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Convening for Action in 2020

CONVENING FOR ACTION IN THE COMOX VALLEY: Watershed Resilience Event Explores Climate Change, Collaboration and Landscape Restoration (October 21-22-23, 2020)


“Over the past 150 years, the Comox Valley landscape has been transformed by logging, coal mining, agriculture, road building, industry, and development. These altered landscapes are where the local impacts of climate change – flooding, erosion, and loss of biodiversity – first become evident. But these altered landscapes also hold the greatest potential for building resiliency. Kus-Kus-Sum, The Courtenay Estuary, Morrison Headwaters, Perseverance Watershed, Comox Lake – these places are at the heart of our local climate story,” stated Meaghan Cursons.

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CONTEXT FOR RESTORATIVE DEVELOPMENT: “We abuse the land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see the land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect” – a famous quotable quote written by Aldo Leopold, professor and author of A Sand County Almanac (1949)


In his presentation at the 2018 Engineers & Geoscientists BC Annual Conference, Kim Stephens quoted Aldo Leopold – legendary American professor, author, philosopher, scientist, ecologist, forester, conservationist, and environmentalist. “The Land Ethic,” a chapter in his book A Sand County Almanac, popularized the idea of ecological thinking — that animals, plants, soil, geology, water and climate all come together to form a community of life — that they are not separate parts, but integrated pieces of a whole.

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WATERSHED MOMENTS, THE VIDEO TRILOGY SERIES: “There are so many variables to take into account when making a video in the age of COVID. We have created a blueprint for ‘getting it right’ by exceeding local, provincial and federal requirements,” stated David Mackenzie, technical director and volunteer extraordinaire (Announcement #2, September 2020)


“Inspired and guided by David Mackenzie’s passion, knowledge and attention to detail, a plan took shape to deliver Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series via YouTube. The vision for the three videos is that they will be educational legacy resources that would inspire a snowballing of individual actions. Each video is built around a group conversation. We are now in the post-production phase, which includes inter-weaving of outdoor footage. We are striving to provide an experience comparable to viewing an engaging TED Talk video,” stated Kim Stephens.

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WATERSHED MOMENTS, THE VIDEO TRILOGY SERIES: “We hope to seed and stimulate conversations amongst our viewing audience as an outcome of watching the series. The important consideration is that each participant will have reached their own conclusions based on what they got out of the three sessions, and what resonated with them individually,” stated Richard Boase, Partnership Vice-President and series moderator, when he reflected on desired outcomes for Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series (September 2020)


“Three module teams totaling twelve individuals are on camera in the Video Trilogy Series. Every team member is passionate about what she or he does. This is what we hope and believe will inspire series viewers to apply what they absorb from each of the team conversations. But the video series is not a magic wand. It won’t result in overnight change. Humans are not wired that way. It is therefore best to view the series as an important milestone in a journey. We hope to bring others along with us by seeding their conversations with information,” stated Richard Boase.

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A BLUEPRINT FOR MAKING VIDEOS IN THE AGE OF COVID: “My intent is to try and help illuminate a pathway for interested parties, and the visionary leaders as well. It’s about human interaction and how to adapt to it on our COVID planet,” stated David Mackenzie, technical director for ‘Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series’ (Nov 19 / Nov 26 / Dec 3)


“We could not have done what we did if we didn’t change gears and refocus our staging. Fixed platforms are not a good idea in a COVID world. When we are doing these events, we have to be as fluid as possible. We know now what that set looks like. By working with COVID standards, and with a film crew, we have been able to determine that for us to host an event with six participants requires a 50×50 room. But more importantly, it doesn’t just meet COVID standards. We have exceeded them. And we have enhanced them. We aimed to do better. And we pulled it off,” stated David Mackenzie.

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STITCHING TOGETHER AN ALTERED LANDSCAPE: “An ‘Actionable Vision’ translates good intentions into practices on the ground. It is driven by leadership that mobilizes people and partnerships, a commitment to ongoing learning and innovation, and a budget to back it up,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability, when he foreshadowed the first module of “Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series” (November 19, 2020 at 10:00 AM on YouTube)


“Water-centric programs underway in the Comox Valley, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo and Capital regions are foundation pieces for stitching together an altered landscape. Are you aware of the scope, scale and interplay of an array of initiatives and programs underway on Vancouver Island? Do you wonder whether and how these initiatives and programs are making a difference? Join us for a facilitated panel conversation complete with audience interaction segments. An inter-regional team will share and reflect on successes, challenges and lessons learned over the past decade in their regions,” stated Kim Stephens.

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NATURAL ASSETS AS ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS & SERVICES: “MNAI and EAP – it is great that we have two initiatives in British Columbia that focus on the role of natural assets in supporting quality of life and property enjoyment,” stated Emanuel Machado, Town of Gibsons CAO and MNAI Chair. He and EAP Chair Tim Pringle are featured in the second module of “Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series” (November 26, 2020 at 10:00 AM on YouTube)


“Ecological systems play a fundamental role in a local government’s ability to deliver services to its residents and businesses. Yet the ecological services provided by natural assets are not fully measured or appreciated for their role in supporting municipal infrastructure and property enjoyment. Municipal natural asset management provides a roadmap and tools to incorporate ecosystems services into on-going asset management efforts,” stated Emanuel Machado.

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A ‘ONCE IN A GENERATION’ WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: “The International Year of the Salmon program has the potential to be a game-changer. It is not just about the fish; it is about humankind creating sustainable landscapes for people and salmon,” say Kim Hyatt and Peter Tschaplinski, the federal-provincial science duo who will inform, educate and engage participants in the finale module of “Watershed Moments, the Video Trilogy Series” (December 3, 2020 at 10:00 AM on YouTube)


“From an International Year of the Salmon perspective, large efforts of a very large mass of people around the rims of the North Atlantic, North Pacific and likely Arctic oceans will need to ‘come together’ for any real change to occur. From this perspective the requirement in an increasingly interconnected world is closer to ‘humankind’ than to a few of us in the local community. That said, it’s the sum of us in local communities that will move this closer to a humankind undertaking,” stated Kim Hyatt.

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WATER STEWARDSHIP IN A CHANGING CLIMATE: “We have designed the Video Trilogy as a series of watershed moments about implementing actionable visions for ‘Reconnecting Hydrology and Ecology’ in altered urban landscapes,” states Paul Chapman, Chair, Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate Symposia Series (Announcement #1, September 2020)


Watershed Moments, the video trilogy series, is cascading. Our focus is on the whole-system approach, connecting land and water, and restoring water balance in altered landscapes. The series will inform, educate and create understanding. The three videos, each 60 minutes in duration, are designed to be used as educational legacy resources that inspire action. Each is built around a ‘facilitated conversation’ moderated by Richard Boase, District of North Vancouver. These conversations are much more than talking heads in a studio setting. Inter-weaving of outdoor footage creates an engaging narrative.

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A STREAM IS A LAND USE: “This is a novel yet intuitively obvious way of characterizing a stream and its riparian corridor because streams in settled areas meet this litmus test for a ‘land use’, and that is: they have a defined area in legislation,” wrote Tim Pringle, EAP Chair, in the report on the application of the Ecological Accounting Process to Shelly Creek on the east coast of Vancouver Island (February 2020)


“The starting point for application of EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, is recognition that local governments have existing tools in the form of policies and legislation for ‘maintenance and management’ (M&M) of ecological assets within riparian corridors. Until now, what local governments have lacked are a pragmatic methodology for financial valuation, and meaningful metrics that go to the heart of sustainable service delivery. EAP provides metrics that enable communities to appreciate the worth of ecological assets,” stated Tim Pringle.

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