CWB-VIU Speakers Series


Thursday, Jun 22, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140


Ben RobinsonWHO: Ben Robinson, Groundwater Protection Officer, FLNRO

WHAT: Healthy water is our most basic need in life and yet most of us don't know much about how our water gets to our taps. So, lets get to know our H20!

We invite you to this free "Well Smart" info session with Ben Robinson, MSc, A.Ag., Groundwater Protection Officer, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Water Protection Section, West Coast Region.

Ben will help us understand our groundwater and aquifers as well as proper construction and care of wells. He will also discuss laws that govern groundwater and its protection in BC, and some common concerns about water quantity. Questions welcome!

WHEN: Thursday, Jun 22, 7:00 pm (Free entry; Doors open at 6:15; Seating is limited)

WHERE: Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus, Room 140

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Ben Robinson has been the Groundwater Protection Officer for the West Coast Region since May, 2016. Prior to this he earned a BSc in Physical Geography from University of Victoria, a MSc Water Resources Management from McGill University, and he spent several years in consulting. He feels that BC is blessed with groundwater resources many would envy, and it’s all of our responsibility to manage this resource sustainably. The new regulation is a strong step in the right direction and he is excited to be on the ground on its launch.

Click here to download the media release

This event is made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.



4th Thursday each month, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Jun - available - possibly a low-flow irrigation workshop
Jul/Aug - holidays
Sep - Joy Wade - Cowichan Lamprey
Oct - Tom Gleeson - Groundwater
Nov - Shari Wilmott - Western Toad
Dec - holidays

Cowichan Lake Lamprey

WHO: Joy Wade

WHAT: More to come.

WHEN: Thursday, September 28, 7:00 pm

WHERE: Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus, Room 140


These events are made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.



May - John Borrows, Sources & Contemporary Uses of Indigenous Law
Apr - Jackie Hildering, Humpback Comeback
Mar - Kevin Pellett, Take a Peek at our PITs!
Feb - Nikki Wright, Inshore Marine Habitats

Nov - Dr. Dave Preikshot, Salmon in the Somenos Basin
Sep - Oliver Brandes & Rosie Simms, BC's new Water Law
Jun - Dr. Bethany L. Coulthard, Forecasting Drought through Tree-rings
May - Stan Orchard, The American Bullfrog
Apr - David Campbell, Flow Forecasting with Snow-Pillow Technology
Mar - Elizabeth May, Climate Change
Jan - Emily Doyle-Yamaguchi, Bruce Fraser & Barry Gates, EcoForestry

Thursday, May 25, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Sources and Contemporary Uses of Indigenous Law

John BorrowsWHO: John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria

WHAT: Sources and Contemporary Uses of Indigenous Law

WHEN: Thursday, May 25, 7:00 pm (Free entry; Doors open at 6:15; Seating is limited)

WHERE: Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus, Room 140

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: John Borrows, B.A., M.A., J.D., LL.M. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Osgoode Hall Law School), LL.D. (Hons., Dalhousie) F.R.S.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria. His publications include, Recovering Canada; The Resurgence of Indigenous Law (Donald Smiley Award for the best book in Canadian Political Science, 2002), Canada's Indigenous Constitution (Canadian Law and Society Best Book Award 2011), Drawing Out Law: A Spirit's Guide (2010), Freedom and Indigenous Constitutionalism (2015) all from the University of Toronto Press. John is Anishinaabe/Ojibway and a member of the Chippewa of the Nawash First Nation in Ontario, Canada.

This event is made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.


Thursday, Apr 27, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Humpback Comeback

Jackie HilderingWHO: Jackie Hildering

WHAT: They’re big, they’re beautiful, and they’re back from the brink of extinction! Everyone welcome! An informative and entertaining discussion on the return of Humpback Whales to BC's coast, and the research of the Marine Education and Research Society.

Please join us! Especially if you spend time on or near the ocean witnessing the return of these giants.

