GBEAR is a proud partner of the Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards (SEAS) Community Initiative, working alongside the Bella Bella Community School and the Pacific Wild Alliance. This year-round program gives young people from the Heiltsuk Nation the chance to experience Pacific Wild’s field research at first-hand.
The Great Bear Rainforest encompasses all or part of the traditional territories of the Haida, Haisla, Heiltsuk, Kitasoo/Xai’Xais, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuxalk, Oweekeno and Tsimshian peoples. These nations are working to regain stewardship over their ancestral lands and waters, building local capacity for resource management that incorporates traditional knowledge and practices with western science.
The mission of SEAS is to empower youth from 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. SEAS provides environmental education to youth in the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella through in-school presentations and field trips. The SEAS Community Initiative aims to reconnect students with their cultural heritage by teaching them about the incredible ecosystems on their doorstep, and how they’ve traditionally been managed. Through class exercises and field trips, students gain the skills to become stewards of their environment and ensure the future wellbeing of their community. The program has students involved in the following activities:
Salmon Fest – Our staff assist with this annual celebration and learning enrichment in Bella Bella, and take school groups out to visit salmon spawning systems.
Trip to herring spawning ground – Each spring, students experience a vital natural phenomenon and learn about the traditional Spawn on Kelp (SOK) harvest.
Hydrophone program – Classroom-based activities introduce students to whales, their communication and their acoustic environment. At the end of the year they enjoy a boat trip to the Great Bear Sea Hydrophone Network hydrophone sites, often meeting whales on the way!
High School program – High school students get directly involved in regional conservation work, e.g. scouting for new hydrophone sites and servicing hydrophone stations.