CULTURAL CONTEXT FOR WATERSHED MOMENTS 2021 / BLUE ECOLOGY VIRTUAL SEMINAR: “We have landed at the crux of two of the most important issues facing Canadians – relationships with First Nations and relationships with water,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair of the Watershed Moments Series, when he explained why the seminar is a bridging event (October 2021)
“The Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar is a bridging event to the next full-scale symposium which will be in 2022. The seminar will introduce Blue Ecology the idea as a way of interweaving Indigenous and Western perspectives to achieve a vision for ‘water reconciliation’ in British Columbia. We just happen to be trying to piece them together as a seminar and eventually as symposium! We must ensure that we do not rush the process. We must get the process right, and that what we deliver is the water reconciliation piece,” stated Paul Chapman.
CLIMATE ADAPTATION CONTEXT FOR WATERSHED MOMENTS 2021 / BLUE ECOLOGY VIRTUAL SEMINAR: “We are giving the public this false sense that we have a level of control that we do not have. That is why I did the Climate Change Thermostat – to get that idea across to audiences,” stated Michael Blackstock at the founding event for the Blue Ecology Institute (September 2021)
The “slice-and-dice” approach to science does not account for the interaction of variables within a system. Nor does it distinguish between preciseness and accuracy. “An image of a committee with their hands on a thermostat popped into my mind. And they are trying to adjust it. There is so much arrogance in that, and so much naivety at the same time, to believe that we actually have the ability as a global human society to turn this dial plus or minus 0.1 degrees. The reality is that we do not have that ability,” stated Michael Blackstock.
SCHOOL WATER STEWARDS IN THE NANAIMO REGION: “The program provides grade-appropriate curriculum-linked lessons and stewardship activities connecting students to our local freshwater resources and associated ecosystems,” stated Linda Brooymans, Stewardship Coordinator with the Nanaimo & Area Land Trust, and a panel member for the Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar on January 20, 2022
In late 2017, NALT was approach by a grade 7 teacher and challenged with devising a way to include a marsh adjacent to the school grounds in the stewardship education of the students. “Now embedded as a core component of NALT outreach and education, it is our hope to foster a culture of stewardship through our program by giving students as many opportunities as possible during their time at their school to learn about and explore their local streams and wetlands,” stated Linda Brooymans.
CONNECTED BY WATER IN THE COMOX VALLEY: “Together we are creating this legacy of acting together to ensure the health and long-term viability of our communities through using our drinking water wisely, and protecting the source of our drinking water,” stated Christina (Tina) Willard-Stepan, Facilitator and Environmental Educator for the Comox Valley Regional District and a panel member for the Blue Ecology Virtual Seminar on January 20, 2022
“The Comox Valley Regional District has developed teaching materials to support students in learning about their connections to the Comox Lake watershed, learning what makes a watershed healthy, and learning how to conserve water by using it efficiently at home. The resources are informed by the Watershed Protection Plan, and the Connected by Water project vision, all within the framework of the British Columbia Ministry of Education Curriculum,” stated Christina (Tina) Willard-Stepan.
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
“It is 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. The 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. Local Indigenous Ecological and Cultural Knowledge in today’s classrooms is invaluable,” stated Stephanie Cottell.
INTERWEAVING CONTEXT FOR WATERSHED MOMENTS 2021 / BLUE ECOLOGY VIRTUAL SEMINAR: “What First Nations in British Columbia bring to the water conversation is a whole-system perspective. It is that fundamental,” stated Kim Stephens, Partnership for Water Sustainability, when he explained what interweaving of Indigenous knowledge and Western science would mean in practice (October 2021)
“In the 1970s, the whole-system approach was a core element of my engineering education. This paradigm-shift reflected an emerging awareness of the unintended consequences of land and water servicing practices. In recent decades, however, I believe my profession has only paid lip service to whole-system thinking. In water systems planning and operation, my observation is that whole-system practice is the exception, not the rule. Indigenous peoples remind us that everything is connected. And that is why interweaving our two ways of knowing is foundational to Water Reconciliation,” stated Kim Stephens.
A BEACON OF INSPIRATION: “Seeing that Bowker Blueprint map at the Creekside Concert Series event in 2020 was the moment that shifted my understanding that our city is overlaid upon watersheds. that was the moment when I asked what more can I do?” stated Councillor Jeremy Loveday after City of Victoria Council passed the game-changing motion that launched the second decade of the 100-Year Action Plan
“You never quite know what is going to create a moment for someone that will shift their understanding forever. But we must do our best to make sure that we are presenting the opportunities for those moments to be created. I came to see celebration of the 10th anniversary as an opportunity for the City of Victoria to recommit to the Blueprint plus bring awareness of it to the forefront of people’s understanding of the city that they live in, and the difference that their actions can have on the watershed,” stated City of Victoria Councillor Jeremy Loveday.
RAIN GARDENS IMPROVE HEALTH OF BOWKER CREEK: “The fact that we have been given direction by City Council to move the Bowker Blueprint forward and look for opportunities to daylight the creek means everything. Unless you have the high level ‘this is what we want to do’ permission, pushing it up from the bottom really does not work,” stated Brianne Czypyha, City of Victoria representative on Bowker Creek Steering Committee
“Victoria is a fully developed city. Because most of the work happening within the city is redevelopment which is increasing density, it is so important for us to be looking for opportunities to integrate rainwater management with landscaping features, and maximize the use of space for multiple benefits. The idea of multi-functional landscaping is key because we don’t have as much room for wetlands and riparian areas,” stated Brianne Czypyha.
WATERSHED MOMENTS, THE VIDEO TRILOGY: “In 2020, the Watershed Moment team succeeded in our mission to create a broadcast quality legacy resource. We are thrilled that Shaw Cable has televised the trilogy multiple times across Vancouver Island. It is the resource that keeps on giving,” stated Paul Chapman, Chair, Vancouver Island Symposia Series on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate
COVID has changed and challenged how everyone does outreach and peer-based education. The Watershed Moments team turned COVID into an opportunity to create a legacy educational resource – the Watershed Moments video trilogy. In 2021, the 3-part series was broadcast twice by Shaw Cable – first in January-February and then again in August-September, reported Jocelyn Matwe, producer with the Shaw Spotlight Nanaimo team. Each time the broadcast cycle was three times.
SALTAIR WATER SYSTEM FILTRATION GRANT SUCCESSFUL: “I wanted to run up and down the streets knocking on everyone’s door to spread the amazing news. This grant application has been quite the roller coaster,” stated project champion Lynne Smith, Cowichan Valley Regional District Director
“I thank everyone who helped bring this about, particularly the Saltair Water Advisory Committee, which provided a needed perspective and helpful advice. I also specifically thank the local, provincial and federal bureaucrats and politicians who patiently listened to my pleas for support and who ultimately caused our application to succeed. It is full steam ahead to bring our water system into compliance and to meet the Island Health installation deadlines,” enthused Lynne Smith. The Saltair grant was a decade in the making, and resulted from the determined efforts of a band of community volunteers.