WHEN: Thursday, April 27, 7:00 pm (Free entry; Doors open at 6:15; Seating is limited)

WHERE: Vancouver Island University, Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Humpback comebackABOUT THE SPEAKER: Jackie Hildering is a researcher with the Marine Education and Research Society and wishes to share MERS’ research with those who are most often on or near the water and discuss how we can work together to better understand these giants and the risks they face (for the sake of boater and whale safety). Information will include research on Humpback feeding and rate of entanglement and efforts to increase awareness around collision and what to do if entanglement is witnessed. As an educator, avid diver and underwater photographer, Jackie is also known as “The Marine Detective” with recent on-camera experience including being featured on Animal Planet’s “Wild Obsession” series and in the BBC productions “New threat to Canada's Pacific humpback whales?” and “Ingenious Animals”. It indeed promises to be informative and entertaining! See

Click here to download the poster.

This event is sponsored by the Cowichan Watershed Board, Cowichan Valley Naturalists Society (CVNS), and the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS)

This event is made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.


Thursday, Mar 30, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Take a Peek at our PITs!

BC Conservation Foundation shares insights into the new "PIT Tag" method to track Cowichan River Chinook.

WHO: Kevin Pellett, Fisheries Biologist,  BC Conservation Foundation

WHAT: Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags are an exciting new technology enabling biologists to detect and track salmon with an antenna.  Mr. Pellett will teach us how the tiny electronic devices are being used locally to investigate survival of Cowichan River Chinook in their first year of life, and what that tells about watershed management.

WHEN: Thursday, Mar 30, 2017, 7 pm

WHERE: VIU Cowichan Campus, 2011 University Way, Duncan, BC. Lecture Hall – Rm 140

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Kevin Pellett is a fisheries biologist whose recent work has focused on Chinook salmon. A local graduate of Malaspina University-College (now VIU) in 2004, his early career was spent restoring Steelhead habitat in response to dramatic population declines in the 1990’s. Kevin is also an avid fisherman, which has provided an opportunity to explore much of the island, both on land and the ocean.    Having witnessed the collapse of fisheries within the Strait of Georgia first hand he has a strong motivation to understand the mechanisms controlling marine survival. He is one of many researchers funded by the Pacific Salmon Foundation through the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project ( who are intensively studying both juvenile salmon and their environment.


Kevin Pellett, BC Conservation Foundation,, (250) 616 7504 (cell)
Tom Rutherford, Cowichan Watershed Board, / 250-815-5930 (cell)

This event is made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.


Thursday, Feb 23, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Seagrass, Shellfish, and Salmonids
Understanding our Essential Inshore Marine Habitats

WHO: Nikki Wright, Executive Director, SeaChange Marine Conservation Society

WHAT: Nikki will treat us to her insights into the watery world below the surface in our estuaries and inshore habitats, and the critical role these areas play for healthy salmon, shellfish and more.

WHEN: Thursday, Feb 23, 2017, 7 pm

WHERE: VIU Cowichan Campus, 2011 University Way, Duncan, BC. Lecture Hall – Rm 140

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Nikki Wright has been engaged in community organizing since the 1970’s. She is an environmental educator, conservationist and leader. Since 1998, she has served as the Executive Director of SeaChange Marine Conservation Society, based in Brentwood Bay, BC. SeaChange’s mission is marine and coastal watershed conservation through education and restoration.

With the support of the Canadian Wildlife Service in 2001, she initiated and has helped guide the Seagrass Conservation Working Group. Presently she works with a professional SCUBA dive team and trained surveyors to map, monitor and restore eelgrass beds where possible in the southern Salish Sea. She passionately believes small groups in community are the real agents of change for a more protected coast.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nikki Wright, SeaChange Marine Conservation Society,, 250-652-1662

This event is made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.


Thursday, Nov 24, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

On The Persistence of Coho Salmon in the Somenos Basin

WHO: Dr. Dave Preikshot

WHAT: Free public lecture, Co-hosted by the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society as part of the WildWings Festival

WHEN: Thursday, Nov 24, 2016, 7 pm

WHERE: VIU Cowichan Campus, 2011 University Way, Duncan, BC. Lecture Hall – Rm 140

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Dave has most recently worked as a fisheries scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Madrone Environmental services. While with Fisheries and Oceans Dave has helped conduct several research projects in the Strait of Georgia examining processes governing the populations of juvenile and adult Pacific Salmon. He has been a lead or co-researcher on projects conducted for the Strait of Georgia Ecosystem Research Initiative, the Pew Charitable Trusts, DFO’s Salmon and Fisheries Ecosystems Division, the Pacific Shellfish institute, the Pacific Salmon Foundation and The Pacific Fisheries Resources Conservation Council.

