REGISTRATION RE-OPENS: bold and exciting – Comox Valley 2020 Symposium is re-imagined as a Video Trilogy Series

Note to Reader:

This issue begins another season (September 2020 through June 2021) of Waterbucket eNews, the weekly newsletter published by the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC on Tuesdays. We strive to profile local government and stewardship sector champions who make a difference through commitment, hard work and perseverance.

In this issue, we have very exciting news to share with our province-wide readership: The Third Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate will be delivered by video on YouTube as a series of three “Watershed Moments”.


In 2020, the COVID 19 pandemic changed everything and created a new reality for everyone on Planet Earth. Until there is a vaccine, mass gatherings are not allowed in British Columbia, by order of the Provincial Health Officer. Thus, events such as the Third Annual Vancouver Island Symposium on Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate must be delivered online rather than in-person. Adapting to this new reality necessitated decoupling of the original 2-day program for Comox Valley 2020.

Decoupling means that the two founding partners, NALT (Nanaimo & Area Land Trust) and the Partnership for Water Sustainability, are proceeding with a stripped down and reconstituted program for the third in the Symposia Series. In so doing, we have chosen to be bold in how we leverage technology. We will not subject viewers to a day of staring at their computer screens!

Pre-pandemic, NALT and the Partnership would have delivered Day Two of the Comox Valley 2020 program as a set of three modules in April. Under our pandemic response plan, the three modules are being undertaken as a Video Trilogy Series. Each event is 90-minutes in duration, with delivery via YouTube on November 19, November 26 and December 3.

In proceeding with a virtual event, we are blending technology platforms to provide an experience equivalent to viewing an engaging TED Talk video, yet allows for interaction with those who are leading by example in British Columbia. Immediately after watching the video, participants will be able to chat in real-time with the presentation team.


“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

CASCADING CONTENT, VISUAL AND ENGAGING: 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.

Quotable Quotes:

“In embracing virtual delivery, our goal is to engage and inform the audience. Our desired outcome is to enhance their understanding of what it means to see the world around them as an interconnected system. We hope to point the way for making a difference through collaborative leadership. We define success in these terms:  participants will be inspired to action,” states Paul Chapman, Executive Director of the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust, and Chair of the Vancouver Island Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate Symposia Series.

“How could we replicate a facilitated conversation without bringing people together? And how could we avoid subjecting viewers to a day of staring at their computer screens? We chose to tackle the challenge by embracing this way of thinking: we will be bold, we will move beyond a conventional webinar format, we will create a memorable experience for online viewers,” adds Kim Stephens, Executive Director, Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

“The Video Trilogy Series will be a compelling virtual symposium. We are using the YouTube platform to create a viewing experience that captures the passion, knowledge and wisdom of our team members in conversation. On the day of each event, a Zoom feed will enable team members to interact LIVE via YouTube with the audience! Our vision is that the series will take on a life of its own as a legacy resource to inform, educate and create understanding,” concludes David Mackenzie, a NALT volunteer and technical director for video production.

ON NOVEMBER 19: BC’s Climate Reality, Inter-Regional Collaboration & Actionable Visions

THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT TEAM: Julie Pisani (Nanaimo region), Jody Watson (Capital Region), Kate Miller (Cowichan Valley), and the duo of Darry Monteith & Zoe Norcross-Nu’u (Comox Valley)

What happens on the land matters to water bodies!

Water-centric programs in the Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley, Comox Valley, and Capital regions are foundation pieces for restoring the water balance in an altered landscape. Sharing and learning from each other helps program managers adapt concepts and approaches to local context.

Are you aware of program scope, scale and interplay? Do you wonder whether and how each is making a difference?

When you think about BC’s new climate reality, do you wonder what regional governments can realistically do to respond to the challenge?

An actionable vision is driven by the line items that comprise each local government’s annual budget.

Would it have occurred to you that an actionable vision for land and water is driven by leadership that mobilizes people and partnerships, a commitment to ongoing learning and innovation, and a budget to back it up?

ON NOVEMBER 26; Natural Assets as Ecological Systems and Services

THE NATURAL ASSETS TEAM: Emanuel Machado (Town of Gibsons) and Tim Pringle (Partnership for Water Sustainability)

Natural assets support the delivery of core local government services, while doing so much more.

Two programs – MNAI, the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative; and EAP, the Ecological Accounting Process – are facilitating the move from awareness to action that accounts for ecological systems and services. What do you know about the EAP and MNAI missions? Do you wonder whether they are the same, or different?

The two initiatives are outcomes flowing from the tireless determination of two pioneers, EAP Chair Tim Pringle and MNAI Chair Emanuel Machado, to transform how local governments view ecological systems and the services they provide. Development of both MNAI and EAP began around 2015.

Actually translating policy objectives into tangible outcomes requires that local governments have a methodology and metrics for valuing ecological assets and services in an asset management strategy.

Once you have a number for better maintenance and management of ecological assets, what do you do with that number? Putting it into play requires an understanding of how local government processes work.

ON DECEMBER 3: International Year of the Salmon  – Will Lightning Strike Twice?

THE FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL TEAM: Dr. Kim Hyatt and Nick Leone of DFO; and Dr. Peter Tschaplinski and Neil Goeller of  BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

In British Columbia, the iconic salmon is the canary in the coal mine.

Did you know that the ‘salmon crisis’ of the 1990s galvanized federal-provincial action, cross-border collaboration, and pioneer research? Will lightning strike twice and inspire a new generation of researchers, managers and conservationists to take the baton and collaborate?

For the first time in decades, the stars are in alignment. Our federal and provincial governments have committed both money and time to the International Year of the Salmon. The program has grown into an effort to ensure the resilience of both salmon and people.

The program is multi-year and represents a ‘once in a generation’ moment. Does it give you hope to learn that this shows renewed interest, commitment and timely re-engagement by senior governments?

With the International Year of the Salmon as a guiding vision, communities could build on what some have known since the 1980s and, in so doing, offset the neglect of past decades.

We can follow through with an effective response this time, and truly reconnect hydrology and ecology. Success depends on application of science-based understanding (what we know) harnessed to political will (to make it happen).

The Video Trilogy Team of Presenters