SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards) Community Initiative
SEAS Community Initiative is helping First Nations students in the Great Bear Rainforest take an active role in learning about the lands and waters of their traditional territory.
The mission of SEAS Community Initiative is to empower youth of First Nations communities to be stewards of their territories and natural resources by building educational capacity, creating opportunities for hands-on experience and supporting youth in achieving their educational and career goals.
The long-term vision for the program is a sustainable future for First Nations communities led by a new generation of local leaders who are empowered through education, mentorship and community support. Started in 2009, SEAS Community Initiative is a partnership of First Nations communities, schools and local and international environmental nonprofit organizations. SEAS programs are developed by aboriginal communities, for aboriginal communities. The programs are defined by First Nations partners, rooted in local knowledge and spearheaded by local leaders in each First Nations community.
SEAS Community Initiative is a unique endeavour in each partner First Nations community - no two programs are exactly alike. Community leaders develop program elements at the local level, incorporating cultural practices and traditional knowledge with western science approaches. SEAS is a program that supports the vision of First Nations communities in re-kindling the connection between their young people and the natural world of their traditional territory.
First Nation School Programs
Local in-school SEAS Community Initiative coordinators work collaboratively with teachers, community elders, leaders and local organizations to offer new ways for students within the school to learn about and directly experience the land and ecology of their traditional territory.
Some of the many SEAS program elements include:
- Newly developed curriculum focused on local ecology, cultural history and traditions and economic development;
- Outdoor field trips connecting students directly with seasonal ecological events and traditional harvests;
- Interactive technology that brings nature to life in the classroom; and
- Mentorship programs that link youth with local professionals and elders within their community
Classroom activities highlight the ecology and cultural importance of each partner First Nations’ traditional territory. Outdoor natural history sessions led by local elders, naturalists and scientists help students build outdoor skills and expand their knowledge of plants and animals.
Summer Internships Programs
To complement activities in the classroom, nonprofit organizations, Coastal Guardian Watchmen and First Nation Band Councils offer paid summer internships that give senior high school students the opportunity to work alongside land and resource officers in their traditional territory. During the SEAS internship program interns conduct scientific research, work with local fish and hatchery managers, are part of ecotourism businesses, and visit remote parts of their traditional territory. The internship program gives students hands-on experience in biological science, research, resource management and ecotourism operations.
SEAS Community Initiative Partners
- Bella Bella Community School
- Kitasoo Community School
- Kitasoo Band Council
- Pacific Wild
- Qqs Projects Society
- Spirit Bear Lodge
- The Nature Conservancy
- TNC Canada