Click here to read Dr. Preikshot's bio

This event is made possible with financial assistance of the Real Estate Foundation of BC.


Thursday, Sep 22, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

BC's New Water Law: Old Wine, New Bottles

WHO: Oliver Brandes & Rosie Simms, POLIS Project on Ecological Governance

WHAT: Free public lecture

WHEN: Thursday, Sep 22, 2016, 7 pm

WHERE: VIU Cowichan Campus, 2011 University Way, Duncan, BC. Lecture Hall – Rm 140

Monday, June 27, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Tree-ring Tales: a multi-century perspective on the future of drought on Vancouver island

WHO: Dr. Bethany L. Coulthard, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research - University of Arizona. Recent PhD graduate, University of Victoria, Geography.

WHAT: Free public lecture: Using 350 years of tree ring data as well as long-term drought records, Dr. Coulthard has found at least 16 historical droughts worse than the benchmarks used today by hydrologists and water managers in coastal BC. She will present information from her recent report which concludes that the coastal regions of southern BC are very likely to be hit by a worse drought within the coming decades than any time in the last three to four centuries. Says Coulthard, “If we don’t implement more conservative mitigation strategies, the region will be seriously under-prepared when one of these droughts hits. The impacts would be disastrous for stream ecology and salmon.”

WHEN: MONDAY June 27, 2016, 7 pm. Note date change to fit speaker’s travel schedule.

WHERE: VIU Cowichan Campus, 2011 University Way, Duncan, BC. Lecture Hall – Rm 140

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Bethany L. Coulthard

Dr. Coulthard is a paleoclimatologist, dendrochronologist, and earth systems geographer. She specializes in the development and analysis of high-resolution paleoenvironmental (historical environmental) records to interpret the impacts of climate change on earth’s hydro-climatology and forest vegetation. Her goal is to generate useful information for water, forest, and other resource managers, policy-makers, and communities addressing climate change.

Bethany earned her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Victoria, under the supervision of Dr. Dan Smith (University of Victoria Tree-Ring Laboratory). She also holds an M.Sc. in Geography from the University of Victoria, and a B.A. from Mount Allison University. Currently, she is a Postdoctoral research associate with the Past Landscapes Lab at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at University of Arizona. Her previous and ongoing research programs include assessing the unusualness of recent snowpack declines, streamflow drought, glacier ice melt, and forest productivity changes throughout the North American cordilleras. (Photo by Jillian Harvey).

Media Contact: Bethany Coulthard | |

Tree-ring data suggest B.C. is facing harshest droughts in 350 years

Thursday, May 26, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

The American Bullfrog

WHO: Stan Orchard, Inc: Innovations in bullfrog control and eradication.

American BullfrogWHAT: The American Bullfrog Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana is a robust, brilliant green amphibian that occurs in nature only in North America, from southern Québec and Ontario, throughout the Mississippi drainage, south to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico. Its natural range does not extend across the prairies and Great Plains or west of the Rocky Mountains.

Thriving populations of bullfrogs are today found all over the world because people have imported and released them in the hope of starting commercial farms to supply frogs and tadpoles for fish bait, pets, educational dissection, and human consumption. For the most part, frog farming has proven to not be a viable enterprise. In any case, it inevitably results in unwanted, noisy, and ecologically damaging American bullfrog populations.

Stan OrchardABOUT OUR SPEAKER: Stan Orchard is President of Inc. He is a conservation biologist/amphibian and reptile specialist. From 1981-1999 he ran a herpetology program in the Natural History Section of the Royal British Columbia Museum. From 1994-1999 he was the National Co-ordinator for Canada for the IUCN/SSC Task Force on Declining Amphibian Populations in Canada (DAPCAN). In 1994 he co-founded the Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network (CARCNet) and served as its Chairman from 1994 to 1999. He is a member of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. In 1998 he was invited to Australia by WWF to – over four years – design, co-ordinate and manage the world’s largest privately-funded amphibian conservation program. It is now an independent organization known as ‘Frogs Australia’. In 2003, he resurrected plans to develop the strategies and tools to effectively control and eradicate populations of alien invasive amphibians. Currently, as President of Inc., he works on southern Vancouver Island creating innovative, cost-effective, eco-friendly strategies, tactics and techniques for eradicating populations of the American bullfrog Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana – listed as one of the 100 Worst Alien Invasive Species in the World., Innovations in Control and Eradication.

Thursday, April 28, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Pillow Talk: Flow Forecasting for the Cowichan River, including new Snow Pillow Technology

WHO: David Campbell, Head, Ministry of Environment River Forecast Centre.

WHAT: High in the hills above Cowichan Lake, the amount of snow on the ground is of great interest to those who care about the Cowichan watershed, and particularly the impacts of summer drought.  David Campbell is an expert in using this and other information to predict river levels.  He will share the latest knowledge about Cowichan River flow expectations and he will explain “snow pillows” and what they can (and can’t) tell us about the year to come. He will tell us about the equipment that has been installed on Heather Mountain and some case studies from recent years. He will also look at some of the limitations of forecasting, particularly in the Cowichan Valley.

Click here to view Dr. Campbell's presentation

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: David Campbell has spent nearly two decades working on rivers, large and small, in British Columbia and across Canada. His expertise includes fluvial geomorphology, hydrology, flood hazard, and the implications of climate change on river systems. He currently serves as the Head of the River Forecast Centre where he leads the provincial operational hydrology program responsible for seasonal water supply assessment, snow pack analysis, drought monitoring, and flood forecasting throughout BC.

Click here for the BC River Forecast Centre

Thursday, March 31, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

WHO: Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

WHAT: Climate Change, the Paris COP negotiations, and insights from Elizabeth's years of 'behind the scenes' political negotiations for climate stability.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Elizabeth May is an environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, and leader of the Green Party of Canada. Elizabeth became active in the environmental movement in the 1970s. She is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was admitted to the Bar in both Nova Scotia and Ontario. She held the position of Associate General Counsel for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre prior to becoming Senior Policy Advisor to the federal minister of the Environment from 1986 until 1988. Elizabeth became Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada in 1989, a position she held until March 2006, when she stepped down to run for leadership of the Green Party of Canada.

Click here to read more about Elizabeth ...

Free EcoForestry Lecture

Thursday, January 28, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

WHO: Emily Doyle-Yamaguchi, Bruce Fraser & Barry Gates.

WHAT: Come and learn about an inspiring project by the Shawnigan Basin Society to explore what land use could look like if we put ecosystems first.

Three Cowichan valley speakers will team up to present the recent work of eco-forester Herb Hammond and the Silva Forest Foundation to create an Ecosystem-based Conservation Plan for the Shawnigan Watershed.

Click here to download the poster for this event.

Facebook Event Page:

The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous
with Paula Wild

Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

WHO: Paula Wild, Author and Freelance Writer   Moderated by Genevieve Singleton

WHAT: Paula will read from her book The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous.

Vancouver Island has the highest density of cougars, as well as the highest rate of attacks on humans. And chances are, if you spend any amount of time in the woods, a cougar’s seen you while you’ve been totally oblivious to its presence.  In an impeccably researched blend of natural history, scientific research and first-person accounts, Wild explores what makes this animal so beautiful, so dangerous and such a valuable part of our environment. 

"Paula Wild covers the gamut – from the cat’s biology and demographics to the lessons people need to live in cougar country. With this, will come understanding, and with understanding will come a better future for cougars.” Howard Quigley, Teton Cougar Project Director & Executive Director, Jaguar Programs at Panthera.

This event is co-hosted by Cowichan Valley Naturalists Society and sponsored by The Writers' Union of Canada.


