LIVING WATER SMART IN BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Partnerships with local governments and others are essential. They allow students to work on collaborative projects. Everyone benefits,” stated Graham Sakaki, Research & Community Engagement Manager, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute at Vancouver Island University


The edition of Waterbucket eNews published on January 19, 2021 featured the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI), located at Vancouver Island University in the City of Nanaimo, British Columbia. MABRRI connects people and nature through community-based, student-led research and education on Vancouver Island. MABRRI is collaborating with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia to involve students in program delivery for EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process, and thus provide them with experience that would benefit them in their future careers.

Nanaimo Campus, Vancouver Island University – home of MABRRI

Collaborate to Expand Capacity for Action

“The EAP philosophy, methodology and metrics recognize the importance of a stream system in the landscape,” stated Tim Pringle, EAP Chair. “The Partnership’s vision is to nest EAP within a university program for training the next generation of land use professionals. We see this as a key element of mainstreaming EAP. It is insufficient just to develop a philosophy, methodology and metrics as we have done with EAP. To make a difference over time, EAP must be part of the educational curriculum for those who aspire to work in the local government setting.”

“We saw a natural fit with MABRRI and the Master of Community Planning Program at VIU. MABRRI seeks to be a centre for collaborative research, innovation and knowledge-sharing that will elevate the relationship between people and nature. We view student involvement as a foundational piece for advancing EAP as a self-help way of doing business in the local government setting. We have worked with MABRRI’s Graham Sakaki to involve graduate and undergraduate students in the EAP program as research assistants. They carry out core tasks which are critical to program success.”

Two-Way Benefits

“Because MABRRI establishes meaningful partnerships that encourage involvement of students attending Vancouver Island University, research projects benefit from the interdisciplinary strengths of students,” observed Ariel Verhoeks, a graduate student in the Master of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications program. Ariel is currently making a substantial contribution to the EAP program. She provides technical support for Tim Pringle and oversees tasks undertaken by other students.

“Collaboration is mutually beneficial. We students benefit because the projects provide us with research experience that is relevant to us. An outcome of relationship building by MABRRI is that the process connects VIU students to regional project partners. As a result, we gain valuable research and work experience.”


To read the complete article, download a PDF copy of Living Water Smart in British Columbia: Training Next Generation of Land Use Professionals.