Toby Theriault Reflects on her Arctic Experience

This summer, supported by Jamie's Whaling Station and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Ucluelet Secondary School student Toby Theriault participated in the 2019 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. Joining other high school and university students along with inspiring scientists, elders, artists, musicians, dignitaries, historians, thought leaders and innovators, she learned about bout the importance of the Polar Regions, climate change, and sustainable development. But enough from us-- check out the video read what Toby has to say about her experience below. 

The first time I heard about Students on Ice it was because one of my good friends was trying out for the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust scholarship. He got it and soon he left. I was slightly jealous but I also knew that I was too young and would be old enough in the next few years. He returned with amazing photos and stories, it seemed so exciting, so interesting. I could not wait for my chance to go!

Other than photos and stories some of the things that drew me to the program were my love for birds and the environment, my interest in seeing more of the world and my excitement to meet new people. When I started writing my application I assumed that I would have to wait for another year and that someone else would be chosen. I thought that because of how amazing the program is there would be so many people who would apply.

I was surprised to learn that only six people applied for the scholarship the year I went. Looking back this seems crazy! It was definitely something that changed my life. It was incredible and one of the most amazing experiences available for a young person in the biosphere. So the fact that only six people applied shocked me. 

I received a phone call on a Monday afternoon telling me that this year’s sponsors, CBT and Jamie’s Whaling Station, had chosen me for the trip. It was a while ago and I don’t remember much, but what I do remember was calling my mom immediately and screaming at the top of my lungs, “I’m going to the Arctic!” 

Fast forward to a month later, standing in the Vancouver airport security line-up , about to board a plane without my parents for the first time. I waved goodbye to my mum and started day one of the coolest thing that has ever happened to me. Talking about being on that trip is hard for me to do without wanting to be back. And when at the end of the trip I did a reflection it sounded like this.

Dear Students on Ice,

I have now returned to my home friends and family and I have finally recovered from the post-expedition blues. I am still connected with my Students on Ice family through social media. Even though I have unpacked my, bags and my memories, reminisced on what I learned, experience and laughed at. There is a small part of me that is still in the Arctic, that part of me, mirror reflections of my memories, my life (on ice) now live around the world. There are moments, no one else will remember that flew home to Rhode Island, LA, San Francisco,  Chicago, Delaware, Hong Kong, Haida Gwaii, Geneva, Iceland, Greenland, even New York weeks ago. I have new friends who live not that far from me, friends who live an unimaginable distance away from my home, friends across borders, friends across oceans. And all of us have one thing in common, we care, we care about others, we care about the environment, we care about the world and how it is run.  That is why we came aboard the Ocean Endeavour, that is what Students on Ice means to me. It means a strong, growing global network of people who care, people who will change the world. I couldn’t be more honoured to be an alumnus. This changed my life, and I hope that in the future it will change the life of someone who I tell about my experiences, someone who cares. 

Now thanks to SOI I can see the world through multiple lenses, I can see how what may be a sacrifice for some can be a struggle for others, how everyone needs to adapt to our ever-changing world differently. I can see hope for the future reflected in the eyes of everyone on that ship, students on ice made me believe that a positive outcome for our struggling earth is possible, difficult but possible, and that is why Students on ice is here: to inspire. 

I think by the end of this you can see what this meant to me, and what it would mean to anyone else, you can see how important it is to inspire students in our area. And how special it would be for local youth to continue to have this opportunity. My Students on Ice journey will never end and I will continue to encourage my friends and youth in my community to take this trip and inspire themselves.  

So, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and Jamie’s Whaling Station, thank you for changing the lives of however many people I can get on board Students on Ice, and of course for changing mine.

- Toby Theriault

Vital Grants - Looking Back & Looking Forward

January 18, 2023
Five years ago, CBT launched Vital Grants: a stream of partnership funding to address regional priorities and complex challenges that influence sustainability in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. Vital Grants were launched in response to grantee feedback that small grants (e.g. $5000) and short timelines make it difficult to address larger issues

Join our team as Director of Partnerships for Conservation

January 9, 2023
Reporting to the Executive Director, the Director of Partnerships for Conservation will build out a new role collaborating with partners on conservation projects, as well as leading research, planning, and engagement activities linked to the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere designation and Canada Target 1. The individual participates in relevant networks and committees aligned with key projects and contributes to the objectives of the Canada Fund Agreement, the MAB Statutory Framework and the MAB Lima Action Plan.

The 2022 Holiday Giving Catalogue is here

December 2, 2022
'Tis the season for giving and standing tall as a region. We're honoured to bring back the Giving Catalogue—an annual collaborative holiday initiative.