Paula Wild is the author of six books, including Sointula Island Utopia, winner of a BC Historical Federation Certificate of Merit for its significant contribution to history. She has also written for numerous periodicals, including British Columbia Magazine, Reader’s Digest and Canada’s History Magazine.

She lives in Courtenay, BC.

A BC Bestseller, The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous is the Gold Winner for Nature Book of the Year at Foreword Reviews’ USA IndieFab Awards and was a finalist for the BC Book Prizes’ Booksellers’ Choice Award.

The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous is a September 2013 release by Douglas & McIntyre.

Read more about Paula at her website:

Facebook Event Page:

Groundwater and Surface Water:
Studies in the Cowichan River Watershed.

Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

WHO: Sylvia Barroso, Regional Hydrogeologist, and Neil Goeller, Regional Hydrologist, Water Protection Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Nanaimo.  Moderated by David Slade.

WHAT: Sylvia and Neil will give an overview and discuss the preliminary results from a three year multi-disciplinary study undertaken by researchers from Simon Fraser University, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Environment, to help answer questions such as:

  • What are the interactions between groundwater and surface water within the lower reaches of the Cowichan River?
  • How does the water quality in the river compare to groundwater quality in different parts of the basin and how can this be used to understand the dynamics within the watershed?


Sylvia Barroso is a hydrogeologist who has been working on water related projects on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands for the past 15 years. She has a BSc in Earth Sciences from the University of Victoria and an MSc in hydrogeology from the University of Waterloo.  


Neil Goeller is a hydrologist with a BSc in Earth Sciences from McMaster University and an MSc from Simon Fraser University.

Click here to download the media advisory

Click here to view the PDF of the presentation (Large file: 30 mb)

Click here to view the PowerPoint presentation (Very large file: 109 mb)


Water Heroes in Film

Wednesday, Jul 22, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

WHO: Water Woman & David Slade

WHAT: In keeping with lazy these summer days, this month's VIU-Watershed Board Speaker Series event will be a film night (lazy for us, not for the people who make the films!) focussed on water and water conservation.

[Note that our speakers series was pushed back one week this month - July 22 (4th Wed).]

Featuring - international debut of water saving video clips of local super-hero - Water Woman with the villainous Leak E Hoser.! Water Woman - Cowichan Water Challenge

Also featuring another local super-hero,... David Slade, live and in person, presenting the latest info from the Cowichan Watershed Board Water Conservation Challenge and other not-to-be-missed info!

See you there!

Join us on Facebook


Deborah Curran: The Big Picture of Water Law in BC: Moving to Watershed and Water-Centric Decision Making

Wednesday, Jun 17, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

(Come early - this'll be packed!)

WHO: Deborah Curran, Hakai Professor in Environmental Law and Sustainability, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria

WHAT: One of BC's greatest champions of better environmental law will address one of Cowichan's most pressing needs.

Deborah will present and discuss:

  • An overview of BC's 100 year old water law and problems arising from that regime, such as no water for fish, water quality concerns and lack of coordinated decision making.
  • Highlights from the new Water Sustainability Act.
  • Key approaches to moving towards water-centric decision-making.

Followed by Q&A. All welcome.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Deborah Curran is the Hakai Professor in Environmental Law and Sustainability at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. Her research and teaching focuses on the allocation of environmental entitlements and what we call property interests in law - land, water and rights to those - in the contexts of healthy ecosystems and colonial and indigenous systems of law. Deborah's work is initiated by community members with whom she works in a variety of contexts including the Environmental Law Clinic, the unique field course she teaches in environmental law and sustainability on Calvert Island in the Central Coast of B.C. at the Hakai Beach Research Institute, the POLIS Water Sustainability Project and with local governments across the province. As a municipal lawyer who focuses on sustainability issues, Deborah is currently writing on green real estate, local governments and the evolution of water law in Canada.

