Bella Bella Partners
Bella Bella Community School
Bella Bella Community School is located in Heiltsuk Territory, on the Central Coast of British Columbia, otherwise known as the Great Bear Rainforest. Approximately 200 students attend our band-operated school, which is also certified as an Independent School by the British Columbia Ministry of Education. Our mission at BBCS is to develop, in a caring and respectful environment, students who are independent life-long learners, incorporating our community traditions and culture with the acquisition of skills needed to succeed in both the traditional and modern worlds. Our 50-member teaching and support staff works hard to ensure that students have a well-rounded education by providing daily instruction in Heiltsuk language and culture in addition to core subjects. We have a strong focus on local, place-based education; students have many opportunities to get out on the land and water and learn about local science and to gather and prepare seasonal resources such as plant medicines, cedar bark, edible seaweed, and sea-foods. A variety of extra-curricular activities are also available, including coaching for sports teams, various after-school activities, and community Family Nights.
Johanna Gordon-Walker is the SEAS Community Initiative Liaison for Bella Bella Community School. She works with students of all ages with the aim of engaging interest in local science and stewardship. Her work encompasses place-based curriculum development; classroom teaching; coordinating field trips and outdoor experiences; and connecting students with community resource people (elders, guardian watchmen, local resource management department, visiting scientists, etc.) within and outside the school. Johanna graduated from the University of Victoria with a BSc in Biology, specialising in marine and terrestrial ecology. After several years working as a field biologist, researching wildlife on the Central Coast of B.C., she obtained a Professional Teaching Certificate in order to pursue her passion for developing relevant curriculum and teaching youth. In addition to her role at BBCS, Johanna serves as a member on a number of advisory committees and is on the Board of Directors for Qqs Projects Society. Johanna was raised in Victoria, B.C. and moved to Bella Bella in 2002. She lives in a little cabin off the grid and commutes to work every day by boat.
Qqs Projects Society
Qqs Projects Society is a Heiltsuk First Nation nonprofit organization supporting youth, culture, and environment. The Qqs Projects Society is dedicated to supporting Heiltsuk youth, culture, and environment in order to create a strong and vibrant future for our children, our Nation, and our territory. Visit the Qqs Projects Society on the Web at qqsprojects.org.
Larry is the Director and founder of Qqs Projects Society. Qqs, which means eyes in Heiltsuk, was established in 1999 to ‘support Heiltsuk youth, culture and environment. The society has been a leader in protecting land and resources. The Society is also the organizing entity for their cultural trip to New York City to visit the American Museum of Natural History and students at the High School For Environmental Studies. Qqs Projects Society is a partner organization in the Virtual Rainforest Initiative. Read more >
William is the director the Coastwatch program, a Heiltsuk-driven scientific research initiative that provides Heiltsuk people with the skills and knowledge to be proactive in resource management and conservation planning in their traditional territory. William graduated from university with a degree in resource management and is on the board of directors for the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department. He is also the culture keeper for the Heiltsuk, being the acknowledged authority on cultural practices, names, songs and ceremonies. He is the former director of a youth culture and science camp called Koeye Camp and also works with Virtual Rainforest Initiative interns in the summer when they join his research team. Read more >
Jessie is an Ecotrust Indigenous Leader of the Year finalist for 2010 and has been a leader amongst youth in the Heiltsuk Nation for the past decade. Passionate about the natural values and the engagement of young people in their future, Jessie is leading the charge to bring young leaders on the coast together and to design a peer engagement effort that meets their needs. She has demonstrated her outstanding outreach and motivational skills by single-handedly creating the first library in a First Nation community on the central coast of BC, the Thistalalh Memorial Library. Authors world-wide have donated books and people from Bella Bella throng to borrow books or participate in literacy events at this community attraction.
Pacific Wild is a non-profit conservation organization based on Denny Island that is committed to defending wildlife and their habitat on Canada's Pacific coast by developing and implementing solution-based conservation strategies. Visit Pacific Wild on the web at www.pacificwild.org.
Ian McAllister is a founding director of Canadian-based wildlife conservation group, Pacific Wild as well as an award-winning photographer and filmmaker. Ian has spent 20 years working to conserve British Columbia’s temperate rainforest and with his wife Karen, was named among Time Magazine’s "Leaders of the 21st Century" for those efforts. His images have appeared in publications around the world and he has published four large format books on wildlife of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Karen McAllister has been involved in wildlife protection in British Columbia for over two decades. Initially, she worked on frontline campaigns to protect Vancouver Island’s endangered rainforest, moving north in the 1990s to begin efforts to protect the central and north coast of B.C. She coauthored The Great Bear Rainforest with her husband Ian, and is a conservation director of Pacific Wild. Karen and Ian live with their two children on Denny Island, near Bella Bella.
Diana Chan is the SEAS Community Initiative Liaison for Pacific Wild. She helps bring wildlife cameras and hydrophones into the classrooms during the school year and coordinates the Bella Bella internship program during the summer. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Diana first came to the central coast in 2007 for a conservation field school. She kept coming back every summer, but didn't make the move out west until she completed her undergraduate studies in biology and environmental studies at Carleton College and earned a certificate in GIS at UW-Milwaukee.