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Raising Up The Next Generation Of Great Bear Rainforest Stewards

Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards - Jason Houston photo for Nature Conservancy Magazine
HANDS ON: Mercy Mason participates in a photography workshop. Photo © Jason Houston Source: TNC Canada

The life-changing youth programs of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation continue to gain profile as an exemplary investment in conservation—thanks to an excellent new feature article in Nature Conservancy Magazine, published by The Nature Conservancy’s Canadian affiliate Nature United (formerly TNC Canada).

Like the Súa Youth Cultural Program that was the topic of a September 2016 story by Coast Funds, the Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards (SEAS) program deepens the connection between children and teenagers of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais nation and their traditional territories through hands-on internships and other educational experiences. Exploring the Great Bear Rainforest by foot and canoe, learning about all its creatures, hiking into the Nation’s ancient burial sites and building trails, making drums and learning traditional dances, participating in resource monitoring, and tasting traditional foods, like sea urchin: all these and more are part of the unforgettable experiences the SEAS program has brought to some 350 kids from Klemtu, Bella Coola, and Bella Bella since 2009.

According to Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation Chief Councillor Doug Neasloss, SEAS is the community’s “single most successful program”. Chief Neasloss told the writer: SEAS “builds stewardship and helps young people understand the environmental issues and threats going on here. And in five to 10 years, these guys are going to be the ones sitting at the government tables, the ones becoming hereditary chiefs and chief councillors.”

Don’t miss the Nature Conservancy Magazine piece about how the SEAS program inspires Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation youthYou can also see some great photos taken by four teenaged SEAS interns during a five-day photography class that focused on learning how to create compelling images to share their world with others. In this workshop led by Nature Conservancy Magazine photographer Jason Houston and magazine photo director Melissa Ryan, the interns—all from the Kitasoo/Xai’xais village of Klemtu—captured images of salmon fishing, bear tracking, and ancestral sites.

Learn more about other activities that Nature United (formerly TNC Canada) helps support here.