Team

Steering Committee

Fiona Beaty

Project Founder and PhD Candidate at the University of British Columbia

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Fiona is a settler marine ecologist, conservationist, and community leader who attributes her life’s direction to growing up in Howe Sound/Átl’ḵa7tsem. Having spent her childhood flipping rocks to search for crabs on Bowen/Nex̱wlélex̱wem’s beaches, Fiona was thrilled to serve as the Guide’s Project Director from 2018-2021. She is now delighted to participate on the project’s Steering Committee. Fiona is currently a PhD candidate in the Zoology department at the UBC, where she studies how climate change is affecting marine life and communities in the Salish Sea. She also coordinates nearshore restoration in Átl’ḵa7tsem with SeaChange Marine Conservation and sits as an advisory for various other regional marine conservation non-profit organizations. Fiona lives in Gibsons, Ch’ḵw’elhp. 

Ruth Simons

President, Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative Society

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Ruth has been a dedicated volunteer in Howe Sound for nine years following a term as Village of Lions Bay Council member (2008-2011). Prior to 2008 she was in the travel insurance industry as a business owner and CEO. She has been advocating for a holistic comprehensive land and marine use plan with the Future of Howe Sound Society for the region since 2012. She has been the Coordinator of the Howe Sound Community Forums for the past 7 years and leading the Howe Sound Biosphere Region Initiative since its start in 2016 through to designation by UNESCO as Canada’s 19th Biosphere Region. A lifelong resident of the region, she is happiest in nature often seen either on the trails or on the water.

Jay Ritchlin

Director-General Western Canada, David Suzuki Foundation

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Jay is Director-General for Western Canada at the David Suzuki Foundation. He leads the Western Canada team in efforts to achieve the David Suzuki Foundation’s vision that we all act every day on the understanding that we are one with nature. He has more than 20 years’ experience working on solutions to environmental challenges including open net-pen aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, marine fisheries, toxins and seafood. Jay previously worked on pulp, paper and toxics issues and spent four years working in commercial fisheries. He has also worked in the U.S. Congress on foreign policy and military issues and spent several years working with Greenpeace in the U.S. and Canada. He holds a Biology degree from Kenyon College, Ohio.

Charlene Williams

Culture and Language Worker at Squamish Nation

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Charlene Williams is of Skwxwu7mesh, Nuu-chah-nulth and Snuneymuxw decent. She was raised in, and currently lives and works within her Skwxwu7mesh territory, in the Squamish Valley. She has worked as a Skwxwu7mesh Culture and Language Worker in the Sea to Sky School District #48 for sixteen years and is currently working at Aya7ayulh Chet, a Kindergarten to Grade 6 Indigenous program of choice guided by the principle that all learning is grounded in understanding the connected relationship of Language, Land and Culture. Charlene descends from a family and community with a deep connection and commitment to stewardship and protection of the Xay Temixw, sacred lands of the Skwxwu7mesh peoples. Charlene is a lifelong learner of her Skwxwu7mesh language, culture, and history and strongly believes that we can utilize these important knowledge systems to contribute to healthy communities and ecosystems.

Isobel Pearsall

Director of Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Marine Science Program

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Dr. Isobel Pearsall is the Director of PSF’s Marine Science Program. She co-ordinated the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salish Sea Marine Survival Project 2014-2019, and is the Manager of the PSF/UBC Strait of Georgia Data Centre. She holds a First class degree in Pure and Applied Biology from Oxford University, a M.Sc. in Ecology from the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, and a PhD. in Ecology from the Department of Plant Science, UBC. Since 1995, she has worked as a scientist on numerous large-scale ecosystem management and conservation programs for government, non-profit organizations, and private industry. She is an adjunct professor at UBC. 

Project Team

Ellika Cairns

Project Director

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Ellika has lived, studied, and recreated in/around Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound her entire life. She grew up in North Vancouver, spending much of her childhood exploring local forests and coastlines. This connection to our local landscapes led her to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. She has worked for several environmental non-profits, often leading projects with a marine conservation focus. Her roles in these organizations have allowed her to develop valuable skills in community organizing, scientific communications, volunteer management, and program leadership.

