BEST WATER WAYS IN THE COWICHAN REGION: “It is so satisfying working with schools and groups to nurture an active relationship with the local watershed, and empowering youth with knowledge and skills to restore and care for the watershed is vital for our collective future,” stated Stephanie Cottell, Executive Director with the Cowichan Community Land Trust, and a panel member for the Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar on January 20, 2022


Over a 2- hour period, the Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar is structured in three parts: 1) a set of context presentations by a 4-person panel; 2) a conversation among the four panelists; and 3) audience questions to the panel. Stephanie Cottell will speak to Cowichan region experience in delivering watershed education for youth.

The seminar is an evening event, beginning at 7PM and concluding at 9PM on January 20, 2022. The seminar will be delivered through a combination of Zoom and YouTube to create a legacy resource.

Best Water Ways ~ The Big Idea

“Organizations like the Cowichan Community Land Trust (CCLT) have been involved with school and community watershed learning and care for many years. For example, many local conservation groups organize streamkeepers activities and provide resources for storm drain marking (think ‘yellow fish’ symbol). School groups often join in on planting or streamside clean-up days,” explained Stephanie Cottell, Executive Director, Cowichan Community Land Trust.

“Recently through our Friends of Cowichan Creeks program we were delivering a riparian restoration project that spontaneously involved a local grade nine group doing some planting. It was during this project that a beam of light came through the forest and illuminated a need for accessible, inquiry-led learning resources.”

“Would it not be of great benefit to enrich these types of community stewardship and restoration activities with a deeper, place-based learning experience for students and educators? After-all, where and how our local waters flow is about as place-based as it gets.”

“It is also vitally important that youth learn about their local watersheds, and how to protect, steward, and restore them. And so the Best Water Ways: Watershed Literacy, Stewardship, and Restoration initiative was born. Funding was gratefully received from the Real Estate Foundation of BC (REFBC) and Pacific Salmon Foundation (PSF). and we embarked on a two year project to design, pilot, and launch a suite of learning materials that can be used by educators and learners all across BC and beyond.”

Indigenous Knowledge

“The Best Water Ways learning suite was inspired, designed, and developed within the Unceded Traditional Territory of several Hul’qumi’num speaking communities that are part of the far-reaching Coast Salish Nation. ‘Huy tseep q’u Siem / Thank you all with deep respect’  to the local Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers who have generously shared knowledge relating to the Quw’utsun land and People during the making of the resources.”

“Local Indigenous Ecological and Cultural Knowledge in today’s classrooms is invaluable and supports a holistic learning experience for students. In the context of local ecological sustainability, we have a great deal to learn about how to coexist better within the Living Earth, a theme which is central to many Indigenous teachings.”

“For settlers in this place currently known as Canada, it’s important to acknowledge the impact, harm, and suffering that colonization has caused and continues to cause Indigenous People and the land they’ve inhabited for at least ten thousand years. It is with humbleness and deep appreciation that we invite Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers to share their wisdom and help us on the path to better ways.”

“The Best Water Ways materials are designed to provide a flexible, adaptable framework of inquiry-led learning that supports educators and learners to connect watershed learning in the classroom with experiential learning activities they have the opportunity to participate in within their home communities.”

“The resources are now launched and fully available to anyone, anywhere. Our website include loads of additional resources and links. It is so satisfying working with schools and groups to nurture an active relationship with the local watershed, and empowering youth with knowledge and skills to restore and care for the watershed is vital for our collective future.”

To Learn More:


Click on the image below and download a copy of the Program Brochure for the Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar.