Hello kind krafters!
I hope you are all doing well and, for those of you who are students, enjoying these first few days of the new semester. A few months back I wrote to you about an opportunity that came my way, in the form of the chance to participate in the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society’s Natural Resource Studies Program. Well, I am ecstatic to report, that I am now writing to you from the beautiful town of Queen Charlotte, on Haida Gwaii Island, off the coast of BC.
Haida Gwaii Island! I live in Queen Charlotte and go to school in Skidegate.
For the next 3.5 months I will be living, learning, and smiling here on the island, soaking up as much as I possibly can. For those of you who know me, personally or from my posts, you know that being outside, exploring nature, and learning about ways to make the natural world more accessible to all people everywhere, are my greatest of passions. So being here on this island, living and going to school is quite literally a dream come true and I honestly feel on top of the world in these first few days.
Morning views of the sunrise over the water in between our bus stop and basement apartment at a house here in Queen Charlotte.
So, you may be asking what exactly am I doing here?
Well, first of all I am taking classes through the Haida Gwaii Higher Education Society, in their Natural Resource Studies program. I go to school everyday, Monday to Friday, from 9 to 4 at the Haida Heritage Centre, and learn about the island, it’s people, Indigenous culture and natural resource management, parituclarly in the form of its role here on the island. Over the course of the 3 months I will take 5 courses, 4 modular courses completed one after the other for 3 weeks, and one weekly seminar course to tie it all together. Mixed in with these courses are guest lectures by community members, field work here on the island, and some exploration. It’s pretty amazing, both in terms of the depth of course content, the range of ideas explored, and the manner of learning in an experiential and very hands on way. Not to mention my classroom, which is housed in the Haida Heritage Centre, a literal museum, whose windows offer a beautiful view of the ocean and a little beach to explore on lunch breaks. Needless to say I’m pretty happy.
School. Also known as the Haida Heritage Centre.
So next you may be asking, how did I get here?
Well I left on Saturday morning from my home in Halifax, all the way on the other side of the country, at 6am eastern time. I then flew from Halifax to Toronto. From Toronto I flew to Vancouver. And here it gets interesting. My flight in Toronto was delayed by two hours, so I got to Vancouver two hours late. There is only one flight a day to the Sandspit airport here on the island, and thanks to this cold weather related extension, I missed my Saturday flight. SO I spent a night in the Vancouver airport, and woke up the next morning booked on the Sunday flight to Haida Gwaii. Despite sideways rain we landed safely and I made my way aboard the shuttle to the ferry from Sandspit to Queen Charlotte, my new home. After two days of travelling, and a nice little time change of four hours, I made to my house here in Spruce Point at 5pm pacific time.
When we walk out the door at school, this is the view. I spend lunch breaks wandering here.
So what have I done so far and what is coming up?
When I arrived the first thing I need was go to the local Co-Op for some basic groceries to get my through the night and next day for breakfast and lunch at school. We don’t receive freight here until Monday/Tuesday, so it was pretty much gather the basics and go from there. After that I made dinner, lunch, and unpacked. The next day I met my awesome roommate in the morning and we walked to our pick up stop. From here our little yellow school bus picks up all of us students and brings us to class at the Heritage Centre. For our first day we did introductions and had a great intro lecture about our first upcoming modular course, then wandered around on the beach outside the center, before heading for groceries, making dinner, and doing homework.
I am very happy to say each day here is a bit different. So day two was bus and school, but we began with a lecture open to the public about the concept of wilderness and the decolonization of academic traditions. Next was lunch and beach wandering, followed by a tour of the heritage centre and a short afternoon that left time for wandering around town and along the coast.
As for what is coming up, well it is different everyday. This week there’s an interpretive tour during class hours, we’re planning a hike up to Sleeping Beauty trail, a community potluck to end the school week, a basketball tournament in town between all the clans, and a Sunday field trip up the island. So, basically a little bit of anything and everything this beautiful place has to offer. And honestly, I truly cannot wait.
Views from evening wanders along the coast, just down the road from home.
Until next time,