Currently residing in Sḵwx̱wú7mesh/Squamish, Ellika is excited to bring her passion and experience to the Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound Marine Stewardship Initiative. When she’s not at her desk, you’re likely to find Ellika trail running, backcountry skiing, or foraging in the mountains surrounding Átl’ḵa7tsem/Howe Sound.

Erica Olson

Governance and Monitoring Lead

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Erica is a marine ethnoecologist, who has been working with Indigenous nations and coastal communities in British Columbia for the last decade. Her curiosity and love for coastal and marine ecosystems began in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where she would visit her grandparents and spend every day exploring the intertidal zone. Graduate studies brought her to BC, and she is currently a PhD student at the University of Victoria, where her research is aimed at exploring how multiple ways of knowing are brought together to form conceptualizations of complex social-ecological systems and how those inform marine planning decisions. Erica is pleased to be supporting the Marine Stewardship Initiative’s marine planning as well as monitoring and research endeavors. Erica lives with her family on Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island, where they love swimming and paddling in Atl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound, and getting to more deeply know this place where they live.

Matthew Van Oostdam

Search for Slhawt’/ Herring Project Coordinator

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Bio to come!

Nikita Wallia

GIS Analyst

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Nikita is deeply passionate in using maps to tell stories of conversations, lives and songs lived out of a place. Her approach to cartography is strategic, holistic and research oriented, her practice is about balancing creativity with practicality. She completed her Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, with a focus on mapping how glaciers and rivers have shaped the landscapes of the South Coast Mountains to the Himalayas. She is skilled in translating questions into geospatial answers with professional experience in ESRI and open-source environments in the environmental, agricultural, renewable energy, and technology sectors. Nikita is delighted to be working with the Howe Sound/Átl’ḵa7tsem Marine Reference Guide to highlight local knowledge and work with like-minded communities to protect this wonderful place. When she’s not making maps she can be found exploring Átl’ḵa7tsem with her skis, bike, snorkel or paintbrush.    

Project Volunteers

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who have contributed to the project over the years!

Project Collaborators

Advisors

Andrew Day, Ph.D

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Dr. Andrew Day is the CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. He has a law degree and Ph.D in resource and environmental management. He has developed and led some of the first and most widely endorsed oceans and wild salmon strategies in Canada. He grew up near Howe Sound and his vision and work producing Ocean Watch: Howe Sound Edition formed the origins for the Marine Reference Guide.

Darcy Dobell

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Darcy is the Principal of the wabe consulting, where she works at the intersection of ecosystem protection, Indigenous rights, and sustainable economic development. She has founded and played leadership roles in non-profit organizations form local to national scales, and provided support and advice as we launched the Howe Sound Marine Reference Guide initiative. Darcy also serves on the Boards of Directors of Coast Opportunity Funds, Ocean Networks Canada, and the BC Parks Foundation. Darcy lives in Vancouver with her family.

Andrew Day, Ph.D

Read Bio

Dr. Andrew Day is the CEO of the BC Parks Foundation. He has a law degree and Ph.D in resource and environmental management. He has developed and led some of the first and most widely endorsed oceans and wild salmon strategies in Canada. He grew up near Howe Sound and his vision and work producing Ocean Watch: Howe Sound Edition formed the origins for the Marine Reference Guide.

Darcy Dobell

Read Bio

Darcy is the Principal of the wabe consulting, where she works at the intersection of ecosystem protection, Indigenous rights, and sustainable economic development. She has founded and played leadership roles in non-profit organizations form local to national scales, and provided support and advice as we launched the Howe Sound Marine Reference Guide initiative. Darcy also serves on the Boards of Directors of Coast Opportunity Funds, Ocean Networks Canada, and the BC Parks Foundation. Darcy lives in Vancouver with her family.

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