Living Building Challenge

October 5, 2022
CBT has committed to achieving the Living Building Challenge! LBC provides a sustainable framework for the design and construction of buildings and cultivates a symbiotic relationship between people, communities, and nature. Living Buildings are regenerative and inspire innovative methods of construction throughout the building!

2022 Discretionary Grants

September 6, 2022
Each year, the CBT provides funding up to $5,000 for small projects that promote the health of individuals, communities and ecosystems throughout the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. Each granting stream is overseen by an advisory committee of local volunteers who have an interest and expertise related to the grant.

Announcing Spring 2022 Neighbourhood Small Grants !

June 14, 2022
We are excited to share nearly 20 grass-roots community projects that will be receiving Neighbourhood Small Grants this cycle.  As usual, the West Coast Community Resources Society, our community partner for creating the cheques for community members. NSG makes empowering, accessible opportunities for residents from all demographics rise up and make their communities more inclusive, vibrant places to live. Check out the projects below and reach out to colin@clayoquotbiosphere.org if you want to connect to a project leader and participate. 

Biosphere Centre: moving forward on the land in a good way

June 13, 2022
On June 2nd, the CBT board, staff, and partners gathered at the future site of the Clayoquot Biosphere Centre for a small ceremony led by Tla-o-qui-aht cultural workers Chris and Hayden Seitcher. The intentions were simple yet profound: to reflect with gratitude on the work done to bring the Biosphere Centre initiative where it is today and to envision the next phase of the project.

CBT Granting Update and Equity Pathway

February 22, 2022
We continue to reflect on key learnings from our UNESCO periodic review, our Vital Signs research, and the pandemic. We’ve committed to work with volunteers, First Nations, communities, and partners on making CBT a more equity-driven organization: in our granting program, in our organizational culture, and beyond.

The Coastal Family Resource Coalition is hiring

February 22, 2022
The Coastal Family Resource Coalition (CFRC) is looking to hire a qualified proponent to provide leadership capacity and coordination services for the CFRC, a regional network coordinated and administered by the CBT and guided by the CFRC Executive Committee. 

We're looking for a new team member

February 15, 2022
We're hiring a Program Coordinator to work 30 hours/week. As part of our goal to be representative of and responsive to the communities we work with, the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) is seeking a Nuu-chah-nulth person to join our staff team.

Seeking a contractor to support research and communication for the Indigenous-led Westcoast Stewardship Corridor

February 4, 2022
The CBT is supporting the establishment of an Indigenous-led Stewardship Corridor. We are looking for a contractor (individual or firm) to create an inventory of existing Indigenous-led stewardship and resource management activities and collaborations on the west coast of Vancouver Island (VI) (from T’Sou-ke Nation to the Clayoquot Biosphere Region) and the vision forward for a collaborative stewardship corridor.

Audit Services Invitation to Tender

October 25, 2021
The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Society (CBT) is requesting tenders from qualified firms of public accountants to audit the financial statements of the CBT for the year ending December 31, 2021, and if a contract is assigned for each fiscal year ending during that period.

Join our team as an At-Large Director

September 24, 2021
The CBT is seeking expressions of interest in a 4-year volunteer term as Alternate At-Large Director. The CBT exists to support research, education and programs that advance conservation, the understanding of natural processes in the marine and terrestrial ecosystems and that promote the health of individuals and communities in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. The CBT relies on the vision and strategic direction of a committed Board of Directors representing a diversity of experience, skills and interests supportive of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere designation.

2021 Discretionary Grants

August 6, 2021
Every year, the CBT provides small project funding (up to $5,000) in the following four areas: Research and Environment, Community Development, Arts and Culture, and Youth and Education. Each granting stream is built upon different funding priorities and overseen by its own Advisory Committee comprised of 12-15 local volunteers with interest and expertise relevant to the specific grant.

2021 Youth Action Grants

July 21, 2021
Our Youth Action Grants are one of the ways we fulfil our priority of Empowering Youth in the region. This is our 7th year offering youth-led grants and we are always inspired by the creative projects and their beneficial ripple effects in the community.

New Nelly Heyduck Art Collaboration

July 2, 2021
Nelly Heyduck has created a beautiful new print depicting our biosphere region in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere designation.

Announcing the 2021 Vital Grant Awards

June 24, 2021
Our Vital Grant program began in 2018 with the goal to address regional priorities and complex challenges influencing sustainability in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region. These $15,000-20,000 grants support meaningful collaboration between organizations, communities and cultures and must include a minimum of two project partners. This year, the CBT also reviewed Vital Grant applications with an equity lens by considering whether projects addressed regional social and health inequities.