Q&A: Seeing Her Homeland through a New Lens

In Klemtu, in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, 17-year-old Mercedes Robinson-Neasloss from the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation has grown up surrounded by ancient trees, rivers of spawning salmon, and humpback whales that feed and play within sight of her house. Her learning has been supported by a locally led youth program called SEAS (Supporting Emerging Aboriginal Stewards) developed in partnership with Nature United. It blends science and traditional knowledge in schools and through summer internships, bringing Indigenous youth out to explore their territories, reviving culture and language, and making intergenerational connections.

This year, Mercedes will be sharing her home and culture in an IMAX film called Great Bear Rainforestcoming to screens in Canada, the U.S. and around the world. We asked her a few questions about her larger-than-life experience.

Read the whole interview here.

The SEAS Toolkit is now available online

The SEAS Toolkit is now available for you to reference and adapt as you build out your on-the-land Indigenous youth education program. It was created to provide ideas, suggestions and guidance to anyone working on developing and delivering these kinds of programs. Feel free to download it, use it and pass it along!

Positively Impactful! Read the recently published evaluation of the SEAS Community Initiative

TNC Canada is excited to share a recent study Taking Care of What We Know, a participatory evaluation of the SEAS Community Initiative. Please download and read the study to learn more about the impact the program is having.

The study has confirmed what we’ve long known: SEAS is a powerful and impactful program making a real difference in the lives of First Nation youth and their communities.

Key findings from the evaluation tell us that:

1      SEAS positively impacts youth in 6 key areas: leadership, school performance, character development, opportunity, connection to territory and culture, and health and wellness

2      SEAS successfully engages, develops and prepares Indigenous youth to become the next generation of leaders and stewards in their communities

3      SEAS provides youth with benefits that extend well beyond the development of skills and qualities linked to stewardship and leadership

4      SEAS is effective because the program is flexible and responsive to each Nation’s priorities

5      SEAS is successful because youth have access over multiple years and through different types of interventions (internship, school program)

6      SEAS has far-reaching positive impacts at the community level in 4 key areas: community well-being, cultural resurgence, community capacity, and economic opportunities

Please, take the opportunity to read through the attached report and get in touch with us with any questions you may have about the program, the ongoing work we are doing with our partners to plan, measure and evaluate SEAS programs, or our work to grow SEAS programming, so more children and youth in communities across Canada benefit from stewardship education.

Individual and Community Benefits of SEAS Programs 

SEAS Benefits



Heiltsuk Nation's SEAS Coordinator Wins Teaching Award

From: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/pmate-ppmee.nsf/eng/home

From: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/pmate-ppmee.nsf/eng/home

Congratulations go out to Johanna Walker-Gordon who coordinates the SEAS school program in Bella Bella, for being awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Read more here.

What sets Johanna apart is her ability to creatively integrate education that occurs outside the school with what occurs inside the school, engaging our students in exploring their traditional territory and culture, and preparing them to become environmental and resource stewards.
— Colleague quoted at: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/pmate-ppmee.nsf/eng/wz02238.html