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Blue Ecology

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    INTERWEAVING WESTERN SCIENCE AND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE: “My work related to water and reconciliation has put the spotlight on a new angle. Is reconciliation just dealing with the past and acknowledging the pain and moving on, or is it something more complex than that?” asked Michael Blackstock, Indigenous Independent Scholar and creator of Blue Ecology


    “My question for the Western science world is this: Are you prepared and willing to change your definition of water in science? And if you are, what would the change in definition look like? No longer is it ceremonial. The methodology for Blue Ecology is about the actual work of interweaving the strengths of two cultures to reconcile them. It is time for First Nations to take a seat at environmental policy tables, as respected knowledge keepers who understand and respect water. Indigenous teachings can improve Western science,” stated Michael Blackstock.

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