The 2016 Nuxalk Summer SEAS Internship was successful yet again in providing a wonderful Nuxalk learning experience for our youth. This year’s program found a balance between providing our youth with opportunities to work with, learn from, and network with organizations involved in their own form of stewardship within Nuxalk territory. And this year’s science-side of things was centered on learning about our medicinal plants that abound throughout Nuxalk territory.
- Kimsquit & the Lower Dean River Lodge: The interns started off with a week-long camping adventure out in Kimsquit in Nuxalk territory where they also got to work with the Lower Dean River Lodge. The trip included outings to a waterfall, a canyon/fishing hole, and tide flats where the interns learned about Nuxalk history, animal trails, plants, and fish. The opportunity to work with the Lower Dean River Lodge alongside Billy and Mandi Blewett, introduced interns to their business operations and enabled them to see the possibilities of being a successful tourism operator without disturbing the environment and protecting local salmon stocks.
- Exploring, Learning, and Adventure: In between working with different organizations, the interns had a few days to do some research into medicinal plants, harvest those plants, and go kayaking. One day was also spent in a computer lab doing research on six different plants that are used medicinally within our culture in preparation for a presentation at the end of the day. It taught the interns about the importance of identifying the sources of information to decide if the information being presented can be viewed as reliable.
- Swiftwater Rescue Training: The interns completed a three-day Swiftwater Rescue Training –Level 1 (SRT1), conducted by Raven Rescue. The program gave them a knowledge of how to rescue individuals in swiftwater, how to protect themselves in rivers and creeks, and knowledge of swift moving water. As a large part of fieldwork completed by our own Nuxalk Stewardship Office require working around swift water, this training was beneficial and very useful for our interns as our youth have grown up in our fresh waters of the Bella Coola valley. This training has made our interns more aware of the safety concerns of swimming in our rivers and creeks but also gave them more confidence in their abilities in the water.
- Snut’li Fish Hatchery: For the fourth straight year, the interns worked with hatchery technicians at the Snut’li Fish Hatchery. They learned the process of the sperm and egg-take for the T’li (Dog Salmon), and how to set up the fences and sand bags that assist in catching the salmon. They learned the differences between male and female and eventually how to cut the eggs out and collect the sperm. Overall, this experience is exciting as the interns are able to learn more about salmon as a means of sustenance and the importance of maintaining our salmon runs.
- Nancy Turner: We welcomed Nancy Turner and with assistance from Nuxalk Health & Wellness, hosted an evening presentation for our community with Nancy that provided a very thorough overview of Nuxalk plants. The SEAS interns accompanied Nancy on two nature walks along Throsen Creek and up to Tweedsmuir Park.