate in the remote clean-ups so that these members can continue to organize and execute clean-ups in their territory. To make this team sustainable, Surfrider’s goal is to facilitate the creation of a part-time to full-time paid beach keeper coordinator within the Ahousaht Band.

Westcoast Community Resources SocietyStrengthening a Strong Foundation Kliilth Pi-taap  Taaqumths Men’s Group

Kliith Pi-taap Taaqumths is the act of stomping on the ground before building a house. It signifies creating a
firm foundation. The men’s group was established by men for men to come together and support one another.
It started organically in Tla-o-qui-aht in recognition that there was no support currently available and has since expanded to include men from other first nations. WCRS and the Vancouver Island Health Authority are partnering with the men’s group to provide cultural activities for men (first nations and non first nations) to promote well-being and build resilience in men.

Employment Opportunity: Trauma Informed Schools Coordinator

Closing Date: April 20, 2018

The Coastal Family Resource Coalition (CFRC), in partnership with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT), is seeking a term employee to lead a regional initiative that aims to support the development of trauma-informed schools to promote positive academic and non-academic student outcomes, including resilience and healing.

About the Position

Based on school capacity and readiness, the Trauma Informed Schools Coordinator will support local schools in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region (SD 70 and Indigenous schools) in promoting and adopting trauma-informed approaches and policies. Key duties include:

  • Assessing professional development needs and coordinating training for school staff on trauma-informed approaches;
  • Working collaboratively with school professionals to develop a comprehensive trauma-informed school system, including preventative and responsive methods; and
  • Serving as a liaison between schools, community health services and organizations and developing community partnerships.

The position is a part time (15 hours/week), three-year term position and is funded by The Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. The rate of pay is $30/hour and there will be reduced hours in the summer months. The position has the potential to grow if additional funds are secured. The Trauma Informed Schools Coordinator will report to the CFRC Community Developer, CFRC Executive Committee, and CBT Executive Director.

Transportation is required, as is a valid driver’s license. Only local candidates will be considered and only screened-in applicants will be contacted. A strong preference will be shown for candidates who have an existing relationship with at least one of the local schools.

About the Successful Candidate

Your relevant experience, skills and education include, but are not limited to:

  • Post-secondary education in a human services field.
  • Knowledge of trauma-informed theories, principles, and practices.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with local health and mental health providers and their school and community based service delivery models.
  • Experience in group facilitation and/or leading professional development.
  • Ability to quickly establish and maintain effective working relationships with a broad range of school-based staff and community partners.
  • Experience working collaboratively with communities, organizations, and education institutions.
  • Demonstrated success in securing grants and project management skills, including financial reporting and program evaluation.

To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to before 4 p.m. on April 20, 2018


February Newsletter!

Last year, we reached out to local organizations, our volunteers, and other funders in our region to gather feedback on CBT granting. We heard lots of appreciation for our programs and flexible approach to granting. We also heard the need to clarify some of our criteria and processes. But above all of that one comment stood out. As one grantee simply stated, “small grants make it difficult to address larger issues.”

With this in mind, we have created Vital Grants – a new stream of partnership funding to address regional priorities and complex challenges. We’re accepting applications that positively address all aspects of sustainability – cultural, social, economic, and environmental – in order to achieve the vision of the CBT. We’re accepting applications in our new online grant system until March 5. We look forward to announcing the first round of Vital Grants in May as we work with local organizations and communities to fulfil the mandate of the UNESCO Biosphere designation.

                                                                        – Rebecca Hurwitz, Executive Director

Biosphere Research Award

The CBT is pleased to provide award to support research within the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region that advances our local understanding of conservation challenges in our marine and/or terrestrial ecosystems and help us to prioritize conservation actions. The CBT offers one $20,000 award this year. Applications can now be made online here. The deadline to apply is April 16, 2018.

To learn more about the Biosphere Research Award check out our website.

Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association

We’re excited to be participating in a national conservation project with other Canadian biosphere reserves (BRs). The Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association (CBRA) has received funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada to assess how UNESCO BRs could qualify as Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs) with the goal of contributing to Canada’s Biodiversity Target 1.

CBT board and staff will be participating in a project kick-off meeting in Ottawa later this month and look forward to working with other Canadian BRs to demonstrate the value of UNESCO BRs over the next three years!

Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO)

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) – who operates under the authority of the Canada Council of Arts – helps to bring people together by building inclusive communities, encouraging innovation and protecting our Canadian heritage and the biosphere. To do so, the Commission facilitates cooperation in the fields of education, culture, science, information and communication to address some of the most complex challenges facing the world today. 

To learn more about the CCUNESCO, the Biosphere Reserves Network and how you can get involved, visit their (brand new) website.

Learning Initiatives for Rural and Northern BC (LIRN)

LIRN BC is a collaborative approach to building on the capacities of rural, remote and Northern British Columbian communities.The program encourages local government, provincial, federal, First Nations, non-governmental organizations and business to work together to plan, deliver and evaluate a locally relevant learning initiative. 

LIRN BC offers support with event planning and workshop, and bring trainers and facilitators to your community to deliver a learning event for residents. The deadline to apply is Friday, February 23, 2018, at 5:00 pm. More info about the program here.  

Board Development Training

The West Coast NEST is hosting a two, half-day workshops in Board Development Training for board and committee chairs, as well as board members, organizational staff and volunteers on March 2, 2018Register for one or both workshops and join us for lunch, offered by the Long Beach Lodge Resort.

Critical Role of the Board Chair, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and Strategic Conversations, from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

West Coast Seedy Saturday

The Tofino Community Food Initiative is hosting the annual West Coast Seedy Saturday! This day-long event includes a seed swap, farm and gardens vendors, workshops and kids activities. Everything you need to start your garden! Learn more about this amazing day of food and fun at the Tofino Botanical Gardens here

Other Grant Opportunities

  • Canada’s Coolest School Trip Contest: For this year’s contest, participating classes must engage in a stewardship activity that contributes to the protection of the local environment or presentation of local history or culture. Deadline to apply: February 26, 2018. Find out more here.
  • Co-op Community Spaces Funding: Co-op will award $2 millions to projects across Western Canada in 2018. Individual projects are eligible to apply for between $25,000 and $150,000 in funding. Deadline to apply: March 1, 2018. Learn more here
  • Community Resilience through Arts and Culture Fund: The program supports arts and cultural events, initiatives and projects by and for local communities. Indigenous communities and communities that have experienced hardship may be given funding priority. The grants will range between $2,500-$15,000. Deadline to apply: March 2, 2018. More information here
  • Federal Government Environmental Funding Programs: This year, the government will provide a total of $15 million through seven environmental funding programs to helps Canada address climate change, conserve nature, and protect fresh water. Various deadlines. More information on the criteria and how to apply here

Upcoming CBT Board Meetings

Thursday, April 12, 2018
1 pm – 5 pm

Thursday, May 24, 2018
1 pm – 4 pm
Area C, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

CBT Vital Grants Information Sessions

We are hosting information sessions about Vital Grants – our new stream of partnership funding – across the region.

Join us and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about this new funding stream, project’s eligibility and how to apply.

If you have any question, contact us by dropping by our office at 316 Main St (Tofino), calling us at 250-725-2219 or sending an email to