Training program equips Indigenous community to monitor and adapt to climate change

Author: 
Lisa Weighton

Royal Roads University, Ulkatcho First Nation and Keefer Ecological Services have formed a new partnership that will support the community’s capacity to study the ecological impact of climate change on key ethnobotanical species.

The Ulkatcho Climate Change Effects on Traditional Species Project will support Ulkatcho First Nation to effectively monitor and respond to climate change.

Ulkatcho First Nation, located in Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin region, has attributed ecological impacts, such as increased frequency of wildfires and pine beetle outbreaks, to climate change. The project aims to support the community to monitor impacts on key plant species used for food, to connect Indigenous knowledge with science-based climate information and to engage Indigenous youth in the monitoring program through knowledge-transfer and training opportunities.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Ulkatcho First Nation and Keefer Ecological Services to deliver hands-on training in community on a topic of key importance for communities–understanding the impacts of climate change,” says Zoe MacLeod, director of Professional and Continuing Studies at Royal Roads. “Projects like this demonstrate our ability to respond to the educational needs expressed by communities in a very direct way.”

Royal Roads will lead a hands-on experiential training program with community members to build their capacity to collect ecological and ethnobotanical data. The trainees will be involved in all aspects of data collection, including establishing research plots, identifying plant species and interviewing traditional knowledge keepers.

The three-year project begins August 13, 2018. It is funded through Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring Program.

Photo: Edo-Jan Meijer, Anahim Lake, BC