media release

Haida Gwaii program celebrates 10th anniversary

August 04, 2014

David Zandvliet, 604.219.0362 (cell),
Carlos Ormond, 604.512.8254,
Barbara Wilson, 250.637.1747, 250.559.8884,
Juliane Siu, education communications, 778.782.7381,
Marianne Meadahl, 778.782.9017, 604.209.5770,


The charter participants in a groundbreaking Simon Fraser University field school in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlottes) will gather in the coastal northern B.C. archipelago on Aug. 7-8 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its creation.

Ensconced in an environment rich with cultural and architectural history at the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate, alumni, teachers, students, First Nations people and others will reflect on the program’s achievements past and present.

Through presentations, such as one by Barbara Wilson, a Skidegate Haida Elder, they’ll learn how the program is charting new trails in community engagement.

Wilson, a master’s student of David Zandvliet, a Faculty of Education associate professor and architect of the Haida Gwaii field school, has become the first Haida member to co-design the summer school with Zandvliet and co-instructor Carlos Ormond.

“Barbara is mining all oral and written stories by Haida people at the turn of the century to find out how they achieved environmental sustainability,” says Zandvliet. “She’ll use this information to inform her research on how to make Skidegate more environmentally sustainable.”

Since 2004 the annual six-week Haida Gwaii field school has provided a First Nations setting where pre- and in-service teachers can experience how environmental conscientiousness and values can be incorporated into academic learning.

Recently renamed the Environmental Learning Summer Academy (originally Summer Institute for Environmental Education), the Haida Gwaii program recruits about 24 participants annually. It is an offshoot of a larger program.

In 1971, Milton McClaren, an SFU Faculty of Education professor emeritus, founded the larger program, which has become the longest running environmental education program in North America.

Zandvliet is a pioneer in experiential learning and combining science and environmental education in First Nations communities.

The Haida Gwaii program focuses entirely on getting students outdoors to experience environmental issues rather than absorbing theory in a classroom.

“In our Vancouver summer school we would go out to a landfill and watch how bulldozers move around garbage piled 10 stories high to see how solid waste is managed rather than read about it in books,” explains Zandvliet. “For example, in Haida Gwaii we go see how First Nations people and Parks Canada jointly run the area’s national parks. We see how First Nations people manage forests that they’ve acquired through buying tree farm licenses.

What: 10th Anniversary Celebration of Faculty of Education’s Haida Gwaii summer field school
Aug. 7-8, 2014
Haida Heritage Centre, Skidegate, Haida Gwaii


August 7th program

Welcome from Skidegate Band Council and Haida Cultural Heritage Centre
Opening Remarks
: Kris Magnusson, Dean of Education

David Brown, Consultant / Alumni instructor / Faculty Associate (SFU)
Framing Experience on Haida Gwaii –

Calvin Westbrook / Brian Coleman / Erin Coleman / Katrina Husband / Monica Hausman
'Alumni' Panel – Personal and Professional Reflections on Experiences on Haida Gwaii.

Carlos Ormond, Instructor, Simon Fraser University
Sustainability Education in an Environment of Diversity (SEEDs) on Haida Gwaii

Leighann Rodgers and Janet Gray, School District No. 50
School - Museum Connections on Haida Gwaii –

Tour of Haida Heritage Centre followed by free time to browse exhibits and grounds.

August 8th program

Class of 2014 -- Student Presentations
Community mapping on Haida Gwaii –

Jeremy Janz – Hartley Bay School, SD #52 (Prince Rupert)
Cross-curricular and Community Engagement Models in Ecological Education

Lais Chaves, Postdoctoral Fellow, Biological Sciences (SFU)
Invasive Species: Patterns and Processes

Revitalization of TEK for Resilience in Coastal and Island Communities
Jillian De Gezelle, Assistant Professor, Plant & Microbial Biology (NCSU)

A hands-on demonstration by Stanley King, Architect and Susan Ng Chung

Barbara Wilson, PICS Fellow, Instructor (SFU)
The House that Jack Built: Designing for a Sustainable Future on Haida Gwaii

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

<p><a href="/content/sfu/sfunews/comment_guidelines.html?keepThis=true&amp;TB_iframe=true&amp;height=700&amp;width=700" class="thickbox">Comment Guidelines</a><br>