Deborah has collaborated with and advised POLIS since inception on smart growth, land development and urban sustainability, and water law. She joined the Eco-Research Chair as a Research Associate in 1997, transitioned into an POLIS Affiliate in 2001 and became part of the Faculty Advisory Roundtable in 2013. During her time as a Research Associate at POLIS she developed the POLIS Smart Growth program and wrote reports on the economic value of natural green space protection and the impact of big box stores. Deborah is a co-founder of Smart Growth BC and served as the president of the board for five years.

Deborah holds a B.A (Hons.) in environmental science studies from Trent University, a L.L.B.  from the University of Victoria, and an L.L.M. from the University of California at Berkeley.

Rodger says: We are fortunate to have another great speaker at the Speaker Series. We are in a time of real change as far as water law goes. At last there will be some regulation regarding ground water. Environmental and critical stream flow will finally get some recognition. What will the changes mean to us in the Cowichan?  Deborah Curran is a recognized expert and great at translating the law so the regular people can understand it.

If you are interested in water law and water rights then I am sure that you will find our June 17 Speaker Series presentation to be a very informative and enjoyable evening.

I look forward to seeing you at VIU.

Rodger Hunter

Click here to download the media advisory

Join us on Facebook

John Ford: Killer Whales in British Columbia - Past, Present & Future

Wednesday, May 20, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

(Come early - this'll be packed!)

WHO: Dr. John Ford, DFO, UBC – senior marine mammal scientist with over 40 years of whale observations and knowledge to share.

WHAT: Free public talk about the ecology, behaviour and acoustic communication of Killer Whales, including their relationship to Chinook salmon and other amazing marine creatures of our coast. 

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  Dr. John Ford is the head of the Cetacean Research Program at the Pacific Biological Station, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, BC.  Prior to his move to DFO in 2001, John was senior marine mammal scientist and Director of Research and Conservation at the Vancouver Aquarium.  He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Zoology and the Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia. 

John has been involved in field studies of marine mammals off Canada’s west coast since the mid-1970s.  His areas of research include the life history, ecology, behaviour and acoustic communication of cetaceans, especially killer whales.  He has written or co-written numerous scientific articles and books on whales and his research has been featured extensively in television documentaries and popular magazines.  In recent years, his research has focused on the conservation status of cetaceans listed under Canada’s Species-at-Risk Act and involves assessments of population abundance and distribution, critical habitats, and foraging ecology of west coast whales.  He is a member of COSEWIC’s Marine Mammal Species Specialist Committee and the IUCN’s Cetacean Specialist Group.

Join us on Facebook

Rodger Hunter, A Virtual Tour of the Cowichan Watershed

Wednesday, April 15, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

WHO: Rodger Hunter

WHAT: A virtual tour of the Cowichan Watershed. This hour long guided tour will feature images and stories about the Cowichan watershed from its mountainous headwaters, to the grandeur of Cowichan Lake, the weir that provides for summer flows in the river, significant points of interest along our Canadian Heritage river and the lower floodplain and finishing up at our incredible estuary.  Along the way we will discuss issues affecting our watershed and acknowledge some of the amazing organizations and people who contribute to its protection and restoration.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Rodger is the part time Coordinator of the Cowichan Watershed Board.

Join us on Facebook

Fukushima Radiation in North American Continental Waters

The scoop on our oceans post-Fukushima

Wednesday, March 11, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Robin Brown

PICES (The North Pacific Marine Science Organization)

Robin Brown has worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) for almost 30 years. For the last 15 years with DFO he managed the Ocean Sciences Division at the Institute of Ocean Sciences and was responsible for up to 70 scientists, technicians and support staff who carried out research and monitoring in the North Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Robin was also the federal co-chair of a Federal-Provincial interagency Japan Tsunami Debris Science and Monitoring Working Group. He recently took the position of Executive Secretary of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). PICES is an intergovernmental organization established in 1992 to promote and coordinate marine research in the northern North Pacific and adjacent seas. Its members are Canada, Japan, People's Republic of China, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America.

Robin is thoughtful, and extremely entertaining speaker who knows his topic well and loves to share his knowledge of the ocean. We are grateful that he is able to speak here in the Cowichan immediately before Canada Water Week.

