Hišinq – “All Together”

Have you heard that the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT) is building a Biosphere Center? You might have read about it online or in local print media, maybe you heard it on the radio, or perhaps you joined us for the open house that took place at the current CBT office. However, you might not be aware that the CBT has been working on this project for over a decade and has taken many steps to create a space that will serve and reflect the values held by each community in the region.

Working in a Good Way

In February 2014, the CBT held a retreat at Black Rock Resort to explore the vision for the future Biosphere Center. During the gathering, Tammy Dorward and Terry Dorward, on behalf of the Hawiith (hereditary chiefs) of Tla-o-qui-aht, invited the CBT to continue to situate the Biosphere Center in Tla-o-qui-aht Haḥuułii (traditional territory), a central location with easy access for all communities in the Biosphere Region. This invitation was witnessed by Chief Anne Mack of Toquaht Nation, as well as Violet Clark representative of Ahousaht Nation.

This invitation from Tla-o-qui-aht was a huge milestone in the project's development as making progress in a good way and following protocol has been a priority from the beginning. Another integral part of the process has been to ground the work in the Nuu-Chah-Nulth principles of hishukish ts'awalk "everything is one, everything is interconnected, and nothing exists without the other", Iisaak "respect with caring action", and qʷaaʔakqin tiičmis “it is how we live; it is our culture”. This space will truly be unique in the Biosphere Region, a place where everyone will be invited to come together to share knowledge, food, and connections. 

Working together

Over the years, the CBT has invited input about the needs and purpose of the Biosphere Centre through open houses, feedback sessions, and surveys, making this a true collaboration. The project is being led by a development committee composed of a diverse group of volunteers to help guide the architects and CBT staff in creating a building that will reflect regional values. 

In 2020, during a development committee meeting, Lorena Frank spoke about the importance of bringing people together in unity. Inspired by her words, the group wanted to honor and recognize her call to action and the idea of having a Nuu-chah-nulth word to represent the Biosphere Center project was put forward. The name Hišinq meaning "All Together" was proposed by Lorena Frank after consultation with her husband Nuukmiis, Tla-o-qui-aht Ḥaw̓iiḥ (hereditary chief) and knowledge holder. The name was adopted and has been used to convey the idea that the Biosphere Center will be a welcoming gathering place for all communities and will allow people to come together in unity to collaborate on initiatives that will make the region a better place for people, and the ecosystems that sustain us. 

That same year, a blessing ceremony was held by Tla-o-qui-aht cultural workers Chris and Hayden Seitcher to prepare the land for the work ahead and cleanse the area to start the project in a good way. In June 2022, Chris and Hayden returned to join the CBT staff and development committee members to mark the milestone of rezoning the property. This gathering was an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the work achieved, take the time to look toward the future, and reflect on what they envisioned for the work ahead. 

"The purpose of these cleansing ceremonies is to offer protection by taking away the negative and inviting the positive."

– Chris Seitcher

The Work Ahead

With input from the community, the CBT and partners will keep working towards creating a culturally safe and welcoming space to celebrate education, science, and culture. In addition to planning the physical building, we’re also envisioning new programs that will bring the Centre to life, such as visual art and an Elder in Residence. The new public building will also create opportunities to further partnerships and programs that empower youth, offer place-based learning, invite reconciliation, advance climate action, and develop innovative solutions for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.  

The CBT team looks forward to welcoming you to the Biosphere Center! We’re aiming to open doors in 2026 and are now focused on capital campaign fundraising. To learn more about the Biosphere Centre or donate to the project, don't hesitate to get in touch with Michelle Hall (Campaign & Donor Relations Lead) at michelle@clayoquotbiosphere.org

CBT's Youth Intern, Reflects on her Beach Cleanup Experience

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This summer, CBT's Youth Intern, Janessa, has been supporting us in a wide range of projects across the organization and also participated in initiatives hosted by other local non-profits. One of our goals was to offer her the opportunity to experience diverse types of work as well as acquire skills and knowledge in many different fields. Learn about her time with Surfrider Pacific Rim where she helped remove debris from a local beach.

Join our team as Administrative Assistant

August 18, 2023
PLEASE NOTE: Applications are now closed for this position.  The Administrative Assistant will support the CBT across all program areas. The successful candidate will coordinate the day-to-day administration and operations of the CBT office, creating a welcoming space, updating administrative practices, and maintaining records. They will work closely with the Executive Director to support the Board of Directors, as well as work closely with the Finance Coordinator to assist with bookkeeping processes. The Administrative Assistant will work across the CBT to support our programs and events.

Announcing the Spring 2023 Neighborhood Small Grants!

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National Truth and Reconciliation Exhibit

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Here is a video that was created last year in partnership with the Ucluelet Secondary School, the Legacy of Hope Foundation, and Canadian Heritage to honor the second annual day for Truth and Reconciliation. We have partnered again this year to bring this impactful youth-led learning opportunity for our third annual exhibit.

We're looking for a new team member! (PDF) 221.42 KB

April 21, 2023
PLEASE NOTE: This position has been filled. The Clayoquot Biosphere Trust is seeking an intern to provide support for a range of projects across the organization. This position will provide opportunities to work alongside and be mentored by different team members, learning about and providing administrative support for projects aligned with the candidate's skills and interests.

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

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'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
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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.