This past summer 100 children from Ahousaht, Ditidaht, Ehattesaht/Chinehkint, Hupacasath, Huu-ay-aht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Tseshaht, Uchucklesaht and Ucluelet First Nations participated in Uu-a-thluk science camps. Since 2005, Science Venture and the University of Victoria have partnered with Uu-a-thluk to bring a combination of science and Nuu-chah-nulth cultural knowledge to kids in Nuu-chah-nulth communities.
The camps would not be possible without the ongoing collaboration and donations from sponsors. With the generosity of our donors, Uu-a-thluk raises between $5,000 and $8,000 each year. As a result, close to 1,000 kids have participated in this camp over the past 10 years.
“As a business that operates in the marine environment in Nuu-chah-nulth traditional territory, Uu-a-thluk Science Camp is a great fit for our community donation program,” said Tim Rundle, General Manager for Tofino-based Creative Salmon. “Creative Salmon’s aquaculture operation relies on knowledgeable, dedicated employees who care about operating in the ocean in a respectful manner.”
The science camps aim to familiarize children grades 4-6 with scientific concepts, especially those concepts related to sea resources and management. The five camps incorporate teachings from elders who hold a wealth of knowledge about managing our resources with a focus on fisheries and marine ecosystems. Some elders who participated in this year’s science camps were Hank Gus, Tseshaht Beach Keeper, Rowena Cootes from Uchucklesaht who helped out at the Hupacasath/Uchucklesaht camp, and Ray Williams, Mowachaht/Muchalaht elder who conducted traditional teachings on salmon at Friendly Cove. Each year, campers have the opportunity to participate in field trips that explore the marine environment through the lens of science.
“The photo scavenger hunt was a big hit,” said Michelle Colyn, Capacity Building Coordinator referring to the activity that took place on Nettle Island in Barkley Sound. “Youth learned about how the sun bounces off objects to highlight colours, and we gave the kids some paint colour samples to find similar colours in the marine environment.”
Currently there are only a few Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations in post-secondary programs related to resource management or fisheries science. Teaching scientific concepts through hands-on learning helps foster interest among young children for different areas of science such as marine science, medicine/health, chemistry, biology and environmental science/conservation. Through being exposed to science in this way, the kids can recognize many possibilities for careers in science.
“We feel we need to support young West Coast residents interested in learning, caring for and growing sustenance from the ocean,” said Rundle. “We are very happy to help out with science camps, and Uu-a-thluk can count us in as supporters for years to come.”
Uu-a-thluk would like to thank the following sponsors for supporting the 2015 science camps:
Cermac Canada Limited
Creative Salmon Co.
Native Fishing Association
Pacific Boat Brokers
Pacific Halibut Management
Pacific Sea Cucumber
Port Alberni Port Authority
Ratcliffe & Company
Village of Zeballos