Join us on Facebook

Some Grow Carrots; Others Grow Clams

An evening about ancient beach gardening on the Pacific coast

Wednesday, February 18, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Skye Augustine

Northwest Indian College and Clam Garden Network

An upbeat and interesting evening about ancient beach gardening on the Pacific Coast. Presented by Skye Augustine. Skye, a Coast Salish woman of mixed heritage, carries the Hul’qumi’num name Hwsyun’yun from the Stz’uminus Nation. She is currently the Associate Director of the Salish Sea Research Center at Northwest Indian College on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham, WA.

Skye has a passion for traditional coastal foods and marine science, particularly the interaction of these around education, Aboriginal rights and title, and the conservation of coastal resources. She earned her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Geography at the University of Victoria, and has worked with Parks Canada on clam gardens since 2009. In particular, she has investigated the relationship between clam garden restoration and conservation policy, and used GIS to identify key regions for clam garden restoration. Skye is also a collaborator on the Learning By The Sea program in the southern Gulf Islands.

Join the discussion on Facebook

Birds of the Cowichan Watershed

Trends, and What We Can Do

Wednesday, January 21, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Dave Aldcroft

Local naturalist and bird surveyor

Click here to download Dave's presentation (7mb).

Many of you will know of David Aldcroft and his good work. He has had a passion natural history and birds for 50 years and has lived in the Cowichan Valley since 1981.

He has been a member of Natural History Society since that time. In Vancouver he was VP of the Vancouver Natural History Society and Chairman of the Fraser River Coalition. Besides working professionally in ornithology where he banded over 22,000 shorebirds for the Canadian Wildlife Service, Dave has been a builder, a commercial fisherman and as some of you may know through your kids he has driven school bus.

Each year Dave takes part in 2 breeding bird surveys one in the Cowichan and one at Whistler. He also does night hawk surveys, nocturnal owl surveys and he participates in our local Christmas bird count (this year was his 30th).

A number of people have asked about birds and the watershed. This should be a very interesting, informative and enjoyable evening.

I look forward to seeing you.

Rodger Hunter, Coordinator
Cowichan Watershed Board

Reaching Blue

15 cinematographers examine our challenged coastal waters

Wednesday, December 17, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Ian Hinkle & Andy Robertson

Finding hope beneath the surface. Reaching Blue is the story of a coastal way of life under threat, where hope is found in stories of our past while facing the challenges of the future.

A writer, an oyster farmer and an ocean scientist on the Pacific coast expose new changes found in the Salish Sea, linking each of us to the world's oceans. With twenty-two cinematographers contributing imagery from deep-sea submarines, ocean research vessels and drone cameras around our local waters, we catch a glimpse of a place as it has never been seen before. From John Steinbeck's old research vessel The Western Flyer to residents of coastal communities facing dramatic changes in their own back yards, Reaching Blue shows that we are all connected to the ocean at our doorstep.

Visit for more info and to watch the film.

The Cowichan Lamprey and
Chinook Salmon in the Strait of Georgia

15 cinematographers examine our challenged coastal waters

Wednesday, November 19, 7:00 pm
VIU Cowichan Campus, Room 140

Dr. Dick Beamish

Vist Dick's website for more information.

Resilience - Cowichan Premiere

Wednesday, February 19, 7:00 pm
Cowichan Theatre

A film by Nick Versteeg

Visit Nick's website for more information and films by Nick Versteeg.


WHO: Val Napoleon, Law Foundation Professor of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, University of Victoria.

WHAT:Indigenous Law. More info coming soon.

Dr. Napoleon provided these documents as backgrounders for her areas of expertise and her presentation at the Cowichan Watershed Board Speakers Series:

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Val Napoleon is from northeast British Columbia (Treaty 8) and a member of Saulteau First Nation. She is also an adopted member of the Gitanyow (Gitksan) House of Luuxhon, Ganada (Frog) Clan. Prior to joining the Faculty of Law at UVic, she was an associate professor cross appointed with the faculties of Native Studies and Law at the University of Alberta. Val worked as a community activist and consultant in northwestern BC for over 25 years, specializing in health, education, and justice issues ...

Click here to read more about Dr. Napoleon ...